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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Persian Contestent on Masterchef UK

Masterchef UK is into its second day. Afsaneh Kaviani made an amazingly delicious looking saffron  Ice cream and Baklava….. oh was my mouth was watering !! Afsaneh made it through to tomorrow and Im looking forward to see what else she is going to come up with. Well done Afsaneh.

Meanwhile here is the link to her recipe.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/saffron_and_pistachio_95163

Dolmeh or Stuffed peppers

Dolmeh        

I just love persian ‘Dolmeh’ and the recipe is well overdue here on my Persian food blog. So here it is, inspired by my dear friend Haroot  far away in Tehran and I just wish he was here to enjoy it with me!

This is the basic recipe to use with peppers, aubergine, tomatoes or large onions and will serve approx 2-3 servings. It takes around an hour to prepare and 2 hours  to cook.

Ingredients~

  • 2 peppers
  • 2 aubergines
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 courgette
  • 1/2 cup rice ( I used Thai but any is good)
  • 1/3 cup of split yellow peas.
  • 1 lb of minced beef
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 cup of chopped parsley ( jafari )
  • 1/2 chopped chives (tareh)
  • 1 cup of chopped mint (nanar )
  • 1 cup of chopped tarragon (tarhoon )
  • 1 cup of chopped dill (shivid)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of saffron dissolved in 1/2 cup of hot water
  • 2 tablespoons of tomatoe paste
  • 3/4 spoon of advieh
  • 1 cup of tomatoe juice
  • 1/2 cup of ghooreh or lime juice
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil

Method ~First preparation!

  • Clean all your vegetables and herbs
  • Remove the tops of the peppers and de seed, remove the top of the tomatoes and the aubergine (put to one side~ keep the tops of the veg as you will need them for a lid later!). Scoop out all the flesh from the veg and keep for later use.
  • Peel and chop the courgette and chop the tomatoe and aubergine place in a pan and fry in  olive oil until golden then put to one side.
  • Blanche the peppers in boiling water for 5 mins and brown the aubergine off in a frying pan. The tomatoes can be used as they are.
  • Wash the rice and split yellow peas and cook together in boiling water for approx 15  mins. If you are using a different rice, adjust your cooking time accordingly.  The rice should be al-dente. 
  • Brown off the minced beef and onion, adding the tomatoe paste at the end. Stir in.
  • Chop all your herbs. If you’re using dried herbs, soak first.
  • Take a large bowl and begin to combine all the ingredients: Add the herbs to the rice stirring in gently. Then add the cooked vegetables you put to one side earlier . Add the meat and onions, a  teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper and the advieh. Mix in very gently and by this time you will be pretty exhausted so take a break with a cup of tea and leave to stand for 10 minutes. First put the oven on at about 180 degrees.
  • Now you feel refreshed begin by stuffing the peppers, pressing the mix into the pepper gently with the back of the spoon. Place in an oven proof dish. and place  in your pre heated oven. The peppers are going into the oven first as they take longer. The other dolmeh will be added in a while .
  • Now prepare the sauce: Take the tomatoe juice ( or whizz a can of plum tomatoes), add the ghooreh or lime juice, 1 teaspoon of salt, the saffron water, the sugar and cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of oil and bring to the boil. Allow to simmer for a few minutes.
  • Add the sauce to the oven proof dish with the peppers after about an hour and place in the other dolmeh. Continue cooking for approx another hour.

The vegetables should be tender before you remove the dolmeh to serve and test the sauce as you may want to add more salt according to you own taste.

Serve with flat bread and natural yoghurt. Nooshi joonet 🙂

Sharbat e ablimu Lime or Lemon syrup

The sun is shinning and my thoughts turn to sharbat e ablimu, such a refreshing drink for hot weather such as we are enjoying ( for a change) here in the UK.   It couldn’t be easier to make and by making the  concentrate or syrup instead of following the traditional recipes for lemonade, you will have enough to last for a week.

~~SHAHBAT E ABLIMU~~ LIME ONADE ~~

Ingredients~

  • 10 cups of sugar ( ochhh not for those watching their weight )
  • 4 cups of water
  • The juice of 20  fresh limes or lemons

Method~

  1. Squeeze the limes by first rolling them on a hard surface with your hands, then extract the juice in the normal way … engage someone with strong hands! It gets tiring.
  2. Place the sugar and water in a pan and bring to the boil.
  3. Add the fresh lime juice passing it through a strainer into the sugary water
  4. Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes.  it should have become a thicker  syrupy mixture.
  5. Allow to cool
  6. Store in a clean bottle with a lid and keep in the fridge.

To make the sharbat:

  1. In a jug, add 1 cup of syrup to 3/4  pint of water and mix well. You may want it stronger so just increase the amount of syrup.
  2. Add a few ice cubes and decorate with a sprig of mint and sliced limes  🙂

~Nooshi joonet ~

Kebab koobideh or Persian Mince kebab

This is my other halfs favorite kebab. He’s got it down to a fine art after many experiments, all of which were delicious in their own way but he tells me its about how well it keeps it’s shape on the skewer! I will get to that later! I just eat them but thought I would share his recipe with you.

Kebab koobideh is made with minced meat. Either lamb, beef or chicken which ever is your preference. We use beef because we eat so much lamb and chicken and beef  makes a change. Koobideh is famous in Iran and there are variations such as adding chopped parsley. This is the basic recipe but enjoy experimenting.

~~KEBAB KOOBIDEH~~

~INGREDIENTS~ ( serves 2)

  • 1 lb minced meat
  • 1 onion grated
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoons of sumac
  • 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric

~METHOD~

  1. Get your charcoal ready about 30 mins before you plan to cook.
  2. Take the minced meat, add the grated onion and all the ingredients  and mash it with your hands for several minutes until it becomes a paste.
  3. Leave in the bowl for about 10 -15 minutes so that it becomes warm and this will make it easier to form around the skewers.
  4. After 15 minutes or so, make several balls with the meat paste and roll into sausage like shapes about 6 inches long.
  5. Using the flat sword like skewers, form the meat paste around onto the skewer and then leave in the fridge for 15 minutes to cool and set around the skewer.
  6. Use this time to prepare a baste of  2 tablespoons of melted butter with 1/2 cup of lime or lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
  7. Now your ready to grill. Place the skewers approx 3-4 inches over the coals and grill for about 5 minutes each side and don’t forget to baste!
  8. Remove from the skewer onto a dish and sprinkle with sumac just before serving.

Serve with saffron rice, flat bread, herbs and or salad and of course mast or natural yoghurt.

~Nooshi joonet ~

Kookoo sabzi or Herb omelette

Protein packed and full of healthy fresh green herbs and nothing could be easier than making kookoo. Kookoo  makes a great lunch or light supper or even something to take out with you on a picnic as it  can be eaten hot or cold and both are equally delicious. Kookoo can be made in less than 30 mins and cooked either in the oven or in a pan on the cooker, which ever you prefer.

KOOKOO SABZI

~~INGREDIENTS ~~

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of advieh
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 cup  of coriander ( if you prefer you can use dried herbs, simply use 1/2 the  amount and soak in water first. Remember to squeeze the water from the herbs before you use them)
  • 1 cup of parsley
  • 1 cup of dill
  • a tablespoon of fenugrek
  • 1 onion thinly sliced or grated
  • 2 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 1 tablespoon of flour.

~~Method~~

  1. Take the six eggs and place them in a mixing bowl
  2. Add the salt, pepper, advieh and baking powder and beat well
  3. Sift the flour and beat into the mix
  4. Add the chopped herbs, chopped onion and crushed garlic and mix well.
  5. If your going to cook in the oven, put it on at about 200.c.
  6. Add a few tablespoons of oil into a baking dish and put into the oven to warm
  7. When ready add, add the kookoo mix into the bowl and leave to cook for about 10  mins.
  8. After 10  mins, add a little more oil if needed and leave to cook  for a further 10- 15 mins until set  and nicely cooked.

Serve with mast ( natural yoghurt) and a fresh salad.

Nooshi joonet

Joojeh Kebab or Persian Chicken kebab

Chicken is relatively inexpensive at the moment with many of the larger supermarkets offering bargain packs.  I usually stock up when they offer these bargain packs and freeze for later use and some how we ended up with a freezer full of chicken!

Chicken is light on the stomach, packed with protein, easy to prepare and cook and great for the bbq! Of all the different ways to use Chicken in Persian cooking , Joojeh kebab is one of my personal favorites.

There are a number of ways to make the marinade. This is my favorite but alternatively you could omit the olive oil and add mast or natural yoghurt. Another variation…some people add a teaspoon or two of turmeric.

~~JOOJEH KEBAB~~


~Preparation~

  • Make sure you marinade the chicken for at least a few hours before. I often leave mine over night.
  • It’s important when cooking chicken on the bbq to get the coals good and hot to avoid undercooked meat and food poisoning ! Be sure to leave your coals until they are red, this can take up to 30 mins or more.
  • Make sure you thoroughly cook the chicken.

~Ingredients for the marinade~

  • Liquid saffron ( use 1/2 teaspoon of saffron, grind and add half a small cup of water)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 onion roughly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons of Olive oil

~Method~

  1. Roughly chop the onion. Your going to discard it later so don’t worry about it too much.
  2. Make the liquid saffron
  3. Cut the chicken into bbq size chunks and flatten.
  4. Combine all the ingredients and leave to marinade over night for maximum flavour.
  5. When your ready to bbq, place the chicken onto the skewer and grill each side until golden. Dont forget to baste with the marinade juices.

Serve with saffron rice and a nice fresh green salad.

Nooshi joonet …. Enjoy 🙂