Sunday, September 19, 2010

Moroccan inspired Dinner

After our fantastic dinner at Souk in the City I was very excited to try my hand at cooking a Moroccan inspired dinner with the goodies Kate from Table of Plenty had provided H and I. The next day I sent an invitation out to the gang for a "Moroccan" themed dinner at our place. Our usual dinner parties are more of a potluck nature, where each one brings a dish instead of the host preparing all the food but this time due to the last minute dinner invitation and everyone else's busy schedule the cooks for our Moroccan dinner would be SK, H and myself.

Photobucket
Goodies received from our Table of Plenty dinner at Souk in the City. From left, a bottle of preserved lemons, recipe cards, a box of tea glasses (3) and Table of Plenty Dukkah - Pistachio, Macadamia and Almond.

Photobucket
Rachel had brought along a bowl of hand torn Baguette and a Tzatziki dip which she had learnt from a family she lived with in WA during her practical course. You see, Rachel is studying to be a vet.

Photobucket
Rachel's Tzatziki Dip - Rich and creamy with a slight sourness from lemon juice I think. This went really well with the bread and was a great starter. 

Photobucket
H's Sand Whiting and Vegetable Chermoula Stew. This was supposed to be cooked in a tagine but as we didn't have one he cooked it in a pot like a stew. I think we used the wrong fish here as they were lots of fine bones in this one and we had to be really really careful to not choke on one. H made the Chermoula with coriander, flat leaf parsley, garlic, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and lemon juice. Other then the bones this dish proved a success with its slightly sourish sauce.

Photobucket
SK's Olive Chicken - The taste took some getting used to as I've never had olive chicken before but it definitely grew on me. I would definitely try this dish again.

Photobucket
Moroccan Roast Lamb - SK used a combination of spices such as cumin and coriander to marinate the lamb before roasting this in the oven. The lamb was slightly dry in some parts due to the inconsistent heat from my oven (I think the right side of the oven heats up more than the rest) but the lamb that was cooked on the other side was tender and pink with the subtle hint of spices :). SK also made a mint sauce to go with the lamb which was delicious.

Photobucket
Inspired by a similar dish we had at Souk in the City this was my version of Prawns w/ Almond Dukkah. I marinated the prawns in a little salt and a Moroccan spice mix which I bought from Green Valley Spices, Paddy's Market, Chinatown for about 30 minutes before adding the almond dukkah and leaving it for another 10 minutes before grilling the prawns on a hot grill. These were delicious and was one of favourites of the night.

Photobucket
Couscous w/ Raisins and Rocket Leaves - I've made couscous numerous times before and I still can't believe how easy and simple it is to make and it tastes great too! I used a 500g packet of instant couscous and 185g of seedless sultanas. Place both the couscous and sultanas into a large bowl and pour 500ml of boiling water into the bowl. Leave for 10 minutes to soak. Melt 125g of butter and add 1.5 tablespoon of ground cumin, 3 teaspoons of ground coriander, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of almond dukkah. Stir through the couscous until evenly distributed. Finally, stir in the rocket leaves.

Photobucket
There was no vegetable dish planned for the night so I made a quick Rocket Salad w/ Celery and Tomatoes but I shouldn't have as everyone else was happy with the dishes put up and didn't need the vegies. Go figure.

Photobucket
We were all very full from the food that no one was interested in a heavy dessert. Luckily I still had some Chocodate left from my trip to Dubai. Chocodate, as the name would suggest, is made up of a dried date covered in rich chocolate. They proved a hit with everyone and was the perfect close to the evening.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Table of Plenty Dukkah @ Souk in the City


A number of weeks ago we received an invite from MarkComms for the relaunch of Table of Plenty's Dukkah range which was held at Souk in the City in Surry Hills. H and I arranged to attend the evening session which was described as a modest dinner on the invite compared to a full on lunch session which we found out later at the dinner had included a cooking demonstration, henna tattooing and even belly dancing! What would life be like without having to work 9am to 5.30pm (sometimes 6pm, 8pm, 10pm?)

On the day of the event we made our way through the rain to Souk in the City where we were warmly welcomed by Omar out host for the Evening. Omar showed us to our table where we found Angie from Angie Lives to Eat who was the first to arrive. Our party made up of Mark also a fellow blogger who's an avid cook (I didn't get a chance to hear the name of his blog - sorry Mark!), MJ from markcomms and the lovely Kate Weiss.

Photobucket
Kate, the founder of Table of Plenty, charmed H and I by her enthusiasm, passion and love for Table of Plenty and what it represents to her. She shared with us her experiences living in the Middle East and her love for spices and the desire to share it with everyone. You can read Kate's story here.

Before we get to the food I have to apologise for the quality of the pictures. The place was dark and I didn't realise the pictures were blurry when I looked it up on the small screen of the camera, that is until it was downloaded and blown up on my PC. (Don't you just hate that?? I think I will have to sign up for a photography class soon to get the basics down pat and not disappoint you readers and myself with my blurry photographs!)

Photobucket
We started the night off with Bread and 2 Dips - Pumpkin w/ Macadamia Dukkah (pictured above) and Hummous w/ Pistachio Dukkah. I loved the idea of adding dukkah to the dip as this created a lovely texture that contrast with the smoothness and creaminess of the pumpkin and hummous. From now on I will be adding dukkah to hummous every chance I get!

Photobucket
Our first entree of the night was Grilled Haloumi, Poached Sweet & Sour Figs, Sherry Vinegar and Rocket & Pine Nuts with the addition of Macadamia Dukkah. I love the combination of the rocket and sherry vinegar with the haloumi and fig.

Photobucket
The next entree up was the Almond Dukkah Lamb Brochettes w/ Smoked Eggplant, Pistachio and Argan Oil. This dish was so good. The lamb was seasoned with spices and almond dukkah then grilled to perfection. This was served with a delicious roasted eggplant puree. My mouth is watering just thinking back to this dish.

Photobucket
Our third entree for the night; Pistachio Dukkah Crusted Prawns w/ Sour Tomato, Mint and Preserved Lemon Mayonnaise. Omar explained that prawns usually taste quite bland on its own and spices and sauces are used to give it added flavour. The clever use of dukkah here together with the sour tomato sauce and fresh prawns made this dish my favourite of the night.

Photobucket
As we move towards the mains, Omar brought out two bowls, one filled with Steamed Cous Cous w/ Raisins and Almonds and the other, Saffron Rice. I was getting pretty full just from the entrees but of course I had to try the both of these. I love the addition of raisins and almonds to cous cous as I always thing they add extra sweetness and texture to the normally plain cous cous. This was cooked quite light in flavour, ready to be drowned in the delicious sauces and flavours from the coming dishes. The saffron rice, coloured yellow from the saffron, was also light in taste, again to be eaten with the rich and flavourful dishes to come.

Photobucket
Corn Fed Chicken Tagine, cooked w/ Saffron, Preserved Olives and Crispy Dukkah Potatoes - I found the chicken a little too dry for my liking but the sauce made up for this (I was dousing my chicken and cous cous in the sauce). The potatoes were another highlight of this dish; crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside.

Photobucket
My favourite of the main dishes tonight was this delicious Moorish Lamb Meat Balls in Rich Tomato Chermoula, Crispy Carrots, Coriander & Tomato Chekchouka. The meatballs are indeed very moorish (I've not included Moorish in to the name of this dish I swear. It was included on the menu!) especially combined with the lovely coriander and tomato chekchouka sauce. The crispy carrots also was a lovely addition to this dish and went very well with the sauce.

Photobucket
Vegetarian Cous Cous steamed in a couscoussier w/ Chickpeas and Glazed Moroccan Spiced Vegetables. I was a little surprised that we had another cous cous dish on the menu tonight as we were served cous cous earlier on as an accompaniment to the mains. The other two mains overshadowed this dish as the cous cous, chickpeas and spiced vegetables were very light in flavour compared to the other two main dishes.

Photobucket
The finale - Dessert! From left to right; Banana Crumble, Honey Ice Cream w/ Dukkah, Lavender Milk Jelly, Chocolate Truffle and Moroccan Pudding w/ Date and Figs. I loved the first two desserts. The banana crumble was just superb. The bananas just hit you when you take a bite of this dish akin to eating banana bread but not as heavy. Yum! The honey and dukkah ice cream was really good too mainly due to the texture added to the ice cream by the dukkah and the combination of honey and spices.

Photobucket
We finished the night with Moroccan Mint Tea. Omar pictured above entertaining us with the act of infusing and cooling the mint tea. He poured the mint tea from great heights 3 times to infuse the flavour as well as to cool the temperature of the tea so that they are ready to drink when served to us.

A big thank you to Kate, MJ and Omar for being our lovely hosts for the night. H and I enjoyed ourselves tremendously with wonderful food and good company. Not only that, we were also presented with a lovely goodie bag before we took our leave. Read my next post for what we received and what we've done with it!

You can find Table of Plenty Dukkah range and other Table of Plenty products at Coles and Woolworths/Safeway supermarkets as well as on Table of Plenty website's online shop.


Souk In The City
"Henry" Building
Shop 5 / 431 Bourke Street
Surry Hills Sydney

Email: dining@soukinthecity.com

Tel: (02) 9357 7577

Opening Hours
Tues - Sun Dinner 5.30pm - Close
Lunches available by special reservation

foodie-central dined as guests of MarkCommunications

Daphne