June, 2016

May, 2016

April, 2016

  • The six rules of barbecuing

    28 April, 2016 The six rules of barbecuing

    Even the best cooks can be stumped when it comes to cooking to perfection over coals. We ask Ben Tish to tell us the six most important rules of barbecuing so we can grill with confidence over the long weekend.
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November, 2015

October, 2015

September, 2015

August, 2015

July, 2015

  • Eat like an Italian

    20 July, 2015 Eat like an Italian

    If you’ve ever been on holiday to Italy, like us, you’ve probably eaten classic pizzas, pastas and risottos until you’re fit to burst. While sticking with what you know isn’t always a bad thing, delve a little deeper and you’ll find the true heart of the region; eating cotoletta in Milan, beans in Florence and artichokes in Campania will open up a whole new world of Italian cooking. We spoke to three Air B’n’B hosts about the food of their region, must-eats while you’re there, and asked about the best-kept secrets when it comes to eating out.
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  • Michelin Stars in Your Eyes

    06 July, 2015 Michelin Stars in Your Eyes

    With so many Michelin-starred chefs on the site, we challenged Cooked writer Imogen Corke to test her mettle on some of the trickier recipes. This week, she cooks Atul Kochhar’s cod in nilgiri korma gravy from his latest cookbook, Benares.
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May, 2015

  • Q&A with Rosie Birkett

    22 May, 2015 Q&A with Rosie Birkett

    We ask our authors ten questions about their life long love of food. This week, we speak to Rosie Birkett, author of A Lot on her Plate, about roast dinners, tuna tacos, and why you should never run your finger through hot caramel.
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  • The Lunchbox Edit: Spring Greens

    01 May, 2015 The Lunchbox Edit: Spring Greens

    Each week, we take some of our favourite recipes and give them a little tweak to make perfect packed lunches.
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A taste of Iran

By
Yasmin Khan
Added
16 May, 2016

There are moments when one is travelling through Iran that one suddenly feel transported back through the centuries. Whether it’s standing in the ruins of Persepolis, the ancient capital of the Persian Empire, or admiring the dazzling architecture of the Islamic Golden Age in Isfahan, or sitting listening to Sufi poetry recitals in the walled gardens of Shiraz – some aspects of Iranian history and culture seem to have stood the test of time. And one of the most fascinating aspects of Persian cuisine is that many of recipes have done the same, remaining more of less the same for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Here is a selection of some of my favourite Iranian classics.

Fesenjoon 




This is a rich, decadent stew, rolled out for special guests and served at weddings. It is said to have originated from Gilan, an agrarian province of Iran by the Caspian Sea and is traditionally made with duck, although most people in Iran today make it with chicken. I like to serve it with some thick slices of grilled aubergine and sometimes even make it with tempeh (a nutty textured Indonesian fermented tofu) which is perfect for vegans and veggies. Not my grandmother though, she was a Fesenjoon traditionalist and I remember sitting with her, cross-legged on her kitchen floor, helping her pluck the feathers from a fresh local duck to prepare it for the stew. She would simmer the walnuts with fresh pomegranate molasses she made herself from the pomegranates that grew on her land and walnuts picked from the towering walnut trees that surrounded her house.


Carrot, cardamom and rosewater jam

Many Iranians will tell you that breakfast is their favourite meal of the day and no matter how early people have to get up (and Iran is a nation of pre-dawn risers), taking time to enjoy the first meal of the day is considered essential.  Aromatic carrot jams are very popular throughout Iran and the natural sweetness of carrots lend themselves perfectly to a sweet preserve, delicious eaten with some buttered bread or with a chunk of feta or ricotta.  Roses are indigenous to Iran, and the process of distilling the essential oils from the flowers to make perfume and rosewater was first developed in Iran over 2000 years ago. Today rosewater is used not only in cooking but also therapeutically as a remedy people for any number of ailments from insect bites to headaches. As the strengths of different brands will vary, it is best to err on the side of caution when adding rosewater to recipes as just a little bit too much of it can leave a chalky taste in your mouth. Use less rather than more until you are confident it won’t be overwhelming.


Aashe-e Reshte 



A thick legume, noodle and herb soup, aashe-e reshte is popular all over Iran and every city will have a number of cafés dedicated solely to making it. Like most Iranian soups it is robust and filling, a heart-warming concoction of chickpeas, lentils, chives, dill and spinach, perhaps with a little bit of lamb and cooked in some good quality broth. When I was in Isfahan I tucked into a particularly delicious version of this soup in the walled gardens of the Abbasi Hotel, a 300-year-old former roadside inn which is reportedly the world’s oldest hotel. Sitting in Abbasi’s grand central courtyard at dusk, amid the blossoming trees and trickling fountains, it was hard not to be transported back to that distant era where this soup would no doubt have been the perfect comfort food to replenish the weary traveller. In Iran, Aash-e Reshte is usually served with a small drizzle of kashk, an umami flavoured fermented whey which tastes a bit like salted goats cheese. You can find kashk in Middle Eastern stores but if you can't find any then natural yoghurt is also commonly used as a topping for this dish.



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