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Sunday 20 December 2009

The London Cooking Club – A Persian Evening #1

A Persian Evening @ The London Cooking Club

I first met Kelsie and Mel of Travels with my Fork at the Wahaca’s autumn menu tasting a few months ago. We’ve kept in touch and more recently, we met again at my home for a Japanese meal. Over dinner, and together with two other friends, Regis and Tim, we decided to set up a monthly Cooking Club.

The idea is to have a monthly dinner where each person or couple will cook a dish of their choice on an agreed theme, cuisine, or author. For our first meeting, we decided to have a Persian Evening with recipes from a cookbook called “The New Food of Life” by Najmieh Batmanglij.

We split the starter or mezze dishes among the six of us, while Tim freshly baked the bread, I cooked the main, Regis made the rice dish and Mel prepared the dessert. Each couple also contributed two bottles of wine to accompany their course.


We prepared a selection of five mezze including “Cheese and Walnut Dip”, “Yogurt and Aubergine Dip” and “Stone Baked Bread” from the above cookery book.


The “Chickpea, feta and red onion Salad” and “Grilled chicken wings with harissa, lemon and garlic” were cooked by Mel from a different cookbook but were equally delicious.



For the main, I prepared “Fresh Herb Khoresh” (slow cooked Persian stew) made of lamb shanks, kidney beans, dried limes, cooked in large quantities of fresh herbs like parsley, chives, coriander and fenugreek.

Regis made a delicious rice dish called “Jewelled Rice” with roasted guinea fowl, and with a perfect “tadig” (rice crust) - this dish was the highlight of the evening for me. Both dishes were also taken from The New Food of Life cookbook.

To round off the evening, Mel baked a delightful Persian Love Cake, and served it with quenelles of frozen yogurt.

We will be meeting again for our second London Cooking Club event in late January 2010. The theme has not yet been decided although we are considering a Scottish evening in commemoration of Robert Burns.

We have set up a “London Cooking Club” page on Facebook. If you have any suggestions regarding future dinner themes or a possible location to host future events, or if you would like to take part in one of our dinners, please visit our site, post a comment or become a fan.


  1. Hi Kano,

    Will certainly be in touch, it would be great to try one of your fantastic meze cooked by the man himself!

    Luiz @ The London Foodie

  2. Hi Luiz, looks great! Especially the stew and tahdig! I do have Najmieh's books, but i hate that she uses words like "Mezze" - which is not remotely Iranian and tends to just make stuff up that isnt authentic, but hey, thats life! But the stew you made "Khoreshteh Ghormeh Sabzi" is a national institution! There are even groups on Facebook dedicated to it, so WELL DONE for making that! It looks great!

    I want to do a night of Korean food, let me know if you are up for that one day! Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year!!!


  3. Hi Sabrina,

    Lovely to see you back here, and thanks for the compliments on the Khoresh. Interesting feedback on The New Food of Life, I love the recipes but the American writing style and measurements are a real pain.

    Korean food is one of my favourite, and I try to cook as much of it at home as possible, unfortunately my partner is not madly keen. I would be very interested in a Korean Cooking Evening, maybe we should discuss this further?!

    Have a wonderful Xmas!

    Luiz @ The London Foodie

  4. Wow, what a lovely idea to have a cooking club amongst friends, Luiz. I absolutely love Mediterranean cuisine. If only I'm there, I'll make sure you guys won't have any leftovers to deal with. I like the Scottish theme for the next round and I wonder who will take the challenge to make haggis (wink! wink!). Haggis is a must for a truly authentic Scottish meal (just being a devil's advocate here! :)

  5. Hi Petite Nyonya - you would be more than welcome to join us next time you are in London! The evening worked out really well, and I think everyone was really chuffed to contribute towards it - it takes away the pressure of entertaining and it is economical to all involved! It was a great evening.


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