Thursday, April 16, 2015

From Power With Love. A Persian Dinner. Gorgeous. Generous

From Power With Love

A Persian Dinner. Gorgeous. Generous
Chicken Pastilla

From Persia With Love was the title for a magnificent dinner by local internationally known chef Eunice Power in the Tennis Club (Dungarvan) at the weekend and it turned out to be one of the highlights of the West Waterford Festival of Food.

The Saturday event was sold out very quickly and luckily I had booked my two tickets early on. Tables were communal. We didn't know anyone of the other eight at our table but, by the end, we knew them all and indeed found a relationship with one of families!

But back to the food, all from the Middle East. How would this pan out? Which starter to pick? Which mains to choose? That was no problem - you got them all! All the plates were for sharing and Eunice erred on the side of generosity so there was plenty to go around. Just as well, as every little bit was delicious! Besides, some well priced wine, by the local Wine Buff, helped the food go down and inhibitions go away.
Lavash Bread at the bottom and, on top, Lebanese Sausages (left) and Turkish Cheese Cake.
Let us start at the start, the Spring Mezze in three variations. Firstly, crispy Lavash Bread served with Tabbouleh, Hummus, and Moutabel. We were up and running. Then came the Turkish Cheese Cake, one of the highlights of this stage. This was made with goat and sheep cheese with tomatoes and pine nuts.

And another highlight soon joined the table: the slightly spicy rustic Lebanese Sausages, with pomegranate molasses and sesame seeds. Time now for a break and Eunice had wisely allowed for a good one.
Courgette, mint, and crumbled feta salad
The mains were all outstanding, all arriving more or less together, just like the starters. My early favourite was the Monkfish with Saffron Rice. But another soon emerged as I tucked into the Lamb Sinah, spiced lamb and cauliflower baked in tahini and yogurt crust.

And then I got around to another delicious offering: Chicken Pastilla, chicken in filo pastry. And alongside all three there were bowls of Fattoush with spring tomatoes, crispy pita, and also courgette, mint, crumbled feta salad. So much, so very very good.

Another sos (break) followed. There was no humming and hawing about dessert on this occasion. We all wanted it! And what we got was Pistachio Ice cream and Date Cake, each a treat in its own right but put the two together in your mouth and you had palate paradiso!

Monkfish with saffron rice
Lamb Sinah

 Finished off with an impressive Cardamom Coffee; always a little wary of coffees and teas from the Maghreb and Levant (not that I have that much experience) but this was excellent. Time then to say goodbye to our new found friends, all of us still talking about the fabulous feast we had just enjoyed together. Think we’ll be talking about it for some time to come!

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