Monthly Archives: January 2011



 Happy New Year! Bonne Année!

 2011 at the kasbah began with a pleasant surprise thanks to my friend and colleague, Faye Levy, who, among other publications, writes a column for the Jerusalem Post. In her latest article on oranges, Faye singles out my great-grandmother’s Candied Oranges in The Scent of Orange Blossoms: Sephardic Cuisine from Morocco. or click on the book's cover on my welcome page to read the article.

Faye didn’t give out the recipe, so here it is, excerpted from The Scent of Orange Blossoms: Sephardic Cuisine from Morocco by Kitty Morse and Danielle Mamane (Ten Speed Press, 2001)



Candied Oranges

Oranges Confites

About 2 pounds

 My diminutive, nonagenarian great grandmother got her nickname "petit taxi" from the small red and black taxis that zip around Casablanca. She was never one to sit still, even at the ripe old age of ninety! Oranges confites were among her many dessert specialties. Eat them with a knife and fork, when in need of a quick sugar fix.  OR, pace yourself, and dice them over ice cream or frozen yogurt.

 4 large, unblemished oranges (about 2 pounds fruit)

2 pounds granulated sugar

2/3 cup water

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed and strained lemon juice

 Weigh the oranges. Weigh an equal amount of sugar. Set aside.

 Using a fine grater, gently grate the zest of each orange. Place the fruit in a large bowl of water. Soak for 2 hours. Drain. In a large pan filled with boiling water, boil oranges for 10 to 12 minutes. Drain. Let cool. With a sharp knife, pierce each orange in four different places.

In a large cast iron or enameled pan over low heat, dissolve sugar, water, and lemon juice, stirring occasionally, until no grittiness remains. Do not let the mixture boil. Add oranges. Cook, turning them every 5 minutes, for 30 minutes. Skim off foam. Using a wooden spoon, gently press on poles of each orange to flatten each fruit and let the syrup penetrate it. Continue cooking, turning oranges every 15 minutes, gently pressing on fruit until it acquires a translucent appearance, and syrup turns a deep amber. This could take up to 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Cooking time may vary depending upon fruit size.

With a slotted spoon, transfer fruit to a clean glass jar. Pour warm syrup into the jar through a fine meshed sieve to remove any trace of foam. Seal and store at room temperature for up to 6 months. Serve slices on their own, or diced, over ice cream.


 “La cuisine, c’est l’âme parfumée de notre culture (“cuisine is the perfumed soul of our culture”.) The quote came to mind when I heard of the passing of a family friend, writer/philosopher and Morocco native, Edmond Amran El Maleh. I could think of no more lyrical introduction to The Vegetarian Table: North Africa than his words. Prof. El Maleh passed away recently in Paris. His obituary (in French) appears on

Planning a program for 2011?

 I was privileged to give a talk on Morocco’s culture and cuisine to the San Diego Herb Society last September. From the striking venue at the lovely Stone Brewery in Escondido (CA), to the passionate “foodies” who made up the audience, it was an event to remember. The program included a 20-minute Power Point, a short cooking demonstration, and a sampling of specially prepared Moroccan dishes.

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