I’ve been cooking more for the family since we moved to London from Sydney. We signed ourselves up to a weekly meal kit that arrives with all the ingredients. Once a week a box full of fresh vegetables, spices and meats arrive at our door step.
All I need to do is follow the cooking instructions. It’s been surprisingly good and it has been a pleasure to see our boy eating more adventurously. And I love having the time and energy to assemble these nightly dishes for us.
I made a beef harira style soup for the first time in my life the other night. I had no idea it was influenced by a traditional dish from Morocco and that the soup was served usually during Ramadan.
All I knew was to expect some grumbling from my son because it had lentils in it. I warned him early so he knew what to expect. I did hear a little murmur of disquiet. But it must have been delicious, because our son ate it all.
They say harira is usually served with a side of dates and a sweet treat. While it may be the traditional dish of Morocco, I’ve read its influence is from the broader North African region known as the Maghreb (of which Morocco is a part). I cannot wait to visit and taste the real thing for myself when the world returns to normal again.
Right now countries are going into lockdown. Planes are being grounded. International flights are being banned. The world is doing its best to stop the spread of COVID-19.
But in a tiny corner of London, in a small flat above a restaurant, Morocco came to us one night through a meal inspired by its national dish.
That night our boy also tried sumac for the first time as I sprinkled the spice over some bread. I then drizzled olive oil over the top and popped the bread in the oven to crisp up for about five minutes. The crunchy sumac bread was a tasty accompaniment to the soup.
I am finding I am thankful for small things these days.
I am thankful that while we must not leave our homes, we still have a home that can keep us safe. I am glad we have food to eat, a roof over our heads and a safe place to sleep.
And I am thankful that while we are at home, we can still visit the world through the food we cook.