Thursday, March 26, 2009

Home-grown memories / Trésors faits-maison

Have some tea!

I went silent, again, for more than a month. I had you starring at this spinach and bulgur thing for more than a month and I won't be surprised if you've gotten sick of it. Because I did. And so did all of the people I know.

The truth is the kitchen is still busy and I am still cooking and baking more than ever. The truth is whenever I make something and it turns out scrumptious and belly-rubbing-delicious and I want to tell you all about it, the camera seems to disappear. Then, I decide to make it again and it is even tastier than before and I take photos, download them to my computer, store them and at that moment the sun goes down, my sleepy eyes tell me I need my bed and before I knew it March is nearly over.

The truth is I love coming here and I miss it when I don't visit for a while. I love facing the white, smooth screen and thinking about what I'm going to write. I love my little kitchen journal, my childhood scented dishes, my home-grown memories.

Afternoon tea

The truth is I enjoy sharing my recipes with you all. I do it for you. I do it for me. I do it so I won't forget what should be remembered. I also do it for my daughter. My adorable Layla whom I love dearly. I do it for her because I want her to remember that harira was her favorite soup ever since she started solid food, and that one day she got her eye lids sticky because she got too much honey on her m'semmen, or how she loves the smell of couscous steaming and picking olives out of everybody's plate.

Because on her first day of school she can count on having her favorite homemade bread with butter and pooh's honey. Because her birthdays will always be filled with dark chocolate cakes, princess costumes and balloons. Because whenever she would need comfort a warm hug and a big kiss will always be there. Because I want her to know that her father loves making merguez for her and that he will always call her "my little girl" and I " my life". Because my days are sweeter when I she is here and that I miss her when she takes her nap. Because I want her to know that the day she will become a mother herself, I will put henna on her hands and her feet, will put kohl to her eyes, prepare a big bowl of berkoukes and a plate of sellou and I will give her more honey.

While sellou is rather complicated to categorize, it is considered in Algeria and Morocco as an energy paste, a traditional sweet often served at birth celebrations. It is basically flour that Is cooked in a dry skillet on the stove or roasted in the oven until nutty and golden. To that we add honey, melted butter, ground almonds, or any of your favorite nuts, ground anise seeds, ground cinnamon and sesame seeds. It is highly addictive, has a unique flavor and comes together in a snap. No eggs, no pan greasing, no baking. The flour may take some time before turning into a beautiful blonde shade, that's where a friend, a husband or the phone come in handy. Toddlers around the kitchen not obligatory but most welcomed, as they love the smell of roasted flour and cinnamon. And so do we.

Sellou (Fragrant Roasted Flour with nuts and honey)

Recipe: Serves 4-6 people
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 ounces sesame seeds, lightly toasted
- 4 ounces blanched almonds,or your favourite blend of nuts, ground
- 1 tbsp aniseed, freshly ground
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon, freshly ground
- 1 stick of butter, melted and cooled
- 1/4 cup honey
- Some icing sugar to decorate

In a dry skillet, on medium heat, cook the flour, stirring continuously until it turns a golden colour. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl.

Add to the flour the sesame seeds, ground or left whole, the almond meal, the aniseed and the cinnamon, and stir to combine. Add the melted butter and honey and stir first with a wooden spoon then with your hands to break any remaining lumps.

Mound the mixture in a pyramid on a plate. Dust with the icing sugar and decorate with some almonds or almond dragées.

Eat with teaspoons and serve with mint tea or coffee.


Sellou (farine torréfié au miel et amandes)

In Français please: pour 4-6 personnes
- 250g de farine
- 50g de graines de sésame, torréfié
- 100g d'amandes émondées et moulues
- 1 c.s de graines d'anis, fraichement moulues
- 1/2 c.c de cannelle, fraichement moulue
- 100g de beurre, fondu
- 100ml de miel
- Du sucre glace pour décorer

Dans une poêle, sur feu doux, faites cuire la farine en remuant constamment jusqu' a obtenir une belle couleur dorée. Retirer du feu et mettre dans un bol.

Ajouter a la farine les graines de sésame, moulues ou entières, les amandes moulues, l'anise en poudre et la cannelle. Remuer a l'aide d'une cuillère en bois. Verser le beurre fondu et le miel dessus et remuer d'abord avec la cuillère en bois, puis en vous servant de vos mains en frottant bien le mélange pour émietter tout grumeau restant.

Présenter le sellou en pyramide dans une assiette et décorer avec du sucre glace et des amandes entières ou des dragées si vous le souhaiter.

A déguster a l'aide de cuillères a café et servir avec du the a la menthe ou du café.


Anonymous said...

Though Id see my Olives and Chicken recipe next :(...still waiting...James...

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

Glad you're back!! I always enjoy reading your stories and experiences.

Warda said...

- James, I'm sorry! I had this one planned for weeks now. I sure hope you can wait for a few more days...

- Veggiegirl, thank you!

Meagan said...

Your pictures are so lovely, and they take me back to Morocco instantly.

Thanks for having this blog, it is such a treat anytime you post :)

Daniel said...

Warda, welcome back and thanks as always for another touching post with beautiful photographs. I also think it's a treat--anytime you post!

Casual Kitchen

Danielle said...

What a beautiful post! Thanks for the recipe, I look forward to trying it!

Shayne said...

I have to say this one is very hard to imagine. Intriguing, I guess, would be the word.

rads said...

hi Warda,

I love ur site and ur pics are fantastic. i love ur cutlery too.. have u got all these along all the way from algeria?


Warda said...

- Meagan, Dan, Danielle, thank you so much for being so sweet. Glad you liked the pics as well.

- Shayne, I understand your scpeticism, and intriguing would be the word to desribe this sweet, but it is not less very delicious. It like eating the topping of a crumble, although better, smoother and delicious. Just don't forget to serve it with tea or coffee as it tends to stick to the palate ;)

- Radiya, welcome and thank you very much for the compliments. Yes, all of the cutlery on the photos are from Algeria. Did a lot of shopping when I was there this past winter :)

Siri said...

Gorgeous photos! I can just imagine the aromas coming out of your kitchen. I adore north african food, but am rather ignorant when it comes to what is traditional and which spices, sees, and flavors to use together.

Thanks for sharing!


lianne said...

dear girl i love the way your writhing all you want to sear with us and before your daugther....thanks a lot ..m,ay god will bless you before it

Sara said...

What a great post - this sounds really delicious, and quite unique!

um almujahid said...

I had tears at my eyes when I read of you describing your daughter mash'Allah!!!

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Oh , that must smell so good !

Unknown said...

Great looks are cool....Im definitely going to give it a try...uphere in U.S i always have a hard time to find ingredients. one of my friend introduced me to a great resource and i thought i pass great along as well.

Georgia (Milo & Nutella) said...

Flour never looked so good!

Recipe man said...

WOW! great post. im sure to try this out real soon!

Eglantine said...

Je fais souvent du thé à la menthe mais je ne connaissais pas le sellou... très séduisant

frannie said...

I am SO excited to try this!! I think I have all of the ingredients in the house right now. I do so love your photos and descriptions of your family and your memories.

Colleen said...

Beautiful beautiful post once is so good to come by and see you blogging again sweet Warda Rose....this looks rather interesting and sounds quite delicious. It is not something I have ever heard of before. I can see you did some lovely shopping back home :o)
So beautiful the way you talk about Layla....I just love it! Hugs to you my friend xxx

Prieta said...

I found your blog through The Farmer's Marketer's blog. I fell in love with your pictures, your stories, and your food. I love it all! I should try this recipe soon.

MUJAHIDA said...

Mashaa Allah, beautiful blog.
I love too much sellou and I will try your recipe, insha Allah.

Anonymous said...


I just wanted to say "Allah yebarek fik" (May God bless you)

You are truly an artist.

You gave food an artistic perspective.

By the way do you have any Tunisian/Algerian recipe for Baklawa? Please!


Merci Beaucoup!


Warda said...

- Sayed, Thank you so much! Allah yselmek! I do have an algerian baklawa recipe, but I have to say that I've never made baklawa before, since I am not a big fan of it. But will try one day, may be with the help of my sister in law, who is the queen of baklawa in our family, and post about it!

Until then, have a wonderful weekend and thank you again!

Rumela said...

Great recipe!! The combination is truly fascinating. fragrant roasted flour with nuts and honey all are nutritious and good for health. So a threesome combination is likely to be tasty and healthy alike.I am going to make a batch for the holidays when my kids will be at home. I'll be sure that what they are eating is healthy. thank you for shearing your post.