Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Cooking from Persiana and hello 2015!


I had some vague plans of getting some blog posts out before Christmas, but obviously that didn't happen, so apologies small but select readership. However, to make up for it,  here is a post on what has become one of my favourite cook books. I am mildly embarrassed to admit that I think I got Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour for my birthday in the early summer,  but didn't get round to cooking from it until last month. After this absurd delay, I thought I'd go for it and make our entire Christmas lunch with recipes from it. This would be the first time I cooked those recipes, but I laugh in the face of pressure (and had a back up plan of crisps and biscuits in place). So I am delighted to report that everything was flipping delicious (mega-apologies for the terrible picture but a lack of proper camera and the desire to eat, further diminished my limited photography skills).


My menu was mainly vegetarian, with a bit of fish. So from the top we have aubergine chermoula, mojardara (rice with lentils and crispy onions), borek (feta pastry cigars), citrus-spiced salmon with sumac, cacik (yoghurt with cucumber, garlic and dill), and butternut squash with pistachio pesto and pomegranate.

Persiana contains recipes from the Middle East and Iran, some traditional and some with a modern take, and handily for me has loads of vegetarian-friendly snacks, sides, and main dishes, as well as a scattering of fish. It's introduced me to lots of new spice combinations that I would never have considered before, as well as new takes on some of my favourite ingredients such as squash and aubergines. Everything I cooked for the holidays was packed with flavour, fresh but still comforting on a winter's day, and also pretty straight-forward to put together.

In fact I was so impressed by Xmas lunch, that I also made broad beans with garlic, dill and eggs (baghala ghatogh) and a pistachio and feta dip from Persiana for the new year (along with various other things). So a big thumbs up for Persiana. It's always good to find a chunky hardback that justifies its place on the bookshelf, and I have a feeling that I'll be cooking a lot more from it this year.

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