RIAD LIFE

A page about simple hedonism.

Because riad life is a good life, a life of the senses, of light and l'art-de-vivre.


THE PLAY OF LIGHT AND SHADOW

For many Muslims (and non-Muslims) light is the symbol of divine unity.

In Islamic architecture, the interplay of sun and shadow is essential.

Light functions decoratively by creating contrasts, adding texture, and extending patterns, forms and designs onto different planes.

Ever changing, it becomes a metaphor of Life.


ROOMS AS RAILWAY CARRIAGES

In traditional riads many of the rooms are long and narrow. Why?

In Marrakech the ceiling beams were trunks from palm trees and the maximum span was 2.2 metres before they started sagging. The rooms were lined with cushions and dotted with brass tables.

This allowed flexibility: the room could be used for entertaining, talking, reading, eating or sleeping.

Today, with new building materials, many riad owners abandoned this custom and widened the rooms to make the furniture layout more Western.

Less relaxing and dreamy, they lost also the art of Moroccan living.

VERY GOOD RECIPES

At our riad we planted a grapefruit tree in one corner of the courtyard.

The leaves are more rounded and sensuous than those on orange or lemon tree and its position against a south-facing wall, encourages sweeter fruit.

When the grapefruits are ripe we make Grapefruit Curd—delicious at breakfast to add to Moroccan pancakes or bread.


The play of light and shadow

RECIPE FOR GRAPEFRUIT CURD

What you need: 2 grapefruits, 55 grams butter, 2 beaten eggs, 220 grams sugar.

Preparation: In a pan grate the rind of 2 grapefruits, then juice the fruit and add along with butter and sugar. Melt over a low heat until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and SLOWLY stir in the two beaten eggs.

Return to low heat and stir continuously until the first bubble pops, (very important or you end up with fruit flavoured scrambled eggs!) then remove from heat and pour into sterilized jars and when cool refrigerate overnight.

HOW TO MAKE THE POPULAR PRESERVED LEMONS?

Chicken cooked with preserved lemons and olives is a classic Moroccan dish.

The lemons gice a very enigmatic taste to the dish—and many visitors return home rather sad they can’t find the key ingredient for the recipe. Well here is the easy recipe!

Wash some ripe, golden lemons. Cut each fruit into four, being careful to leave the qaurters attached to the base. Salt the inside well, and close the lemons. Place in a preserving jar and cover with warm water, and seal. Leave for a month.

To use, remove and discard the flesh, rinse the skin, and add to the tagine recipe—or any casserole!

HOW TO MAKE TAJINE WITH QUINCES?

What you need: 800 grams lamb cut into pieces, or one chicken. 500 grams quinces, cut into quarters, seeded but not peeled. 100 grams butter, 1 teaspoon ginger, 1 teaspoon saffron, 1 teaspoon pepper, a pinch of salt and 2 finely chopped onions. A bunch of chopped coriander.

How to prepare: In a casserole, brown one of the onions in the butter until golden and seal the meat.

Add the ginger saffron, pepper, chopped coriander and salt and just cover with water. Simmer, and when the meat is nearly cooked and the water three quarters evaporated add the remaining onion.

Half an hour before serving add the quinces—it is better to take the meat out before the fruit gets too soft and starts to disintegrate.