Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Moorish’

We had our first foray into the St Anne’s area of Bristol last Saturday evening. It’s on our doorstep but to be honest there’s been no reason to visit until now, and why? Well, quite simply because to date there’s been no supper club!

One of the girls that made it possible!The Egg a Day supper club, run by Genevieve Taylor, food stylist and author of STEW!, and Jo Ingleby, of Demuth’s Vegetarian Cookery School in Bath, has now given us every reason to visit St Anne’s.

So why Egg a Day supper club? Montpelier Basement, Bishopston supper club, Southville supper club (now the Blue Door supper club): there’s a clue in the names as to how they came about but there’s an air of intrigue about the Egg a Day supper club if you haven’t been following Gen’s chronicles of life with chickens.

Desperate for a garden big enough to provide shelter and pecking space for a couple of chickens (and now supremely jealous of Gen’s idyllic and immaculate back garden complete with pond, peach tree bulging with ripe fruit and perfect vegetables), I’ve been following Gen’s blog since she started documenting the trials and tribulations of her girls and the lengths she has gone to incorporate the egg a day laid by each of the four chickens into her family meals.

The supper club was an obvious continuation of this challenge – would it be possible to prepare a menu based almost completely around this free-range, home-produced ingredient for a house full of hungry, food loving guests? After months of deliberation and days of preparation, Gen and Jo settled on a mostly Moorish themed menu, putting eggs to eggstraordinary use in each course.

Reading the menu, I was expecting a mezze style delivery. It’s exactly what we got but on a hugely generous scale. The girls and the garden had truly worked hard to provide for us, and Gen’s poor children neglected of their daily egg for the preceding weeks!

British weather being unpredictable as it is put pay to us eating the full meal al fresco as Gen had envisaged but we were able to enjoy the evening air as we met the other guests and the chickens, explored the garden, quaffed our wine and nibbled on the first course; platters of caraway, nigella and black sesame seed flatbread, mounds of labneh with garlic and sumac, bowls of beetroot and walnut pate with coriander, parsley and mint. Labneh with garlic & sumac

We were seated in the kitchen diner for the remainder of the meal but with the patio doors flung open to let the garden come to us. Gen and Jo bravely completed the food preparation and service under our watchful eyes and the unforgiving lenses of a couple of cameras.

Palestinian couscous with broad beans, peas, mint & lemonWe then received delight after delight; the last of the season’s asparagus with saffron aioli, tortilla with smoked paprika ketchup, tuna and egg empanadillas (Spanish-style pasties), mograbiah (giant couscous) salad with peas, broad beans and mint, warm carrot and courgette salad with cumin and garlic dressing , shakshuka and barbecued merguez and pork skewers.

After that little lot we retreated to the garden to stretch our legs, walk off some of the food and be mesmerised by the fire Gen’s husband had thoughtfully lit whilst Gen and Jo cleared the way for dessert. Dessert was a perfect pistachio meringue (crunchy crust, chewy inside and not too sweet) served with rosewater syrup strawberries and a sublime vanilla ice cream (simple really is best!).

Just when we thought we could eat no more and headed back out into the garden, we discovered pasteis de nata (Portuguese custard tarts) and fresh mint tea awaiting us for the finale of what had been a speggtacular evening.

Pasteis de nata

Plans are afoot to raid the chicken coop for another Egg a Day supper club in September. Keep an eye out on the Egg a Day blog and book yourself in for a warm welcome and incredibly generous helping of delicious food. Save a space for us though!

More photos of the Egg a Day supper club from througheye can be found here.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

I’m still buzzing from last night’s Mi Casa dinner. I was very excited to be heading there for the second event after the roaring success of the first, though I have to admit to feeling slightly nervous that it wasn’t going to live up to the experience we’d had on the first occasion. I needn’t have been.

I’m in awe of Kristjan, Alexis and the team behind Mi Casa. The dedication, hard work and passion they put into running the restaurant for the evening is incredible and they make it look so easy and effortless. A completely calm exterior may have been hiding a lot but it led to everyone feeling at ease, welcomed, and ultimately what I’m sure they wanted to achieve, at home.

Last night’s food followed a Moorish theme – Spanish with a North African twist – not dissimilar to one of my favourite London restaurants, Moro. It was exquisite. I’m going to simply let the photos do the talking.   

   

                         

                             

Is it out of the realm of possibility that pop up restaurants could be awarded Michelin stars? In what could be the new ‘pop up restaurant’ category, if they haven’t been met already, Mi Casa is definitely not far off meeting the five criteria considered in awarding stars: quality of ingredients, skill in preparing them and combining flavours, level of creativity, consistency of culinary standards and value for money.

Read Full Post »

The Moro Cookbook is the first of three cookery books by the chef-owners of the well-known and award-winning Moro restaurant in London, Samantha and Samuel Clark. 

The book focuses on the husband and wife team’s passion for Spanish, North African and Eastern Mediterranean food. Simple dishes with robust flavours and a Spanish influence are combined with those which are more exotic, fragrant, delicately spiced and Arabic in nature.

The combination of Spanish and North African cuisine is not a surprising one given Spain’s history. The invasion of Spain by the Moors influenced much of the Iberian Peninsula – the religion, architecture and undoubtedly the food. 

That the recipes extend from such a wide-reaching geography makes for an exciting collection to match many a mood, budget and appetite; classic tapas and mezze dishes, hearty, peasant-style meals, rich meat and offal platters, delicate fish suppers and indulgent puddings. 

Of course, there are recipes for favourites such as tortilla, chorizo al jerez (chorizo with sherry), baba ghanoush, tabbouleh and pollo al ajillo (chicken cooked with bay, garlic and white wine) but there are also some more surprising and interesting recipes like quail baked in flatbread with pistachio sauce, cod baked with tahini or bitter chocolate, coffee and cardamom truffle cake. 

Some of the ingredients are mystifying and, for anyone outside of London, could be difficult to source. The lack of photographs amongst the recipes and almost 70’s look to those which are there mean that it’s quite difficult to imagine how some of the more unusual or unfamiliar dishes should look. Don’t be put off, once past these first hurdles, the recipes are quite simple to follow and the food, for want of a better word, delicious.  

There’s a theme to many of the recipes; stages of long, slow cooking which are well worth pursuing as the result is an intensely flavoured and satisfying meal, even from the simplest of ingredients. The patatas a lo pobre (poor man’s potatoes) is just one such example, sweet, soft and extremely tasty and yet made from just a few ingredients – onions, garlic, bay, green pepper, potatoes, olive oil and seasoning. 

One of the more surprising dishes is the sopa de setas (mushroom and almond soup with fino sherry). What started out as, albeit tasty, mushroom flavoured water was brought alive and thickened by the addition of crushed almonds. 

The Moro Cookbook helps us reach a true understanding of Moorish food, an often over-looked and under-appreciated cuisine.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: