My birthday was the day after the excursion al campo. It is our tradition to always go on a birthday run or hike, so we went on a beautiful hike with Mom and Dave to Lake Bermejales where I never tire of the beautiful scenery.
After our hike we enjoyed a cafe con leche at the local cafe/bar.
We made it back by 2 to pick the girls up from school. Sky had gymnastics at 4 and we couldn’t miss a chance to show off her new skills to Grammy.
For my birthday dinner I wanted to do something special. I had been hoping to take a trip to Morocco but it would have meant that the girls would miss too much school. The next best thing that I could think of was a Moroccan dinner! I arranged a party catered by Kritzlynn Al Taib. Kritz is an English woman living near Alhama. She speaks fluent Arabic and runs guided tours to Morocco.
Her website is very interesting with beautiful photographs.
Kritzlynn is also an experienced chef. She lived in Saudi Arabia for many years running restaurants, so cooking for a small group is fun for her. She advised me that she needs a minimum of 8 guests if she is to cater a party. Our family only made 6 so I needed more guests. I didn’t really know many people here but that didn’t stop me! Since my Mom and Dave were here I decided to keep it an English speaking crowd. Paul is our closest friend here so of course I invited him. I found Paul and his current running client, James from Vancouver, eating at Al Dente, the local pizza place. They happened to be having dinner with another friend who I hadn’t met, John (from England), so I invited all of them. I called Michelle, her mother Barbara, and Eric of the Ultima Frontera Race and invited them as well. They already knew Kritzlynn and said they wouldn’t miss one of her Moroccan dinners so they were in. We also included our American friend Spencer. I knew he would say yes (he has a rule about that).
Once the party had grown to 13 I needed a new location as our dining room table is only big enough for 6. Our friend Orla who currently lives in Washington D.C. owns an amazing guest house/vacation rental around the corner from us. He calls it the Casa Chocolate since it was once a chocolate factory in the 1920’s. It is a renovated old Alhaman residence complete with a beautiful modern kitchen. Luckily it was available and he let us borrow it for the evening with the promise to donate some sort of decoration for the house from our travels this year. What a deal! ( Thanks Orla! Come visit us in California! )
Kritzlynn made an amazing dinner. We started with appetizers that could easily have been a meal alone.
Charmoula (a coriander, tomato and chile salsa)
Roasted red pepper hummus
Cooked Moroccan salad with aubergine, red peppers, olives and carmelized onions
Fresh tomato, orange and garlic salad
Served with Pita Bread and Crusty rolls.
THE MAIN COURSE:
Bistiya (my favorite)…”A festive pie”. Wow, a wonderful vegetarian pie filled with roasted squash, sweet potato, cranberries, pistachio nuts, almonds, chickpeas and spinach. The pie is in a filo pastry which amazingly Kritz makes herself!
Chicken kabobs: for the meat-eaters
Roasted Moroccan Veggies
Basmati rice with moroccan spices.
We ate and ate! ( and drank ) The food was delicious, the conversation was outstanding, and the company was warm and friendly. Of course, Sky and Savannah were the life of the party!
Kritzlynn finished the dinner with a delicious mixed berry dessert served with meringue and 2 candles : 4 5