Maria and Phill have very kindly allowed us to host the first ever WeFiFo event in Helensburgh, Scotland.
We are going to take a bit of a culinary journey tonight and to begin we will start off in Vietnam (bet you weren't expecting that!!)
Vietnamese mango salad (ask Alan about the night that I ate this and he ordered chicken feet!!) The sweetness from the mango and the crunch from the carrots help combat the heat from the marinade. I can make it with or without beef.
Homemade Labneh - a Middle Eastern yogurt cheese with olives, pistachios and basil - go on dip it in and give it a whirl.
Pink grapefruit, (pomelo if I can get hold of it) and sumac salad with red onion and basil in a sweet chilli dressing - something about the word grapefruit makes people scrunch up their faces and wince but this underappreciated fruit is worth a bit of peeling effort. This starter will definitely wake up your taste buds.
Now the hot stuff .....
Roast chicken Ottolenghi style - thyme, sage, orange, garlic, chilli, red onion, muscovado sugar, pomegranate molasses, dark soya sauce and olive oil are gently massaged into the chicken for 24 hours (lucky bird) then roasted with butternut squash and prunes to give a sticky yummy sauce that covers everything in the pan.
Aubergine Chermoula – Originally from North Africa this dish is tangy, sweet, fresh and chutney like- impossible to resist and highly moreish. Aubergine, onion, garlic, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, raisins, pepper, vinegar, tomatoes and honey are some of the unlikely ingredients that somehow blend together to produce this delight. The first time I made this I thought really ... but then once cooked it does make you stop in your tracks.
Served with rice Persian rice - I love this way of cooking rice, you steam the rice with very little water in a large pan adding a dollop of butter to the bottom and when its cooked you turn it upside down and hey presto it has a buttery crust to it, it is a bit of a unique taste but I do think its worth the effort
Dark chocolate, Cardamom and Espresso Mouse Cake - where do I begin ... everyone loves chocolate cake, add into this love affair a hint of spice and then make it lighter than air with a whisper of a kiss - and there you have it.
Persian orange and almond cake - fragrant, moist, soft, dense, sweet and moreish you’ll have trouble only eating one slice.
If Maria has room in her freezer I will make some ice cream.
If you have room there is a selection of foreign and local cheese some hard, some soft - so soft they are practically gooey served with grapes, walnuts, figs, biscuits and a snifter of port.
Fresh coffee served with a variety of after dinner mints. There is also Yorkshire tea, mint tea, green tea, liquorice tea, pomegranate and apple tea and decaf coffee if anyone wants one.