Sabzi Kuku Roulade

Hola lovely readers! Do you still remember me?! I know it’s been a while but I’m back from my hiatus for more fun 🙂

Can you believe it’s December already! Geez, where does the time go?? The silly season is upon us and in lead up to Christmas I figured I share with you my take on a humble dish that I have eaten and many Persians eat on a daily basis. The ever ubiquitous “Kuku”. Now for those of you who are not familiar with that word this is a staple in Iranian home cooking and chances are you may have had something that resembles this….think “Frittata”. A Frittata is an egg based Italian dish that is oven baked, likewise a “Kuku” is a stove top cooked version of a Frittata!

There are numerous versions of the “Kuku” found in Iran, some with potato, some with herbs, some with eggplant. The choices are endless, basically if you can mix it with egg and cook it you can call it a Kuku!!

Full disclosure, I’m not a huge fan of “Kuku” and I’ll only really eat it there is no other choice of food available. So why am I posting about it you ask? Well, in my previous life of auditioning for MKR I came up with a more modern and fancier version of “Kuku” that is absolutely FAB.

The reason why it’s such a great recipe is that it is my interpretation of a “Kuku”, it combines all the flavour combinations that I like to eat with a “Kuku” in the one go. Rather that creating just a “Kuku” and serving it with elements I like to put together I decided to combine it all and serve it as a roulade. Plus it’s an excuse to use my Kitchen Aid, can’t go wrong.

The type of “Kuku” that I’m basing my roulade recipe on is “Sabzi Kuku”. Sabzi means herbs so it’s a “Sabzi Kuku Roulade” recipe. I really hope you try to attempt this recipe, it’s a great addition to a Christmas lunch spread. It’s also pretty healthy and a good option for vegetarians. It also impressive looking so it will be a hit with your guests.

Hot tip: you can choose different flavour combinations and substitute elements you can’t find or don’t want to use

Sabzi Kuku Roulade

Ingredients

For the sponge batter:

  • Parsley, Coriander, Chives (also you can use garlic chives instead), baby spinach all chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Spring onion/shallots (optional)
  • 6 eggs
  • Salt 1/2 tsp
  • Pepper to taste
  • Lemon zest
  • Turmeric ground 1/2 tsp
  • 100 g Plain flour
  • 100 ml oil

Filling

  • 250 g cream cheese (you can also add a bit of ricotta to this)
  • Barberries 1/2 cup cleaned, washed and sautéed (for filling and garnish)
  • Walnuts 1/2 cup chopped (to enhance the flavour; leave Walnuts in water and place in fridge rather than using dry/raw)
  • Poached Chicken pieces shredded (optional, leave out if vegetarian)
  • Chilli flakes (optional)
  • Lemon juice

Method

Firstly to perform this recipe you must own a mixer of some kind, if you don’t have a Kitchen Aid then use a hand mixer and a bowl.

To make the sponge simply mix all the ingredients and slowly add the flour to the egg batter. pre-heat the oven to 180 and grease and line an adequate sized oven tray. If your tray is too large the roulade won’t be as thick as there is a greater surface area. Spread the batter evenly onto the lined tray and give it a good couple of taps to release the trapped air. Place in oven for 20 mins and check to see whether it is ready by stabbing it gently with a toothpick or knife. Once the knife and or toothpick is clear, remove the tray and with the help of tea towel, roll the sponge and place it on a rack to cool for 30 mins.

While the sponge is cooling, sauté the Barberries and leave aside. If you can’t find this ingredient try an alternative like cranberries or sultanas. Mix the cheese until soft and add the Chilli flakes. You can use Cinnamon instead of Chilli if you are adding Cranberries/sultanas to the mixture. With a brush, spread some lemon juice on the sponge to help the cheese mixture adhere to the surface. Then spread the cream cheese mixture and sprinkle the Barberries and chopped Walnut.  When spreading the filling make sure that you leave the edges clean as too much will spill out once the sponge is rolled. Roll the sponge and wrap in a tea towel and place it in the fridge for a couple of hours.

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One fine-looking roulade!!

The roulade is now ready to be served. You can serve it as whole (above photo) with some Barberries as garnish or slice it like below and serve with yoghurt and barberry sauce. Bon appetit!

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My fancy AF take on this humble dish 🙂

To make up for my lack of posts and because it’s the season of giving and I’m feeling generous I will be posting later again this month so watch this space. Till next time Xx

Torshi

Happy Sundayfunday my lovely readers!! it’s been a while I know… hope you have missed me ;p

I’ve missed you but there was good reason for staying away. You see we are getting ready for my brother’s wedding this month so have been busy organising and planning. We are also having family stay with us so in preparation for that I decided to write about one of my favourite food accompaniments “Torshi” aka picked vegetables. Boy do I love Torshi!! I can eat that stuff till the cow’s come home and once you see how easy it is to prepare you will also love it too.

I have not one but two recipes for you today, figure that would make up for my absence!! Although both are very similar in preparation, they taste slightly different and it’s really up to your own preference, if you like it just tangy or with a bit of spice and kick. To me both are excellent so I’m not the best person to ask 🙂

The main ingredient you need is Apple Cider Vinegar, this is the staple of Torshi and what gives it the acidic flavour. Also you will need some glass jars, just make sure they are sterilised well before used.

Next, you are going to need a whole bunch of veggies.There are so many options to choose from so pick what you would like to eat. Here’s a selection of my go to:)

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Once you picked the veggies you want, just wash and dry them well and either use them as whole or chop them into medium size pieces. I usually do a combination as I prefer to eat Torshi in bite size pieces rather than cutting them after they are pickled, but as I mentioned previously it’s totally based on personal preference. Next comes the seasoning; be sure to season well with salt and other condiments like Coriander and Nigella seeds and fresh herbs like Tarragon. These extra ingredients will elevate the flavour of the Torshi and give it more body. The next step involves fitting everything into the jars in a Tetris style configuration!! Make sure you have a bit of everything and add extra seasoning if you wish.

Finally fill the jars with the Apple Cider Vinegar to the brim until all the ingredients are covered. Close the lid and turn the jars upside down for half an hour and then store them in a cool dry place for a week. You may need to top the jars with Apple Cider Vinegar as the veggies do tend to absorb it so it’s best to keep an eye on your Torshi.

The other Torshi recipe I want to share with you only involves Chilli peppers, essentially all you need is a mixture of red and green Chilli peppers and some garlic cloves. Chop them roughly into small pieces, this part can be a bit tricky….just make sure you wear some disposable gloves, wash your hands well and please avoid rubbing your eyes!!!

Once you have chopped everything season with plenty of salt and then also season with dry mint flakes. Your ingredients are now ready to be bottled up, add the Apple Cider Vinegar as above and it will be ready to enjoy in roughly a week.

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Bellissimo!!

 

Torshi is a great flavour enhancer for a lot of Persian dishes or even on it’s own as a delicious snack or an addition to  cheese or meat platters.

Hope you guys will give this recipe a go and share it with your loved ones.

Till next time Xx

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#grannylove

 

Christmas in July!

Happy Sunday funday my lovely readers!Hope you have missed me ;p

Apologies but I have been under the weather of late and have only started recovering in the past few days. Between being sick and the cold weather I haven’t had the chance to do much. Having said that, I did finally find THE cutest moulds to make mini tarts in and felt that today was just the opportune time to use them.

Initially I was thinking of making my signature Sour Cherry Fereni tarts in miniature form but I thought as it’s so cold I will use a more Christmas inspired colour to inject a bit of oomph to this Winter’s day.

This recipe is part Persian Fusion and part Gordon Ramsay 😉 I initially saw this quick jam recipe on his You Tube channel years ago and decided to give it a try as it looked super easy. It turned out to be super fabulous; a great standalone jam recipe as well as an awesome addition to any dessert….I loved it so much I even incorporated into a Fereni flavour and sold it during our market days back in Hobart. I know it’s a winning recipe and certain that you will love it. You can thank me later ;p

Gordon Ramsay’s Quick Strawberry and Balsamic Jam recipe:

 

P.S. That Crumpet recipe is the BEST, incase you feel like trying it out 🙂

Now that you have made the jam, let it cool at room temperature. Whilst the jam is cooling make the shortcrust pastry dough by mixing flour, chopped cold butter and a pinch of salt with a splash of cold water and blitz it in a food processor until it looks like a breadcrumb mixture, then make the mixture into a round ball and cover it with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge.

Hot Tip:make sure you have half the amount of butter to flour ratio

To make the Fereni, in a small pot on the stove heat 1/2 cup of rice flour to 1 1/2 cups of water. Whisk on low to medium heat until you feel the mixture start to thicken. Add 2 tbsp of sugar and keep stirring. Note; you can add more sugar depending on your palate and preference. However be sure to not make it too sweet as it will be mixed with the jam so ideally it should to be balanced. Combine the jam with the Fereni and keep mixing on low heat until the white the Fereni mixture has changed colour and has been fully incorporated into the jam. This should be a reddish colour. Add some fresh mashed up strawberry pieces and remove from heat. Let the Fereni cool and place in the fridge to allow the flavour to enhance.

Knead the pastry dough and place into moulds, then bake at 180 degrees Celcius for 30 mins. Allow the Tartlets to cool and pipe the Fereni into the shells and decorate with Golpar and Salt.

Hot Tip: I like to use a zip lock bag and cut the corner to use for piping

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And that’s pretty much it, super easy and doesn’t require a whole bunch of ingredients but it sure to make an impression at any event! That’s all from me on this cold wintery day. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Till next time Xx

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Bloggerversary 2.0

Hello my lovely readers and happy Sunday to you all 🙂 Hope you had a great start to the Winter season, Can you believe it’s already June? Such craziness!

Speaking of craziness I recently realised that it’s been almost 2 years since I’ve had my blog…..can’t believe how fast time flies sometimes!!

This time around I thought instead of sharing a recipe to celebrate the milestone, I’ll be reflective and share with you my journey and the reason why I do this.

You may think that I’ve been cooking for a long time but really it’s not as long as you might think. I mean, I used to dabble a bit with baking back in the day but never that regularly and to the extent of what I do now. I wouldn’t say that I have always loved to cook or anything like that. So why you ask I keep at it? This is a very good question.

It all started around the same time that I lost my Dad, almost 5 years ago. After he passed away it seemed like I was stuck in a fog. My family and I were going through a really tough time with no end in sight. I needed to stay positive and find a way to escape our current situation but didn’t know what to do. I felt really lost, at the time I was living and working in Hobart and staying there was becoming unbearable. It was such a small town with so many memories, I needed to move forward and start fresh.

So early in 2015 I made the decision to leave Hobart and started to regularly look for work. I knew that it wouldn’t be easy and time consuming but thought it was at least a start. In the process of doing this I also noticed that applications for My Kitchen Rules (MKR) program had opened so I thought I’d also submit an application, we really needed a distraction and had nothing left to lose. The following months turned out to be quite unexpected indeed!

MKR turned out to be a really great experience. The many months of auditions, menu writing and cooking not only helped pass the time and distract us but it really helped me put my creativity into good use. It was amazing and although we didn’t get to be on the show I really learned a lot from that chapter of my life. So much so that once it ended I didn’t want to stop. I kept going, I applied to master chef too! I practiced for weeks on end and when it was time to audition I was so sick from the flu that I collapsed. That didn’t stop me from auditioning though…I flew to Melbourne and gave it a go, needless to say it didn’t go very well. I felt a bit defeated but thankfully I had a great support system of family and friends who believed in me so I decided to keep trying (by the way I was still looking for work too!)

I liked the idea of applying again for MKR however I had to wait until the following year to apply again and had a good six months to spare….I had to keep practicing and needed an audience to try the food we were making. Not traditional Persian but a bit fusion and contemporary. I decided to enquire about having a food stall at the local farmer’s market, after a few back and forth emails and application forms we managed to secure a temporary stall a couple of Sundays a month and so started our market journey!

 

Some of my favourite MKR creations; Sabzi polo with Mahi and deconstructed Apple Kolooche with Pomegranate sorbet 🙂

Our market journey was fabulous and I would do it again in a heartbeat. We had even started to gain some popularity and regular customers, however after a few short months it had to end as I managed to find a job in Sydney after months of applying and getting rejected….the time had finally come to pack our bags and move to the big smoke!

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Our very last market, so bitter sweet but we had sold all our desserts!

Sydney is a great city, I grew up here but coming back was a different story. The first year was a very overwhelming and challenging experience for me. Trying to get my bearings with work and life in a relatively new city with very few friends was pretty difficult. I even tried applying to many markets but no one seemed to be interested in what we had to offer. It felt like I had come to a dead end somehow but I couldn’t let setbacks stop me so I decided to make an outlet in the form of a blog.

This blog is very special to me, my baby in fact. I’m so happy that I started this journey and kept going. It has been a very worthwhile one indeed. I want to finish up with a quote, I know it’s kind of cheesy but who cares!

” Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts”  Winston Churchill

This is my go to quote, whenever I feel defeated, rejected, heartbroken I think of this quote and it helps me to keep on going. This quote resonated with me and the reason is that it rings so true, life has it’s ups and downs, failures and setbacks but don’t allow it to define you. Keep trying and moving forward because you never know what is around the corner!

I sometimes wonder where I would be now if I hadn’t kept trying…definitely not here I think. I’m so glad I kept going, it’s been an incredible journey and it’s not over. I hope you can join me in another year full of foodie adventures and recipes.

Thank you as always for the support, till next time Xx

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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

 

When your Sabzeh game is strong…

Hello there my lovely readers! are you surprised to hear from me so soon? I know I’m not due for a post for a few weeks…however this is an exception. You see in a few hours time it will be Norouz aka Persian new year and this year I wanted to share with you my journey to growing Sabzeh.

Before we get started, if you are reading this post and don’t know what Norouz or Persian new year is all about simply take a quick look back at my Norouz post from last year to familiarise yourself with the lingo used in this post. Trust me it’ll come in handy 😉

Where to begin, how about my lack of gardening skills in general! You see, I must enclose that I am in no way a green thumb. Actually to be perfectly frank I suck at gardening. I pretty much kill everything I touch, I have tried to growing and taking care of a number of plants over the years and even tried my hand at growing a herb garden….lets just say that it didn’t end well 😦

So you can see why growing Sabzeh; a key feature of the Haftsin has always been a problematic challenge for me. Yes, you guessed it. I have never successfully grown my own Sabzeh…until now that is!!

See, there was an ulterior motive for this post 😉 I was so impressed by my Sabzeh game this year that I thought a humble brag was needed disguised as a timely Norouz post!! Although, I am more than happy to share my killer Sabzeh growing technique with you dear readers so that next year your Sabzeh game will be super strong like yours truly 🙂

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#Haftsingoals

 

Now I have to admit I did my research to come up with this awesome technique of growing Sabzeh. I would love to take credit but this method comes from a Persian lady on you tube. Her instructions were very clear and I made sure I followed them to the tee. There were a few major things that I instantly noticed that I wasn’t doing during my attempts at growing Sabzeh in the past. It took eight days for the seeds to sprout and turn into Sabzeh. Although half way through I thought it wasn’t going to happen for me (again) this year however they pretty much sprouted overnight, it was so amazing!

 

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the journey from seed to Sabzeh 🙂

 

Ok so follow these instructions for a killer Sabzeh every time, it won’t happen overnight and it definitely will happen 🙂

  • Soak 1-2 cups of your seed/grain of choice (lentils,wheat, mung) in water for 48 hours (rinse and refill after 24hours). FYI I used lentils and mung.
  • After the 48hr soak, transfer the seeds to a wash cloth. Rinse and mix them over a colander
  • wrap the seeds in that wash cloth and place near sunlight. Repeat this step for 3 whole days, just make sure when you rinse that the seeds get mixed gently so that they all have a chance to sprout. Also it’s very important to drain any excess water from the cloth.
  • After these 3 days, empty the seeds onto desired plate/jar and make sure to fill it adequately so that when they grow it will be a full sprout
  • cover your plates/jar with a paper towel and rinse and drain again for another 3 days
  • Remove the paper towel, you should have a plate of fully grown sprouts by now to place on your Haftsin
  • Rinse and drain everyday and place near sunlight

Hot tips: Don’t put your sprout under direct sunlight and failure to drain water from the sprout will cause mould to grow and ruin all your hard work!

Now that my Sabzeh bragging is over, I would like to wish my fellow Persian peeps a very happy and prosperous Norouz. May the new year be filled with fantastic milestones and wonderful surprises!

Norouz mobarak, from my Haftsin to yours 🙂 Till next time Xx

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A taste of Shomal

Happy Sunday evening my lovely readers, hope you had a wonderful weekend 🙂 I know this is a late edition but brace yourself as you are in for a treat!! This post will be all about Shomal and Shomali food with so many photos!!

What is Shomal you ask? Well Shomal literally means north and in this case we are referring to the north of Iran. Specifically the two provinces along the south of the Caspian sea; Gilan and Mazandaran. The term “Shomali” refers to anything from the north. The reason why I’m dedicating a whole post to Shomal is for two reasons, one is that Shomali food is known throughout Iran as being the best and full of variety. The other reason is that I have Shomali roots through my parents, both were born in Rasht which is the capital of Gilan province.

The reason why Shomali food is so great is because of the climate, it’s perfect for agriculture. It rains often and hence it’s very green. Dishes from the north consist of local produce so everything is very fresh. I suppose you can say that Shomal of Iran is a “foodie” capital.

Now that you know this I would like to share with you some photos of the lunch we hosted today for our friends which was Shomli themed…now you know why I posted so late, this post is literally hot off the press!

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Some of my fave Shomali dishes! A lot of vegetarian options too 🙂

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Traditional rice served upside down with nuts, Barberries and orange peel

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Some great accompaniments to Shomali food; Zeytoon Parvarde, Masto Khiar ,soaked walnuts and melons

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Of Course no Shomali feast is complete without Reshte Khoskar!!

I have previously posted about some of the dishes, so feel free to browse some of my earlier posts for recipes but I promise more recipes will follow, for now I hope you enjoy “a taste of Shomal” as I’m going to put my feet up and enjoy the last few hours of my weekend!

To our dear friends;thank you so much for coming. We really enjoyed your company and it was a pleasure serving you. Till next time Xx

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A sweet start to the year

Happy Sunday my lovely readers!  Did you missed me?! Hope that you have all had a fantastic 2018 thus far and are still working on those resolutions 🙂

Thought I’d celebrate my first post of the year with something sweet, simple and summery (with a hint of Persian). This recipe is very versatile and a general crowd pleaser hence it’s perfect for parties and BBQs. The idea for this recipe came to me not too long ago. I was invited to a Pizza night and wasn’t quite sure what to bring until it hit me…what better than a dessert Pizza? I could even use my mixer to make the dough!!(Yay)

So I raided my fridge to see what flavour combinations I could use and as it so happened I had bought some peaches the day before and guess what I ended up using?!

So here is the recipe:

Peach and Cinnamon dessert Pizza 

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1 tbsp yeast

For the topping

  • 6-7 yellow peaches halved
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of chilli powder

Method

  • To make the dough; add the yeast to war water and set aside for approx 3 mins
  • In the bowl of the mixer fitted with the dough attachment mix the flour,salt,sugar and olive oil. Stir the yeast mixture and add to the flour mixture
  • using a medium speed, mix everything then reduce the speed to low for 10 mins
  • divide the dough into two and roll into balls, brush them with olive oil to stop it from drying out and place them in separate bowls covered with plastic wrap in a warm place like the oven (turned off) for 3 hours
  • grease the pizza trays and roll out the dough to fit on the tray, grease with butter and a pinch of caster sugar
  • place in preheated over (180C) for 15-20 mins
  • take it out of the oven and set it aside to cool, with a toothpick prick some small holes throughout the dough

 Hot tip: As you can see the above recipe is catered towards using an electric mixer. If you don’t happen to have one just make the dough by hand.

  • On a grill pan fry the Peach halves in butter
  • add the rest of the mixture to the pan and let it simmer until the juice is thickened
  • set aside to cool then pour the sauce onto the dough and place the peaches gently onto the dough
  • sprinkle with a pinch of chilli powder for an extra kick
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A mouth watering tasty summertime treat!

Now because I had an extra dough left, I got a bit excited and decided to make another flavour….a Baghlava flavoured pizza!! It’s actually very simple. The only difference was that I added 1 tsp of crushed cardamom and 2 tsp of almond meal to the dough. I also added one more tsp of almond meal when greasing the dough with butter and sugar before placing into the oven.

For the topping; I just brushed the dough with some syrup. The syrup mixture is as below.

Baghlava Syrup

  • 1 cup of caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of rosewater
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2-1 tsp lemon juice

Heat the sugar and water in a small pot until the sugar is dissolved then add the rest of the ingredients one at a time and heat gently on low heat and remove before it starts to boil. Set aside to cool then pour on cooled dough that has small holes pricked so that the syrup can fill the dough and make it moist rather than just sit on top. Garnish with crushed pistachios and dried rose petals.

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A very tasty dessert to accompany some seasonal fruit 🙂

That’s it for me, hope you have enjoyed my first post for the year. See you next time Xx

‘Tis the season

Hello my lovely readers!! A very merry Christmas eve to you all! Can you believe it’s finally this time of year….scary how fast time flies. Hope you are all ready to have an awesome xmas. I was pondering about this post for a while, as you know Yalda usually falls right before christmas and last year I wrote a post about it (if you don’t know what Yalda is then I highly recommend you take a look at my “Yalda” post to catch up)

I didn’t want to talk about Yalda this time around and didn’t have much to discuss in terms of Christmas as in Iran Christmas is only celebrated by the Christian minority so I was in a bit of a pickle. Having this writer’s block allowed me to become slightly creative so it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

I decided to come up with a great recipe that can be used for Christmas and Yalda. It involved both themes plus I got to use my Kitchen Aid for the very first time since buying it almost 2 years ago! yes that’s right, I was using it as a decoration piece this whole time but after using it for this recipe I pledge to use it more often as it cut my time in half.

In the lead up to this recipe I thought about Yalda initially and decided I wanted to make something with Pomegranates and Pistachios. Hence I decided to go with a sweet option. Then  realised that these are also the colours of Christmas so it turned out to be very fortuitous indeed.

I searched online for cake recipes and found one that had potential, then I tweaked it and voila here is the recipe. Enjoy!

Pomegranate and Pistachio cake:

Ingredients

For cake

  • 225g unsalted butter room temperature
  • 200g caster sugar
  • around 1/2 tbsp crushed Cardamom pods (approx 6-8 pods)
  • 4 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 70g plain flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of salt (I use pink Himalayan)
  •   300g Pistachios plus extra for decoration purposes

For glaze

  • Juice of 1 Pomegranate
  • Juice of 1/2-1 Lemon
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp Pomegranate molases
  • Pomegranate seeds for decoration purposes
  • 1/4 tsp of gelatin powder or can use cornstarch substitute for thickening purposes

Tools requied

  • whisk
  • mortar and pestle
  • hand stick mixer
  • electric mixer
  • 20cm Springform pan
  • spatula
  • baking paper
  • foil

Method

  • preheat the oven to 160-180 C fan
  • grease and line the springform pan
  • blitz the pistachios with the stick mixer until finely ground
  • place the butter into a large bowl and using the electric mixer beat until light and creamy; approx 3 mins
  • use the mortar and pestle to crush the cardamom pods into fine ground (alternatively you can use store bought ground cardamom, however I think using the pods is better as it enhances the flavour. Also any chance to use a mortar and pestle is so satisfying 🙂 )
  • add the sugar and cardamom ground to the butter and beat until light and fluffy mixture is formed; approx 5 mins
  • whisk the eggs lightly in a separate bowl and add it to the butter mixture slowly, beating until fully combined
  • sieve the flour, baking powder and salt together and add it to the ground pistachios
  • finally add the dried mixture to the butter mixture and gently fold together until batter is homogenised
  • scrape the batter into the pan and make sure there are no air pockets and is evenly distributed by tapping the pan onto the bench a few times
  • place pan into the oven for 50-60mins or until golden brown, if the cake is browning too quickly lightly cover it with some foil
  • allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 mins before taking it out and decorate with glaze, pistachios and pomegranates
  • to make the glaze I just played around with the ingredients listed above to come up with a balanced flavour that I liked, this is really up to your taste buds. If you like it a bit on the sweeter side then add extra sugar but if you like it a bit tart like me then add 1 whole lemon and less sugar. When you decided on the flavour add the thickening agent and place on stove and whisk until you feel resistance. Take it off the heat to cool before pouring onto the cake.

Hot tip: to make sure the pistachios don’t form a paste whilst blitzing them just add a dash of flour

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end result,a very festive treat!

So there you have it an awesome recipe that incorporates Persian and Christmas themes plus I got to use my Kitchen Aid and it kind of tastes like Baghlava #winning

I hope you enjoyed this post as it was my last one for the year. I wish all my lovely readers a very merry and safe Christmas break. Hope Santa treats you well!

Thank you so much for the ongoing support, I truly appreciate it. See you in 2018 for more treats Xx

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Halva

Ola dear readers and a happy Sunday funday to you all!I just love this time of year don’t you? the weather is starting to get warmer and the streets are filled with pops of purple from the Jacaranda trees…. It’s such a treat.

Speaking of treats, I have a very sweet one for you indeed. I decided to attempt making Halva for the first time ever! Usually I leave it to the professionals aka matriarchs of my family but today I just felt like it was time I gave it a go for myself. So I did and I got a killer recipe for you but first I want to talk a bit about Halva.

In short Halva is a type of sweet consisting of either a flour or a nut base, It’s very common across the middle east and India. There are numerous versions around across different countries.The root of the word Halva comes from Arabic, which means sweet. They are not wrong either as it is sweet, very sweet!

You can make Halva with flour, semolina, tahini as the base and add ingredients to it like honey, ginger, nuts, carrot…the list is endless.

I’m not sure about other countries but in Iran traditional Halva has a religious and spiritual significance. It is eaten during the month of Ramadan as the sweetness gives you energy during the day which helps you endure the fast. It’s served in various religious ceremonies and during wakes where it’s consumed in conjunction with a prayer in honour of the deceased. It is also used as a pledge or vow to god on behalf of someone this is called a  “Nazr” and it’s basically performed to make a wish for someone. There are other forms for Halva that as stated before made with honey or sesame, these types can often be served in other festivities like Norouz. We even sold different types of Halva stacks at our market stall back in Hobart a few years ago!

So now that you have a bit of understanding about the significance of Halva lets get to the fun part. It’s actually quite a basic recipe with minimal ingredients needed. What I’m a bout to share with you is the traditional Halva recipe so feel free to use this as a base and add ingredients to it. Beware that Halva is quite sweet and it tends to get more sweet as it cools so my favourite thing to do when making Halva is eat it hot out of the pan. This may sound weird but it’s soooo good and not as sweet. It’s actually my preferred way of eating Halva 🙂

Halva recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1/2 cup of Persian rose water
  • 1/2 cup of caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp steeped Saffron
  • 100-150g of butter
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • pistachios

Note: If you are gluten free you can possibly try substituting the flour with the GF option 

Method:

  • Firstly, you need to make a syrup. In a small pot combine the rose water and sugar and heat until the sugar dissolves. Try not to mix the syrup or let it boil for too long as this will affect the texture of the Halva. Once the sugar is dissolved add the steeped Saffron and gently mix so that the colour of the syrup is orange, turn the heat off and set the syrup to one side
  • Next you need to cook out the raw flour. In a wok or frying pan, add the flour and mix it around the pan until the smell of the flour rises and the flour has slightly changed colour
  • Once this occurs then take the pan off the heat and sift the flour. Return the sifted flour back into the pan add the crushed cardamom and keep stirring and mixing the flour until it has turned into a beige colour
  • Then start adding the slivers of butter slowly into the pan, one piece at a time. Let the butter melt in the pan and then incorporate it into the flour. You can also add a bit of oil each time you add the butter so that the butter doesn’t burn. With the back of your spatula push down on the flour to allow the oil and butter to soak inside  and spread.
  • Once all the butter and oil has been incorporated into the flour then slowly add the syrup into the pan and quickly incorporate it into the flour mixture. This is the crucial part so I recommend taking the pan off the heat, placing it onto a bench top and adding the syrup slowly with one hand and kneading the Halva mixture with the other. Once all the syrup is incorporated and the Halva is well kneaded and has a play-doh consistency it can be served. Spread it thinly on a plate and garnish with Pistachios or Almonds (traditional style) or eat it directly out of the pan…my style!

Hot tip: Use Persian rose water as it’s mild, if you use Indian or Arabic rose water make sure you dilute it as it’s too strong. If you don’t like rose water then simply substitute with water.

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The end result; traditional serving on the top left

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and a more contemporary style…the Halva stack 🙂

 

I’ll like to leave you with some footage of me eating some hot Halva!! #nojudgement

Till next time Xx