Sunday, 24 January 2010

Casa Moro

I was lucky enough to receive Casa Moro for Christmas - it's even more beautiful than the first Moro cookbook, all turquoisey azulejos on the cover, more stories about ingredients and places. There's more of a Spanish leaning in this one, with detailed accounts of the Sams' travels through Andalucia and Morocco.

I tried making their their 'potato cakes stuffed with lamb and pine nuts', which sounded quite like the bombas picanté I enjoyed at Café Andaluz in Edinburgh over Christmas. The recipe involved making an aromatic lamb mince mixture with lovely herbs and toasted pine nuts, which would then be encased in a potato dough and fried. I use the conditional tense because I got flustered and totally screwed up the potato dough. I get stressed about fiddly bits of cooking and try to avoid complex pastry making and other fine-motor-skill-demanding processes. So I turned the dish into a 'middle eastern' Shepherd's Pie by putting the lamb mix in a casserole dish and topping with the potato dough! And it was wonderful - who needs fiddly little balls anyway?!

I served it with my interpretation of a dish I had at Café Andaluz - roasted cubes of parsnip and sweet potato, with chick peas in a yoghurt-tahini-parsley sauce. It was lovely and earthy, tangy, warming.

To make the lamb mixture fry some finely chopped onion in olive oil and butter. Once golden, add 300g lamb mince, a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, some grated nutmeg, the ground seeds of 3 cardamom pods, 3 ground cloves. Cook for a bit longer before adding some toasted pine nuts, finely chopped parsley, a tablespoon of tomato purée and a splash of water to add moisture. Cook for another few minutes and you have a beautifully fragrant, exotic dish that will transport you far away from this grim British winter.

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