Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Moro - The Cookbook

Towards the end of 2011, when writing of my pick of cookbooks published over the previous year, I decided I would indulge myself with more reviews of the wonderful older books sitting on my bookshelves. Here is the first of them.  If you're interested in Spanish and Moorish cuisine, this is the best book I have come across.

Moro - The Cookbook
Sam & Sam Clark

How many times have you bought a cookbook and been disappointed to find a number of the recipes just don't work? It's happened to me too many times so these days I'm much more circumspect about the books I buy. With Moro - The Cookbook, I feel I'm in safe hands.  Despite the fact a lot of the dishes are unfamiliar, I have never had a failure cooking from this book.  Husband and wife team, Sam & Sam Clark, opened their restaurant Moro (from the Spanish for Moor) in 1997 after cooking together at Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers' River Cafe. This book is based on the cooking at Moro. Influenced by the River Cafe's emphasis on good ingredients simply cooked and their travels in Spain and the Muslim Mediterranean, they marry the robust style of Spanish food with the exotic lightness of the Muslim cooking they encountered.  As they put it, the book aims to "conjure up images of hairy-chested matadors and of hedonistic sultans".  There is romance and passion in this book - well, they were a newly married couple when they explored the regions - and their deep love affair with the food and the people shines out.  From the super-simple Spanish dish Sopa de guisantes and Saffron Rice, eaten at Muslim weddings, to the slightly more time-consuming Breast of Duck with pomegranate molasses or Yoghurt Cake with pistachios this is a fascinating meeting of cuisines. The Clarks' passion is expressed in prose which excites but is backed-up with well-researched recipes that work.


Moro - the Cookbook is published by Ebury Press