May, 2018

February, 2018

  • How a chef cooks for those he loves

    13 February, 2018 How a chef cooks for those he loves

    Skipping the crowds in favour of a lovingly prepared meal at home is your best bet for a romantic Valentine’s Day. This is chef Jock Zonfrillo's idea of a nice night in.
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January, 2018

December, 2017

October, 2017

September, 2017

  • Win a pro toastie pack

    18 September, 2017 Win a pro toastie pack

    Indulge in the ultimate comfort food with this kit, including a no-mess Breville press, a copy of Darren Purchese's Chefs Eat Toasties Too and a subscription to Cooked.
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August, 2017

July, 2017

June, 2017

  • Winter entertaining with Gill Meller

    08 June, 2017 Winter entertaining with Gill Meller

    Gill Meller is in the country, his first time to Australia, showcasing his beautiful book Gather with a series of dinners and classes. We caught up with him to find out what's on the menu for his Aussie guests.
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May, 2017

April, 2017

February, 2017

January, 2017

December, 2016

October, 2016

September, 2016

August, 2016

July, 2016

June, 2016

May, 2016

April, 2016

March, 2016

February, 2016

January, 2016

December, 2015

November, 2015

  • Christmas basics: the perfect custard

    27 November, 2015 Christmas basics: the perfect custard

    We're looking at those staple recipes that can make or break your Christmas spread. First up, the much-misunderstood sweet seductress, custard.
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  • Halfway Home

    16 November, 2015 Halfway Home

    I’ve been sugar-free for a total of two weeks, and things are going surprisingly well...
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  • Bubbles or nothing

    11 November, 2015 Bubbles or nothing

    Out to impress this party season? To take your entertaining game to the next level, we’ve teamed up with our friends at Halliday Wine Companion to share tips on matching sparkling wines to a range of show-stopping canapes.
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  • The anatomy of the perfect burger

    11 November, 2015 The anatomy of the perfect burger

    Looking for your next weekend challenge? Why not have a crack at making your own cheeseburgers from scratch? Chef Daniel Wilson shares the secret recipe to recreating his famed Huxtaburger, from bun to patty and everything in between.
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  • No Sugar November

    04 November, 2015 No Sugar November

    This month while the boys are growing staches, I’ll be growing a conscience about all the confectionary I consume.
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October, 2015

September, 2015

May, 2015

April, 2015

March, 2015

February, 2015

January, 2015

December, 2014

November, 2014

October, 2014

September, 2014

August, 2014

July, 2014

June, 2014

May, 2014

April, 2014

March, 2014

February, 2014

  • Margaret Fulton's expert guide to preserves

    27 February, 2014 Margaret Fulton's expert guide to preserves

    Jams, pickles, chutneys, sauces, compotes and conserves are the best way to preserve abundant produce so you can enjoy your fruit and veg all year round. Margaret Fulton shares her guide to the art of preserving.
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  • Melbourne Food & Wine Festival 2014 | Our picks

    27 February, 2014 Melbourne Food & Wine Festival 2014 | Our picks

    The Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, running from February 28 to March 16, begins in just over a week. We’ve put together our picks of the fest.
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  • Philippa Sibley's expert guide to sweet pastry

    24 February, 2014 Philippa Sibley's expert guide to sweet pastry

    Master of the dough Philippa Sibley shares her step-by-step guide to making sweet shortcrust pastry, taking you through everything you need to know to perfect the art of peerless pâte.
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  • In season | Eggplant

    21 February, 2014 In season | Eggplant

    The unsung hero of the nightshade family, eggplant is found in cuisines the world over. From Sicily to South East Asia, the Middle East to the Mediterranean, many signature dishes feature the versatile aubergine. We sing the praises of the humble eggplant.
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  • Everything you need to know about cuts of pork

    17 February, 2014 Everything you need to know about cuts of pork

    Meat expert and chef Adrian Richardson explains the different cuts of pork, and what you should use them for.
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  • Sticky business | A guide to meat on sticks

    14 February, 2014 Sticky business | A guide to meat on sticks

    Skewers, kebabs, shaslicks, yakitori … Whatever you call them, meat just tastes better when cooked on a stick. We share our tips to help you ace the skewers at your next barbecue.
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  • In season | Figs

    06 February, 2014 In season | Figs

    Figs evoke the flavours of exotic decadence. Sweet and visually striking, figs make for a decadent tart topper, a sumptuous sticky jam or a delightful savoury venture with cold meats. We share some of our favourite fig recipes.
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  • Guide to styling handmade edible gifts

    05 February, 2014 Guide to styling handmade edible gifts

    There's nothing more thoughtful than a handmade edible gift. April Carter shares her tips and tricks for making beautiful and delicious treats for those you love.
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January, 2014

December, 2013

November, 2013

Cook the Book – The Saffron Tales

By
Casey Warrener
Added
04 May, 2016

This autumn, Cooked editor Sarah Gamboni and I whipped up a flavour-packed Persian feast in the team test kitchen. We found a few favourites that we’re sure to show off to friends, and honed in on an adjustment or two along the way.



Our herby four-course feast included hand-rolled falafel with fennel and watercress, a fragrant flatbread salad with basil, mint and bursts of pomegranate, a sweet and spicy roast chook, rosy poached quinces, and the prettiest petal-covered cake.

Was it as delicious as it sounds? You betcha. Here’s the breakdown:

Mixed herb and flatbread salad

This was an absolute winner. Most who know me know that I have an aversion to garden varieties of salad – those limp, mesclun numbers are just not something I’ll go in for. But a bowl full of feta, tortilla, herbs and seasonings, now that's my kind of salad. If you can’t find golpar – a spice otherwise known as angelica root – just omit it. We went without it, and it certainly didn’t diminish the dish (substituting would prove difficult due to its distinct flavour profile). We also used a standard pack of Mexican wraps and that did the trick for the tortilla, but if you want to go all out, Yasmin has a recipe for Persian flatbreads you could try. Increase the amount of herbs according to taste (I accidentally used whole bunches on my second attempt – yep, I’ve already been back for more), and definitely heed the instruction to let the salad sit and soak for 10 minutes or more.

Herby baked falafels with fennel & watercress salad

Confession: unless entertaining, or baking, I’m a bit of a lazy cook. Homemade falafel is not something I would have previously considered, but I was surprised by how easy this was, and would definitely do it again. These were delish, but like most falafel, a little dry to be eaten on their own – they’d be best served with flatbreads and pickles, as per Yasmin’s suggestion. I’d also sub in a creamier sauce, and there are a couple of ways you could go with this. The first and truest to the recipe would be to up the amount of water and make it warm. This will leave you with a smoother texture. Another way would be to combine the tahini dressing with Greek yoghurt, or to try something like a tzatziki instead – Yasmin’s yoghurt with cucumber and dill would work nicely.

Roast chicken with pomegranate and za’atar glaze

Everybody loves a roast chook, and this one is particularly scrumptious. Coated with sticky pomegranate molasses and sprinkled with zesty *za’atar, it’s the perfect balance of sweet and tangy. In addition to the garlic we added some chopped onions to the roasting tin, leaving us with a lovely mix of caramelised alliums at the end. Served with a pile of aromatic Persian rice, crunchy cabbage salad, and sumac-spiced sweet corn, this would be an impressive and well-rounded meal.

*Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend that can include thyme, oregano, marjoram and sumac, typically mixed with salt and sesame seeds. All za’atar isn’t made equal, so try a few to find your favourite.

Poached quince with mascarpone and pistachios

Who knew this tough, misshapen fruit could be so mouthwatering good! Well, we did. But I was still taken aback by how tasty this simple dish turned out to be. The warm scent of cloves and intense rose water wafting from the saucepan was enough to make my stomach rumble, and the end result was highly satisfying. This is a fantastic all-rounder – eliminate the mascarpone for a light dessert, and keep leftovers in the fridge to jazz up your morning muesli. It got a big tick from all lucky enough to try (because it didn’t last long).

Persian love cake

With its bright green pistachios and violet-red rose petals, this is one swoon-worthy cake (hence the name). I’m a big fan of citrussy cakes and floral-flavoured sweets, so naturally I was excited about this dessert. Unfortunately, while it looked incredible, there are a few things we’d suggest you tweak. Firstly, the recipe says to add all the eggs at once – don’t. Mix them in one-by-one, like you usually would when preparing a batter. Secondly, increase the amount of drizzle; make enough to get your cake good and soaked. Doubling the amount of juice and water should do it. And lastly, depending on your oven, undercook it a little – check on your cake 10 minutes before the baking time is up. Get this Persian beauty right, and you’ll be a popular tea guest indeed.

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