The techniques they learned there underpin their philosophy at Moro, the restaurant they launched in 1997 with an emphasis on Moorish flavours from Andalusia and North Africa – and, latterly, the eastern Mediterranean.
They also own Morito in Clerkenwell and Hackney. Moro Easy is their newest cook book, which was released in September, and their slow-cooked lamb tagine is featured in it.
Moro Easy has a focus on home-cooking paired with Sam and Sam’s signature use of flavours and ingredients from North Africa and Southern Spain. It contains simple, no-fuss recipes which will have wide appeal for the home cook.
Published to coincide with Moro’s 25th anniversary and celebrating the bold, flavour-centred cooking of Moro, Moro Easy has 120 brand new recipes which are pared back and accessible.
Moro Easy was developed by Sam and Sam as they cooked at home for their family during the Covid pandemic, as they describe: “The task of documenting the simple recipes that we cooked during lockdown was immensely rewarding. To make Moro accessible, with the home cook at the forefront of our minds, required a different discipline with not too many ingredients and uncomplicated methods.”
The recipes in Moro Easy include Courgette, Lemon and Manchego Salad, Spring Greens with Crispy Chorizo; Brown Rice and Potato Pilaf; Squid Kofte with Mojo Verde; Mackerel with Tomato, Olive and Sherry Vinaigrette; Duck Breasts with Walnut and Pomegranate Sauce; Roast Shoulder of Pork Marinated with Orange and Cumin; Pistachio Madeleines and Lemon and Mint Granizado.
Their at-home menu is a tour of bold Moorish flavours from southern Spain to North Africa, based on recipes from Sam and Sam Clark’s new book Moro Easy.
“Meze is the convivial way that many people across the Mediterranean eat,” explains Sam. There are za’atar-dusted flatbreads with beetroot salad and cool labneh with coriander and fennel seed oil. The tagine is delicately spiced, with slow-cooked lamb shoulder and homemade harissa for a grilled pepper kick. For dessert, 70% dark chocolate and almond cake is paired with tangy Greek yoghurt.
The at-home box is three things: easy to cook, packed full of flavour and utterly delicious. It’s also generously served. While advertised for serving two, it easily serves four and so we found ourselves enjoying a seriously flavoursome feast, with plenty of leftovers for the following evening’s supper.
The lamb tagine was easy to cook. Tipped into an oven dish, covered with tinfoil to avoid it drying out and placed in the oven for 15 minutes, it was delicately spiced, deliciously tender and decidedly more-ish.
The red onions and beetroot were spooned over, adding earthy, vegetal flavours, while the pomegranate seeds, pistachios and picked mint gave it texture, sweetness, crunch and floral notes. Delicious.
It was a restaurant-standard dish served in less than 20 minutes from the comfort of a home kitchen.
The sides were fabulous. Chickpeas and spinach were tipped into a bowl while the labneh was spooned onto a plate. There was ample cous cous, which soaked up the various sauces and seasonings.
A sun-dried tomato, coriander and fennel oil was warmed in a small saucepan, before being spooned over the labneh. And, hey presto, a delicious lamb tagine with plenty of meze dishes. Flatbreads were used to scoop up the flavoursome sides while the lamb was garnished with coriander and served with harissa. Flavour bombs all round. Winning at dinner.
It wasn’t just the flavours that were so enjoyable and riotously good fun. The style of eating was also thrilling. A wide array of dishes enabled a tuck-in-and-enjoy form of casual dining, which is as food should be. There was nothing formal or stuffy, nothing ceremonial; just a good old sit-down dinner with plenty of conversation, a scoop of this, a dollop of that and a big old handful of the other.
Dessert was sensational. A chocolate and almond cake was warmed slightly in a low oven for 10 minutes before being served with a tangy Greek yoghurt. The bitter/sweet flavours of the chocolate were sumptuous, the perfect way to counterbalance the warming seasonings and spices of the tagine, while the yoghurt added a delightful hint of sour that completed the dish.
Dining at home has really carved out an important niche in British hospitality since the start of the pandemic – remember that?
Initially conceived as a way of restaurants recouping revenues that they’d otherwise have lost, it kept many organisations afloat during the grim days of lockdown, when they were unable to trade.
Preserving jobs and enabling chefs to exercise their all-important creativity, it filled a gap – both for the hospitality industry and for those of us who are enthusiastic about eating out, or, as the case became, eating in.
Since then, it’s blossomed. Dishpatch has been one of the industry’s forerunners, bringing the best chefs to the home table.
Because here’s the rub: when we eat in restaurants, most of the work has been done before we get there. The chefs who complete the day’s mise en place, preparing ingredients for service, perform precisely the same function when making cook-at-home dinners.
The only difference is that it’s us, the home cooks, who apply the heat and then present dishes on the plate. And, let’s face it, that’s great fun.
In the case of Moro, there’s an opportunity to eat great flavours from a London establishment venue that’s got a huge reputation and an enormous following.
The cost of driving there and back would be greater than the dinner itself – so home delivery is the only viable way to eat it. Tender lamb, delightful meze and a winning dessert made for a terrific at-home box.