Morocco, Montecito and The Master

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Slim Paley Photo

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The short, but ever so sweet & sultry dose of  heat we enjoyed here in Santa Barbara a week or so ago has fired up my passion for exotic locales…

and searching for images of Carmen Miranda for the previous post only helped seal the deal!

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I’ve secreted away all my cashmere, stored my winter coats, bid a hearty “a bientot” to heavy boots until September &

I’m celebrating the arrival of warmer weather by sharing a recent little Moroccan Soiree at “Le Souk Slim’s”

(What? You’ve never seen a white-washed shingled Souk before? Sheik, Baby- you need to get out more!)

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I’m even going to spoil you for choice by offering two different selections of music to accompany;

.‘Tu As Ma Vie’


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“Rock The Casbah”


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.The Amanjena hotel, an Aman Resort, Morocco

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We  could all just buy these and pretend we’re there :)

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Pottery Barn Lanterns 

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I never think of Morocco without thinking of Yves Saint Laurent and the beautiful, beloved home  he shared there with his long time partner Pierre Berge.

(and the amazing YSL silk caftan floor length coat I found in a vintage shop once that I bought even though it was ten times too big for me-

and you know when a caftan is too big- that’s big) oops- I digress…

St. Laurent’s ashes were scattered in Marrakech in the Majorelle Garden, a place he often visited to find inspiration and refuge.

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Now I can’t wait for the new documentary L’Amour Fou”  (Click here to watch the trailer- it looks fantastique!!)

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“…one day I will join you under the Moroccan palms…” Pierre Berge at St. Laurent’s funeral.


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via Decorative maps.com

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Meanwhile, back in Montecito,  I served this deeelicious old stand-by from Food & Wine Magazine,

accompanied by cous cous and miniature Caesar salads on endive spears (The Romans were friendly with North Africans weren’t they?!) 

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Slim Paley photo (taken from Food & Wine Magazine, August 2008)

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Amanjeni


Paging Paul Bowles for inspiration;

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Definitely a book to be reread

Paul Bowles spent over 55 years of his life in Morocco

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The Amanjeni

 “Bucket Tagine List”?

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....Slim Paley Photo

For the table, I chose my favourite Suzani, which is absolutely gigantic, and folded it in on itself a couple of times.

 All the flowers, lavender and mint are from my garden.

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Our  ridiculously orange roses I’ve renamed “Are Those Real??” popped just in time…

.Slim Paley Photo

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Le Recipe;.

As you can see, I add golden raisins and slivered toasted almonds to the couscous.

If you find your couscous a little on the dry side, you can add a cup or so of Lychee syrup- yum!

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.Slim Paley photo

Nuts, olives, honey with lavender, and lots of citrus and roses help to set the mood…oh ya, and fruity champagne drinks!

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Slim Paley Photo

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Slim Paley Photo

You’ll  probably recall this lavender pudding from just a few posts back  but don’t be a hater, it belonged here :)

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…and don’t forget sweet mint tea for dessert.

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Marrakesh/Marrakech… either way, I want to go!

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If your schedule doesn’t gel with a trip to North Africa, or even a Moroccan inspired evening soon, you may always grab a quick dose of Casbah here;

The Morocco based ; My Marrakesh

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OK, I better go tend to my Sheik now…


couscous!

xx

Happy July 4th To You!!

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Slim Paley photos

Happy 4th of July weekend to everyone here in the U.S.A.!!

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This 4th of July holds a little extra personal meaning for our family this year as my British born and raised, 79 year old father decided he was going to become an American Citizen.
He sent away for all the forms and study material, drove to downtown L.A. early one morning and passed the exam with flying colours (“Jolly good” he said, “They couldn’t wait to adopt me”)  Since his swearing in ceremony last month a small but highly prized American flag sits proudly waving upon his desk- right beside the scrolling screen-saver images of the English countryside. I suspect a mail box flag any day now. A rather amusing tip of the Bowler hat, shall we say, to American Independence!  What possessed him after 15 years of residing here, and many years before that in Canada?  Not sure really, but he’s the first on my side of the family eligible to vote… not to mention participate in jury duty.  And who knows…perhaps if my husband has his way with me (which has been known to happen at least a couple of times :) ) I, too, will be waiving the Stars & Stripes soon!

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In the meantime, here’s what my American boys, friends and family will be enjoying along with their burgers, hot dogs and wings;

I found this fun, healthy and unusual salad in Better Homes & Gardens magazine last month.  It’s a perfect summer accompaniment to any picnic or barbeque and can be made ahead.  The burst of blueberries is a delicious surprise!

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Corn & Blueberry Salad

6 ears fresh sweet corn, husked

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 small cucumber, sliced

¼ cup finely chopped red onion

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped

2 Tbsp lime juice

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp honey

½ tsp ground cumin

Cook corn in a pot of salted water till tender, about 5-8 min.

Once cool enough to handle cut the corn from the cobs.

In a serving bowl combine the corn, blueberries, cucumber, red onion, cilantro, and jalapeno.

For the dressing, in a screw-top jar combine lime juice, oil, honey, cumin and ½ tsp salt. Cover and shake well to combine. Add to the salad and mix well. Let the salad refrigerate overnight up to 24 hours before serving. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

(Recipe from Better Homes & Gardens magazine)

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Photo from MAC

What I’ll be wearing tomorrow

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What I’ll be drinking…

Mint Tonic

If you love mint (I adore it) it’s the easiest thing in the world to grow in your garden or window box and this is one fabulous and delicious way to get your summer mint fix;

To Make Mint Juice; blend 2 cups of freshly washed mint leaves with 1/2 cup of fresh lime or lemon juice and 1/2 cup of castor sugar (or the equivalent amount in Agave Syrup- not sure how much that would be) in a small blender.

Simply mix mint juice, grapefruit juice (fresh if possible) and tonic water according to taste (Vodka or gin may be added if desperate measures are called for) Add ice.

Note 1) The drink will not be as clear or pretty as the one above as the blended mint floats around in it.

Note 2) Tiny bits of mint can stick to the teeth not unlike it’s leafy brother the spinach particle.

Note 3) Bits tend to stick more if vodka or gin is added but you won’t care as much.

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Martha eat your heart out

If your 4th of July festivities find you at the beach tomorrow and someone just happens to step in a spot of tar- no worries! I discovered a magical tar-removing technique a couple of weekends ago when my son came home with a map of India on the sole of his foot (to scale).  I’d  heard that cooking oil was a good option, but I happened to have just cooked up some bacon and had a jar full of left-over fat.  I whipped up the warm fat in a bowl with a little bit of Dawn dish detergent and voila- clean as a whistle in a few seconds!  Just keep the family dog away from the feet for awhile and make sure you label it before putting it back in the fridge.  God- I know Martha is so jealous of me right now.

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.Slim Paley photo

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Photos from Williams-Sonoma catalogue


Zoku Quick Pop Maker click here

I haven’t tried this machine yet, but I found it calling to me from the Williams-Sonoma catalogue upon our return home. (yes, believe it or not, I’ve had time to glance at a couple of catalogues-who rushes to unpack on a holiday weekend?) It looks fun and easy doesn’t it? Has anyone bought one yet, or am I to be the designated Popsicle Guinea Pig?!

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I will be trying this recipe for the adults;

Peach & Prosecco Icepops

3 cups unsweetened white grape juice

1 cup Prosecco (or ginger beer for non-alcoholics version :) )

3 TBLS fresh lemon juice

6 beautiful peaches, sliced

Combine grape juice, Prosecco and lemon juice in a container with a pour spout.  Place 1 or 2 peach slices in each ice pop mold.

Gently pour liquid over peaches to cover.  Secure Popsicle sticks, and freeze for at least 12 hours (if using a normal ice pop maker, less of course if you are using the Zoku! Hence popping $49 for the non-electric popsicle maker)

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While we are at the adult table;

Cheers!

Fill a nice tall chilled soda or large champagne flute with small scoops of your favourite lemon or orange sorbet and top with icy-cold sparkling wine. I would garnish it with a small sprig of mint or a thin slice of orange. Everything should be super cold or you will lose too much when it froths up. Add a straw or parfait spoon and serve immediately.  Lemonade may be substituted for the wine at the children’s table.

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Bakingbites.com

Fun!

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What could possibly be more old-school Americana than the drive-in movie theatre?

West Wind Santa Barbara Drive-In

Lastly, the BIG news in our small town is after over 19 years of sitting desolate and forlorn out by the local airport (despite my husband’s oft repeated sweet dream when we’d drive by that he would buy it someday!) the drive-in is up and running again! At least for the summer. They are showing Toy Story III right now and we plan on going this weekend. Very exciting.  Sending a big request out to all fellow Santa Barbarians to support this fun new thing to do with the kids.  I think it’s a wonderful idea-Don’t you have such fond memories of going to the drive-In in your footie jammies, car stuffed with pillows and blankets, playing on the swings til it got dark, spying on the teenagers making out in other cars.. Dad driving away with the speaker still attached.

and you just know I will be bringing my own truffle salt :)

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Wishing you plenty of love and fun and sun this weekend!

And A MILLION THANK YOUS to all the awesome American troops for making this weekend possible for all of us.

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