Saffron: The Food

The Food

Food always tells a story. Whether it’s the story of how an ingredient was produced, where it originated from and how it got to our plates, to the story of it impacts our health, wealth or lifestyle.

Food also tells the story of who we are. What we like. What we don’t like. What we look forward to after a long day at work. What we reach for when we need some comfort. What we cook for those we love. What we eat when we want to celebrate a joyous occasion.

I like to incorporate the stories behind the food I eat into the recipes I develop and into my cookery classes and pop up supper clubs which are social and fun gatherings exploring tantalising ingredients and eating some delicious food.

Persian-esque Porridge

You can’t get porridge in Iran. Believe me I’ve tried. I’ve spent hours traipsing up and down the streets of Tehran tracking down expensive foreign import supermarkets and [...]

Yousha Bashir, 24 years old, Sculptor

I’ve been playing the didgeridoo for three years now; I like it because it sounds so tribal and other worldly. I came across it at a party a few years ago where I met a guy who had come to [...]

Nusratallah Saniee, 73, retired businessman

I was born in Ghonabaad, a village in Khorasan in the Iranian desert. I had nine brothers and sisters, which meant that our sofreh (the Iranian tablecloth on which people gather to eat) was [...]

Sima Mohamadzaadeh, Pharmacist

Well it’s not polite to ask a woman her age, so I won’t tell you that, but anyone who sees me can work out how old I am! I’m a pharmacist and I was born and live in Rasht, a [...]

Iranian store-cupboard essentials

Here is a short list of classic Iranian ingredients to stock up on at home to Persian-ise any dish in a jiffy.  You can find most of these ingredients in your high street supermarket or in any [...]

Rhubarb Cheesecake

I love all things rhubarb. The vibrant colour, the tangy sourness, the crazy shapes! Rhubarbs are widely used in Iranian stews and savoury foods (they go particularly well with lamb, but [...]


This rich and extremely moreish stew has just three key ingredients, which come together to create a truly sumptuous dish. Fesenjoon is the Shah of Iranian food; a dish rolled out for special [...]

Reza Ahmadi, 47, Taxi Driver.

My favourite food is ghormeh sabzi (lamb, herbs and dried lime stew). It’s delicious. That and fesenjoon (chicken with walnuts and pomegranates). These are my two favourite dishes. I ask my [...]

Saffron Roasted Fish

This is a very simple and easy Persian marinade that works well with any grilled white fish such as a sea bass or sea bream. It is a perfect quick and healthy weekday supper served with rice or [...]

Rose and Almond Cake

This is the kind of cake that reminds me of a Persian garden with its sweet rose scent, tangy citrus notes and earthy, creamy almonds. This recipe is adapted from a Nigel Slater almond cake [...]

Salad Shirazi

This crunchy Iranian salad is a fresh accompaniment to rice dishes. The trick is to get all the pieces of the salad into equally tiny pieces so that when you eat a spoonful you can get a bite of [...]


These intense fudgy treats are a perfect sweet treat to end a meal with or simply to enjoy with a good cuppa. Makes 20 halva balls Ingredients 160g flour 80g sugar 100ml rose water 8 cardamom [...]

Roya Baighi, 55, farmer.

I learnt cooking from my mother-in-law. My own mother was a seamstress and being a working mum with six kids to feed she was always busy so didn’t have much time to cook. She would always [...]

Mehrma Sephangekhu, 65, retired book-keeper

I was born in Tehran and have lived here all my life. I went to university in 1969 to read accounting and whilst I was studying I worked part time as a book-keeper. That was how I met my husband, [...]

Faezeh Khorasani, 32, Project Manager.

I had fish and chips for lunch yesterday. Yes, you can get fish and chips in Tehran. But it’s not as good as it is in the UK. There the chips are real fat proper chips. I love eating them [...]

Behzad Nalbandi, 41, Film-maker.

My surname means horseshoe, the symbol of good luck. And I think I’ve pretty lucky in my life. I love having people round and cooking. My mates will often say “oh lets just get a [...]

Babak Rabiee, 23, Electrician.

I’m in my final year of Uni studying to be an electrician. I do bits of work around town already, fixing up people’s air conditioning units, doing the odd bit of work for businesses [...]


Iran is the largest saffron producer in the world and there is no scent more evocative of the Iranian kitchen than saffron’s sweet, earthy, aroma. Famously heralded as the world’s [...]

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