Saffron Cake: with saffron and rosewater icing, sprinkled with crushed rose petals and pistachio nuts.

Persian ceramic art I wanted to make something different to contribute to the family Christmas table and I thought for a change I’ll make something for tea! That is ‘tea time’! Tea time is an important ritual in England and especially on Christmas day!

I made this gluten free but you can easily use a wheat flour cake recipe.

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Saffron cake ~ saffron and rosewater icing, sprinkled with crushed rose petals and pistachio nuts

 

You will need ~~

Rose water

Liquid saffron 

Icing sugar

Rose petals

Pistachio nuts

Vanilla essence.

~Make your sponge as you usually would but add two teaspoons of liquid saffron for a rich yellow colour and 1 teaspoon of vanilla for taste.  You could opt to add rosewater as a substitute for vanilla but I think it might be too much if you use it for the icing too. I used two medium eggs in the sponge recipe but you may prefer to add a teaspoon of flour to thicken the mixture up again.

~Remove the sponge from the oven, set to the side and leave to cool.

~Take a bowl and add a tablespoon at a time of icing sugar. Add a teaspoon of liquid saffron and a teaspoon of rosewater initially and just keep adding until you have enough colour and taste to suit you! There is no right or wrong here, its completely personal taste. Pour over the cake.

~ Roughly crush the pistachio nuts and sprinkle over the sponge. Finally sprinkle crushed rose petals over the iced sponge and there you have it!

 

saffron cake top view
saffron cake top view

 

 

 

Nooshi joonet

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Pumpkin and Sweet Potatoe Soup

PUMPKIN AND SWEET POTATOE SOUP

There’s nothing more satisfying than a bowl of soup on these cold wintery days. Pumpkins are seasonal so we have to make good use of them while we can!! Today I wanted to experiment a little and thought I spice up my usual pumpkin soup recipe and persianise it! So here it is. It’s very easy to make. There are no hard and fast rules about ingredients or measurements of, it’s very relaxed and delicious. Hope you enjoy.

~ INGREDIENTS ~

  • 1/2  pumpkin seeded and cubed.
  • 1  Large onion diced
  • 2 Sweet potatoes peeled and chopped.
  • 3-4  Garlic cloves diced.
  • 1 Red pepper seeded.
  • 1/2 cup of liquid saffron.
  • 1/2 stock ( I used chicken stock but what ever you have is good)
  • salt and pepper to taste.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon of advieh
  • 1 dried lime.

~METHOD~

  1.  Place the oven on about 200 degrees. Brush the peppers with a little olive oil and bake until the skin begins to blacken. Remove from the oven and place the peppers in a plastic bag. Put aside to cool.
  2. Using a little oil, fry the onions and garlic until it begins to turn golden.
  3.  Add the cubed pumpkin and sweet potatoe, salt, pepper, turmeric, the saffron, chicken stock and the dried lime. If you haven’t got dried limes, use lime juice or powdered lime.
  4.  Pour enough hot water on to cover the vegetables and leave to simmer until the veg is soft, usually around 20 mins.
  5.  Go back to your peppers and peel the skin off.
  6.  If you want smooth soup, blend everything together. If you like your soup lumpy just chop the red pepper flesh as small as possible and add.

Hey presto ….. a delicious sweet and sour soup, warming and thoroughly nutritious. Garnish with chopped corriander. Just what you need on a damp winters day. Eat now, serve for supper or take it for lunch the next day. BTW it freezes well too.

~Nooshi joonet ~

Spice up your Salads

A Persian meal is always served with some fresh vegetables be it in a salad or a dish of sabzi khordan or both. Fresh vegetables are essential for vitamins and minerals which help prevent illness and have many other benefits such as an aid to our digestive system, skin, hair and bones but salad’s can become a little boring unless you spice them up. A perfect way to add flavour is through the use of herbs.

One of my favorite herbs is mint and it makes for a perfect salad dressing.  Mint is easy to grow and you can grow it all year around and it’s easily sourced in a dry form from any supermarket.  This recipe below is one I use regularly and completely transforms even the most basic of salads into some something delicious.

  • 4 desert spoons of olive oil
  • 1 desert spoon of grape vinegar or apple vinegar ( these are gluten-free. Malt vinegar contains gluten)
  • A teaspoon of fresh or dried mint finely chopped
  • A teaspoon of fresh flat leaved parsley finely chopped
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Take your basic salad ingredients and cut into mouth size pieces.

2. Your dressing ingredients: Olive oil, Apple vinegar, salt and pepper, mint and parsley.

3. Chop the ingredients

4. Add the chopped parsley and mint to the basic salad ingredients

5.Take the olive oil, vinegar and salt and pepper and whisk with a fork and then pour over the salad.

Nothing could be easier and you have yourself a tasty, zingy salad.

Nooshi joonet . Enjoy

Spaghetti Persian style.

There is nothing so delicious as spaghetti Persian style! Complete with taadig ( a crusty bottom) if you want it! This is one of the few times I’m happy to let my other half loose in the kitchen simply because he makes it so much better than I can!  We use Gluten free pasta but you can use wheat pasta. Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 400 gr’s ground beef
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Tomato puree
  • 1 tin of tomato’s
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon,
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon of fresh chopped ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon of curry powder
  • A pinch of dried mint
  • Water
  • Olive oil.
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Fry the chopped onion in some olive oil until it begins to turn transparent
  2. Add the turmeric, ginger and cinnamon
  3. Add the mince  and the curry powder and cook until brown.
  4. In a separate pan heat some olive oil,  add the garlic, a little turmeric and a good pinch of dried mint.
  5. Add the tomato puree and fry
  6. Add the tin of tomato’s, salt, pepper to taste  and 1/2 glass of water  and cook for 15 minutes over a low heat until the sauce thickens.
  7. Combine the meat and sauce in one pan
  8. Allow to simmer for 30  mins on a low heat.
  9. Meanwhile cook the pasta.
  10. Combine the meat sauce and  pasta and return to the heat for about 15 mins.
  11. If you want to make a taadig simply allow it to cook in the pan for about 15-20  mins on a low heat.  When ready to eat, cover the pan with your serving dish and quickly turn upside down. If it doesn’t all come out at one, rest the pan in some cold water for a few minutes and try again.

Serve with a salad or sabzi and we like ours with mast or natural yoghurt .

Nooshi Joonet. Enjoy ( I did!)