Taste Persia

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Chef Sabrina Ghayour’s new book Feast looks set to follow the successes of her debut book, Persiana, which “demystifies” Persian cuisine, and her best selling Sirocco.

 

 Her recipes in Feast enable an important aspect of Persian culture to be experienced in every home.

In addition to being a chef, Sabrina is a food writer and delights in teaching others how to cook delicious Middle Eastern cuisine.

In Middle Eastern homes, family members and friends gather in unity, sharing infectious laughter and warmth as stories are told while enjoying food.

 

Mehmooni events

As a child, Sabrina grew up in a Persian family that held many big family gatherings which are known as ‘mehmooni’. The mehmooni is a traditional style of party at which big feasts are shared and guests are invited to eat enormous amounts of delicious food prepared with passion, pride and love.

These mehmooni events influenced Sabrina’s choice of career, and have led her to help home cooks create secrets of creating Persian cuisine using the recipes in her new book, Feast.

Her experience in mass media is considerable, making her progression to author part of a natural progression.

Sabrina has had regular appearances on the BBC’s Good Food Show, Taste London and more. Her work has featured in major newspapers including The TimesThe Sunday Times, the Evening Standard, the GuardianThe IndependentThe Telegraphdelicious.magazineWaitrose Food magazine, Sainsbury’s magazine and the BBC’s Good Food magazine.

She has also appeared on BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen, BBC2’s Great British Menu and Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch.

Sabrina’s debut first cookbook, Persiana, was awarded Best New Cookbook at the Observer Food Monthly awards 2014 and Book of the Year at the 2015 Food & Travel Awards. Her follow up book, Sirocco, debuted at no. 1 and was a Sunday Times bestseller.

 

PEACH, FETA & MINT SALAD  – with pul biber chili flakes

SERVES 4–6

  • 4 large peaches, pitted and each cut into
  • approximately 10 wedges
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced into half-moons
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pul biber chilli flakes
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 200g feta cheese, crumbled into small pieces
  • 1 small bunch (about 30g) of mint, leaves
  • stripped, rolled up tightly and sliced into ribbons
  • Maldon sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

Put the peach slices, onion, a good drizzle of olive oil, pul biber and lemon juice into a mixing bowl, season generously with salt and pepper and mix well. Transfer the mixture to a serving dish, then scatter over the feta and mint and serve.

SPICED GREEN BEAN & TOMATO STEW with labneh, harissa oil & scorched peanuts

SERVES 4–6

  • olive oil
  • 1 large head of garlic, cloves bashed and thinly sliced
  • 400g trimmed green beans
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 heaped teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 heaped teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 400g tomatoes, cored and diced into rough chunks
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 heaped teaspoon caster sugar
  • Maldon sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

 

TO SERVE

1 heaped tablespoon rose harissa

olive oil

200g labneh

2 generous handfuls of peanuts,

dry-toasted until slightly scorched

Drizzle enough oil into a large saucepan to generously coat the base and heat over a medium heat. Heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic slivers and stir-fry for 1–2 minutes, or until they soften. Add the green beans and cook for 4–5 minutes, or until they just begin to lose their rawness – they will deepen in colour to a more vibrant green and soften somewhat.

Stir the spices and fresh tomatoes into the saucepan, then increase the heat and add the canned tomatoes, sugar and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beans are well cooked, and the sauce has somewhat reduced. Adjust the seasoning if desired.

Put the harissa into a jug and mix in enough olive oil to thin it to a slightly runny consistency.

Serve warm on a platter or in a shallow bowl, dotted with dollops of labneh and harissa oil and scattered with the scorched peanuts.

 

PEACH, LIME & PISTACHIO POLENTA CAKE

SERVES 8–10

  • 3 peaches
  • 3 large eggs
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 3 unwaxed limes
  • 150g fine polenta
  • 175g pistachio nuts, finely blitzed in a food
  • processor or mini chopper
  • 150g salted butter, melted and cooled
  • slightly, plus extra for greasing

FOR THE TOPPING

  • 1 peach
  • 150ml Greek yogurt
  • 25g pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons clear honey

 

Put the 3 peaches into a small saucepan, cover with boiling water and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until soft. Drain, then immediately plunge the peaches into cold water to cool them. Remove the stones, drain any excess water, then blitz the flesh in a blender until smooth.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan), Gas Mark 4. Grease a 23cm springform cake tin and line it with baking paper.

Beat the eggs and sugar together in a bowl. Finely grate the zest of 2½ of the limes directly into the bowl. Add the polenta and blitzed pistachios, then mix well. Stir in the cooled melted butter and, lastly, the peach purée. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 45–50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin or overnight.

Remove the cake from the tin and place it on a serving plate. Prepare the topping just before you are ready to serve. Spread the Greek yogurt straight from the refrigerator over the surface of the cake. Alternatively, if you’re not going to eat the whole cake in one sitting you can slice the cake into portions and top each slice individually – see Tip.

Slice the peach and arrange on top of the yogurt. Scatter over the pistachios and finely grate the zest of the remaining lime half over the top. Drizzle over the honey and serve immediately.

TIP

Leftover cake refrigerates incredibly well covered in clingfilm, but bring it to room temperature to serve. You can always add the yogurt and topping to individual slices just before serving.



Connect with Sabrina at www.sabrinaghayour.com

Twitter @SabrinaGhayour