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Persian Love Cake and a Marriage Proposal

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Heavily spiced and beautifully balanced – Iranian cuisine is definitely a new interest of mine. I was lucky enough to attend a Persian dinner party on Saturday with some good friends. I was also fortunate enough to receive a marriage proposal! Of course I accepted – so this has definitely been a Valentine’s weekend to remember. In fact, it has been the best weekend I’ve had for a long time – the food was exceptional, the proposal unexpected and the hangover, well rather inevitable.

I’m not one to attend a dinner party empty handed. Of course taking wine is perfectly expectable, but whipping up a delicious, decadent dessert is even better. Given that the theme for the evening was Persian food, I set about researching some recipes and I found myself confused as to why I hadn’t discovered Iranian food sooner. It all looks so wonderfully unfamiliar and exotic – that excites me a little. There is certainly nothing boring about cardamom, saffron and rose water all rolled into the one recipe. I stumbled upon a recipe for a Persian Love Cake on the brilliant Twigg Studios blog written by Aimee Twigger. What better recipe for a Persian dinner party on Valentine’s weekend?

There is something quite wonderful about a cake decorated with crimson rose petals and bright green pistachios – it’s a real show-stopper. I couldn’t quite believe how well it complemented the Raan (roast leg of lamb in yogurt that Bryan cooked) with spiced side dishes of spinach, cauliflower, rice and potatoes.

Second Picture

Our friend Bryan’s surname is Haines and we call him the Haines Manual, because he is a endless fountain of knowledge. I asked him for the Raan recipe and he bought out this book, the cover fell apart from the pages as I opened it – obviously a rather old and well used book. Bryan tells me it has many a delicious Iranian recipe – The Yoghurt Book by Arto Der Haroutunian (Syrian born). The book was first published in 1983, but I’m hoping I can find a copy online. I will have a go at the dish myself at some point and share the recipe with you, once I have photographs to go with it.

The Persian Love Cake was made with many of the same ingredients, cardamom, saffron, almonds and complemented the meal beautifully. You can view the recipe here.

I still can’t quite believe that I’m engaged – let the wedding planning commence.

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Crunchy Coconut Biscuits

Generally speaking, I’m not the best baker. In fact, if truth be told, I’m terrible. Richard often makes fun of the fact that most of my bakes end up with some deformity or another – soggy bottom, flat cake – you see where this is going. For someone who has such a passion for food and cooking I suck at baking! That said, I persevere time and again – I figure one of these days I’ll create something wonderful.

This week I decided to make coconut biscuits. If you’ve ever tasted coconut rings, they are fairly similar, perhaps just a little crunchier. They actually turned out well, much to my own surprise – so I thought I’d share the recipe with you. Coconut is one of my favourite ingredients, it’s the versatility of it that I love – use it in sweet and savoury dishes, either way it’s delicious.

This recipe is an adaptation of Coconut Biscuits from a book called Biscuiteers Book of Iced Biscuits, which despite it’s very un-snappy title is a wonderfully illustrated book packed with fabulous looking (and tasting) biscuits. The book has everything from old fashioned favourites, such as custard creams and bourbons to iced baby shower, birthday, Easter and Christmas themed biscuits.

coconut

Coconut Biscuits
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Sweet
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
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Delicate coconut flavoured biscuits with a crunchy texture
Ingredients
  • 350g Plain flour
  • 100g self raising flour
  • 140g granulated sugar
  • 100g desiccated coconut
  • 125g butter, diced
  • 200g golden syrup
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
Instructions
  1. Place the flours, sugar and coconut into a mixing bowl and stir to combine the ingredients.
  2. Add the cubed butter and tub together with the dry ingredients using the tips of your fingers until you have a fine breadcrumb consistency.
  3. Make a well in the centre and add the egg and golden syrup, bring the mixture together using your hands, drawing in the flour from the sides of the bowl until you have a dough that comes together.
  4. Transfer the dough to your worktop and flatten into a disc, cover with cling film and chill for 20 minutes before rolling out.
  5. Preheat your oven to 160 degrees (fan). Place baking paper onto a baking sheet ready for the biscuits.
  6. Roll out the dough until it is the thickness of a pound coin, cut out your biscuits using a cookie cutter and bake for 13-14 minutes (until lightly golden).

And of course, no biscuit would be complete without a hot beverage for dunking…

chocolate