Saturday, 21 March 2009

Nowruz - Persian New Year

We interupt the stream of trout-posts to bring you a change of pace. Yesterday was the Spring equinox, which means it was Nowruz, the day the Iranian disapora celebrates the start of the New Year.

Family legend has it that my grandmother was once propositioned by the former Shah of Iran (I think - may have been someone else, I will wait for my mother to confirm). Moreover, we used to go to a lovely Persian restaurant in Sydney (run by Armenians of Tehran, which in my experience guarantees amazing food) where the maitre d' was the first person to tell Paul that he was going to marry me. So it seems only fair to adopt their holiday, and anyway, the food is good and it was a Friday so I had time to play a bit.

It was, of course, a half-arsed observance. I ignored the haft sin - the table displaying 7 items beginning with S that has symbolism for the holiday - and went straight to sort of Persian food.

Firstly - sabzi khordan. This platter of herbs, radishes and feta (it probably shouldn't really be feta, but needs must) is sort of a salad, sort of a relish and sort of an appetiser. Plucking leaves of mint and basil to snack on while you wait for the meat to grill, and then eating more with your bread and whatnot is one of the delights of a Persian meal. I used chives, flat-leaf parsley, mint and basil, arranged on a block of feta cut into cubes.

Then lamb kebabs. I marinated cubed lamb for about an hour in olive oil, a really special ras el hanout, and 2tbs of grated onion before threading it onto soaked bamboo skewers and handing it to Paul to cook on the charcoal Weber.

He toasted the pita bread on the Weber as well - they puffed up deliciously and had lovely toasty charred spots on them.

I also made a little salad-e shirazi - a finely diced cucumber, tomato and onion salad.

After stuffing ourselves with kebabs, we only had room to share a dessert - rosewater pannacotta, with figs drowned in it. Happy New Year!

8 comments:

HH said...

Wow that looks great FC! I love the history behind it, that is wonderful!

The Cat's Mother said...

Sorry. It was a Saudi prince.

I love "middle eastern" food anyway - I'm sorry I've never been to that restaurant, sounds lovely.

Laurie said...

I love to celebrate obscure holidays with personal meaning too. I'm so glad you and Paul celebrated the occasion in such a fine manner! Memories like these are important.

My 16 year old daughter is celebrating her one year anniversary with her boyfriend tomorrow and she asked me if I remembered my first date with her father.

Yep, I do. June 8th. And I even remember what I wore and what I ate that night.

BTW - loved your smoked fish!

Debinhawaii said...

Wow! What a feast! It all looks and sounds wonderful. I love good Persian food.

Foodycat said...

HH - thanks!

Mother - oh well, it's still a good story! The restaurant was great, Persopolis, in Cremorne just near the Orpheum.

Laurie - well, I don't remember the date of our first date, but I remember what I wore and what I ate.

Thanks Deb!

Sam said...

It all looks and sounds great! I love Middle Eastern food too.

Peter M said...

Thanks for the background on some Persian cuisine and customs. The kebabs look delish!

Foodycat said...

Thanks Sam! I was criticised for leaving the hummus off the menu. Next time!

Peter - they were perfect. Just charcoaly enough, but tender and moist.

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