I’ve always had a bit of a thing for Persia having first become captivated by this part of the Middle East (now modern day Iran) when I was at school studying Ancient History for A-Level. At the time, I was the only person to choose the subject so – all credit to the school – instead of being told to choose another A-Level I ended up being taught alone by a very serious septuagenarian in a cavernous drama hall and I loved it. Saturday’s experience of Persia was a lot more lively. With six hungry friends coming round for supper I thought I would attempt some recipes from Sabrina Ghayour’s glorious new cookbook, Persiana. I love this sort of food, it’s beautiful – almost jewel like to look at – and packed with flavour. It’s also perfect when cooking for large numbers as you can just make a few of the dishes on a large scale and let everyone dig in (all those juicy lamb kefta I thought I’d be snacking on all week were snaffled before it even hit ten o’clock). I served the keftas with a huge platter of fattoush salad (to which I added chunks of feta and toasted pistachios) alongside a heap of warm pitta to dunk into bowls of smoked aubergines with garlic and yoghurt, cucumber and mint with pomegranate. Clean plates all round. Yum.
Persiana: Recipes from the Middle East & Beyond
by Sabrina Ghayour is published by Mitchell Beasley priced £25