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Famous for Spanish- and North African-style food, the couple have gone East - literally and metaphorically. A few years ago they `acquired' an allotment in London's East End and found, amongst fellow growers, Turks, Greeks and Cypriots. The two Sams swiftly became part of the allotment community even if there's little detail of any actual digging in the book. Rather it marks the passage of the seasons and the breadth of the crops with rich and alluring recipes - some their own, others weeded from neighbours.

Not that you have to grow-your-own to enjoy or cook them. They concentrate, not surprisingly, on vegetables and are cool about using up "all the bits" or eating weeds or young leaves - I'd never imagined young poppy leaves had anything to offer; now I can't wait to try them next spring. Recipes highlight Moro's approach to cooking of "three simple flavours jostling in the mouth to create something exciting". Strong on soups, there's a buxom leek and rosemary soup with blue cheese (great for any leftover Stilton over Christmas) or a heavenly almond and fennel with scallops. Bitter leaves with tahini and caramelised onions, one of FoodLovers featured recipes, is a bitter-sweet sensation and pumpkin pisto is fast becoming my favourite way of cooking pumpkins this autumn.

Now Moro East the allotment is sadly gone. The fertile land has been swallowed up by bulldozers, concreted over and incorporated in the Olympic site. For a mere four weeks, the two Sams write poignantly "it will be used as a pathway between stadiums". Luckily for us, the book remains.
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on 30 August 2012
This is a great book and especially good to use if you are an allotment aficionado! There are some great recipes in here, I loved making the mackerel escabache. Most of the recipes are mediterranean or middle eastern in character, so fresh produce is a must! Having flicked through many of the recipes I haven't cooked yet, some ingredients will be a challenge to source unless you can either buy them from a nearby speciality shop, find them on the internet or grow them yourself. Don't let this put you off though, I'm looking forward to cooking my way through the book over the coming months.
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on 11 May 2010
From the introduction:

'......by the time you read this book our century-old allotment will have been replaced by a hockey stadium, we will have been moved on..........'
As the 2012 Olympics development started the allotment's destiny was sealed .......a concrete walkway!
But the memory lives on.......

'MORO EAST' is the third book from 'The Clarks': Sam & Sam, and is 'the evocative, back-to-the-earth story of their decision to grow their own produce, in the East End of London, a journal of life within a unique community and the inspiration it provides for their cooking', at home and in their London restaurant - 'MORO'.
It documents their last ever growing season and is a sincere tribute to this area, now consigned to history.

'.........'Manor Garden Allotments' were 81 plots which flourished on 1.8 hectares of land tended by a diverse multicultural community of Londoners. As well as born-and-bred East Enders, there were families that originated in Turkey, Cyprus, Greece, Italy and the West Indies........'

MORO EAST
Hardback Edition
2007/Richard & Judy Christmas Book/Galaxy

Durable board covers open to 312 matt pages, split over main chapters:

* Soups (pg 1-32)
* Vegetable Starters (pg 33-68)
* Fish Starters (pg 69-94)
* Meat Starters (pg95-120)
* Salads (pg121-156)
* Vegetables (pg157-204)
* Fish Main Courses (pg 205-232)
* Meat Main Courses (pg 233-260)
* Sauces (pg261-274)
* Puddings (pg 275-307)

along with a page of 'Moro Plates':

'...... a few main course plates that give an idea of how we eat at home and in the restaurant.
The combinations take into account the seasons, the culture, textures and tastes.'....,
all sandwiched between an introduction and a 3-page index, the latter enhanced to show dishes with illustrations.

Each chapter has a simple one page on-location shot with the title at the top.
In order, by season, each recipe has its title, a paragraph of relevant narrative, the number of servings, the list(s) of ingredients, then the method.
Sometimes the recipes span more than one page.
On the slightly negative side, sometimes the recipe titles are just the foreign name, but is mostly revealed in the following paragraph of text.
Carrying the rural theme through, the text is in a fairly small green font and the relevant season is at the bottom of the page, along with the page number.

This chunky tome is interspersed with matt photography, from Toby Glanville, including on location shots and some finished dishes.

Recipes include:

* Cacik
* Cauliflower and Cumin Soup
* Dolmas
* Syrian Fattoush
* Artichokes braised with Mushrooms
* Three Tahini Dips: Avocado, Beetroot and Pumpkin
* Salt Cod Carpaccio with Broad Beans
* Mackerel Escabeche
* Chopped Liver with Paprika and Cumin
* Allotment Herb Salad
* Ensalada Piperada
* Tunisian Pepper and Tomato Salad
* Moroccan Spiced Potato Salad
* Macaroni and Yoghurt Salad
* Jewelled Pumpkin Rice
* Couscous Royal
* Lentil and Angel-hair Pilav
* Tuna with Rosemary Manteca
* Fatima's Sardine Tagine
* Whole Baked Sea bass with Fennel
* Kebabs
* Marinades
* Pan-fried Pork with Almonds and Fennel
* Chicken with Almonds and Grapes
* Mojo Rojo
* Almond Alioli
* Rhubarb and Rosewater Fool
* Lemon Ice
* Apple Purée with Crème Fraîche and Caramel
* Quince Jelly
* Chocolate-Orange Torte

One of my particular favourites is:

'Tortilla with Onion Tops
It was our allotment neighbour, Hassan, who taught us to waste nothing on the allotment......He cooked us a tortilla with onion tops. It opened our eyes to these vegetables and has changed the way we use them. Braised slowly in olive oil, the long green leaves become sweet and succulent. Enveloped in creamy egg, they are to die for.........'

along with:

'Wanderer's Soup'

...the very title conjuring up, to me, one of the best things left in life that is free - nonchalantly wandering and foraging!

'This recipe is based on a velvety chicken and potato broth which provides a lovely backdrop for the fruits of foraging. When one hunts for greens, it is quite unusual to find large quantities of any one species - it is easier to get a mixture of two or three. In a city park or by a canal, we would probably pick chickweed, mallow and dandelion. On a country walk we might find sorrel, young nettle tops, wild garlic and ground elder and, self-seeded on the allotment, fennel, nasturtium leaves, wild rocket, young poppy leaves, borage or young courgette leaves.
Go on, give it a go - foraging is surprisingly addictive.'

....and with the added lure of the unmistakable smell of ramson in the May air (at the time of writing)......I'm off out with my basket!
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