Monday 23 September 2013

World Food Café - Quick and Easy Recipes from a Vegetarian Journey

Moros Y Cristianos and Mojo Sauce from the World Food Cafe Cookbook
Cuban Moros Y Cristianos with Mojo Sauce

So, my second cookbook review and recipe excerpt for you comes from Chris and Carolyn Caldicott's "World Food Café - Quick and Easy Recipes from a Vegetarian Journey".

This is a simply stunning book, I mean look how gorgeous it is??
World Food Cafe, Quick and Easy Recipes from a Vegetarian Journey.

From the back:
"This is vegetarian cooking at its most delicious and imaginative. For over twenty years Chris and Carolyn Caldicott have been travelling the world, collecting recipes from home kitchens, street stalls, restaurants and roadside cafés - as well as taking atmospheric photographs and picking up travellers tales.
World Food Café Quick and Easy gathers together dishes from some of the world's most fascinating places, with a wonderful diversity of flavours. And each and every recipe is quick and easy to make at home..."

It really is a beautifully made book with gorgeous photos of both the food and of their travels. The book is organised into chapters by places: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Chile, Cuba, Japan, Laos, Helsinki and Lapland, Namibia, Syria and Vietnam. I was initially concerned with this being a vegetarian cookbook that there might not be a lot of vegan recipes but that was quickly quashed - the vast majority of the recipes are actually vegan and those that are not are dead simple to veganize. It's also so much more than a cookbook, full of stories of their amazing travels and it really is an excellent read.

Moros Y Cristianos and Mojo Sauce from the World Food Cafe Cookbook

For my tester recipe I was drawn to the Cuban section of the book, in particular to the "Moros Y Cristianos" described by the authors as the following:

"Literally translated as Moors and Christians, this dish of black beans and white rice is still the mainstay of Cuban cuisine. The beans and the rice are either served separately or combined, usually with a simple fresh salad and fried plantain. Or you can enjoy them as we did, mixed together, topped with a fried egg and doused with zesty mojo sauce..."

Now, I obviously wasn't going to add the fried egg, and plantains are not too easy to come by here but I sure as hell wanted to try the gorgeous sounding Mojo Sauce! Which yes, I *do* keep saying in my head with an Austin Powers accent....Anyway, they describe it as the following:

Mojo Sauce from the World Food Cafe Cookbook

"Mojo sauce, originally from the Canary Islands, is one of Cuba's most adaptable signature recipes. It adds zest to black beans or cooked cassava, makes an exciting marinade and is the perfect dipping sauce for malanga fritters and grilled Cuban sandwiches. There are many recipes for Mojo, often depending on what the sauce is being used for that day, but it's essential ingredients are Cuban bitter Seville oranges, garlic, a little cumin, black pepper and salt. For vegetarian dishes olive oil is also an important addition as is  finely chopped onion for a dip or condiment. The sauce is also delicious with chopped fresh oregano or coriander leaves stirred into it.
When Seville oranges are out of season, simply mix orange juice with lemon and lime. It's not quite the same but a good second best."

I made mine with freshly squeezed navel orange juice, limes and lemons, I didn't add the chopped onion as there was already onion in the Moros Y Cristianos, and I didn't have fresh oregano and can't take coriander so I added some chopped fresh leaf parsley, really just for colour and so those of you adding coriander could see how it would look.

And our verdict overall? An absolutely gorgeous meal!! My husband tucked into his while I photographed mine and his positive exclamations had me rushing the photoshoot! 
The Moros Y Cristianos is spicy and packed with flavour, went perfect with the rice and that zesty mojo sauce was just lush drizzled over top. 
I followed their suggestion and served it with a simple salad with leaf, tomato, onion and avocado but found myself drawn to taking the avocado from the salad and putting it on top of the black beans and I'm glad I did - it went so well with the whole dish. Of course, you could still add avocado to the salad as well - the more avocado the better I say!

Moros Y Cristianos and Mojo Sauce from the World Food Cafe Cookbook

Furthermore, like all the recipes in this book this was so simple and used all easy to find cupboard ingredients. You might worry that a "World Food" cookbook would be jam packed with ingredients making you run all over town trying to find or needing to buy online but no, that's not the case with this book at all which is a refreshing change.

Moros Y Cristianos and Mojo Sauce from the World Food Cafe Cookbook

Moros Y Cristianos
serves 4 - 6

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large red pepper, diced
2 dessertspoons paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 generous tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 tablespoon tomato puree
2 ½ tins (400g/14oz size) of black beans, drained and rinsed
300ml / 10fl oz vegetable stock
1 ½ tablespoons red wine or cider vinegar
long-grain white rice (approximately 350g / 12oz, depending on appetite)

To garnish
finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
a generous drizzle of olive oil

To serve
a simple side salad of lettuce leaves topped with thin slices of plum tomato, radish, avocado and red onion, dressed with seasoned olive oil and lime juice.
fried plantain slices

     Heat the olive oil and sauté the onion, garlic and red pepper until soft but not brown. Add the paprika, ground cumin, thyme, bay leaves and chilli flakes, cook for a a couple of minutes and then stir in the tomato purée.

     Add the beans and gradually stir in the vegetable stock. Simmer on a low heat until the stock has reduced by half, and mash the beans until they start to break down.

     Add the red wine vinegar and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Simmer for a further few minutes, and then serve either on top of or combined with cooked white long-grain rice. Garnish with finely chopped parsley and a generous drizzle of olive oil. Serve the simple salad and fried plantain alongside.

Mojo Sauce

180ml / 6fl oz Seville orange juice or 120ml / 4fl oz orange juice, 30ml / 1 fl oz lime juice and 30ml / 1 fl oz lemon juice
1 flat teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon crushed black peppercorns
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ small onion, very finely chopped (optional)
60ml / 2fl oz olive oil
8 garlic cloves, crushed
chopped oregano leaves (optional)
chopped coriander leaves (optional)

     Combine the citrus juice, salt, black pepper, cumin and (if you want a thicker sauce) onion.
     Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan. When hot, add the crushed garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes until soft but not brown. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes before pouring in the citrus mix (stand back a little, just in case it spits). Return to the heat and bring to the boil; then remove from the heat once more and allow to cool, when you can add the herbs if you wish.
     The mojo sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days.

Excerpted with permission from "World Food Cafe - Quick and Easy Recipes from a Vegetarian Journey" ©2013 Chris and Carolyn Caldicott. Published by Frances Lincoln. 
Published with permission of Frances Lincoln

My Notes

For the Black Beans:
• I used a regular onion in place of a red onion and an orange pepper in place of the red, simply as that's what I had on hand.
• I was only making the bean dish for my husband and I so I halved the recipe and cooked up 150g long grain rice for the 2 of us. This served us generously.
• I didn't have any fresh thyme so added ½ teaspoon dried thyme (for half the recipe).
• I just used 1 tin of black beans for the half recipe I was doing.
• I didn't add the garnish as I was drizzling on the Mojo Sauce.
• I also used the Mojo Sauce as my side salad dressing - it was perfect for it!
For the Mojo Sauce:
• I used the fresh orange juice, lime and lemon juice option.
• I didn't add the onion.
• I used chopped fresh parsley in place of the other herbs.
• Make sure you stir it up well before drizzling as the garlic, pepper, cumin and parsley like to settle on the bottom!

Disclaimer: While I was given this cookbook to review I was not paid to review it and all views expressed here are my own, as are all the photos.

....and coming up next on the blog...
Vegan Raspberry Bakewell Tarts

Raspberry Bakewell Tarts!!
(my own recipe)


  1. Wonderful looking stuff, thanks. Man, if I could only justify one more cookbook right now.

  2. This book looks beautiful! Just the cover's enough to draw me in.
    I've heard of the dish "moros y cristianos" and it looks delicious. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe. I totally agree on more avocado always being better :)

  3. Thank you for this review. The book sounds very interesting and looks gorgeous!

  4. I made the black beans last night and did in flour tacos with greens, brown rice, sautéed potatoes and tomatoes. Delicious, thank you for the inspiration!

    1. Wow, another vegan Debbie Walsh?!? haha, how cool :-) Those beans in tacos sounds amazing, I'll try that myself some time, thanks!

  5. Thanks to all for the comments!

  6. We love everything that has something to do with black beans!!!

    What a cool blog! We're two struggling vegans and are grateful for any inspiration!

    Thanks and greetings from Germany,

    Birdy and Bambi

    1. Thanks so much, hope you find lots of inspiration here!


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