Cooking from Morito

This evening I had a go cooking through some of the new Morito cookbook.

We started with small bread rolls. I wasn’t quite sure why the dough had to go into the fridge for an hour or so but they worked well and there are a few left over for lunch tomorrow. I changed the cooking of them ever so slightly by including some milk with the water. I have done that a couple of times now, using milk, and it maybe just luck but it does seem to add a good sourness to the taste.

The bread went with a dozen quail’s eggs and a plateful of padron peppers.

As they were being eaten I started on the fried potatoes and scallops.

The potatoes had been boiled earlier in he afternoon and then cut into chunks. The scallops just needed a sauce which was the juice from a couple of oranges and a lemon, a sprig of thyme and a bay leave, all cooked down to a sticky mess.

As we ate that I started on the rest; some pork belly cooked last night then cut into chunks and fried in oil with lemon juice, four langoustines fried in oil and garlic, beetroot with pomegranate and almonds, deep fried chickpeas with salad.

We ate it listening to Candi Staton.

Secret ingredients

There are certain foods that need a secret ingredient.

Perhaps the most obvious example is a fish cake. By itself a fish cake is nothing more than a mash of fish and potato. It needs something to lift it out of the ordinary and in my case that is always a good squirt of tomato ketchup (Heinz – always) and a couple of drops of tabasco.

It is the same with a beef burger. It doesn’t matter how good the beef might be and how fresh the herbs, if that is all there is there will be something lacking. There will be a need for some sweetness and guilt. I have in the past made do with ketchup but this evening I found my true answer in the plastic bottle of Sriracha Chilli Sauce that was lurking just beyond the chopping board.

I squeezed a good squirt over the bowl of minced beef, breadcrumbs and herbs and spent a happy five minutes working the mixture through with my fingers listening to The Allman Brothers.

The burgers took 20 minutes to cook through in a large frying pan and we ate them in soft baps with salad from the garden, tomatoes and onion marmalade.

Going Spanish

We went all Spanish yesterday.

We spent the morning shopping in Liverpool. This meant stopping for coffee and finally giving in to temptation, after all of two weeks, and buying the last copy of Morito they had in Waterstones.

Leafing through it there were a few photos of the guy who had served me last year and who took Big Star off the music they were playing in there as I was the only one eating and apparently didn’t look like the kind of guy who was into Big Star (I was wearing a suit). He then had the good grace to put it back on for me, followed by On The Beach and he then took my iPod off me and plugged it into their system so I could listen to Big Star for the rest of my meal.

I will be cooking from it next week. In particular I am looking forward to making use of the garlic scapes that are growing at the bottom of the garden.

We had half thought about having lunch in Lunya but decided to go home instead and buy our supper from there in the form of a couple of jars of lentils and a six-string of chorizo sausages.

Back home I found a mouldering old piece of chorizo in the back of the fridge. Once the white skin was peeled away it was fine and I ate a plateful of it with slices of green tomato and a pice of toast rubbed down with garlic. It was a very good lunch. It was only a shame the sun didn’t shine so I could eat it outside.

Five hours later we had supper. The chorizo sausages were fried in olive which was quickly coloured a deep red, I then stirred in a chopped onion and some garlic.Once that had soften and started to caramelize the lentils went in until they were warmed through.

We ate them with salad from the garden and a very good bottle of red wine.

Listening to Adrien Sherwood and On-U Sounds. The kids complained.

“What is this music Dad. It’s giving me a headache.”

I though that was supposed to work the other way round. All I got to listen to at home was James Last.



Fish Stew – a way of doing things

What is a recipe but a way of doing things.

I decided on fish this morning. It has been a while since I have been down to Wards and I felt in need of some seafood. I still have to hand The Observer Monthly Food Magazine from six weeks ago now from which I have been cooking from the new book by Sabrina Ghayour. One of the recipes was for a seafood stew and so I decided to go for that.

At the same time I was thinking on the tomato soup for lunch and I reckoned that whatever soup was left over would make for the passata the recipe called for.

At Wards I bought a just under a kilo of mussels, four razor shells, six great Colchester Clams, a squid, a dozen prawns and a couple of scallops.

There was some pressure to get supper over and done with as kids were wanting to go out. The cooking of it didn’t take long. As I cooked I drank the last pint I was able to squeeze out of last weekend’s barrel of Peerless.

A couple of onions were fried off in oil, garlic and chilli was added, followed by a thumb of ground saffron and then most of the rest of the tomato soup. That was all left to cook down until we were about ready to eat.

It was then a matter of adding the seafood to the tomato sauce, waiting a few minutes and adding some more.

The razor shells went in first. It was slightly disturbing to watch them stretch out in the warmth and then to see the lollollopping length of white meat pop out. The mussels and clams went in then and five minutes later the prawns and squid. As we were about ready to eat I stirred in the scallops and a handful of chopped parsley and tarragon.

We ate the stew with rice listening to Ella Fitzgerald and White Denim.

As I ate I thought that although I had more or less followed the recipe the cooking of it had not been much different from any number of seafood stews I have made – an intense tomato sauce into which the seafood is added to cook.