our lunch-pig's ears copy

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.

our lunch-sichuan feast copy

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 lunch-fuchsia snapping the tagine copy

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!

our lunch-me having a good time copy

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 boxΒ 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!

our lunch-sichuan feast in the box copy

And here is a pic of the lacquered food box (Cuan he) with the lid on.

There is 13 comments on this post

  • It is interesting to hear that the multiple cultural feast of flavours did not work as well as it should have……I think all the dishes look wonderful. How lucky to share in such a beautifully presented meal:)

  • it was a fabulous feast, mainly thanks to you fuchsia. can’t wait for the next one and our haute couture adventure. sshh…. πŸ™‚

  • yes it was v lucky, both for us and for our guests πŸ™‚

  • ummm. what a delicious meal that was: two of my favorite cuisines types and two of my favorite food writers.

  • Love the concept of this multicultural feast – got me inspired me to try this with my friends! I NEVER knew that couscous doesn’t get eaten with tagine…so many of the Moroccan restaurants serve tagine like that!
    (ps. I recently found this hole-in-the-wall place in Dubai that does tagine…gonna go back and try their lamb one cause you’ve got me craving the dish again!]

  • thank you heidi. it was totally delicious. fuchsia is a brilliant cook and the presentation was spectacular. can’t wait to get my own box to serve fun mezze in it πŸ™‚

  • let me know if the tagine place is good and if it is, i’ll try it when i am next back there πŸ™‚

  • Hi Anissa,
    Fuchsia Dunlop linked to the published recipe for the tagine on the FT web site. I have one point of clarification from the directions, which read:

    “Add 1 litre of water and bring to a boil over a medium-high heat. Then cover and cook for 1 hour”

    Should the heat remain at med-high for that hour, so that you boil the leg for an hour? That’s certainly how the directions read to me, but I appreciate confirmation.

    Thank you so much.

  • actually, i should have written reduce the heat to medium and cook for an 1 hour. watch the cooking juices and make sure you end up with a thick sauce but without letting the tagine dry. enjoy πŸ™‚

  • Thank you, Anissa!

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