I'd always assumed that my tagines were pretty authentic, but coming to this cookery class taught me a lot, and particularly all the errors I'd been making over the years. The French-speaking chef Moona and translator Alison do a really outstanding job of taking one through the intricacies of making a really authentic tagine, which isn't about blowing off the roof of your mouth with spicing or heat. We were also instructed on making harira soup, which is central to the ending of Ramadan. The key with this was ultrafine (obsessional, in fact) chopping of a mix of parsley and coriander which goes into the pot right at the beginning. I also learnt that putting the tagine in the oven is probably the worst thing you could do, as it's designed to cook on top of the stove, or best on charcoal. After a trip to sniff spice mixes in one the souks and a lesson in distinguishing good and bad saffron (good goes yellow when crushed), it was back to the comfort of the dining room of La Table restaurant to consume the results of the morning's cooking and to chat with the other would-be chefs. All in all, a really splendid way of passing half a day and learning a lot about real Moroccan food, and in my case, correcting mistakes derived from reading too many recipe books!
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