Come Dine with Me!

Hello there my lovely and wonderful readers…..and for those who have recently joined I would like to say welcome to my blog!!

Boy, have I got a post for you… I just know you will love it!

To say that I’ve had an incredible week is an understatement! why you ask? Let me back track, about eight months ago I was a contestant on “Befarmaeed Shaam” and my group was aired this past week.

For those who are unfamiliar with this show….basically it’s the Persian version of a British cooking show called “Come Dine with Me”. The basic premise of the show is that a a group of four people host a night individually and give a score at the end of the night and the host/hostess with the highest mark comes into some money on the final night when they tally it up.

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With my group on the first night, Aboriginal theme 🙂

This all came about over a year and a half ago when by chance I found out that the show would be shooting their next season in Sydney. I decided to give it a go and contacted the show to enquire about the details. Long story short I ended up auditioning and subsequently got chosen to be a contestant. I was both very excited and nervous, I wanted to put emphasis on Persian fusion and show the viewers that you can put your own take on traditional Persian dishes (like I had done before during the auditioning process for MKR) and frankly this was the reason why the producers of Befarmaeed Shaam picked me to be on the show.

To prepare for the show I thought about what I wanted to highlight, not only Persian fusion but also “Shomali Food”, the food that I had grown up eating. Albeit not in the traditional sense but with my own spin on it. I wanted to choose dishes that were not so well known by the rest of Iran so that it would be something a little different…. also there was the challenge of trying to dish them up in a way that was contemporary. From the start I knew that I wanted to serve my Fereni tart as the dessert, this was a no brainer. It was my baby and it was a best seller at our market back in Hobart so I knew that it would be the best chose. I chose Albaloo as it’s my favourite flavour.

As for the Entree; I had played around with the idea of Mirza Ghasemi but there was two issues with that dish, one being that it’s so popular- it’s the typical dish associated with the north of Iran and the second being that a great tasting Mirza Ghasemi uses smoked eggplants to give it that signature smokey flavour. I wanted to use the smoking technique on my main dish hence it would have been over kill to have two smoked dishes back to back. With this in mind, I picked the next best thing; Kadoo Ghasemi (if you are interested in this recipe please refer to my post “Kadoo Ghasemi” which also includes the Lavash recipe I had made on the show)

So now I had two dishes down and one to go, I knew what I wanted to make but I had to execute it in a way that would look good on a plate. Torshe Tare is a very traditional dish from Gilan and it’s absolutely delish and vegetarian friendly. It is usually made with a mixture traditional herbs from Shomal but my granny always makes it with Spinach so I decided to stick to that. This dish is super easy to make and it served with rice and smoked fish. I incorporate the rice to make it chunky and less moist so that I could use it more as a base to place the Salmon on.

For me, it was important that I made every aspect of my dishes from scratch to show that you can be both technical and creative with traditional Persian dishes.I practice a lot leading up to the show so that my timing was good. I’m so happy that on the day/night I was able to execute my dishes well and my food turned out the way I wanted.

Since the show was aired/streamed last week, I have been asked to provide the recipes of what I made. My entree “Kadoo Ghasemi” was already posted previously so I will share with you the recipe for my main, I hope you enjoy it!

Azzy’s Torshe Tare with Tea Smoked Salmon and crispy skin

Ingredients for the smoking mixture:

  • 1/2 cup of black tea leaves
  • 1/2 cup of Basmati rice
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • Orange peel
  • Lemongrass sticks
  • Parsley

A good Wok, some foil, baking paper and a Chinese steamer is also needed to carry out this technique

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Skin the Salmon fillets and pin bone them as much as possible

 

Method:

  • remove the skin gently with a sharp knife (handy trick- hold the fillet with one hand and slide the knife from underneath to easy remove the skin)
  • line the steamer with baking paper and place fillets, season well with salt and pepper

hot tip: make sure the fillets are similar size so that they all get smoked evenly

  • Place the steamer on top of the wok and cover it with the lid and foil so that the steam gets trapped
  • cook on the stove top for about 7-8 minutes
  • take the wok with the steamer off the stove and place aside to rest for another 10 mins
  • taste to make sure the smoky flavour is there ( I placed a small strip of salmon meat with the fillets for tasting)
  • transfer fillets onto an oven tray and cover in foil (place it in the oven to keep warm prior to serving)
  • For the crispy skin; place the skin (score with knife and season with salt and pepper) in between some baking paper and two oven trays and bake for around 40 mins

Ingredients for Torshe Tare:

  • 250g Fresh/frozen spinach (you can add other herbs to it if you prefer)
  • Salt
  • Turmeric
  • 5 cloves of grated garlic
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 eggs whisked
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 2-3 tbsp boiled Basmati rice (Katteh)

Method:

  • Boil the Spinach with some salt and a small amount of water (don’t add too much water as the spinach itself has a lot of water)
  • In a frying pan fry the grated garlic with Turneric and a pinch of salt, once golden add the flour to a corner area and cook it out so the raw taste of flour is not evident
  • Add this mixture to the boiled Spinach (make sure all the water is gone from the pot) and mix it together on low heat
  • Add the rice to this mixture and mix it again, then add the lemon juice (traditionally the sourness comes from “Narenj” a sour citrus fruit from the Orange family which is not common here hence I  had to substitute with Lemon)
  • in a bowl, whisk the eggs well and add a pinch of salt
  • Increase the heat of the Torshe Tare mixture until it starts to boil then pour the eggs, close the lid and turn the heat back down (this allows the eggs to puff a little)
  • take the lid of and mix the egg through the mixture add pepper
  • take it off the heat and let it cool
  • serve with smoked fish or in our case the tea smoked salmon

Hot tip: add small amounts of salt along the way as each component requires salt otherwise the end result will be too salty 

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Decorate with herbs, Dill or Coriander works best 

 

There you have it; a very impressive main dish that seems more complex than it really is!

I’ve added the link to the final night aka my night for those who haven’t seen it yet (if you’re looking for a bit of a laugh!)

 

Lastly, I would like to thank everyone for the incredible amount of support received. Even though I didn’t win on the show, I feel like a winner thanks to all the lovely and kind messages that I have received in the past week. I am deeply humbled and touched, Khely mamnoon. Till next time Xx