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Sam & Sam Clark: 'I collect wooden knives and forks. They’re rather pointless…'


My earliest food memory…Samuel: My mum showing me how to cook eggy bread. I remember becoming quite obsessed with the art of making it. My trick was to separate the white from the yolk: I used to whisk the white with a splash of milk [for the batter]; and then, after the bread was cooked, I would put the yolk on top and flip it over very briefly so it was warm but runny.

Samantha: Going to my grandmother's house in the South of France every summer and being introduced to all these wonderful Mediterranean ingredients, from delicious tomatoes to sardines grilled on the barbecue.

My store-cupboard essentials… Samuel: I'm a slight chilli addict – I grow lots of varieties; I've always got Encona West Indian [hot pepper] sauce, and I have also been making my own chilli oil recently.

Samantha: Really good olive oil – we obviously have Spanish in the restaurant but I don't think you can beat new-season Italian. I also have balsamic vinegar, oatmeal and botarga [grey-mullet roe]: you can put it in pasta or make a salad with it; it keeps for ages and goes a long way.

The kitchen appliance I can't live without… Samuel: My wooden spoons. I've collected quite a few on my travels, and they all have their different personalities and design features. I've also eccentrically started collecting wooden knives and forks. They're rather pointless, but my two-year-old quite likes pretending he's holding real cutlery.

Samantha: A coffee grinder for grinding spices, because pre-ground, shop-bought spices quickly go stale.

My favourite food shop… Samuel: I'm very fond of the shops on the Highbury Barn strip [in north London] from [cheese shop] La Fromagerie to the new fishmonger that's opened there. I also love the Turkish Food Centre at the end of Ridley Road [in east London] – before we opened Moro, I worked for a few weeks in the bakery there, learning how to make flatbreads and lahmacun. You can get all sorts of extraordinary things there, from sheep's heads to lamb's testicles.

Samantha: Leila's, a lovely little shop and café in Bethnal Green. Everything from its cheeses to its sausages is fantastic but it's also a great place just to sit and have a coffee.

My guilty pleasure… Samuel: Findus Crispy Pancakes, which is a result of my 1970s upbringing. I succumb every now and then, but I don't share them with my family: I wouldn't want them getting a taste for them.

Samantha: The breadcrumbs you get on fish fingers – when fried in butter, they have lovely caramelised crispiness. I'll just eat them and not the fish.

The strangest thing I've eaten… Samuel: A sheep's eyeball, which I had in a Turkish restaurant just off Green Lanes [in north London] about a year ago. Also, when I was travelling in northern Pakistan, I stayed among this non-Muslim tribe called the Kalash, who proudly presented me with the local cheese; it was full of maggots, which I had to pick out. I don't think you were supposed to eat them, though they would have provided extra protein.

Samantha: Deep-fried sea anemones in Andalucia. They're delicate and crispy, with an ever-so-slight creaminess.

My tipple of choice… Sam: A fino or manzanilla sherry. Sometimes if I go into a supermarket, I'll find myself absolutely dazzled by the choice [of wine], so I'll go for one of those instead.

Samantha: Campari and orange juice. I studied in Italy for a couple of years, and it's been a favourite of mine ever since.

Sam and Sam Clark are joint chef-owners of Moro restaurant and Morito tapas bar in Exmouth Market, London EC1. The first Morito seafood festival, featuring a seafood tasting menu with matching sherries, runs from 11 to 16 September (020 7278 7007, morito.co.uk)