Tag: Persiana

Safavid Style Beef Pastries

Hey, lovely people of retro food world.  I feel like I have been totally neglecting you recently but believe me, you are not alone.  Top o’ the list of neglect as been myself.  There was a night last week when my dinner consisted of 1 cronut and  2…ok…3 glasses of red wine.  Oh and tears. Which I figure counts for grains, fruit and salt.  That’s three of the food groups isn’t it?  

I have been working all the hours and even though it has been crazy busy, I have also been loving it. 

The tears were because that night I realised I had not only missed a book club meeting but I had missed the emails advising of the book club meeting so I was basically a no show which I hate.  Because that’s just rude. 

Safavid Style Beef Pastries

So, there has not been much cooking done at all.  One of the few things I have made was the Safavid Style Beef Pastries from Persiana.  My plan was to get home by 7, maybe 7:30 and then  make a yoghurt sauce and some salad and the pastries – I had already made the beef mixture –  and we would eat, drink and be merry and marvel over the elaborate pastry swirls and curlicues I had formed.  Except I didn’t get home til closer to 8:30 and those pastries were thrown together with the love and attention that you would normally give a a not very interesting advertisement for something you have no intention of buying.  There was no yoghurt sauce.  There was no salad.  There were some badly formed pastries on a plate with a blob of ketchup mixed with tabasco sauce (me) and HP sauce (him).

BTW, these should have looked like this:

Safavid Style Beef Pastries3

I felt I had done really badly on this meal. So when I asked a very tentative “So what do you think?” I was pretty much bracing myself for critique that contained all the things I was berating myself for, being all the missing parts of the meal I had planned in my head.  And that the pastries looked like they had been made with someone with no opposable thumbs.

“These are great.  I really like them”

“What?”

“Are there more?  Can I have some more?”

Sabrina Ghayour, this is why I love you. 

Speakin’ of which

The Persiana Project

Last time we spoke I had 32 recipes left to cook from Persiana.  Somehow, and I don’t even know how I managed to do this, we are now down to 26. 

I made the Safavid Beef Pastries, the Cod with Relish, the marinated feta, the feta cigars from the marinated feta and….two other things  that I have no recollection of making.  Such is the fugue state of my brain. On the other hand, this challenge is going really well.  And OMG…the marinated feta and the feta cigars?  Delightful, delicious, delovely! 

 

Persiana Marinated Feta

Turkish Feta Pastry CigarsNext on the list to cook is the Chicken and Artichoke salad which I am planning to make tomorrow night.  Then again, I was also planning to make it tonight and ended up having a jaffle made with some leftover curry instead.  This is actually one of the very best ways to eat leftover curry – and a special little trick – instead of just plain butter on the bread, make a little garlic butter.  Leftover heaven!

Curry JaffleInbox Zero

Because I have been so busy my personal inbox is out of control. At last count I had about 2700 unread emails.  My challenge for April is to get this under control i.e. no more than one page of unread.  I have found in the past, the best way to do this is to pick the latest email, search for all from that sender and work through them in a batch.  This is particularly good for anyone who is selling anything as you can do a mass delete and voila that’s 30 emails gone in 10 seconds.  But if anyone has any tips on how to control a crazy inbox, please let me know!

 Watching

I reinstated our Netflix subscription over Easter so I am finally watching Making A Murderer.

I am also binge watching The Librarians…this is almost like someone make a show EXACTLY for me.  It’s set in a library and its about really smart people solving supernatural stuff. Who even knew I had that many buttons that could be hit? 

Reading

The Midnight Watch

Loved it, loved it, loved it.  Best book I have read thus far this year.  And I feel like I have read a lot of good stuff already. Stay tuned.  There will be more. Soon.

The Method

I loved this too.  How is this for a premise?

“Imagine a helpless, pregnant 16-year-old who’s just been yanked from the serenity of her home and shoved into a dirty van. Kidnapped . . . Alone . . . Terrified.

Now forget her . . .

Picture instead a pregnant, 16-year-old, manipulative prodigy. She is shoved into a dirty van and, from the first moment of her kidnapping, feels a calm desire for two things: to save her unborn son and to exact merciless revenge.

She is methodical – calculating – scientific in her plotting. Leaving nothing to chance, she waits . . . for the perfect moment to strike. The Method is what happens when the victim is just as cold as the captors.”

This week I am hoping for a bit more time away from work to get my life back under control.  I am planning to cook the salad from Persiana as mentioned but also Anthony Bourdain’s Onion Soup Les Halles, and a mixed mushroom strudel. 

Your turn now.  What are you cooking, reading, watching doing this week?  I love to hear from you so let me know.  Also., please send clearing email tips.

Oh and if anyone out there is a jam maker?  I have an A-Z of Cooking Project just for you – get your  1970’s jam on!  Just let me know.

Have a super week!

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Lamb Kebabs Without A Herbed Sauce

The original name of this recipe in The A-Z of Cooking is lamb kebabs with herbed sauce.  Except I needed a bowl to make the salad and in a moment of madness threw out the marinade so I could wash and reuse the bowl it was in. 

About ten minutes later I went to make the sauce…”Hmmm…better get started on that sau…..oh….oh….” The marinade which is the basis for the sauce…oh, who am I kidding, it is the sauce, heated up was at the bottom of my bin bag and now covered in onion skins, an empty can of cannellini beans and other detritus.  Oops. 

There was no yogurt to make some more and really, any sauce/ marinade I had made in the moment would have also lacked the lambiness that would have come from marinating those chops for a good 24 hours. 

Lamb Kebabs

Despite the lack of sauce, the chops had sat in the herby marinade for ages and I made not one but two of Sabrina Ghayour’s Salads from Persiana to go with the kebabs and they both had heaps of herbs, so I’m calling “H is for Herbs” done.  It’s just a shame I made these before the start of the Persiana Project so these will not count towards my numbers.

These lamb kebabs are delish!!!.  I used lamb chops instead of diced lamb because that’s what I had.  I also really wanted the meat to stay tender and I thought that rendering the fat off the chops as they cooked would do that.  Combined with the marinade, this worked a treat.  Even though they were fairly big chunks of meat the chops were incredibly juicy and tender.

Lamb Kebabs2The lamb kebabs were a colourful, fun meal and quick to cook and so pretty with all the different vegetable colours. I will definitely make these again. And maybe even make the sauce next time – I’ll keep you posted!

Lamb Kebabs3 The veg I used were mushrooms, red onion, red peppers out of a jar, cherry tomatoes and green olives because that was what I had on hand.  Zucchini would be nice here or eggplant or tiny par boiled potatoes – really whatever veggies you like could be used!

The marinade / sauce contained tomato juice which seemed weird to me.  I would have normally used tomato paste. 

And with the lamb kebabs we are done with H in the A-Z of Cooking! There was also H is for Home Baking but I already made the brioche here.

Here’s the recipe for the lamb kebabs, I would love to know if you make these with the sauce!

Lamb Kebabs 1970

The two salads I made from  Persiana were:

Turkish White Bean Salad

Tomato Salad With Pomegranate Molasses (PS,this links to an awesome blog which you should all be reading)

Have a wonderful week!

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The Dishiest Dish – Rhubarb, Rose and Passionfruit Sorbet

 We are having a lovely spurt of late summer…OMG, it’s autumn now….warm weather, just perfect for enjoying this delicious rhubarb, rose and passionfruit sorbet.

Rhubarb, Rose and Passionfruit SorbetLet’s talk about it shall we?

  • It’s fruity, tangy and not too sweet so incredibly refreshing on a hot day.
  • It is the most glorious shade of pink.
  • The passionfruit and rose water make it smell like a summer garden.
  • It has a  Rhubarb Almond Shard
  • And is sprinkled with Rhubarb Crumble Dust
  • And for the cherry on the top, it’s got…well…a cherry on the top.

I based this recipe on the Rhubarb and Rose Sorbet in Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s River Cottage, Light and Easy which was my selection when we did a stint on Celebrity Chefs for Tasty Reads. I usually find Hugh very engaging, hence choosing the book, however I admit I have struggled with it a bit.  I’m all for dairy and wheat free however it just seemed like a bit of a chore, not to mention expense to have to buy new ingredients for just about every dish – this one has buckwheat flour, that one had chestnut flour, the other had chickpea flour.  Never even mind the expense.  Who has the space?

But I pretty much had everything for the sorbet, except the rhubarb already.  I also had a little passionfruit left over from the Valentine’s Day Soufflé so I popped that in as well. 

Rhubarb, Rose and Passionfruit Sorbet26 Week Challenges

These have been a bit of a disaster.  I downloaded an update to my phone weekend before last. And it killed it.  #epicfailnexus5  The phone would no longer read the sim card.  So after spending the weekend trying every fix available on Google on Monday I got a new sim card, even though I kind of already knew it wasn’t the sim card.  On Tuesday the phone went in for a service.  Then there was a WEEK of daily calls of “Is it fixed?  “Is it fixed? Is it fixed?”  Then after seven days they said “Oh, we now know it’s not hardware, it’s software” and they got a “I KNOW IT’S NOT HARDWARE I TOLD YOU IT WASN’T HARDWARE ONE WEEK AGO.  YOU HAVE SPENT A WEEK WASTING MY TIME AND YOUR TIME. JUST PUT IT BACK TO WHAT IT WAS BEFORE THE UPDATE” And an hour later it was fixed.  Seriously I hate being such a bitch to service people.  But really.  A week.

A week where, I was without my meditation app and my flexibility app.  So they fell by the wayside.  I downloaded some mediation podcasts to my ipod.  Which promptly broke. 

Oh and my car wouldn’t start this morning.

Technology hates me. 

On the more positive side, my March resolution of 6 weeks without Candy Crush is going amazingly well! 

Silver linings!

I’m starting a new challenge today:

The Persiana Project

As of now, I have 32 dishes left to cook from the very many I marked as “Want To Cook” in Persiana.  Sabrina Ghayour’s new book comes out in 50 days.  Technically, I can cook them all between now and then.  Realistically, it is unlikely however, to raise the stakes, I have made a deal with myself not to by Sirocco until I have cooked the 32.  And I REALLY want that new book.

We’re going to be eating a LOT of Middle Eastern Food over the next few weeks.   I can’t wait!

Reading

The Shut Eye – Belinda Bauer

Loved it – a great thriller about a missing child and a suspect psychic.

When We Were Invincible – Jonathan Harnisch

I feel really bad about saying that I am not enjoying this because it seems quite ungrateful seeing as I got it for free off Net Galley.  But I am half way through and I ‘m really struggling.  The plot…what there is of it….revolves around a teenager who suffers from Tourette’s and his life at an elite prep school.  I’m finding it all bit too stream of consciousness-y; with not nearly enough context for me to be able to enjoy the story.

Ummmm….let me think of some positives….

  • It’s very likely a very real description of being in the head of someone who is mentally ill. 
  • It’s short. 
  • I love the cover.

Watching

I watched the movie Compliance and it totally ooked me out.  Seriously, watching it made me feel dirty.  Several times I wanted to turn it off  because it was painful to watch. Having said that I would actually recommend it.  But be warned it is TOUGH going.  It will also make you question every person who ever calls you on the phone.  Not a bad thing really seeing as it is based on true. 

Then I watched The Breakfast Club.  Damn, I love that movie!  And it made everything all right with the world again.   And I spent about three days walking around singing “Hey, hey, hey, hey….”

I’m still not trusting anyone who calls me who is not on my speed dial though.

Cooking

I haven’t been cooking much as I have been working all the hours!  I have been living on toast or things from the freezer.  Hopefully things will slow down soon because next week I have marked out to cook:

  • Margaret Fulton’s Quail in Vine Leaves with Muscat Grapes
  • Sabrina Ghayour’s Safavid style beef pastries
  • Laurie Colwin’s Broccoli Salad

Ok, here’s the recipe for the Sorbet:

Rhubarb, Rose and Passionfruit Sorbet
A lovely light, refreshing sorbet, not too sweet with a glorious pink colour.
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Ingredients
  1. 750g rhubarb
  2. 75ml orange juice
  3. 75g passionfruit pulp
  4. 100g caster sugar
  5. up to 50g icing sugar
  6. up to 2 tsp rose water
  7. 100g passionfruit pulp
Rhubarb Crumble Dust & Almond Shard
  1. 18 Rhubarb Crumble boiled lollies (or any fruit flavoured boiled lollies)
  2. 100g flaked almonds
  3. Oil
To Serve
  1. Ice Cream Cones
  2. Maraschino Cherries
Instructions
  1. Trim the rhubarb and cut into 3-4cm lengths. Place in a large saucepan with the caster sugar and the orange juice.
  2. Bring to a simmer and cook gently until the rhubarb is completely soft. Puree in the pan until smooth.
  3. When cool, stir in the passionfruit.
  4. Taste and add the icing sugar as required.
  5. Stir in the rosewater. Start at about 1/4 teaspoon and add it gradually until you get your desired level of rosiness.
  6. Chill until cold and churn in an ice cream maker until soft set, then transfer to a freezer container and freeze until cold. Alternatively, pour the mixture into a freezer container and freeze for an hour. Then remove from the freezer and break up the frozen sides, pushing them into the softer centre. Return to the freezer and repeat every hour until the mixture is soft-set.
  7. Then let it freeze solid.
Rhubarb Crumble Dust
  1. Place the boiled lollies in your blender and grind into a powder.
  2. Remove a third of the mixture to sprinkle over the top of your sorbet as your dust.
Almond Shard
  1. Heat your oven to 180C
  2. Line a baking tray with baking paper and lightly grease. I used coconut oil.
  3. Sprinkle the paper with the almonds, then with the remaining crushed lolly powder.
  4. Place in the oven until the lollies melt.
  5. Remove from the oven and all to cool.
  6. Break into shards
To Serve
  1. Place two scoops of sorbet into an ice cream cone.
  2. Sprinkle a teaspoon over the Rhubarb Crumble Dust over the icecream, stab with an Almond Shard and top with a cherry.
  3. Enjoy!
Adapted from River Cottage Light and Easy
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
Have a great week!  And let me know what you’ve been cooking, reading, watching! 

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The Dishiest Dish – Poulet Vallée D’Auge

This week’s highlight came from France…from Normandy to be be precise.  Or to be even more precise from the the Pays D’Auge.  This is apple country and the chicken casserole that is the Poulet Vallée D’Auge contains both apples and Calvados, the apple brandy that is also a specialty of the region.

And if chicken, apples and Calvados aren’t enough for you how about we add a generous dollop of creme fraiche into the mix.  Bon Appetit indeed. 

Poulet Vallee D'Auge

We had a bit of a cold snap in the week so this hearty kind of meal was perfect.  And for those of you in the Northern hemisphere who are still in the midst of winter, this will warm any, and all,the cockles you have. 

The perfect drink to have with this would be a cider, one from Normandy would be perfect!  Or maybe a wee glass of that Calvados.

Poulet Vallee D'Auge2This is a lovely dish and that sauce is divine! 

I also made these prawn cakes from the Paleo book.  They looked gorgeous but tasted only ok.  I felt the restrictions of the Paleo diet really made themselves felt here.  Thai food is meant to have that mix of sweet, salt, sour and heat.  The recipe as it stood had no sweet in the dipping sauce.  It vastly improved after I added some sugar.  They do look pretty though!

Paleo Prawn CakesThe Six Week Challenges

No Alcohol

The six weeks of “no” alcohol are nearly over.  I had a bit of a set back this week.  A friend of mine resigned from work and we arranged to go for doughnuts so he could tell me all about it.  And somehow on the way to the doughnut shop we got waylaid by the little bar on the corner.  We were halfway through our glass of vino when we started getting messages.  “Where are you?  The fire alarms are going off.  We need to evacuate the building”.  I am  the fire warden for our office.  Can you believe it?  I never leave my desk.  NEVER.  And the ONE time I go off for a sneaky doughnut pinot, the flipping fire alarms go off. 

What could we do?  They would have grounded the lifts, we weren’t getting back into the building in a hurry.    Nothing for it but to have a second glass o’ wine.

Here is the scene of the crime – Dikstein’s Corner Bar,

We had a lovely New Zealand Pinot but  ewwww…did I feel seedy afterwards.  Totally lethargic, no motivation to do anything except flop on the couch and tune out in front of the telly for the entire evening.  I will say more about this challenge when it is over – in just a couple of days. But after yesterday I am seriously evaluating my relationship with booze. 

Meditation

Still struggling with this one.  I thought this would be so much easier than giving up booze.  Not so.  I”ll try to lift my game for the last two weeks.  And this one can go back on the list for a re-do later in the year. 

Flexibility

I’m LOVING this.  And after only a week or so in, I am already seeing the difference!  I am mixing it up between two different routines – one has a morning routine and an evening routine so if I get up early enough I do that one.  If not, there is another where you do one 10 minute workout for the day.  Really happy with this one!

The March Challenge

I have not decided what will replace the no alcohol challenge come the first of March.

I am narrowing it down:

Journalling – I used to journal all the time and love it.  And I think in some ways that was my meditation.  I REALLY want to get back into it.

Candy Crush – MUST. STOP. PLAYING.

Food – I feel I should replace a “food” challenge with another food challenge – I was thinking maybe a month without bread, pasta potatoes.  But Jenny has inspired me to do one around food waste.  

I will do what I did last month and see what jumps out at me on the morning of the first!  Eeeeekkk – can you believe it’s almost March?

Reading

I have given up on The Apologist for my audiobook.  I could not get into it.  I had previously started Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantell and I have gone back to that.

You can keep your real Housewives…for real scandal and intrigue, give me the Tudors anyday!

Bring up the Bodies

But my major discovery this week was this:

Savage Lane by Jason Starr

Savage Lane=Jason Starr

The hot pink cover had me at hello.  I like to read dark and this is pitch black!  It is also pitch perfect. Nasty, nasty people doing nasty, nasty things.  I’m loving it!

Here is the premise:

“Life is sublime in the idyllic suburbs of New York City.  Recent divorcée Karen Daily and her two kids have, for the first time in years,  found joy as they settle into the close-knit community of Savage Lane.  Neighbours, Mark and Deb Berman have been so supportive as she moves on in life: teaching at the local school and even dating again.

But behind the pristine houses and perfect smiles lie dark motives far more sinister than Karen could have ever imagined.  Unknown to her, Mark, trapped in his own unhappy marriage, has developed a rich fantasy life for the two of them.  And, as rumours start to spread, it seems that he isn’t the only one targetting Karen”

This is the first book of his I have read but I am now keen to read more.  And all of his covers from No Exit Press are equally arresting:

Jason Starr Via No Exit Press

Plants

I am going through a phase where I want to fill my house with plants.  To help with that obsession, I bought this book:

Have started  following this blog:

http://www.thejungalow.com/ 

Her instagram is also amazing!

https://www.instagram.com/justinablakeney/

And have been trying to find a local version of these West Elm Planters.

West Elm Mid Century Planters

Now I just have to buy some plants!

That’s about it.  I haven’t really done much else this week except work. 

On The Menu

  • Saffron chicken from Persiana
  • Lamb Kebabs from the A-Z of Cooking with the tomato salad with pomegranate salad also from Persiana….and eeeekkkk.  Sabrina has a new book coming out in May!   I can hardly wait!
  • Honeycomb Cheesecake from A Moveable Feast
  • Sweet Potato cakes with Lemon Chickpeas

Sirocco

That’s about it for me for this week.  Except for the recipe for the Poulet Vallée D’Auge – which you can find here.

What are you cooking, reading, doing this weekend?  I am planning to take the dogs down to the dog beach for a play. 

Have a wonderful weekend whatever you do.

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2;

 

Strawberries in Grand Marnier with Mint Sugar

The good news, is that with this post, we are done with the letter F in the A-Z of Cooking.  The chapter heading promises that we will be “Finishing with Flair”. The bad news is that without seeming like Mary, Mary Quite Contrary right from the get go, another F word springs to mind when I consider the contents.  Except for these Strawberries in Grand Marnier.  They were good!  Although how could a combination of fresh sweet strawberries combined with luscious orange liqueur with mint as it’s cheerleader not be delicious?

Strawberries in Grand Marnier With Mint SugarWe’ll get to them later.  However, back to Finishing with Flair – we have already mentioned this so called Mango Mousse. The picture of which contains bananas, oranges, passionfruit, eggs and nuts.  The recipe below has none of these.  The Mango mousse recipe actually sounds really nice.  Maybe I am just being a brat for not making it.  Then again, if they can’t be arsed putting the right picture with the recipe, what are the chances that recipe will turn out?

Mango MousseThat fear of 1977 desserts not being all they were cracked up to be was born out when I made the Continental Chocolate Squares featured on p28.  The picture from the A-Z of Cooking is on the left, with the Squares looking rather decadent.  Mine are on the right looking a lot more Raggedy Anne.  I think I tried to cut them when the chocolate topping was still too hard from being in the fridge and I could not get a nice clean line. Maybe I should have glammed them up by adding some candlelight!

Continental Chocolate Squares3What both of these pictures fail to convey is the overbearing sickly sweetness of the filling. It contained 4 cups of icing sugar which was far too much!  I love sweet food but this was way too much for me and prompted the fussiest eater in the world to ask if I was trying to put him into a diabetic coma.  It is a shame that the middle layer was awful because the base which was chocolate and walnuts and biscuits was quite nice.  It is probably worth someone spending some time on trying to get that filling right because this could have been amazing.  I just don’t think that person will be me!  Although, now I kind of want to.  So maybe it will rear its head in another incarnation down the track. 

Strawberries in Grand Marnier With Mint Sugar2
There was a lovely sounding recipe in this section for French Cherry Fritters.  This is the one I would have loved to make but you had to deep fry the fritters and I do not have a deep-fryer.  This however is one I am going to:

a) Play around with until I can perfect a baked version

b) borrow a deep-fryer.  i think my mum has one. 

Until then, it’s Strawberries with Grand Marnier.  Adding the mint sugar was an idea I borrowed from Sabrina Ghayour in Persiana.  She makes a number of herb sugars to sprinkle over fruit and now it is something I do all the time!

Strawberries in Grand Marnier With Mint Sugar4I served this with some white chocolate dipped almond bread which was every bit as delicious as it sounds!

Initially I thought this might be a bit too simple to blog about – soak some strawberries in booze.  And done.

And it is very simple.  But sometimes that is all you need to finish a meal with flair!

Strawberries in Grand Marnier with Mint Sugar
Serves 4
A simple way to finish your meal with flair!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 punnet of strawberries
  2. 2 tbsp Grand Marnier
  3. Handful of mint leaves
  4. 3 tbsp caster sugar
  5. White Chocolate Dipped Almond Bread to serve (optional)
Instructions
  1. Halve the strawberries and place in individual serving dishes.
  2. Sprinkle each dish with 1/2 tbsp of Grand Marnier.
  3. Leave to stand at room temperature for at least an hour.
  4. Meantime, make your herb sugar.
  5. Place your mint and your sugar in the bowl a mortar and grind with your pestle until them mint is finely ground and well combined with the sugar, which will be a lovely green.
  6. Alternatively, place both in your food processor and whiz until you achieve the same effect
Notes
  1. You could use basil instead of mint. Or a mix of basil and black pepper.
  2. Any Orange flavoured liqueur could be used instead of Grand Marnier.
  3. Any left over herb sugar can be used to rim a cocktail glass, or used in place of regular sugar in anything else you are making - I'm thinking lemonade would be amazing.
Adapted from A-Z of Cooking & Persiana
Adapted from A-Z of Cooking & Persiana
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
 Ok so  that’s F done. 

Coming up we have G is for Good Health.  I have actually already made the Cheese & Date Bread from this section so we may skip it altogether as there is not much else to get excited about.  So, possibly our next venture into the A-Z will be The Gourmet’s Touch.  Ooh la la.  Exciting times ahead!  Possibly.

Have a wonderful week lovely people and this week, what ever you do, I hope you finish it with flair!

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