Radish, Cucumber and Red Onion Salad with Mint and Orange Blossom Dressing


Now here is a salad that you just have to make.

Also from Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour this salad is incredibly simple and amazingly tasty.

All you do is thinly slice a load of radishes, a whole cucumber and some red onion and dress it with a dressing made from olive oil, honey, lemon juice, orange blossom water, mint, and seasoning.

Just mix it all up and add some toasted pine nuts. Serve it straight away.

If you leave it too long the acid in the dressing will draw moisture from the cucumber and it will get wet very quickly.

This is one of the best salads that I’ve had for a while and it accompanied the Saffron and Lemon Chicken beautifully.

Saffron and Lemon Chicken


Seems I’ve been a bit slack in posting about food of late. Truth be told I’ve not really been making anything particularly exciting.

This weekend saw Freya and myself celebrate our first wedding anniversary and preparations for various festivities got in the way of normal cooking habits.

After a pretty hectic weekend – which saw a large number of us complete the marathon 26 pub Monopoly Board Pub Crawl – I settled back into normality with this very tasty dish from Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour.

This dish has relatively few ingredients, and does benefit from a long marinade, the longer you leave it the better it will get. That said, the first batch I grilled was excellent after just 1 hour of marinating.

In a bowl you slice 4 white onions, and add to it the juice of 5 lemons, greek yoghurt, turmeric, quite a bit of sea salt, and some saffron which has been infused with water for 10 minutes or so. Give the whole thing a good mix, add the diced chicken breast and leave in the fridge for as long as you can.

Like I said, I cooked up our first batch after an hour but I think we’ll be eating this for a couple more days – so I’ll let you know if it starts tasting better.

The marinade breaks down the chicken beautifully and it tastes so tender after just 15 minutes under the grill.

I served this with a very nice radish salad and a naan bread – and it was a spot on dinner.

I’ll certainly be making this again – it could be one of my go-to dishes when I want to impress – because impressive it is – and very very simple.

Ras El Hanout Chicken Wraps

Ras el Hanout Chicken Wraps

If there’s one spice (in fact spice mix) associated with Morocco it is Ras el Hanout. Take a walk down any market street in Marrakech or Essaouria and you’ll struggle to walk 10 yards without seeing someone selling it. They’ll tell you that theirs is better than the guy next to him because of x y z or the alignment of the stars. Every one of the sellers say it is a blend of 35 spices – but I think it’s more likely to be 10.

Truth be told I didn’t buy any in Morocco. I have plenty and I simply didn’t trust the sellers. We were ripped off enough times for me to just rest assured that I can get perfectly good stuff at home and probably for half the price.

We eat wraps a lot. Mainly on gym days. After a 90 minute drive home from work and a 90 minute plus gym session its just too late to start cooking. So unless you’ve got leftovers, wraps are a great alternative.

Typically our wraps are salad and grilled halloumi, but I stumbled across this recipe in Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour so I decided to try something different.

Like most things in this book it’s pretty easy. You create a paste with the ras el hanout and some olive oil, then smear it all over some chicken strips. I did mine in a plastic freezer bag as you can squish all the paste into all the surfaces of the chicken and it doesn’t stink out your fridge while you leave it to marinate.

The book recommends leaving the chicken to marinate overnight (I’ve done this subsequently and it does make a big difference) but on the first occasion I left it less than an hour – I was hungry!

While your chicken is marinating, make the yoghurt dressing by simply mixing chopped mint, greek yoghurt, black pepper and sumac.

Sumac is amazing. It lifts everything. Its a ground berry from the Rhus plant – and it tastes fantanstic. Sprinkle it on bland looking stuff and it’ll make it look pretty too!

When you’re ready to eat, fry off the chicken until it’s springy and when it’s done let it rest for a few minutes on a board.

Then simply construct the wraps with some rocket leaves (or spinach like I did), the chicken, some sliced red onion, the yoghurt dressing, some pomegranate molasses and some pomegranate seeds.

You won’t eat a better wrap. It’s good if you can dry fry the wraps first to warm them through – your filling will stay warmer for longer and it’ll be easier to wrap the wrap!

I really love these. And I make them all the time. It’s why you don’t see me blogging much these days – too many of these awesome wraps!

Marinated Feta

Marinated Feta

Many of us buy those pots of antipasti in supermarkets. The little plastic pot that you fill with stuff for a two or three pounds. Well they always have marinated feta and/or olives.

Well I thoughts I’d give it a go myself – for no other reason that I’d bought too much fresh feta from my local Syrian supermarket in Brentford and couldn’t feasibly eat it all before it was past it!

Fortunately there was a recipe for marinated feta in Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour.

This is incredibly simple and just benefits from maturing for 24 hours or so.

In a big bowl, cube some feta, add olive oil, garlic, pickled chillies, finely sliced banana shallots, fresh coriander, lemon rind and lemon juice and stir the whole thing together carefully (you don’t want to mash the feta).

I didn’t add salt to mine – I find the feta is salty enough as it is.

Once it’s all nicely mixed, decant into jars – I used the plastic pots left over from the fresh feta and seal the lid. Pop in the fridge and leave for as long as you can resist.

We ate this for days! We had three or four pots of the stuff and we grazed on it, had it on toast, sneaked spoonfuls from the fridge and made it part of a meze meal.

For something so simple to make it really makes sense to give it a go yourself rather than buy it pre-made for you.

Baked Eggs with Feta, Harissa and Tomato Sauce & Coriander

Baked Eggs with Harissa, Tomato Sauce and Coriander

Another amazing dish from Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour. We had this before we went to Morocco; part of a week where we thought we’d try out the types of food we were likely to eat while we were on holiday. Sadly stuff like this was nowhere to be found.

It’s an incredibly tasty dish and, although it is supposedly what people eat for breakfast, it was a main meal for us. I should knock one of these up the morning before our next Monopoly Board Pub Crawl (we are well over half way !).

Our local Syrian supermarket has fresh feta. Its far superior to the stuff you get in packets, much smoother and it matures if you keep it a couple of days. We buy it a lot and it often ends up in this recipe (as well as the pistachio dip) – I’ve made them both many times.

It’s very simple to make but does take a while if you want your sauce to be rich and your eggs well baked.

The sauce isn’t unlike most tomato based curry sauces. You fry some red onions, add lots of garlic, stir in turmeric, cumin, coriander and cinnamon and then the harissa paste. Once the onions are well coated add both tinned and fresh tomatoes, and simmer for 20 minutes or so. Very simple.

Pour this sauce into a shallow ovenproof dish and break chunks of feta into the sauce, and stir in lots of coriander.

Then make four wells in the sauce, crack eggs into the wells, season with pepper and bake in the oven until the eggs are cooked to your liking.

I like recipes like this because you don’t have to paw over them for ages. It can be a one pot creation if you start your sauce in the right dish. First time round I doubled my washing up by not planning properly.

The recipe recommends eating this with flatbreads, which we did. Mopping up that awesome tomato sauce was very satisfying.

Pistachio and Feta Dip with Tenderstem Broccoli

Pistachio and Feta Dip

One thing Freya absolutely loves to eat is this dip. Since the first time I made it she was blown away and we’ve had it many times since.

It comes from Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour – which I bought after having a really disappointing Persian meal in a restaurant in Brentford, London. I decided I could do better – bought the book and have made many things from it since.

This is a very quick dip to make – if you have a Nutribullet, a Vitamix or (if you’re wealthy) a Thermomix.

Simply put shelled pistachios, olive oil, feta cheese, dill, coriander, garlic, a red chilli some greek yoghurt and the rind and juice of a lemon in a blender and blitz until smooth.

As you can see I served mine with some raw tender stem broccoli.

The dip has so things going on. It’s salty, nutty, has a chilli hit and is creamy and smooth. I don’t think I’ve ever made a better dip.

Persiana is a great book – the best one I’ve found in its category.

I made quite a few tagines from the book (which I loved). Unfortunately this left me disappointed when I went to Morocco and their food was bland and uninteresting in comparison.