I had been willing to visit Morocco since long time ago so when one of my friends invited me and Jane to spend a week with him and his family, I couldn’t turn the opportunity down.
We were welcomed very warmly by his family who took us around the city to see the sights, while telling us about its story. The experience of living like a local and exploring hidden gems still undiscovered by tourists was a beautiful gift that will remain in our hearts forever.
Marrakech has all what I seek when I visit a new place: culture, architecture and food. However, there is something magic in Marrakech that attracted me; the fragrant scents, sounds and sights in every street you walk through.
The labyrinthine alleys of the ancient Medina, with the overwhelming Souks and the hectic square Jemma el Fna, bedazzled us by their energy, vibrance and colours. It's the only place where you would watch an artisan making a handcraft good using his feet, a melon peddler avoiding you only for a few millimetres away and raw meat hanging in front of a stall. All at once.
The Souks are filled with antiques, carpets, Berber jewellery, lamps, leathers, argan oli... and, here is the part I particularly enjoyed the most; olives, dates, freshly-squeezed orange juice, tagine pots, ceramics, teapots and spices, spices, spices!
I quickly fell in love with the fragrance and beauty of these rose buds. I didn't have any particular recipe in my head but even so I bought a whole bag knowing that I would get the most out of them.
Rose buds are often used in Middle Eastern in tagines, stuffings, stir rice, infused teas, jams, cocktails and sweets. The list is endless!
The dusky pink hue of the rose buds also make beautiful decorations on top of cakes and sweets... like this Millionaire shortbread I made a few weeks ago!
Another ingredient in my must-buy list was dates which are almost gone after making this millionaire shortbread.
This Millionaire shortbread is Paleo-friendly and guilt-free (I love this word!). And it's sooo easy to make! The shortbread base is made from almonds, desiccated coconut, dates, dried rose petals and coconut oil, and it's topped with an indulgent layer of coconut and date caramel and then finished off with a rich layer of dark chocolate and sprinkled with rose buds. Simply lush!
Not to mention, how much I enjoyed photographing this beautiful dessert! sooo enjoy the recipe and let me know how it goes, if you decide to make it at home, by leaving a comment below.
Millionaire shortbread (Paleo | GF)
Melt-in-the-mouth Paleo Millionaire shortbread topped with a layer of coconut & date caramel and then finished off with a rich layer of dark chocolate and sprinkled with rose buds.
⅓ cup / 25 g desiccated coconut
¾ cup / 120 g chopped almonds
6 dates, pitted
1 tsp. dried rose petals, finely chopped
¼ cup / 60 ml coconut oil, melted
COCONUT DATE CARAMEL
25 dates / 375 g), pitted
½ cup / 100 g coconut oil, melted
1¼ cups / 310 ml coconut cream
⅓ cup - 35 g raw organic cacao powder
¼ cup / 60 ml coconut oil, melted
Rose buds to decorate
- We will start making the base. Lightly greased a 20cm x 20cm baking tin lined with non-stick baking paper. Place the desiccated coconut, chopped almonds, dates, dried rose petals and coconut oil in the bowl of a food processor and process for 1–2 minutes or until you get fine breadcrumbs. Then using the back of a tablespoon, press the mixture into the base of the baking tin and refrigerate until set.
- To make the caramel sauce, wash and dry the same bowl of the food processor and put in the dates, coconut oil and coconut cream and process for 3 minutes or until the mixture is very smooth. Spread over the prepared base and return the baking tin to the fridge.
- For the topping, place the cacao and coconut oil in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir for 2–3 minutes or until smooth. Pour the cacao mixture over the date caramel smoothing the top and refrigerate for 2 hours. Top with some rose buds to decorate before serving.
TIP. Freeze for 30 minutes before serving using a hot knife to cut into slices.
Recipe inspired by Donna Hay