Persiana

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Mouth-watering Persian recipes from Sabrina Ghayour.
Following the book reviews for Persiana, we conclude that it is one of the best (primarily because we are fan of no-frills cooking).

Here is our recommendation: try and follow any one of her simple recipes, put out the candles for dinner and bring out the smiles in your significant other. Remember: everyday is Valentine’s day!!!

….
The walls of Sabrina Ghayour’s Earl’s Court flat are lined with family
photographs and Persian poetry. Ghayour and her mother have lived here
for 36 years and it’s where she began hosting supper clubs two years
ago. “I was worried my diners would think the poems were terrorist
scriptures,” she says. “I fretted too much about what people would think
of me back then.”


When we meet, Ghayour, 38, is preparing a family feast to celebrate
the Persian New Year, an occasion that coincides with her publisher
sending over the first copy of her debut cookbook Persiana.
Filled with 100 recipes she’s refined over the years, it also draws on a
childhood spent in the kitchen: “I was precocious,” she says. “My mum
and grandmother couldn’t cook for toffee – so at 11 years old, I became
the cook.” 

There’s a photo in Persiana of Ghayour, aged six,
stirring a pot with a wooden spoon as long as her arm: “That was the
first time I ever cooked – boil-in-the-bag cod mornay.”

Born in
Tehran, Ghayour moved to London in 1979 at the beginning of the Iranian
revolution. “We were lucky,” she says. “My mother had been studying in
the UK and had this flat.” Her parents separated around the same time,
her father moving to Los Angeles with his new wife, while Ghayour, her
mother and grandmother settled in west London. “My mum had me when she
was 20, so we’ve always been more like sisters, and I was very close to
my grandmother – we shared a room.”

After school she spent 15 years working in events and marketing for restaurateurs, including Ken Hom,
as well as corporate catering in the City of London. Made redundant in
2011, around the time of Thomas Keller’s £250-a-head pop-up version of
The French Laundry in Harrods, Ghayour half-joked on Twitter about doing
her own, The French Launderette,
for £2.50. Within hours – still via Twitter – she had more than 30
bookings. “I was offered the use of a restaurant on a Sunday, when it
was closed, and ingredients – meat, fish, wine. Jason Atherton’s Pollen Street Social team offered to do my front of house.”

In
the end Ghayour served 80 people, raising £4,000 for Action Against
Hunger. Since then she’s been hosting up to three supper clubs a week,
as well as taking private cheffing jobs and teaching Persian cookery:
“It’s exhausting, but I am constantly aware of how lucky I am. I was
never a chef, just the dorky events girl that loved food.”

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