“We are shameless! We want to seduce you,to stimulate your imagination, invigorate your senses, and tempt you to try the wonderful flavours of Moorish food!”
‘Moorish: Flavours from Mecca to Marrakech‘ by Greg and Lucy Malouf is every bit moorish as the title suggests. Yes, indeed another yummy cookbook is mine! I am the happy recipient of this delicious cookbook. Nanette from Gourmet Warrior in Melbourne recently mailed it to me when I won a raffle for a Blogger Aid event for Haiti. The book which Naneete sponsored for the H2Ope for Haiti event came with mouthwatering recommendations and is now sharing prime position on my bookshelf with my two other favourites, Ottolenghi: The Cookbook and Indulge, 100 Perfect Desserts. Was I surprised when Nanette also tweeted that Moorish and Ottolenghi were her 2 fave cookbooks of the year! My thoughts exactly!! By the way, Ottolenghi’s new book Plenty is due out by the end of April ’10, and you can find an exclusive sneak peek here on Guardian.
MOORISH also makes for a great bed time read if you are a foodie like me. The pictures offer rustic beauty, and I love the fact that there are plenty of them. I am partial to cookbooks with loads of pictures, and pretty ones at that. This was my first ever window on recipes inspired by the flavours of North Africa, Spain, the Middle Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East region – regions united by a common thread that winds it’s way back to Arabia. The title coins the essence in one word … Moorish!!
The book is inspirational and begins with spice blends, dressings, relishes, pickles, preserves. Za’atar, Taklia, Tabil, Dukah, Charmoula, Tahini, Toum, Hariss, Hilbeh … each very unusual and with a character of its own. The commentary throughout the book is engaging and tempts the home cook to get adventurous! The son’s been over the book several times and would like me to make the Quail with Lime and Ras al Hanout and Duck Shish Kebabs! I’ve been won over by the first recipe I tried, and need to get a little more adventurous as there are exciting looking sea food recipes in the book, but I am the ever under-confident ‘fishy‘ cook! The daughter predictably headed straight for desserts … Cherry Vanilla Parfait with Rosewater Syrup, Honey Curd Blinzes, and a stunning Chocolate Pistachio Cake are on request!
I chose a recipe because I had the basic ingredients on hand. The introduction to the recipe was comforting. I had chicken escalopes in the freezer, a bottle of preserved limes and tangerines that I had made a few months ago from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook … and fresh sweet home made butter. I was soon singing my way to the kitchen, and halfway through the process my mouth was watering. This is gonna be good! I just knew it. THANK YOU NANETTE, I LOVE THE BOOK!
Well, it was better than good. It was exotic good!! My first use of the Ottolenghi Preserved Limes in the cumin butter lent tingling deep and robust flavours to the escalopes. ( the original recipe uses boneless chicken breasts which are made thinner by evenly bashing with a rolling pin). The flavours married so beautifully in the end, and exploded into a myriad of refreshing flavours on the palette. Who would think that cumin would blend into butter in such a flavourful manner, with the zing of citrus. The recipe does use a 100gms of butter, but then it rare that I use butter in cooking. I didn’t use the whole amount of butter, yet it was super!
I served it with fresh home grown rocket leaves drizzled with balsamic, a cold potato salad in a Ranch buttermilk dressing, and a Roasted Garlic, Ricotta and Pistachio French Fougasse on the side (I sneaked a small portion of buckwheat flour into the fougasse, and it was lovely and rustic). We enjoyed EVERY single morsel of the meal, and the flavours lingered on for long. I like the new flavours I’ve discovered.
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