Moorish by Greg and Lucy Malouf ***
Moorish is the second cookbook by Greg and Lucy Malouf, restaurateur and food writer respectively. Greg, who is commonly regarded as one of Australia’s most innovative chefs, has been credited with influencing and introducing a generation of chefs and diners to the flavours, tastes and textures of the Middle East through his cooking in O’Connell’s restaurant and MoMo in Melbourne. But you don’t have to travel so far to experience his kind of cooking as the recipes in Moorish, with a subtitle that proudly states “flavours from Mecca to Marrakech”, will let you try it in the comfort of your own home. And you’ll have a hard time keeping away from the kitchen after reading this book.
The first few chapters are devoted to dry and wet spice mixes, dressings and relishes and pickles and preserves – the basic building blocks of Moorish cooking. The Maloufs have covered it all, from Chermoula and Ras el Hanout, harissa and preserved lemons to lesser known blends such as Baharat and Toum. The rest of the book doesn’t disappoint either. Each recipe comes with a paragraph by Lucy that talks about the flavours and origins of the dishes that take their inspiration from North Africa, France, the Eastern Mediterranean, Spain, and the Middle East.
There’s nothing difficult about any of the recipes – although you will have to stock up on spices – but the Malouf’s take on food is different enough to make even the most blasé of home cooks sit up and take notice.
Greg Malouf has his own website at www.gregmalouf.com.