Sunday night supper

Sichuanese black garlic

“Hmm, this black garlic is delicious.”

“Actually it’s made from the single-cloved garlic of Sichuan.”

“Is that like the wild elephant garlic of Iran?”

Such is the conversation when you invite the cookery writer Anissa Helou over for a quiet Sunday night supper. I’d promised her something very casual, but ended up thinking about the  menu all weekend, of course. This is what we had:

A sweet, treacly black garlic clove each: these were a gift from the Sichuanese chef Yu Bo.

Smacked cucumber with a Sichuanese chilli-oil dressing.

Stir-fried venison slivers with yellow chives (made with superb venison from the Wild Game Company at Broadway Market in East London)

Stir-fried mixed mushrooms with garlic

Wild chrysanthemum tea from Hong Kong

Baby pak choy in chicken stock

Brown rice

A little fermented beancurd to go with the rice

The meal was a good example of the economy of Chinese cooking: we only ate a total of 150g meat between us, but, cooked like this, it was plenty. After eating the baby pak choy with our chopsticks, we drank the stock as a soup; and the fermented beancurd (eaten in tiny quantities) was absolutely delicious with the brown rice. The whole meal took just 30-40 minutes to make.

After dinner, we drank some wild chrysanthemum tea I brought back from Hong Kong, and ate tangerines and gianduja chocolates from Turin. Yum.

P.S. I’m afraid we had eaten almost everything before we thought of taking photographs, so y0u have to imagine what the dishes looked like….

5 Responses to “Sunday night supper”

  1. Duncan

    Certainly sounds like a lovely Sunday night supper… The black garlic article you’ve linked to mentions that this type doesn’t give people the dreaded garlic breath – but something I’ve noticed over the years I’ve been living in Guangzhou is that most of the garlic here doesn’t seem to have that effect anyway, even if hasn’t been fermented… either that, or everyone is eating so much of it that none of us notice anymore! Any thoughts?

  2. anissa helou

    that was a lovely dinner fuchsia. thank you. all of it totally delicious; and it was great to see you after so long. we definitely should have taken pictures but we’ll do a dinner here, half chinese/half lebanese and we’ll take pictures then. before we eat!

  3. Fuchsia

    I suspect it’s just because everyone is eating it!

    Remember, this is what Britain’s first envoy to China, Lord Macartney, had to say about the Chinese way of eating in his observations made during a trip in 1793-4:

    “They are all foul feeders and eaters of garlic and strong-scented vegetables”

    (You’ll find the full text of his report here:

  4. Aaron Kagan

    I feel my life will be incomplete unless I too am invited to dinner sometime. Sounds incredible.

  5. Laura scott

    Sounds like a perfect meal. Always good to learn something new. Thought I knew a lot about food before visiting your blog, now my knowledge is growing!

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