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Posts Tagged ‘Morocco’

I’m not always the one that goes for the 4-star hotel or the up-scale restaurant when travelling (don’t get me wrong because I’d like to if my pocket could afford it). Usually on a tight budget, I’d rather eat with the locals in the local restaurants and pubs and sleep in backpackers hostels or guest houses instead of at chain hotels that are familiar from home.

But a friend of mine just came back from a trip to Marrakech, a friend that also travels on a budget and I couldn’t imagine her photographs and the stories about the places she stayed at. An average budget apparently affords a lot in Morocco so I asked her how she did it.

I know I’m not the only one that lives travelling like a diva but has never had the pocketbook to afford it so here is what I took from her advice, of course I did my own research into the topic as well and this is my short guide.

How to travel luxuriously on a budget

(some of these tips I’ll definitely be trying on my upcoming trip to Italy).

1. Savings Plan

(I hate this already) Luxury travelling takes savings and the preparations start long before the holiday does. At the start of each year start a holiday jar, adding £15 to it every week, or as often as you can. After 12 months, you’ll have £720, which can definitely cover the hotel bill and your cheap flights to Marrakech if you’re creative.

2. Save money on food

Instead of eating out every meal, go grocery shopping as soon as you arrive, picking up snacks, breakfast foods, etc which are easily eaten in your hotel room or at your riad. Book a hotel room in Marrakech that includes a microwave and a refrigerator. Make a “dining out” budget while on holidays for special nights and spare some change for grabbing street food at lunchtime.

3. Book in advance

If you know that you want to take a holiday in Morocco, or anywhere else for that matter, then book it as soon as possible. Riads and hotels often have special deals so call ahead and inquire. Look for “early bird” or “off season” savings especially.

4. Plan excursions online

Camel tours and special excursions are sometimes much cheaper if booked or reserved online. The savings might not seem like much but they certainly add up. You’re likely not to find too many museum savings on the internet in Marrakech but hotel-organised trips, definitely.

5. Save on the flights

If there’s anything I’ve learned from travelling is that transportation is easy to save money one and that there’s incredible savings out there if you know how and where to look. I use a travel search engine, liligo.com but I know there are a few others out there too. Search once and compare the fares available, then it’s easy to see what you’re missing (or not) without having to guess. Look for low cost airlines, off-season flights and book them in advance, it’s the best advice.

I don’t know about you, but I’d really love to take a luxury holiday one of these days, Marrakech sounds perfect. Where would you go on your all-inclusive luxury jaunt?

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I know how much the post on tortilla in Spain attracted all of you, I mean, who doesn’t love reading about travelling and food? So I thought about adding another recipe to a dish I loved to eat while travelling through the south of Spain and into Morocco. Felafel is a staple if you’re travelling in the Middle East and Norther Africa, especially if you’re vegetarian like me. If you’ve never tasted the glory that is felafel, it’s a ball of fried ball of chickpeas or fava beans and some herbs and spices. These balls are put into a pita with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickled vegetables and drizzled in tahini (or my favourite, tzaziki). You can also eat felafal with a meze or just on its own as a snack.

I can’t talk about a food without a little bit of history… Felafel originated in Egypt and some believe it was eaten initially by the Copts to replace meat while Lent was going on. When the dish migrated to Levant, the fava beans were replaced by chick peas. Now its a staple in street food and fast food in the Middle East… did you know that you can even find it at McDonalds in some countries?? “One McFelafel, please!” I can just imagine.

What you’ll need:

  • a blender or food processor
  • 2 bowls
  • 1 spoon
  • 1 tray
  • 1 slotted spoon
  • 1 sauce pan
  • paper towels or napkins

Ingredients:

  • 250 g chick peas, pre-cooked or cook them beforehand
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 handful of coriander, chopped
  • 1 chili, chopped
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • salt & pepper

1. Put the chickpeas into the blender and pulse it a few times and then on full to make a bread-crumb like texture. Transfer it into a bowl. Then purée these ingredients: parsley, coriander, chili, and 2 spoons of the chick pea mix. Mix until well combined.

2. Mix the two together then add the flour, cumin, crushed coriander seeds, baking soada and 1 1/2 tbsp of salt (approx). Add finally a bit of pepper and combine at all with a spoon. If it’s too dry, add a little water.

3. Preheat the oil in the pan. Then form balls out of the mixture and drop them in whe the oil is hot enough to fry. With this size batch, you should be able to make around 25 felafel balls. Fry in batches for 2 minutes until they are golden brown and then place on a tray with kitchen towels to absorb the oil. Once all of them are done, you’re ready to build your pita.

Take a look at this video for the step-by-step:

Middle Eastern:
How To Make Falafel

Let me know if you try the recipe and how it turned out! I’d love to hear about your gastronomy travellers too, what are your staples while on the road? In Spain I can recommend Granada for Moroccan food, it’s very cheap and super delicious, including Felafel. As for Morocco, you’ll find great food just about anywhere!

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