We were late the morning of the class (I know, I know, lol. It was my fault. Everyone who knows me knows I'm perpetually late. It's a problem.) Anyways, we were late and it was raining cats and dogs, but Christine was so gracious and kind when she welcomed us into her home. Her young daughter Essy, (I hope I spelled that right, if not my apologies)was also there to greet us and lend a helping hand by cleaning up as we went along. We settled in and got to know each other a bit before we even went near the kitchen. It was very comfortable. I felt like I'd known her for a while, it was like getting reacquainted with an old friend. Christine's, young son wandered in and greeted us in the French manner, with a kiss upon both cheeks. He was adorable. She served us snacks (raisins and pistachios) and made us tea (many call it Moroccan Whiskey, I think it's mostly the men that refer to it by this name). She demonstrated how the tea is made. There is a certain way the water is poured into the kettle and that first batch of water is reserved to put back into the teapot before another batch of water with all the extra tea leaves and debris is discarded. You then put that first batch of tea water, mint leaves and as much or as little sugar as you would like into the kettle and then it is set to boil. She stated that sometimes people put in sage. We actually added the wormwood, which is one of the plants used to make Absinthe, to our tea. Once it's ready when they pour the tea into the tea glass they start very close to the glass and then raise the kettle higher as they continue to pour the hot liquid. This maneuver creates a kind of foam on top. The tea is really good. We'd drunk it quite a bit the day before, since many Moroccans offer it to their guests.
The Chicken Tajine was completed first and set on the stove to start cooking as we worked on the next entree Tajine Kefta with poached eggs. Kefta is beef, sometimes it can be mixed with lamb. We made homemade tomato sauce by grating tomatoes (yes, I said grating). A technique I now plan to make a staple when I'm cooking in the kitchen. Make sure you have firm, ripe tomatoes. Once we added that, diced onions, garlic and spices to the tajine to cook down, we seasoned the meat and then made these tiny meatballs, which Christine and Desi laughed at mine because they were so big. I had to do mine over again a few times. As we made our meatballs, we watched and listened as Christine made homemade bread (I have a love affair with bread so I cannot wait to see if I can make it as good as she made it.)