BROAD BEANS WITH GARLIC, DILL AND EGGS (Baghala Ghatogh)

Broad bean

I have been away from my blog for some months now due to a busy schedule, which included a four-week trip to Iran, which was amazing; returning home after a long time heightened my appreciation for the beauty of my country, its scenery, architecture and of course Persian food. Iran is beginning to open up a little and I noted a significant increase in tourist numbers. I can highly recommend a trip to Iran, despite how Iran is commonly depicted in much of the Western media.

Today, I thought I would share with you a dish from the Gilan province called Gaghala Ghatogh, which is in the north of Iran and a popular destination for Iranians to take a vacation, largely because it is close to the Caspian Sea and beautiful mountainous areas. the land its almost all green because of rice fields and you can smell the adore of rice from distance.I have fond memories of my parent taking us to the town of Shomai, which is in the province of Gilan, for our summer vacations.

Most of the food from this part of Iran includes a good amount of garlic and includes a wide range of fish dishes and Kateh, which is especially delicious.


BROAD BEANS WITH GARLIC, DILL AND EGGS (Baghala Ghatogh)



Preparation time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Vegetarian option: Yes
Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

750g podded broad beans (fresh or frozen)
2 medium onion, finely chopped
6 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
60g organic ghee or butter
1tsp turmeric
25g fresh dill leaves, chopped
salt
4 free-range eggs
Freshly ground black pepper

METHOD

  1. Place the broad beans and 1 litre of boiling water in a saucepan, bring to boil and cook for 3 minutes or until the beans float in the water and are tender. Transfer the broad beans into a sieve and run under cold water until cool to stop them cooking further. Squeeze the beans from their skins and set aside.
  2. Melt half of the butter in a large frying pan on a low to medium heat, add the onion and stir coating the onion completely in butter. Cook for 5 minutes or until translucent and soft, stirring constantly.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for a further 10 to 15 minutes or until the onion becomes lightly golden, stirring constantly.
  4. Add the turmeric and stir for 20 seconds before adding the broad beans, chopped dill and the remainder of the butter and season and mix well. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  5. Crack the eggs on top of the bean mix and turn the heat down as low as possible and let it cook for 13 to 15 minutes until the egg white is cooked. Sprinkle some freshly ground black pepper on top and serve with Kateh (rice) or bread.

 

 

BARLEY SALAD WITH SUMAC PRAWNS

orange
barley-salad

This Barley and sumac prawn dish is easy to make and can be served hot or cold, as part of buffet, or as a light lunch or dinner. The inclusion of barley in this recipe brings tremendous health benefits.

Barley is high in fiber, and packed with vitamins and nutrients. It helps to reduce weight and modulate blood sugar levels and is relatively low in calories (compared with other grains). Barley is proven to protect against breast cancer and other hormone-dependent cancers as well as heart disease. UK researchers have examined how fibre intake affects pre-menopausal women; they found that a diet rich in fiber from whole grains, such as barley, could result in up to a 50% reduction in breast cancer. There is so much more to say about barley but lets get on with the recipe.


BARLEY SALAD WITH SUMAC PRAWNS



Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Vegetarian option: Yes
Serves: 4 to 6

INGREDIENTS

For barley salad:
200g cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
200g butternut squash
250g pearl barley
150g Tenderstem broccoli, cut into 3cm pieces
1 blood orange
1 avocado, cut into 2cm cubes
40g baby spinach
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp goji berries

For dressing:
5 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses

For sumac prawns:
250g raw prawns
2 tbsp sumac
1 tbsp olive oil

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan/325F/gas 3.
  2. Place the tomatoes and butternut squash on a baking tray and brush them with olive oil, then sprinkle the oregano on top followed by a pinch of salt. Bake in the oven for one hour and 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, rinse the barleys and add to a pot with containing one litre of water, bring to boil and then simmer on a low to medium heat for 30 to 35 minutes or until it’s cooked but al dente. Drain the barley and place it in a large bowl, add all the dressing ingredients to the barley and stir well to mix, set aside to cool.
  4. Bring a pot of salted water to boil, add the broccoli and boil for 2 to 3 minutes or until tender. Drain and rinse under cold water to prevent from further cooking.
  5. To peel the orange, first cut a slice off both ends to expose a circle of orange fruit. Stand the orange on one end and then run the knife from top to bottom to cut the skin in such a way that you remove all the pith. Don’t cut too deep to avoid removing too much of the fruit. Slice away fruit between the membranes, releasing segments into the bowl. Set aside.
  6. To prepare the prawns, dust them with sumac and set aside, heat the olive oil on a frying pan on a medium heat. Add the prawns and cook for about 2-3 minutes or until they change to a pink-like colour. Prawns cook very quickly so avoid leaving them on the heat for too long or else they will become tough and unpalatable.
  7. Add the tomatoes, butternut squash, broccoli, orange, avocado, spinach, red onion, goji berries and fried prawns to the barley bowl and stir well until fully mixed. Season if needed and serve.

 

 

PAVLOVA WITH PERSIAN TOUCH

pavlova pavlova1

The combination of dark chocolate, pistachio and rosewater and the contrasting textures of a crispy exterior and chewy inside give this Pavlova a Persian touch/flavour.

It is commonly believed that the Pavlova was originally created in honour of the famous Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova, either during or following one of her concert tours to Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. It is said that the desert should be “as light as Pavlova” to mirror the dancer’s lightness of movement as a performer. There has been much debate about which of the two countries the Pavlova originated in, however most research indicates that it first appeared in New Zealand.

Pavlova is popular in both New Zealand and Australia where it is commonly served as part of special holiday meals. In recent years the desert has became a favourite Christmas desert in most parts of the world, often replacing the traditional Christmas pudding.


PAVLOVA WITH PERSIAN TOUCH



Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 1 hour
Vegetarian option: Yes
Makes 15 Pavlovas

INGREDIENTS

For chocolate and pistachio meringue:
6 egg whites
300 g caster sugar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar
75 g dark chocolate, finely chopped
30 g pistachios, finely chopped
Slice of lemon (optional)
1 tsp corn flour
1 tsp cream of tartar
½ tbsp rosewater

For topping:
500 ml of whipped cream
Seeds of a pomegranate (How to de-seed a pomegranate)
30 g pistachio, chopped
1 tbsp dried rose petals

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 140 ̊C and line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Wipe the inside of the mixing bowl and the whisk with the slice of lemon (the acid in lemon helps to make sure the bowl is extra clean).
  3. Place the egg whites in thebowl and whisk at a medium speed until they start to form soft peaks.
  4. Increase the speed of your mixer to medium to high and gradually whisk in the sugar (a tablespoon at a time), whisking for a few seconds between each addition. Beat until the mixture is thick and glossy. Don’t over beat. (Adding the sugar slowly helps to build up volume in the meringue and to make it stiff and shiny. It also prevents the meringue from weeping later.).
  5. Add the corn flour, cream of tartar and carry on beating for another 30 second until the corn flour and cream of tartar is mixed with the egg whites.
  6. Sprinkle vinegar, rosewater, chopped chocolate and chopped pistachios over the egg mix and gently fold in with a large metal spoon (no more than 7 or 8 folds). If you over mix at this stage the meringue will lose its stiffness.
  7. Spoon or pipe the meringue mix onto the baking tray–flatten the top of the meringue a little to hold the topping later. (Eachmeringue should be around 8 to 10cm. Leavea 2cm gap between them).
  8. Place both trays in the oven and cook for 1 hour. Turn off the oven and open the door slightly to allow the chocolate meringue discs to cool completely.
  9. Add the cream on top of each meringue followed by the pistachio, pomegranate seeds and finally sprinkle some dried rose petals on top.

 

 

WATERMELON AND FETA SALAD WITH PISTACHIO, WALNUT AND MINT

watermelon1 watermelon-0-83

Now that the summer has finally arrived, I thought I’d share this watermelon and feta salad with pistachio, walnut and mint, watermelon is a popular fruit in my home country of Iran at this time of year, where the weather is a lot warmer than the highs of 34 degree Celsius that we’ve been experiencing here in London of late (not complaining, it’s far to hot in Iran right now).

As a child, I remember my mom telling me to eat watermelon because it was good for me, however, it wasn’t until I recently did some research that I realised just how nutritional watermelon is; apparently it is one of the best body-healing fruits one can eat, benefiting the entire body from the brain to the cells in our feet. The best time to indulge in a fresh, succulent, and juicy melon is summertime, when they are in season and deliver an array of nutrients, vitamin and minerals. Each juicy bite has significant levels of vitamins A, B6 and C, lots of lycopene, antioxidants and amino acids.

Watermelon is incredibly hydrating (up to 92% water!) and is naturally low-fat. Make this melon a part of your daily diet and you will reap amazing benefits that range from improving cardiovascular health to nourishing your eyes and revving your immune system and promoting bone health. Rich in potassium, watermelon is a great natural electrolyte and thus helps regulate the action of nerves and muscles in our body. Lastly, melon is full of vitamin E, which helps to maintain healthy skin, teeth, skeletal and soft tissue, and mucus membranes.

If this doesn’t convince you then just make this salad, which combines watermelon, walnut, mint, pistachio and nigella seeds, and I am sure you will become addicted.


WATERMELON AND FETA SALAD WITH PISTACHIO



Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: N/A
Serves: 4 to 6
Vegetarian option: Yes

INGREDIENTS

1.5kg watermelon flesh
250g feta cheese
Seeds of one pomegranate (How to de-seed a pomegranate)
30g walnut, roughly chopped
30g pistachio, roughly chopped
15g mint leaves
2 tbsp nigella seeds

METHOD

  1. Cut the watermelon into approximately 2 centimetres cubes and deseed; set aside.
  2. Cut the feta cheese into approximately 1 centimetres cubes and set aside
  3. Roughly chop the mint leaves; if your mint leaves are small you don’t need to chop them.
  4. Add all the ingredients into large bowl and gently mix.

 

 

MAGIC JUICE

Magic juice- Green juice Magic juice- Green juice

I refer to this juice as my magic juice because it is rich in vitamins, iron and antioxidants and when I drink it first thing in the morning it keeps me going for the entire day.

Recent research suggests that natural fruit juices can be just as unhealthy as sugar drinks, which is very disappointing news indeed for someone like myself who juices almost every day. According to Susan Jebb, a dietary expert who works out of Cambridge University, “Fruit juice isn’t the same as intact fruit and it has as much sugar as many classical sugar drinks.” How depressing! Jebb, and others, recommend moderation, which seems like a reasonable approach to most things in life, including fruit juice. With this in mind, I have started to make more vegetable juices and this one, has quite a kick and until some professor from Cambridge or some other notable institutions says otherwise I’m going to drink my magic juice as often as I can.

Spinach, which is believed to be of Persian origin, spread throughout Europe in the 12th century to become a popular leafy green that was know for good health; a reputation that continues to this day. It is packed with iron, vitamin C and folic acid, which helps produce healthy blood cells. Spinach is also full of vitamin K, which is important for keeping our bones strong and healthy. Kale, which is sometimes referred to as the “king” of healthy greens and is also included in this juice, is beneficial for maintaining healthy skin, hair and strong bones, as well as helping with digestion. It also lowers the risk for heart disease and is filled with powerful antioxidants, such as carotenoids and flavonoids, which help protect against various cancers.


MAGIC JUICE



Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: N/A
Serves: 2
Vegetarian option: Yes

INGREDIENTS

2 royal gala apples
100g cucumber
100g parsley
100g spinach
100g kale
2 celery sticks
1 lime

METHOD

  1. Wash all the ingredients and drain until dry.
  2. Using a sharp knife, peel the skin off the lime.
  3. Chop all of your ingredients according to the size of your juicer.