Moro, the cookbook

I was excited when this book was published, a collection of recipes from Spain, North Africa and the Levant. The ingredients are simple, and the recipes are easy to follow. The flavours are outstanding. 

The story behind Moro, the recipe book is a tale of two people both called Sam, a husband and wife team who own Moro restaurant in London. They were already in love and inspired by Moorish influences on the food of Spain and the Mediterranean, so when they married, they took a camper-van and went on a food adventure, researching techniques, flavours, and the culture that brings the food to the table. 

In 1997, they opened their first restaurant in London, and in 2010 they opened their first tapas bar, Morito. They also have a news page on their website that occasionally showcases other recipes. There are other recipe books as well, since this first one: Casa Moro, Moro East and Morito. 

I was so excited to visit, can’t remember the year, but I can remember that I had their outstanding Seville Orange Tart. There are several of their recipes on this site from the first book, but you’ll just have to get your own copy. 

Kibbeh

This is a classic middle eastern dish, found all around the Levant and beyond. I derived this recipe from ‘Moro’ – but I wouldn’t have been able to do it without a really good mincer. I borrowed one as part of a bid to make white pudding, of which, more later. There are some good YouTube videos out there showing the technique, and many many versions. It is easier than it looks at first sight. 

INGREDIENTS:

Outer layer:

  • 250g very lean lamb, minced twice, second time on a fine setting
  • 1/2 small onion, grated finely
  • 125g fine bulgur wheat
  • salt and pepper

Filling:

  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 150g lean lamb, minced once on a medium setting
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of Baharat spice mix (or 50/50 cinnamon and allspice, with a pinch of paprika)
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts and flaked almonds
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 small bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper

To serve

  • Greek yogurt, flavoured with mint, salt and pepper, crushed garlic, and a drizzle of best olive oil

METHOD:

  • Start by making the outer layer. Wash the bulgur wheat with water, and set aside
  • Mix the minced lamb with grated onion, salt and pepper. 
  • ‘Kneed’ the bulgur wheat for around five minutes and then mix well into the minced lamb, to make a stiff paste. Set aside in the fridge. 
  • Next, make the filling. Toast the nuts in hot olive oil. As soon as they start to brown, scoop them out of the oil and set them aside. 
  • Fry the chopped onion in the olive oil very slowly for around 15 minutes, until caramelised. 
  • Add the lamb and Baharat spice mix and turn up the heat a little, to start cooking the lamb. Break up the lamb with a spatula as it cooks. Add a spoonful of cold water to slow the cooking a little, and cook until the pan is dry. 
  • Add the nuts and the chopped herbs, salt and pepper and remove from the heat. 
  • To make the kibbeh, take a ball of the casing about the size of a golf ball, and hollow it out, making a thin-walled cup of paste, and then fill this with the fried lamb filling, and seal it shut, making something lemon-shaped. Continue this way until all the mixtures are used up. 
  • Deep-fry the kibbeh in hot olive oil for around five minutes, turning to ensure they are brown all over. 
  • ALTERNATIVELY put half of the casing at the bottom of an oiled baking dish, add all of the filling and cover with the rest of the casing. Cook for 15 minutes in a hot oven. 

Serve with the yoghurt garnish, fresh flat-breads, and a  sharp green herb salad. For a more substantial meal, serve with a vegetable pilau. 

Scrambled egg with mushrooms, Spanish style.

I got some free range eggs from Linda, and then Kenny bought me some too – all wonderful, but that was a lot of eggs. So I made this. It is from the Moro cookbook, by Sam and Sam Clark .

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500g mushrooms (a mixture, could include chanterelles, other wild mushrooms)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 25 butter
  • 6 eggs, broken into a bowl. Do not beat the eggs. 
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 40g serrano ham, cut into small strips
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Clean the mushrooms and slice them roughly. 
  • In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat. Add the chopped garlic, and fry for only a minute, then add the mushrooms. It will look like you have too many mushrooms, but don’t worry, all will be fine. Fry for around 5 minutes or so, stirring, so that the mushrooms are soft. 
  • Add the ham, salt and pepper, cook for another minute, and then transfer the mixture to a bowl. 
  • In the same pan, melt the butter and then add the eggs and mil. Stir the eggs with a fork or wooden spoon so that the eggs break up a bit. 
  • When they begin to set, return the mushrooms to the pan, along with the chopped parsley, and continue to cook until any eggwhite has set. 

Serve with fresh bread. 

Seville Orange Tart

This is a delicious tart, and a grand way of using the January supply of marmalade oranges. The juice is used to make a delicious orange curd that is baked in a pastry case. The recipe is from the Moro cookbook.

INGREDIENTS:

For the pastry shell:

  • 140g plain flour
  • 30g icing sugar
  • 75g chilled butter, chopped small
  • 1 egg yolk

For the curd filling:

  • 140g caster sugar
  • 170ml seville orange juice
  • 170g unsalted butter, chopped small
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 whole eggs
  • grated zest from one orange

METHOD:

  • To make the pastry case, sift the flour and icing sugar together, and then rub the butter into the mixture to fine bread-crumb texture
  • Add the egg yolk and mix until the mixture comes together – it will be quite stiff and dry. You may need to add a teaspoon or two of milk or water. Shape the pastry into a ball, wrap and chill in the fridge for at least one hour.
  • When you are ready, grate the pastry on a coarse grater, and press it evenly around the edges and base of a tart tin, to a thickness of around 3mm. Prick the base and rest the pastry case in the fridge for 30 minutes. Put the oven to 220C.
  • Bake the pastry shell in the top of the oven for 15 minutes – should be light brown. Remove and cool on a rack. Turn the oven up to 240C
  • Next, make the curd. Put all the curd ingredients into the top pan of a double boiler, and cook slowly, stirring until thick. The mixture will thicken quite suddenly, after about 15 minutes or more.
  • Spread the curd into the tart shell, and bake at 240C for 10 minutes until the surface starts to brown.
  • As soon as the tart is baked, remove from the oven and leave to cool before serving.

This is delicious served slightly warm, with something cool and creamy. Try beating 50/50 creme fraiche and mascarpone together.