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My Favourite Cookbooks – Number Two

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Sabine Schneider
Sabine Schneider

Down-to-earth and rustic

Husband-and-wife combo Sam and Sam Clark have a passion for everything Spanish and Moorish, which bounces off every page of their second cookbook, Casa Moro. While their first, Moro - The Cookbook, explored the culinary traditions of Spain and the Muslim Mediterranean from an historic point of view, Casa Moro tells the story of a culinary journey.
Prior to opening their award-winning restaurant Moro in London the Clarks spent their honeymoon on a three-months holiday in Andalusia in southern Spain. In a small village, close to the Sierra Nevada, they bought a house that became their holiday home - aren't they the lucky ones?
The recipes they offer are so easy and casual, they seem to have been picked up on the way and they are not just from Spain, either - the Clarks' food travels also take us over to Morocco, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and even to Iran.
But the main fare hails from Spain - I was especially interested in a chapter on wild foods because I share the Clarks’ enthusiasm for free food, such as nettles, mushrooms, rabbits, herbs and berries.
Casa Moro offers one of the best sections on tapas/mezze (starters and small meals) I've seen in a while. They range from more than a dozen recipes containing fish and shellfish, such as grilled squid, mussels with harissa and garlic prawns, to nine meat recipes, such as peas with ham and chorizo salad, to 15 recipes with vegies, cheese and eggs, which include the famous revueltos (scrambled eggs), Russian salad and Turkish poached sweet-and-sour leeks.
The mains section houses an equally propitious mix of recipes, all inspired by traditional, everyday food, but with the Clarks’ unmistakable touch.
What I love best about Casa Moro is the couple’s dedication to sustainability: From the book itself, which is made employing sustainable forestry, to the ingredients, which should be seasonal, preferably organic and local (the Clarks call it being partisan).
A list of suppliers and a table with produce in season is less useful for New Zealanders because the book has been written with British readers in mind.
The photos, taken on route by different people and printed on a rougher-than-usual and slightly yellow paper, conjure up an atmosphere of - and indeed show - campfires, food in rustic dishes and gorgeous Spanish countryside. This is no glossy book with flashy photographs and fussy recipes - this is a serious cookbook for people who love Spanish food.
The Clarks’ take on sweet tomato jam has already found its way into my favourites collection and I awards five stars for an inspired, yet unpretentious cookbook. Casa Moro is up there with the best books on Moorish food.
Casa Moro. The Second Cookbook. By Sam and Sam Clark. Published by Random House.


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