Kiafardaily

Nowruz 1395

Nowruz (meaning New Day) is the name of our Persian  New Year. It marks as the first day of spring and the beginning of the year in our Iranian Calender. As new year approaches in Persian culture, all house wives clean their homes, dust everything, buy spring flowers, and new clothes. We set up haftseen sofre every year and pray for health, peace and wealth for everyone.In this blog I share our 1395’s haftseen and chickpea cookie recipe.

nowruz1395-4

 

nowruz1395-5

 

nowruz1395-5

nowruz1395-6

nowruz1395

nowruz1395-8

 

Among these traditions, making specialty Nowruz cookies and sweets.

I made my own chickpea cookies this year for my sofre haftseen and wanted to share the recipe with you. this is a traditional cookie and a must have at every Persian home in new year.

 

Now that I am writing this blog, only few hours left to the new year and official start of spring. Let’s make our Nowruz celebration a happier one by spending it together. Wish you a more than ever Happy Nowruz!
“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day. “Edith Lovejoy

chickpeacookie5

 Chickpea Cookies

Ingredients

some pistachios, silver cut
500g chickpea flour, sifted 2times
200gr icing sugar
100gr unsalted butter
150g hydrogenated (ghee oil)
half teaspoon salt
1teaspoon powdered cardemon.

 

chickpeacookie3

chickpeacookie4

chickpeacookie2

chickpeacookie1
Directions
Mix salt and cardemon with sifted flour and setaside. I combined butter, oil , sugar, cardamom, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. I beat on low speed to combine, then increased the speed to high and continue for about 10 minutes, until light and creamy. Meanwhile I scraped down the bowl so all the batter is well mixed. You don’t need the mixer anymore. I dded chickpea flour in sections and knead with hand until the dough is no longer sticky and comes into a ball. You might need to add a little bit more flour until the dough comes together and it is kind of sticky.
I covered the dough with a large sheet of plastic wrap and refrigerated for 12 hours; this will make the dough easier to cut and form better. Leave the dough out to reach the room temperature and knead a little more until it is soft and pliable. Using a rolling pin, I rolled out the dough into a half an inch sheet. I used a small 1 inch star-shaped cookie cutter to form the cookies, spacing them 1/2 inch apart on the baking sheets,and insert of pistachio pieces vertically at the centre of each cookie.
Of course, I preheated oven to 300 degrees and lined 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
I baked my cookies, on the middle oven rack, for 25 to 30 minutes or until the cookie bottoms were lightly golden color. Then, transferred the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool.
Remeber that these cookies crumble easily, so handle them with extra care. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month. So, make a batch, store and enjoy when you wish!
Note that the oil used in this cookie must be solid and soft. Do not use liquid oil or melted butter.

nowruz13951

The Famous Berliner Donuts

donut12

donut11

donut9

Last year I went to Berlin for work and that was when I cam across the delicious donuts called, “The Berliner”! They were sold and served in almost every food shop and this was not the end of it! They appeared to be a symbol of Berlin! I could see many forms of ceramic, plastic, or fridge magnetic donuts! seeing all those donuts, took me back to my childhood. When young, I would buy a cream-filled donuts everyday to school or at home as a snack. They were big as compared to the Berliners, and of course the filling was different too. In Berlin, they were filled with sour-cherry marmalade and they were smaller.. In my home town, Tehran, they were filled with pastry creams.

This made me think to go and see if there is a link between cultures and if for real, where the donuts were born? I looked up some resources online and what I found was that there was a disagreement between Americans and Europeans over who really made them first? Ok, I think I got that! The Wikipedia says, “Doughnuts have a disputed history. One theory suggests they were invented in North America by Dutch settlers, and in the 19th century, doughnuts were sometimes referred to as one kind of oliekoek (a Dutch word literally meaning “oil cake”), a “sweetened cake fried in fat.” However, the donuts are made in many different part of the world with different shapes and methods! To be honest, I think donuts belong to where they are made!  Like bread, they could have been invented anywhere there was bread dough and oil!

donut7_1

The Berliners are small fried donuts, filled with cherry marmalade but the dough tasted exactly like the ones, I ate at home. So, I created my recipe not with cream, but with cherry marmalade. I hope you make and enjoy this recipe with family and friends! This is a classic recipe for donuts and you certainly can make a hole in the middle and make donut rings with it. The home-made donuts actually do not absorb that much of oil as the store bought ones.

Berliner Donuts
Ingredients
7gr active dry yeast
30gr sugar
50gr butter, softened
2eggs
500gr all porpuse flour
A pinch of salt
1cup lukewarm milk
1/4cup lukewarm water
Oil for frying
Cherry or strawberry marmalade
Icing sugar for dusting

donut1

donut2

Mix yeast with water and sugar, and let stand for few minutes. In a separate bowl, mix salt, 400 gr flour, milk, and eggs with a fork. Then, add the yeast mixture and mix. knead the dough until it becomes consistent. Add more flour if needed.
Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and let the dough rise until it doubles in size, about one hour and half.
Punch the dough down and then dust the working surface with flour and role the dough out into a 1/4 inch thickness.
Cut out 1 inch and half round pieces using a cutter or a cup with a sharp edge.
Place the donuts in a large baking ….,, . Cover with a plastic wrap and let rest for ab hour.
Heat oil in a deep frying pan. Make sure it is deep enough to cover the whole donut. Fry donuts and let them cool down on a kitchen paper towel. Then, make a small hole in each donut and insert one teaspoon marmalade with a small spoon or inject marmalade with a pastry bag. Dust with icing sugar and serve fresh. You can freeze these for up to a month but don’t keep them in the fridge because they stale like bread.

donut3

donut6

However, please eat in moderation. If you choose to have a small donut, make sure you cut down on your other daily fat and carbs intake.

donut5

donut4

Yalda Night, 2015

yalda3

A lot of you were interested in knowing what we are planning to do in our night of Yalda! I am more than happy to share whatever we did! Yalda to me is like thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians and Americans. This time of the year is a busy time for almost everybody. As some of you getting ready to celebrate christmas, we Persians, celebrate Yalda night, the longest night of the year!

yalda10

We gather and spend the time of Yalda night together, laughing, reading poems, and eat special treats and fruits! We stay warm by keeping our hearts close together. Like Christmas is just more than a celebration. It is spiritual and deep rooted in our culture.We Persians celebrate this dark beauty, Yalda, the longest night of the year which is the announcement for welcoming winter season….

yalda9

And I am thrilled to share the visual stories of our home at Yalda. Right now, I am just in the preparation of pomegranates, watermelon, and roasted nuts, sweets, and last but not least, a great simple and fresh pomegranate salad for this seasonal festive. I will share my visual stories and the recipe for this quick and easy salad with you tonight. Yalda Night happens to be a calendar event and counts as the last night of every human citizens’  fall season.

yalda2

Living as an earthocentric human citizen, I believe that we all belong to our very own mother earth and shall share our cultural celebrations with our distant global citizens. love how we from different cultures, have celebrations that happen at the same time! Yalda is only 4 nights apart from christmas.  It is interesting how the color red is symbolic for two occasions and the time when all family members get together at grand parents houses to chill and cheer. I love and appreciate this sense of belonging to all earth’s citizens. We have the same roots and may be a day, when  we all live in peace. Merry Christmas to all of you my friends.

yalda5
Pomegranate Mango Salad

If you are looking for an exotic and yet healthy desert, the pomegranate citrus salad is definitely the right thing to do the job! Although it is made in less than fifteen minutes, it is both exotic and flavourful. This is the recipe I created to make and share with my family. I really wanted to pamper them with juicy and fresh flavours, and I succeeded. This recipe is going to be a must-have in Winter time and occasions like christmas and Yalda.
Ingredients
2large pomegranates, seeded
1large mango, peeled and cut into cubes
3medium oranges, skinned and cut into cubes
The juice of one lemon, squeezed
2tablespoons honey
1cup orange or mango juice

To assemble this salad, just combine all the ingredients, toss and serve. It is that simple! Enjoy

yalda8

Shole Zard

memories2

I was probably only seven or eight years old. I came to my grandma’s kitchen and saw rows of Shole Zard (Persian Saffron Rice Puddings) sitting in the kitchen. And more were coming in! They all came with different decorations and words written on them. Words were “ Ya Hossein”, “Ya Allaah”, or other religiously related names common in Sia’s iconic tradition. However, they all had many things in common! They all had cinnamon and almonds for the toppings and decorations! Yet, the way women used them were a lot different than each other. The neater the decoration, the more appealing the Shole Zard looked.

Many people cooked and shared this specific desert on the day of Arbayeen which is basically the fortieth day of Imam Hossein killing in Ashoura day. And this tradition happens every year. My memory of this event is probably the oldest, yet conspicuous I have from Shole Zard Making tradition.
My grandma picked out a few which had richer saffron colour and almonds to save for grandpa and other members to be served later. And gave away the rest to the poor.

“Why everybody makes Shole Zard in this day? Why don’t they just make it in other days, so we do not have to give most of them away?“, I asked?Well,, that is oblation to Imam Hossein for this day, and people just cannot postpone it!” Grandma said. However, I was not convinced by the fact that people make this delicious dessert only as an oblation. Year after year past until I grew up in that practicing community.

grandma'shouse

I, forever, connect the image of Shole Zard to those days when we received many bowls all at the same time. My grandma and other women in the family commented on taste and discussed the methods and tricks ladies had used to decorate their oblatory Shole Zard bowls. Gossiping was in fact a fun part of the whole story of Shole Zard bowls.

These days food culture is changing. Shole Zard is more widespread, known to be a Persian dessert which is served at many restaurants and food places. I cook Persian Rice Pudding both for oblatory and simple as a yummy desert at family dinners. It is worth to mention that since it is sweet, I do not make it very often. And when I do, I keep  portions small.

sholezard2

Ingredients:
500gr Jasmine Rice
1Kg sugar
200 gr butter
2 teaspoons saffron, mixed in 1/3 cup boiling water and brewed for few minutes
1/2 cup rosewater
4 tablespoons crushed pistachio, for decoration
1/5cup crushed almond, extra for decoration
1/2 teaspoon crushed cinnamon, for decoration

sholezard6

Directions:
Wash rice a few times until the water is clear, and drain. In a medium large pot, add about 2 liters water and bring to a boil. Remove foams that may form. When rice softens completely, add sugar, stir well and let boil on a very low heat for another hour, still occasionally. This helps the sugar caramelize in Shole, giving it an even and infused sweet taste.

Dissolve saffron into Shole. Add butter and give it a good stir. Add in most of the almonds and the rosewater. And cook for half an hour on a very low temperature until set, and get a creamy texture. Serve with pistachio, almond and cinnamon sprinkled on top.

sholezard3

 

 

Apple-Orange Drizzle Chicken Roast

chicken roast 7

I believe that the dinner should be pretty. It should look good. No matter what it is, I always make my best effort to present it in a nice way that it helps to create a warm and pleasing environment. Dinner time is when family members gather at a table to socialize. It is a time for laughter and fun. Therefore, having a nice food at the table, helps in lifting moods and bringing attentions back from work to dinner time. It is always exciting to see how “food” turns a good family dinner time into a great gourmet dinner time.

chicken roast3
This chicken was a family dinner. It looks really good, yet it taste amazing. I share it with you here hoping that it helps in making your family dinner into a great time. Don’t forget to talk, chatter, and laugh. Last but not least, buy a cheap seasonal flower stem and put it right in the middle of your table to add a symbol of love and freshness to your table.

Processed with VSCOcam with c3 preset

what you need for roast
1 large chicken
5 garlic cloves, minced
4 oranges, skinned and flesh separated and reserved
2 large apples, cut into cubes
Olive oil for rubbing and some extra for marinading orange and pear
1tbsp brown sugar
2 large onions, sliced thinly

What you need for the sauce

50 gr butter
2tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2cup white wine vinegar
pepper to taste
1 cup apple juice
1cup broth juice left in the roasting pan
1tablespoon sugar

kiamehr1

How to make the roast

First preheat oven to 425F.
Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towel. It is best to remove the chicken few hours prior to roasting so the temperature reaches the room temperature.Grease the roasting pan with some olive oil and set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix sliced onions, oranges, pear cubes, brown sugar and two tablespoon olive soil. Mix well and spread the mix into the roasting pan. Make a nice bed for the chicken. Add few rosemary leaves if you like. It gives off a very nice flavour to both chicken and fruits. Massage the dry chicken with minced garlic, salt and pepper, and a touch of olive oil. Now, tight the chicken legs together with a cotton string. Attach the wings to body with toothpick. place the chicken over the fruit mixture and push it into the hot oven. Cook for 1 hour and half, and check the doneness with a thermameter. When you insert it to the deepest part of the chicken away from bone, it should read 160F (70C) for about 50-60 minutes throghout the cooking time. To get a very nice brown colour of our chicken, every 20 minutes, brush the surface of chicken with the liquid at the button of the pan.
Take the pan out of the oven. Slightly, tilt the pan to drain the liquid from the cavity into a medium saucepan. Transfer the chicken to a large platter and cover with foil to rest for 15 minutes.
Transfer the oranges and apples from the roasting pan into a small serving bowl and keep warm.

Degrease the pan with wine vinegar, broth juice and apple juice. Bring to boil over medium heat and reduce for 3 minutes. add sugar. Mix softened butter and flour and beat with a fork to make a soft mix. Add it to the liquid and whisk constantly to prevent lumps from forming. When the sauce reached the right consistency (like thin yogurt) remove from heat, and pour through a sieve into a small saucepan to remove any lumps or impurities. A quick tip for making the sauce is that as the sauce cools down it becomes thicker; so it is very important to make sure the sauce is thiner than what you actually want. When it cools down, it reaches the right thickness as you desire.

Serve chicken with warm roasted fruits and sauce. Style chicken with few rosemary stems.

chicken roast5

chicken Roast 4

chicken roast6

Persian New Year’s Eve Dinner

sabzipolo8sabzipolo18

Every year, all Persians eat a specialty dish that translates into Green’s Rice Pilaf. My family is no exception in celebrating this fantastic culture.

Herbs’ Rice Pilaf or so-called “Sabzi Polo” is a dish that we make with garlic and herbs cooked with rice in Persian rice pilaf preparation, called “Polo”. The herbs used in Sabzi Polo are minced coriander, parsley, dill, chives and green garlic stems (green onion), and fenugreek leaves; one portion of each will do.

sabzipolo16sabzipolo14

Although celebrating Norouz is very old cultural event, eating fish and Herb’s Rice Pilaf is not that old.

A story I came across for eating fish in Notouz night, says that since the cities were faraway and getting food items from other places was hard, people would rely on dried fruits, preserves and food concentrates until the spring, they could catch fresh fish from the defrosted rivers. Eating fish was celebrated as it symbolized happiness and health. Iranians would thank God for all their blessings in the springtime thanksgiving night. I am not sure how true this story is and how it related (and I do not think it is that of an importance), but I know that this food is a traditional Persian food and it is delicious! Kiamehr was so excited to see a big fish that close for the first time, and he also loved the meat from fish kobab. He said, “I love you mommy for cooking the fish; hmmm, it is so yummy”.

I think that the most important aspects of food are the look and taste! I never asked my mama that, “why we eat fish at the New Year’s Eve!” All I always cared was the green look of Herb’s Rice Pilaf and how it tasted! The same way I choose to prepare and serve my fish to my children. I hope they too take the culture along with them and share it with all other distant friends and relatives.

sabzipolo12

Herbs’ Rice Pilaf (Sabzi polo)

600 gr Basmati or long-grain rice

1kilo herbs

2tablespoon vegetable oil

4tablespoon salt

First remove the stems from the herbs and wash thoroughly. Chop them finely and set aside. Wash rice with cold water three times and leave in water floating. Add 3tablespoon salt and let rest for at least one hour.

Fill 2/3 of a 3 liters pot with water. Put the pot over high heat and add one tablespoon salt until it boils. Drain the extra water from the rice and added it to the boiling water. When rice is half way cooked, the rice grains start to come to the surface of the boiling water. This is the time to remove it from the heat and drain in colander (a basket with small holes that rice does not pass through). Rinse rice with cold water to remove some of the salt. let drain completely.

Add oil to the same pot. Then layer rice and herbs, and gently mix with a fork. At this point you do not have to completely mix herbs and rice. It will mix when you serve it.

Place the pot over low-medium heat for 5 minutes until the pot feels hot to the touch. Place a clean cloth or a paper towel under the lid. Then lower the heat to low and brew for 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Remove lid for the steam to escape and serve in a flat serving dish along with fish.

sabzipolo20

Fish Kobab with Sour Sauce

Market list

One medium whole fish, cleaned, rinsed, and dried

50 gr melted butter or olive oil

2 lemon, sliced

Salt and pepper, extra salt for massage

Market list for sour sauce

One medium onion, finely chopped

Three garlic cloves, minced

2tablespoon tamarind paste

2tablespoon pomegranate paste

2tablespoon cranberry

2tablespoon raisin

1tablespoon pistachio and almond rinds (to decorate)

2tablespoon walnut, crushed

1tablespoon butter or olive oil

1cup orange juice

How to prepare the fish

Massage the fish inside out with salt. Let rest for half an hour. Then rinse with cold water to remove extra salt and pat dry with paper towel.

124A1698

Preheat the oven broil (grill) to 375 Fahrenheit. Place a piece of parchment paper over the oven roasting rack net, and place the fish over the paper (placing fish over the net helps the heat to circulate, thus, fish cooks more evenly). Season fish’s inside and out with salt and pepper. Insert the lemon slices inside the cavity and massage the butter and put inside the oven for 20-25 minutes to cook. Half way through the cooking, slowly, return the fish so both sides cook evenly.

Meanwhile, sauté onion and garlic in a non-metal or coated saucepan for 5-7 minutes. Add turmeric and pepper and sauté for another minute. At this stage pour in all other ingredients and let simmer for 15 minutes or until it thickens. Decorate with pistachio and almonds and serve with fish.

sabzipolo22sabzipolo6sabzipolo23

sabzipolo7

Shepherd’s Pie for Dinner at Home Sweet Home

shepherd'spieeShepherd’s Pie

I receive so much love that words can not describe my feelings for all of you, my friends in instagram and my blogs. I do nothing but sharing moments I love in my life. However, what you return is way more valuable. I am blessed to be surrounded by good people like you! Thank you so much for supporting me and bringing me hope. In this blog I have a little yummy dinner I make more often these days!

In a long winter night, what can I ask for, which is better than a quick and easy comfort food? This family favorite of sauteed ground meat topped with buttery mashed potato crust and sprinkled bread crumbs is just too good not to be shared. If you are a vegetarian, you can easily substitute meat with cooked chickpeas and lentil. When dinner is served at the table while everybody follow the mama and the dish with food, I call it Home Sweet Home!

shepherd's pie2

shepherd's pie3

Market List

Vegetable oil
2onions, chopped
500g ground lamb or beef ( lamb is preferred)
1cup vegetable broth
2tbsp tomato paste
2celery stems, finely chopped
2medium carrots, finely chopped
1tbsp parsley, chopped, some extra to garnish
1cup frozen or conserved green peas
1cup fresh or frozen corn
1kilo russet potatoes, peeled and cut into big chunks
5tbsp butter
1/2cup milk
Salt and pepper
1tbsp flour
100g cherry tomatoes, to place on the top of pie
2tbsp bread crumbs to sprinkle over the top (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Set potatoes in water and salt and cook for 15 minutes, until tender.

Meanwhile, In a large skillet, heat oil and sauté onion, and then add carrots, celery, and meat. Cook for 10 minutes until golden. Add vegetable broth tomato paste, corn, flour, and parsley. Simmer for five minutes. Add the end, pour in green peas and remove from heat.

Pour the mixture into a baking dish, 3 inches deep and set aside.
Drain the water and mash potatoes with butter and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the mashed potatoes over the meat mixture and place cherry tomatoes on the top to add colour and texture to the final look of the dish. Make few hole with fork for the steam to escape. Cook the pie for 45 minutes in the hot oven until golden.

shepherd's pie6

If you like, sprinkle bread crumbs half way through the baking.
Serve hot with some fresh garden salad and fresh bread.

shepherd's pie5

Pomegranate Tartlets

image

In winter time, pomegranate is a fruit we always have at home, either for cooking, salad, or this time a desert! I turned this classic fruit tart into a pomegranate tartletes and wow! It was a great success! Everything fresh and I made 100% them out of scratch. Preparing this recipe might seem a little complicated and out of reach in the first glance, but believe me; with a little planning, it is actually pretty pomegranate tart2easy.

My tartlets were reserved a head of time with a couple of friends and thank goodness_ I had saved one for myself. It was delicous and honestly, not enough! I finished the whole tartlet! The zesty orange cream topped with sweet and sour pomegranate seeds is truly a magic match! I totally guarantee that you too would love this desert. You may want to make a couple of extra ones and keep them somewhere safe, so you can eat them in dark when everybody is asleep! Here is the recipe I used to make my tarletes! Happy tart amking my friends.

Seed 2 pomegranates and set aside.

pomegranate tart1

Orange Pastry Cream

2 eggs

100 gr butter, cut into cubes

1tbsp rind of orange zest

1/2tsp vanilla extract

120gr sugar

1/3cup freshly squeezed orange juice

How to make this cream?

Note: While making this cream, you should whisk the cream constantly; otherwise the eggs coagulate. Also, it is best to make this cream the day before and keep in fridge.

To start, Pour orange juice, sugar and eggs in a sauce pan over low heat. Whisk about 10 minutes. At this time, cream starts to thicken. Stir in butter and orange zest. Whisk for 2 more minutes and remove from heat. To check the doneness, insert a spoon inside the cream and draw a line with your finger. If the line persists, the cream has the right thickness. Remove from heat and pass it through a sieve to remove orange zest and any lumps. Cover the surface with a plastic and cool down in fridge for at least 2 hours.

Sweet shortbread pastry crust

1 3/4 cup (220gr) pastry flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2cup (125gr) butter, softened

1/4cup (60gr) icing sugar

Mix salt and flour. Set aside. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and place the rack in centre of oven.

In a large bowl beat butter until soft and pale. Add icing sugar and beat until fluffy. Beat until mixed. At the end, stir in flour-salt mix and incorporate it into the batter. Form the dough into a round ball. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least half an hour. Remove from fridge before using to soften at room temperature. Note that in preparing this short bread dough, we should not beat or over mix. Shortbread pastry crust is a dense dough and has a texture of biscuits. We do not want to incorporate air into the dough which would make it puff up!

Lightly flour a work surface. First method is to roll out the pastry 2-3mm thick, cut out the dough with round cutters, and line the 12 tins. Prick the bottom of pastry crust to prevent puffing during baking. Rest in the fridge for 30 minute. Another and easiest way to line the tins is to take small amount of dough, form it into a ball and shape it into the tins with your fingers. Prick the bottom of pastry crust to prevent puffing during baking. I used the latter method, since we are dealing with a softer dough.

Once chilled, place the pastry tart cases on a baking sheet and cook for 20 to 30 minutes. If the pastry has puffed up, press it down with your finger. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Then lift out onto a cooling rack to cool down completely before filling.

To assemble the tart, spread the pastry cream onto the bottom of the tart shell. Place pomegranate seeds on top of cream. If not you are not planning to serve right away, refrigerate. However, It is best to assemble the tart right before serving for a fresh presentation. Happy eating pomegranate tart and enjoy!

 

pomegranatetart4

 

 

pomegranatetart3

Carrot Cake

carrotcake2

Carrot cake is a classic cake that is a expected favorite for both adults and kids. My family is no exception! We love it every time I make it with no leftovers!

This cake is relatively easy to prepare and makes a perfect homemade birthday cake. I prepared this recipe with whole-wheat flour, which along with raisin and carrots adds extra fiber to this cake without sacrificing the taste. The photo I took from my carrot cake makes my children’s mouths to water, and they crave for this family favorite!

Ingredients

  • 180g whole-wheat pastry flour150g unsalted butter, softened
  • 120g light brown sugar
  • 120g butter, softened
  • 3 large eggs1tbsp baking powder
  • 1tsp baking soda
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4tsp salt120g walnuts, chopped
  • 75g raisin, preferably small ones
  • 150g carrot, finely grated

Cake cooking Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350F °. Grease a 20 cm baking dish, which is about 8cm deep. Line with baking paper.

Sift the flour twice with baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda

In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until creamy and pale in color. Add eggs one at a time and mix well before adding next egg.

Add the flour mix in two portions at a time. Blend with a baking spatula until just incorporated.

In a spate bowl, combine carrot, chopped walnuts and raisin. Stir in through the mixture. Spoon out the cake batter into the baking bin. Bake for 45-50 minutes in preheated oven. Insert a fork to the cake and take out. If the fork is clean, the cake is ready.

Leave the cake in the bin for 15 minutes to cool down. Then run a knife around the inside edges to separate the cake from the bin; turn upside down onto a wire rack to cool down completely for another hour or so. During cooling period, you can make the icing, directions given below!

When the cake is completely cool down, place it on a serving dish or baking rack. Cut the cake in half horizontally and lift the top part carefully and set aside. Ice the bottom layer and put the top part back. Spread the ice through the top and sides of the cake. Put back in the fridge for another 2 hours to stay cool.

Please note, it is very important to cool down the cake completely before you cut the cake horizontally and spread the icing. If the cake is still warm, it causes the fragile icing to melt and losing its original texture.

Carrotcake1

Cream Cheese Icing

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 350g icing sugar
  • 75g butter, softened
  • 150g light cream cheese, softened
  • 1tbsp honey

Directions

Sift the icing sugar twice and set aside.

In a separate bowl beat the butter with an electric mixer until creamy and whitish is color. Add cream cheese and beat for another minute.

Add 1/3 of icing sugar and beat on a low speed. Add the rest of icing sugar and mix.

Add the honey and beat until you get a creamy texture. Keep in the fridge to firm and stay cold.

Enjoy!

Carrotcake2

Persian Taftoon Bread

naan17

 

Hmm, first you might think that it looks like chaapati bread; and in fact, you are almost right! Flat breads like Taftoon and Chaapati are like cousins. What makes them different, is just the addition of ghee to chaapati at the end! That is all the difference. Both of them share the same ingredients and  kneading process. In bakeries, they make them in open clay ovens (tandoor); but here I have adopted the house-hold Indian style of bread making! Bread making is a task that Persian women left behind when they immigrated to large cities, and left the job to the bakers. Now, with help of Indian ladies who are great modern bread makers, I have mastered making my own home country flat bread just on my stove. The cooked bread smells exactly the same as the traditionally prepared bread, and my whole kitchen becomes like a fairy place where I walk into my past memories.

I would wait in the line-up at the bakery and just drowned in watching speedy bakers.  Their work looked magical to me, thinking it would be impossible to make those breads with my own hands. Now, I am here with making it for my family; not dependent to the proud bakers who thought they were the only ones who can make bread!

By and large, bread making is been a great experience in my life, and has totally changed my perspective. It has reconnected  me to my roots, like my great grand mothers who baked and fed their family with bread and love. I follow their legacy and blow a great deal of love to my dough! It smells heavenly, tastes delicious, and every bite transfers that great deal of love.

In my recipe, I use a little oil since it helps the dough to be softer and easier to work with. It also increases the breads’ shelf life. You can totally omit oil to get 100 percent Taftoon dough. You can use this bread for making wraps, or serve it with fetta cheese omelet and Haleem. It is also great with cream and honey mix for breakfast. I sometimes simply bite into the plain bread since it is just so delicious by its own.

I will teach you how to make Persian Haleem (a traditional warm cereal) in another blog post.

Enjoy!

Market list

2 full cups bread flour, sifted twice, extra for coating

1/4 tsp salt

2 tbsp (30 gr) softened butter or olive oil

About 2/3 cup warm water

cast iron or heavy skillet

small grilling net

Directions

Add the flour into a medium bowl. Sprinkle the salt and incorporate. Then, pour the oil and massage into flour.

Start adding the water slowly and mix with with your fingers until the dough starts to come together. Add enough water that the dough is very soft and does not stick to your hand.

naan3

naan4

Continue kneading the dough for one more minute and form the dough into a ball. Cover with a plastic wrap and rest for 10 minutes.

naan6

After 10 minutes knead the dough for another 1minute. Make small portions of large as small tangerine. This amount of dough will make 9-10 small breads. form the portions into balls. ِRoll the dough pieces in a small bowl of flour.

naan7

naan8

Heat the flat pan on medium heat. Dust the surface with a little flour and roll the each dough into a very thin round shape. After each roll, turn the dough ninety degree to the right. Roll and turn until you get a round shape. The thickness should be 1-2 mm. .

naan10naan11naan12

Place the flattened dough on hot pan. When the top part starts to pop up check the bottom part; if it is golden, turn it over. With your spatula, press down the corners that you think are not well cooked into the pan. It helps those areas to be cooked. Remove the golden brown bread from the pan and place it over a clean cloth in a clean container.

naan13naan14naan15

Cook other portions and keep the warm. Serve the bread warm.

naan16