Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Making Olive Oil

The neighbors invited us for lunch. We were sitting on the bench, waiting for the potatoes tajine and the eggs the women prepared for us, when Mohammed came in the room, all covered with some black and sticky substance. He told us that it was olives, so we got back to our house, got the camera, and there we were, taking dozens of photographs of the mill, of the workers, and of the mule.

Mohammed's farm

We took these photographs before the rain... it explains the wonderful sun on the pics.

The mill

Mohammed uses his mill for his own olives, but he also leases it to other farmers. That was the case that day.
The olives were harvested in November. Then they were put in big bags with some salt. Apparently, they can wait there as long as you want, they can be any time.

1. The mule grinds the olives.

Let's go ! Watch it !

2. The olives are squeezed

The olive puree is put in some kind of bags made of rush, which are piled on the press.

The press. A glass of tea is hidden in the picture...

Of course the boss is in charge !

It's the third time that these olives are pressed, so they need boiling water to give all their oil.

That photo of the oil coming out of the rush bags is kind of creepy... that 's because of the flash I think. But be reassured, the oil is really delicious, Mohammed even drank a glass of it to show us how good it is...
Did you find it?

Outside the mill, just the fields, and a pile of feytor

Later, Mohammed will sell the feytor, the residue of the olives. It is a very good combustible.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

We won't go hungry (2)

The neighbors treat us every day... Bread, vegetables, and hot tajines... How lucky we are ! Last week, we had:

- a wonderful dish, but we forgot how it's called... It made with couscous, a herb called mallow (baqula in Moroccan Arabic), and olive oil.

- some couscous, that had been prepared in great quantity that day. A young boy in a village a few miles away from here died, and our neighbor Mohammed paid a visit to his grieving family. The custom, in that case, is to bring along vegetables and couscous, to help the family, that receives numerous visitors, and has to feed them all.

- finally, 15 pounds of green peas, brought by a man we didn't know, and who has been welcomed very loudly and aggressively by the dogs... He turned out the son of a man we once gave a ride to Fez, and who wanted to thank us.

Yep, 15 pounds of green peas to shell !

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

The earth under our feet

It's been raining for two days now, and apparently it's not gonna stop. Here, it makes people happy. Last year there was a big draught, and hopefully this year seems to be more generous for the The workers told us that "That'not water that's falling from the sky, but money, a lot of it".
When it will stop raining, the farmers will put some nitrogen (some kind of fertilizer) in the fields. Yeah, it's polluting, of course, but it will make the vegetables and the wheat very strong. After this, more water won't necessary until summer.

The rain changes the landscape. Within a week, the wheat will grow of something like 5 inches. New leaves appear on the trees every day.
But what is the most striking here is the earth. There's a lot of clay in it, and with the water, it sticks to your shoes.

Here's a photo of what it can make of your shoes (and it can get really worse, believe me).

People have a word here to designate this sticky earth under your shoes, a word that doesn't exist in Fez since people there don't have this problem. It's called tommuen.

Dogs too have tommuen under their paws.

It's kind of funny, but they can't get rid of it, and it makes them very cold, very unhappy.

Now, some animals do like rain...

Sunday, 17 February 2008

It's coming...

Everybody here has been waiting for it to come for weeks...
But the cold wind blowing from the west - it's called gharbi, from the west - tells us that it's not far from here.

turkeys bravely facing the gharbi

The rain! It's coming!

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Photo of the house 02/12/2008

Our house, as seen from Mohammed's farm, is in the background

Friday, 15 February 2008

A ladybug on our medlar tree

The other day at the market we bough two trees, a lemon tree and a medlar tree. We planted them in our garden, which for the moment is not much of a garden unfortunatly... I'll post some pictures of it later, when it will be cleaned and dug.
A few minutes after we planted it, a ladybug, the first I saw since I arrived here, flew onto the trunk of the medlar tree.

The lemon tree and the medlar tree quietly waiting to be planted

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Sardine Tajine

Last week, Bachir asked us to bring some sardines from Fez. But we forgot. So, since we were at the souk on Tuesday, we bought some. The fish, from Al Hoceima, on the Mediterranean coast, was very fresh.
And then, between the construction of a door and , Bachir made us a tajine.

The workers/keepers/cooks at work

I have to reassure you, it's true that Fouad's jacket seems very dirty - well, actually it is, since a few seconds before the photograph was taken he was doing this:

Fouad, preparing the adobe coating with water,
a special kind of earth, and straw

Anyway, the dish was very good, and very easy to make. Once you put the dish on the fire, don't touch it, it cooks by its own and doesn't need to be stirred.

Sardine Tajine
Serves 4

2 pounds of sardines, scaled and cleaned
3 tomatoes, cut in thin layers
2 red onions, in thin layers
3 big potatoes, in thin layers
1 lemon
1 bunch of coriander
1 bunch of parsley
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 tablespoons of some other kind of oil, neutral
1 teaspoon of hot chili powder
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 tajine dish

To begin with, put the sardines fillets in the tajine dish. Add the grinded coriander, the spices and the salt, and then mix all of this using your hands.

Then place half of the potates under the fish.

Put the vegetables on the sardines, in that order: the rest of the potatoes, the tomatoes and the onions.
Then place the bunch of parley on top of the vegetables. Add the lemon juice, the oils, and a glass of water.

Close the tajine, and put it on the burner. When it's hot, reduce the heat to a minimum. Let it cook for 2 hours. Don't forget to check on the tajine every half hour or so, and if you feel it's too dry, add a little water.

And when it's cooked, grap a piece of bread, and put your hands in the dish!

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Shopping in Morocco : Tuesday Souk

This town was at the beginning a small village, where was held a big market every week.

Today, the souk brings together on Tuesdays local producers as well as big traders from the cities.

Arrival at the market.
People come from all the area in those small trucks.

Here you can buy furniture...

... and all kind of second-hand stuff as well.

Scrub palm, which leaves are very resistant, is used for making mats, baskets...

... and also for making bardâa, pack-saddles for donkeys or jennys (this Arabic word gave the French word "barda", an informal term for luggage)

This is a seyer, which is for cleaning the wheat from its chaff.

Those sieves are for the flour.

The gerouet serve for carrying the water from the well. There are made of tyres.

And of course, you can find all kind of colored things.

Near the butchers, the grinder.

We bought some of these. They are seeds that are sowed at that period - cucumber, melons and zucchinis.

All that hubbub is exhausting - so if you need to get some rest, you can stop and eat a sfenj, a kind of donut made of bread dough...

... or you can have a tea at the bar.

And the water-sellers are here if you want to refresh yourself before going back to your car.