Moro mezze notes

Z+G came round for dinner last night. We’d had our work Xmas party at lunchtime so I was pleasantly squiffy. Cooking a bit drunk is enjoyable and the results seem improved. All the dishes were from Moro, my favourite cookbook. I have neglected it in recent past but have fallen in love with it over again.

To whet the appetite:

  • Roast almonds with paprika and salt. We got the East End variety with skins on, and these were nice.
  • Arbequina olives. These are my favourite olives these days, tiny brown ones with bags of flavour. Got them from Capling & Co.
  • Berkswell with membrillo. The quince jelly works as well, or even better with our local ewes milk cheese than manchego.

Followed by:

  • Tortilla. One of the best ones I have made, with deeply caramelised onions. I cooked the omelette longer than I would normally so it was quite firm. It had a nice fluffy texture (I use Maris Pipers which are briefly rinsed, rather than a waxy variety).
  • Braised chicory with gorgonzola. Moro recommend Picos cheese but that’s a bit hard to find. It worked very well with a decent gorgonzola piccante from Waitrose, the bit of nutmeg in the sauce gives this an unusual and interesting lift and the bitter chicory and lemon juice cuts through the richness.

Followed by:

  • Crab brik. This is a classic Moro recipe that I’ve never tried before. Crab meat is mixed with coriander, mint, parsley, lemon, chilli and cumin and the resulting filling is delicious. Warka pastry is available ready made. Unfortunately the parcels split open towards the end of cooking, which was disappointing although not a disaster. I think this was a combination of starting with too-cool oil and filling the parcels in advance which may have made the pastry a little wet and fragile. Perhaps three layers of warka would be useful too.

And then:

  • Garbanzos con espinacas. I had some old sourdough which made this nicer. I don’t understand why the recipe specifically calls for red wine vinegar instead of sherry vinegar, I will use the latter next time. I soaked my chickpeas overnight and cooked for 90 minutes but they were still slightly al dente.
  • Turlu turlu (aubergine and peppers). Despite the snow I cracked open the BBQ to roast the aubergines and peppers, and why not? Topped with caramelised butter (essentially beurre noisette).
  • Pickled turnips. This involves “hot pickling” in red wine vinegar and garlic. The turnips were very turnippy!

And, finally:

  • Tarta de santiago – Hannah’s contribution and am amazing bit of baking. Beautiful sweet butter pastry, topped with membrillo for sweetness and almonds.

We served the dishes over about 4 hours taking breaks between courses and we were satisfied but not overfull at the end. Clearly a civilised way to eat.