I like to think of myself as a hermit even if it is really a fantasy. The same way I like to say that I am a country girl because of the summers I spent as a child in Mashta el-Helou in Syria and Reshmaya in Lebanon. In reality I am neither, and my life is mostly very urban and thankfully full of excitement, with the most recent being a day trip to Copenhagen to eat at Noma, invited by my lovely friend Seen, who you can see in the picture above talking to Rene Redzepi and Lars Williams who brought us most of our dishes, explaining everything in detail in his soft voice. He was utterly charming, as was everyone at Noma. It is part of Redzepi’s brilliant philosophy which makes his restaurant such a perfect place, both for the amazing food and the setting from the welcome and the attentive and friendly service to the aesthetics of the whole place, inside and out as well as front of house and back in the kitchens. I had already been there, also with Seen and her husband Fred and other friends, in summer two years ago and I was intrigued to see what the menu was like in winter. Naturally, it was very different except for one dish, the classic moss which this time was flavoured with cepes. Here are the photos of what we ate.
There are fabulous fish markets all over the Arabian or Persian gulf with some of the freshest fish I have seen. However, what makes them more fun than anywhere else, at least for me, is that there is a separate section where you can have your fish scaled, gutted, filleted and cut the way you want.
Here’s a little clip of the fish cleaners which I shot in the fish market in Ajman, a small emirate not far from Dubai. The big fish the guy is cleaning will eventually be grilled whole over charcoal and served over a huge platter of rice, either white rice or biryani.
What’s more amusing is all that is discarded such as fish guts, heads (unless they are eaten), shellfish peel, etc. is used in cosmetics. You may not smell the fish (or meat for that matter) in your expensive crème de la mer or Estée Lauder cosmetics but it is very possible that some of this fish debris has gone into making them, including these lovely heads below!