Tuesday 27 January 2009


It was New Year's Eve 2007 and together we ummed and we aahed about how to celebrate before deciding on dinner for two and a late night visit to a friend's party.

We went to Waitrose for ingredients but the armageddon preparations required for a Scottish New Year meant the shelves were bare.

We drove on to Sainsbury's where we had more success but with a few substitutions.

We came home and we cooked and we ate and I mentally planned a blog entry in my head and then the phone rang. The other two, unnamed, people who were supposed to be with us for the bells had been a little over enthusiastic in their New Year celebrations and had to duck out due to premature drunkenness.

Midnight came, we opened a bottle of cava and realised that we could see the fireworks by leaning out of our sitting room window. It took us three years to figure that out even though there are fireworks every night for a month during the Edinburgh festival. It's sad that we only noticed on our last firework watching opportunity in that flat but at least we experienced it once.

We listened to Panda Bear and kissed while leaning out into the cold clear night. Then we wandered up the road to the party for a few hours.

I would love to say that it was a bit of a blur but actually I can remember it perfectly.

It was lovely until the next day when we woke up. I had a banging head yet was, somehow, still very clearly drunk.

If you have never experienced this then, I promise, it is not a good sign. The only way the day can go is downhill. So 4pm on January 1st 2008 found me bent double over the hob trying to fry bacon. All memories of our delicious dinner had vanished to be replaced by a desperate urge for fried food and a later, but equally desperate, urge for Chinese food.

So, back to 2009, we find ourselves back with Moro East propped open but in a different year and in a different flat and in a different city. I chopped and stirred and fried and ate and reminded myself to cook more Moro recipes.

Due to my unwillingness to buy Kenyan spring onions and a lack of cabbage in M&S at 6pm I used a leek and about 300g of brussels sprouts instead (after deciding that the density of sprouts meant we needed less and I thought it may be sensible to impose a sprout limit for other, more smell based, reasons). The leek was obviously sweeter than spring onions would have been but it worked. I forgot the parsley and had to nip back out to our Turkish mini supermarket to buy bulgur where (I love this shop) they had both coarse and fine bulgur in abundance and when I thought the man was asking whether I wanted a plastic bag, 'no thanks', he repeated 'no no, what are you making?'. 'Oh, pilaf' I said, 'but with bulgur not rice'.

Cabbage and bulgur wheat pilaf
Taken from Moro East by Sam & Sam Clark

Serves 4

75g of unsalted butter
8 spring onions, sliced in 1cm rounds, green and all (or 1 leek)
50g of pine nuts, or 80g of walnuts (I have only ever used the pine nuts)
1/2 rounded teaspoon of ground allspice
600g of white cabbage (or spring cabbage or Brussels tops), shredded (or sprouts, I used 300g but it you want to use 600g then I wish you and your nose luck)
200g of coarse bulgur, rinsed in cold water and drained
300ml of vegeteable stock
2 tablespoons of sumac (optional but delicious)
1 small bunch (about 20g) of parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped (I forgot this but don't recommend leaving it out)

To serve (I'm including this here as it is in the book but have never actually included it, my usual accompaniment is simply cooked white fish and a little squeeze of lemon)
1/2 garlic clove, crushed with a pinch of salt
200g good-quality Greek yoghurt, such as Total

Melt the butter in a saucepan on a medium heat. When it begins to foam, add the spring onions, nuts, allspice and a pinch of salt and cook for 5 minutes. Then stir in the spring greens and after 5 minutes, when they have wilted, the bulgur. Cover with the stock and season with salt and pepper. Lay a circle of greaseproof paper on top and bring to the boil over a medium to high heat. Put a lid on the pan and cook quite fast for 5 minutes. Now turn the heat down to medium-low and cook for anther 5 minutes. Stir in the sumac and parsley, switch off the heat and let the pilaf sit for 5 minutes.

Stir the garlic into the yoghurt and serve with the pilaf.


Amanda at Little Foodies said...

It's been a very long time but I do remember feeling like that - Just the thought sets of my gag reflex - bleurgh!

This sounds great with the brussels and leek.

Alicia Foodycat said...

That sounds good - I've never made pilaf with bulghur but it sounds like a very good idea.

Lisa said...

Looks and sounds delicious, and any excuse to have sprouts other than just with xmas dinner! Love the idea of having it with fish too.

Jeanne said...

Mmm, this looks good! I really do need to cook with bulghur more this year...

Gemma said...

I know Lisa - we are having them more and more this year.

Jeanne - it is lovely, if you find any other good recipes do let me know.

Gemma x

Anonymous said...

Can't stand the stuff myself, but it is a staple of t'husband's motherland, so I am always on the lookout for ways to make it more palatable. I shall have a go atg this.

abby said...

i've just made a version of this using cavolo nero in place of the cabbage and couscous in place of the bulgar (those pesky empty sunday-night cupboards!) - absolutely delish. no doubt due to the vast amount of butter!