It is not the first time that I team up with the lovely Fuchsia Dunlop for an exotic multi-cultural feast. Last time we had combined Chinese, Gujarati and Lebanese while today it was mainly Chinese and Moroccan. Fuchsia prepared the starters, a magnificent selection of Spicy Sichuanese chicken (here’s her recipe for it), green soybeans with ‘snow vegetable’ (a Shanghainese pickle), edible chrysanthemum leaves with firm tofu, fish-fragrant aubergines, kohlrabi salad, spicy cucumber salad, Shanghai ‘smoked’ fish and pressed pig’s ear. The latter being a perfect masterpiece as you can see from the picture above.
All Fuchsia’s dishes were utterly delicious; and they were totally gorgeous to look at. She had arranged them in a beautiful lacquered box bringing them ready to serve.
As for me, I was in charge of the main course and I decided on a tagine of lamb with prunes which I finished with heather honey and orange blossom water (you will find the recipe here). It was delicious but not a perfect match. The flavours were too subtle after the vibrant flavours of the Chinese starters. And it was not particularly gorgeous to look at after such a fine and colourful display. Still, Fuchsia loved it and she also liked the Moroccan bread flavoured with anise and sesame seeds which I had baked to serve with the tagine — Moroccans never serve couscous with tagines as they do here.
Our other two guests had differing opinions about the tagine. Allan was not sure about the muddy colours while my elegant Italian friend enjoyed it unreservedly which made me happy as you can see from the picture Fuchsia snapped of me without my realising it!
To finish, I served them my home-made Arabic pistachio ice cream flavoured with mastic and rose water and thickened with salep which made for a light and fragrant end to an exceptional meal. We are now plotting our next feast, again mixing dishes from the far and near East but we decided that next time we will serve everything together. Perhaps by then, I will also have a beautiful box like Fuchsia’s — I asked her to get me one — in which to serve my mezze. And Allan, if you are reading this, you are definitely invited to our next feast!
And here is a pic of the lacquered food box (Cuan he) with the lid on.
Tagged : allan jenkins, arabic pistachio ice cream, edible chrysanthemum leaves with firm tofu, fish-fragrant aubergines, fuchsia dunlop, green soybeans with 'snow vegetable' (a Shanghainese pickle), heather honey, kohlrabi salad, orange blossom water, pressed pig's ear, Shanghai 'smoked' fish, spicy cucumber salad, spicy sichuanese chicken, tagine of lamb with prunes 13