Thursday, 5 June 2014

Morito book talk with Sam and Sam Clark

By: Mrs Robot

moro's Sam and Sam Clark demonstrating making tortillaLast night we went to a talk by Sam and Sam Clark to promote their latest cookbook, Morito, organised by Bath bookshop Toppings. It took place in one of the churches. Both of us adore Spain and Spanish food, and we already own the first two Moro cookbooks. Of course, the Clarks don’t stop at Spain, their food encompasses a lot of other Mediterranean cuisines, but it always has strong ties to Spain and most of their other dishes work well alongside their Spanish ones - hardly surprising when you consider the Moorish influence on Spain’s food.

Morito is named after the Clarks' newest restaurant, where the method of dining isn’t based around the usual three-course structure. Instead people get a range of dishes all at once and pick and choose between them. (If you’re thinking ‘like tapas’, let me smack you. You don’t share tapas. Sharing is more akin to Greek mezze or Muslim Mediterranean ways of enjoying a meal.) Anyway, lectures on the consumption of tapas aside, it’s a jolly friendly and sociable way of eating, less formal and great fun. The recipes in Morito are therefore designed for this style of eating.

When we arrived we were given a Rebujito cocktail (a really refreshing blend of lemonade, manzanilla sherry and mint) and a Gilda. A Gilda is made with olive, anchovy, silverskin onion and pickled chili (hence its name; the slender shape of the chill was thought to resemble Rita Hayworth’s legs in the noir film Gilda!).
A plate of chill and anchovy tapas
Put the blame on Spain, boys...

We both hate anchovies.

No, we both hated anchovies.

Last night we loved them. I don't know if it was because of all the salt in the olive, or the vinegar in the onion, but somehow the combination on the cocktail stick worked. We may have to rethink our position on the fishy horrors. I never thought I’d say this about anything containing anchovies, but I could have eaten more of those tapas. !Ay, Dios de ma vida!

The talk was fairly brief. He-Sam started off, and seemed unused to giving talks, which I found quite nice; they both came across as genuine, approachable people. To begin with they talked about almonds, and little dishes of almonds got passed round, then about making the red pepper tortilla from the book, and tortilla got passed round.
A table laden with pepper, potatoes and eggs, and a cooked red pepper tortilla
Do want!
I really liked the tortilla, but Mr Robot prefers his to be traditional, with potato and onion only. (He didn’t give me his piece, though, oh no.) There’s a courgette tortilla recipe in the book, and I’ll definitely have a go at that as we end up with heaps of the things as they arrive in our Riverford vegbox each week during summer. The veggie-packed tortillas are basically pastry-free flans, and will save me faffing around making flan cases when I get into work.

As the talk went on, both Sams seemed to relax and settle down more, and it was really good to hear about their approach to food and to running a restaurant. Not for them the building of brands (though they seem to have managed that anyway!) or the trappings of celebrity chefdom, they just like cooking and exploring food. They’re very down to earth, and that’s reflected in their style of cooking, which is fuss-free, without fancy foams or spheres, just good and earthy. It was a really enjoyable talk.
A red pepper tortilla, cut into pieces, with a cocktail stick in each piece
This was delicious
The Mr or I will do a full writeup of the cookbook once we’ve made a fair few things out of it, but on a read-through it looks like we’ll be using it a lot.

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