“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 Â 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
Baby pak choy in chicken stock
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….