8 mins

Truly moorish: 3 colourful summer recipes from Ben Tish's new book

Spiced crab Gazpacho, blood orange jelly, and glazed barbecued ribs. Nothing will brighten up your summer meals quite like these fun and colourful dishes. Read on for the full recipes...

Spiced Crab Gazpacho and other recipes from Ben Tish (Moorish, by Ben Tish; published by Bloomsbury)

To start...

Gazpacho with spiced crab toasts

It would be hard to find a Spanish dish with more recorded history than the gazpacho. Traceable back to Roman times, when soldiers on the march would carry stale bread, vinegar and garlic to make a quick soup when on the go, it wasn’t until much later that the Arabs started flavouring this traditional mix with herbs, vegetables and nuts.



Tomatoes for sale in Andalucía (Dreamstime)

Tomatoes for sale in Andalucía (Dreamstime)

The word gazpacho is often used generically across Spain to describe a cold soup, whether it be an ajo blanco or a salmorejo, but the true gazpacho, a medium thick, piquant, chilled tomato soup, drinkable from a cup or glass, was first honed in Andalucía. The Moors married the technique with the local glut of tomatoes, pounding everything together to make this brilliantly refreshing, sharp soup.

There are as many variations on gazpacho as there are soups based on texture and flavourings not to mention the garnishes which can range from eggs and jamón, to all varieties of chopped vegetables and beyond – all have a place in the gazpacho pantheon. This is my version.

Serves 4 – 6

Spice Crab Gazpacho (Moorish by Ben Tish; Published by Bloomsbury)

Spice Crab Gazpacho (Moorish by Ben Tish; Published by Bloomsbury)



  • 1kg very ripe plum tomatoes
  • 1 large red pepper, deseeded
  • ½ cucumber, cut into chunks
  • 1 large banana shallot, chopped
  • 1 fresh red chilli, cut in half lengthways
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • A handful of basil, leaves picked
  • 70g day-old crusty bread, roughly torn
  • 300ml fresh, good-quality tomato juice
  • 50ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
  • 100ml moscatel vinegar or white balsamic
  • Sea salt and black pepper


Crab toasts

  • Olive oil
  • 2 slices of sourdough bread, cut into 6 pieces
  • 200g white crab meat, picked over to remove any shell or cartilage
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • lemon juice, to taste
  • 1 small fresh red chilli, finely chopped
  • A handful of coriander leaves, chopped


1. First make the gazpacho. Quarter the tomatoes and pepper, and put all the ingredients in a bowl or other container along with 100ml of cold water and some seasoning. Cover and leave in the fridge for at least 4 hours, or overnight, to allow the flavour to develop.

2. Transfer the tomato mixture to a blender (you will need to do this in 2 batches) and blitz to a purée – the consistency should be that of a thick soup. Pour into a bowl. Check the seasoning. If the gazpacho is too thick you can add a splash of water. Return to the fridge to keep cool until ready to serve.

3. For the crab toasts, heat a sauté pan over a high heat, add some olive oil and fry the bread on both sides until golden brown and crisp. Transfer to kitchen paper to drain. Mix the crab with the cumin, lemon juice, chilli and coriander, and season to taste.

4. To serve, pour the gazpacho into chilled bowls and drizzle over some extra virgin olive oil. Top the bread slices with the crab mix and place in the gazpacho bowls.

For the main...

Andalucían pork ribs with almonds and coriander

Ribs, like many of the cheaper, tougher cuts of meat, require some work to bring out the best in them, but the results are always rewarding and, as in this recipe, often stunning. Andalucíans love ribs. Lamb ribs are popular too and would have been the obvious choice for the Moors, who would have cooked them over a charcoal fire until crisp and charred.

The ribs in this recipe are delicious! The quince glaze is one of the best that I’ve ever used for ribs. It has a perfectly balanced sweet and sour flavour while the cooking liquor retains all the natural flavour and body from the bones, and can be used as a base for soups or as a delicious broth for cooking pulses.

This is one of my favourite summer dishes for when I’m cooking over fire. The ribs are equally as good straight from a hot griddle. Serve with some chips cooked in olive oil.


Serves 4

The Moors would have cooked ribs over a charcoal fire (Dreamstime)

The Moors would have cooked ribs over a charcoal fire (Dreamstime)


  • 1.2kg pork ribs (ideally cut from the belly of a well-reared heritage pig)
  • 150g sea salt
  • ½ bulb of garlic, separated into cloves
  • A few sprigs of thyme
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 3 star anise
  • 2 cloves
  • 170g membrillo (quince paste)
  • 25g coriander seeds
  • 10g hot smoked paprika
  • 50g flaked almonds, lightly toasted
  • A small handful of coriander, leaves picked



Pork ribs (Moorish by Ben Tish; Published by Bloomsbury; Photo by Kris Kirkham)

Pork ribs (Moorish by Ben Tish; Published by Bloomsbury; Photo by Kris Kirkham)


1. Rinse the ribs under cold running water, then cut into 3–4 rib pieces. Place on a tray and sprinkle with the sea. Ensure the ribs are completely covered. Leave in the fridge for 1 hour.

2. Remove the ribs from the tray and rinse under cold running water to remove the salt.

3. Preheat the oven to 120°C/100°C fan/Gas Mark ½. Lay the ribs in a deep ovenproof tray or tin and pour over cold water to cover. Add the garlic, thyme, bay leaves, star anise and cloves. Cover with foil. Place the tray in the oven and cook for 2–2½ hours or until the rib meat is very tender but not falling from the bone. The low temperature should be monitored to ensure the ribs do not cook too quickly – check 2 or 3 times during cooking and skim off any scum that has risen to the surface.

4. Meanwhile, put the quince paste, coriander seeds, smoked paprika and 100ml of water in a saucepan and melt slowly over a low heat to make a thick glaze. Set aside.

5. When the ribs are cooked, remove them from the oven and leave to cool down in the cooking liquor. Once cool, drain the ribs well (reserve the cooking liquor for another use, such as in a sauce or soup) and place them on a tray. Pour over most of the quince glaze (reserve some for basting later) and toss through the ribs to coat them.

6. When you are ready to serve, you can either finish the ribs on the barbecue, over hot coals, or on a hot ridged grill pan. Barbecue or grill the ribs for 3–4 minutes on each side or until they are evenly caramelised and hot. Baste with the remaining quince glaze as you go. Season with sea salt, sprinkle over the toasted flaked almonds and coriander, and serve.

To finish...

Blood orange and saffron jelly with blood orange granita

This recipe is a love letter to the blood orange. The blood orange, a slightly bittersweet citrus fruit, is only available in the winter months after Christmas. Aside from the delicious flavour of the blood orange itself, which I absolutely love, it is also the crazy colouring of the flesh that gets me excited.

The colours of the blood orange rainbow are an intoxicating swirl of yellow, orange, pink, purple and red, offering the willing participant a gastronomic, psychedelic freak-out.

It’s a culinary trip well worth taking!


Serves 6–8

An ode to the blood orange (Dreamstime)

An ode to the blood orange (Dreamstime)



  • 700ml blood orange juice (from 9–10 oranges)
  • 175g caster sugar
  • ½ teaspoon saffron threads
  • 7 small sheets/leaves of gelatine (14g in total)


  • 220g caster sugar
  • 500ml blood orange juice (from 7–8 oranges)
Blood orange and saffron jelly (Moorish by Ben Tish; Published by Bloomsbury; Photo by Kris Kirkham)

Blood orange and saffron jelly (Moorish by Ben Tish; Published by Bloomsbury; Photo by Kris Kirkham)


1. For the jelly, pour the orange juice into a saucepan and add the sugar and saffron threads. Place over a medium heat, whisking to dissolve the sugar. Meanwhile, soak the gelatine in cold water to soften it. Drain the gelatine and squeeze out excess water, then whisk into the hot juice until completely melted.

2. Strain the mix through a sieve and pour into individual glasses or a large serving bowl. Cover and place in the fridge. Leave to set for about 4 hours.

3. For the granita, put the sugar and 300ml of water into a saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then boil over a high heat to create a sugar syrup. Whisk in the blood orange juice. Pour the mix into a bowl and set aside to cool down.

4. Once cold, pour the syrup into a freezerproof container and freeze, every hour scraping through with a fork until the syrup is completely frozen and resembles snow.

5. Serve the jelly alongside the granita for an incredibly fresh and light finish to a dinner.

(Moorish by Ben Tish; Published by Bloomsbury)

(Moorish by Ben Tish; Published by Bloomsbury)

About Moorish 

"I've been submerged in the cuisines and food culture of Spain and Italy for well over a decade and explored the many regions of these magnificent countries with their markedly different styles and nuances. Throughout the years I've become more and more intrigued by the regions where the Moorish influence has left a pronounced mark and combined seamlessly with the local flavours and ingredients to produce an exotic, full flavoured and vibrant cuisine."

Within these pages, Ben Tish explores this further with over 100 mouth-watering recipes guaranteed to delight anyone who eats at your table. Spices, fruits and incredible flavours that the Moors introduced, such as cumin, cardamom, saffron, coriander, ginger, apricots, watermelons and pomegranates were absorbed into the cultures of Spain, Sicily and Portugal, creating big flavoured dishes with a sun-soaked, exotic taste of North Africa and the Arabic world combined with local heritage, all of which can be found in this book.

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