I’m so lucky! Can you believe that in the same weekend that we were treated with so many delectable goodies at Lucy’s I was also spoiled rotten by another fabulous friend? Middle Eastern cooking is obviously the cuisine of the moment as we all seem to be so taken with cooking, eating and reading about it!
Carly, who I have mentioned previously, owns and runs a mobile pamper business and produces her own range of indulgent native skin care products. If that’s not enough she’s also a fabulous and generous cook who provided me with a stack of home cooked meals just after I had my little girl – the very best gift I could have received!
Carly has recently moved into a new place and to warm her home she had the stove fires burning to whip up a middle eastern feast for a girls night in – and I was one of the lucky attendees.
The emphasis of the night was on rustic vegetable dishes, all featuring adorable tender baby vegetables that Carly had sourced from the Gepps Cross markets. It’s known as more of a trash and treasure market but apparently it has quite a large fruit and vegetable section too. This is a relatively new discovery for Carly and entirely new to me – but I will be checking it out soon (if I can get up early enough – she gets there at 7am!)
So we were treated to the following amazing range of vegetable dishes featuring dried fruit, nuts and fragrant spices in those distinctively earthy/tangy/sweet/savoury combinations found in the middle east…
Young zucchini mixed with garlicky herbs and crunchy toasted almonds.
The earthy flavours of lentils mixed well with the slight tanginess of turnips in this unusual (for me) combination.
My particular favourite was the carrot dish that came with a piquant herb dressing that perfectly set off the sweetness of the carrots.
I’d never seen such tiny sweet potatoes in the next dish, and the sweetness was enhanced with the raisins and note of cinnamon which offset the tangy carrot dish beautifully.
And, of course, for hard core omnivores we were also provided with a fabulous meat dish – a slow cooked shoulder of lamb, bathed in juices from wet slow cooking, semi cut by the butcher into ‘chops’ before cooking so we could pull it all apart with tongs, mmmmmmm…
The dessert was, thankfully, quite light and provided a sweet but refreshing lift to round off the meal. Thinly sliced oranges dusted with icing sugar and scattered with torn mint leaves accompanied by pads of folded filo pastry, fried in butter then sprinkled with cinnamon and a little sugar.
All of the dishes came from one cookbook (with Carly’sparticular twist on a few of them) – A Taste of Morroco by four authors, spanning Fes, Morroco and Marrekech – Herve Amiard, Laurence Mouton, Mari Seguin-Tsouli and Marie-Pascale Rauzier.
As you can imagine we were rolling out of there at the end of the night, having a had a great chin-wag, a feast for all the senses, and some rather lovely wine. I believe Carly’s house was thoroughly warmed that night.