I read a post on Instagram of someone asking to share a vivid childhood memory. It got me thinking about my own childhood. How the world feels and looks different when you are a child. The park in your neighborhood feels like a never-ending forest, playgrounds are immense and every day is a new adventure. I sometimes miss that in my adult life. That feeling that you view the whole world through eyes of excitement and wonder. The way a child takes the time to see amazing things in life that you don’t notice anymore as an adult. Like the excitement you felt when you found a sow bug and other crawling creatures when you lifted up a rock for the first time 😉 .
Thinking about my childhood I remembered a playground in Alkmaar (The Netherlands) where we used to go with my niece and nephews when we visited them. This playground had a few arches made out of concrete and we played tag or catch with a ball while climbing on the arches. I used to come home with my legs and arms full of abrasions from climbing these arches, but I didn’t care. They looked something like this, only with graffiti sprayed all over them:
The arches were immense in my memories, they may well have been as high as the Mount Everest. Sometimes I even needed help to climb on top of them. We had so much fun playing there that every time we visited them we went to that same playground. We never got bored playing there even if (or maybe because) it forced us to be imaginative because the arches were all that was there. There was no swing or sandbox or anything else in that playground. We made up all kinds of games to play on the arches and stayed there until the sun went down.
Fast forward 25 years and I went back to that same playground when I was visiting my sister who lives in Alkmaar and found the arches were still there. Only: they were really small! I could easily look over them as they were shoulder height. I couldn’t believe my eyes. In my memory they were at least 3 meters high. Something tells me I will always remember this playground. I will always have memories of that magical playground where I climbed arches as high as the Mount Everest. Being back on that playground filled me with so much nostalgia that I found myself sitting there for over half an hour just reminiscing. All of a sudden I was 10 years old again and I saw my sisters, my niece and my nephews running around on the playground, screaming and laughing at each other. I just sat there with a smile on my face…………
You will probably want to know what above story has to do with food and more specifically this recipe? Well, nothing to be honest. It was just something I wanted to share with you. I promise next blog post will be about food again and there is always the ‘jump to recipe’ button if you’re only here for the recipe 🙂 .
Ok, let’s talk food then………..You know what also brings back vivid memories from the past? The smell, taste, and sight of particular food. I already told you about my memories of msemmen. A similar breakfast treat from my childhood is Baghrir, also called 1000 holes pancakes. Baghrir is actually a Tamazight word (Berber language) that means “too soft”. The texture is so soft and luscious that you will understand why they are called that way when you eat them. My mum used to make this on the weekends for us and there is nothing like it. Please try the recipe and be amazed, like a child eating something new and exotic that sounds like something from a fairy tale of 1001 nights. I would love to hear what your most vivid childhood memory is. You can leave me a comment below if you want to share it.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. If you try it, please let me know! Leave a comment, telling me what you think of it. You can also tag your photo on Instagram with @culyzaar or post it on my Facebook page so I can see it. I love seeing your takes on the recipes on my blog!
- 300 grams of fine semolina
- 100 grams of flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tbs vanilla sugar
- 2 tbs baking powder
- 1 tbs active dry yeast
- 550 ml lukewarm water
- 50 ml lukewarm water (extra)
Sieve the semolina and flour into a large bowl. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix well. Add half of the water and mix until it’s incorporated. Pour this mixture into a blender and mix it for 5 minutes at the highest setting until there are no lumps and the batter is smooth. The long blending time allows the semolina to become finely ground so it thickens the batter. Add the remainder of the water and mix it for another minute in the blender. If you don’t have a blender place all the ingredients in a large bowl and use an immersion blender instead. Pour the batter back into your bowl and cover it with cling film.
Let the batter rise in a warm place for 60-90 minutes. The batter is ready when you see bubbles on the surface. Take off the cling film and add 50ml of water and mix/fold this in very carefully making sure not to pop all the bubbles.
Heat the oven to 160°C and line a baking sheet with a kitchen towel. Heat an non-stick skillet over medium heat. Wait for the pan to be very hot to start baking the baghrir, otherwise you won’t get many holes on your pancakes. As soon as your skillet is ready pour the batter into it. The honeycomb holes will start forming immediately. Cook the baghrir, undisturbed, until holes set on the surface and there are no more wet spots visible. This will take about 3 to 4 minutes. Be sure to keep the heat low enough so the bottom just barely turns colour (you want it to stay as light as possible).
When fully cooked you transfer the baghrir onto the baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while you cook the rest of the batter. Don’t pile up your baghrir while they are still hot, as they will stick together.
When ready to serve, arrange the baghrir on a serving platter and serve hot, drizzled with a mixture of melted butter and warmed honey. Some people choose to top it with olive oil, orange blossom water, sugar, jam, or amlou paste (toasted almonds, argan oil and honey). I however still prefer the traditional butter and honey mixture which my mum always used.