I have been in London this week with work and as I walk down Carnaby Street and am quickly surrounded by the general hustle and bustle of the city I notice all of the eateries around me. Something that I have grown to take for granted and expected as one of the pleasures of every day life now.
One of the things I love about working in the City when I get chance to actually get down there, (I say down as I live on the North Wales/North Shropshire border) is the absolute abundance of choice this city has to offer for something to eat!
From mini pancakes with Nutella on the corner of Hanover Street to a shop front in Camden that sells great beer and a lobster in a bucket with a basket of fries to a stunning restaurant in the clouds serving delicious sushi, Kobe beef and even more delicious cocktails!
But ….this hasn’t always been the case. If I go back a few years…(and I wish it were only a few…) to conversations in the school playground around what we all ate for dinner the previous evening, I always felt like the odd one out. My parents cooked amazing Persian food and I grew up eating things that most of the children I went to school with had never heard of. My friends used to come round for dinner and would be amazed at what they called ‘shiny rice’ which my Step son now calls ‘scratchy rice!’ And I’m ashamed to admit that until my early adult years I took this for granted and never really understood what a beautiful gift this was.
And Then things changed. Cultural food diversity happened And more and more choice became available. Today we are lucky enough to live in a society where you can sample tastes and sounds of different cultures if you just cross the road.
A country’s food has often so much to do with the heart of that culture and nation and no more so than Persian food.
Persian food echoes love and care in every dish created. From methodically washing the rice until the water runs crystal clear to spending days cooking a feast for your family because to really taste the flavours you need to give the delicate ingredients time to develop.
If you have yet to try any ‘real’ Persian food I can’t urge you enough to give it a a go. You won’t be disappointed.
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Payeh Bareh (Persian Leg of Lamb)
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp plain flour
a pinch of salt and pepper
1 sliced white onion
3 garlic cloves sliced
1 tsp advieh
1 cup of water
1 tbsp of runny honey
juice of 1 orange and the grated rind
1/2 tsp saffron (ground with a tsp sugar and dissolved in 1 tbsp rose water)
& the all important leg of lamb! You can use a shoulder also however for this particular dish I prefer leg.
Add a tablespoon of coconut oil into a heavy bottomed pan. Pre heat oven to 150′ (fan oven)
Rub the dusting into the lamb and fry off. When golden remove from the pan. Should take around 5 minutes max.
Place lamb into a deep roasting dish
To the frying pan add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a gentle boil. When boiling pour over the lamb and cover with foil.
Cook for around 5 hours. basting every hour until the last hour then baste every 15 minutes.
Garnish with slice pistachios and pomegranate.
I love this best served whole on a table for everyone to pull a piece off (it falls apart so no need to slice anything) with a big plate of Baghalie polo (broad bean and dill rice) Which I will post a recipe for soon. Nooshe Jaan!