SOLD OUT! Persian Cooking Lesson, Christmas Edition, December 2nd

Persian Cooking Class in Rome

Your response to my debut Persian cooking class at Latteria Studio has been incredible! The class sold out in less than a week. And since there were so many of you that were interested, I decided to add a new date for another Persian Cooking Class, with a slightly different menù for the festive Season. The Christmas Edition features pomegranates, pistachios, almonds and walnuts, festivity favorites in the west, and celebration food in Iran.

Please join me on Saturday morning on December 2nd, to chat, talk about the basics of Persian cooking, getting in the mood for Christmas and get our hands busy chopping, cutting, braising and stewing.

Persian Cooking Class in Rome
Persian Cooking Class in Rome

When

Saturday December 2nd, at 10 am

Where

Latteria Studio

Via di Ponziano 29, 00152, Rome (Trastevere)

Cost

€79 per person

SOLD OUT

includes cooking lesson, four course lunch, wine and water

Booking

This class has been sold out. Booking is no longer possibile. For priority booking for future courses, write to info{at}labnoo.com.

Menu

To start

Persian Cheese Platter with herbs (vegetarian)

Main Courses

Tah-chin Kadoo: Persian rice cake with pumpkin and caramelised onions (vegetarian)

Fried dates Frittata

Persian Jeweled rice with pistachios, almonds, barberries and candied orange zest (vegan)

Festive Saffron Chicken with Pomegranates and Walnuts

Sides

Mint and Pomegranate salad

Dessert

Persian Love Cake with roses and pistachios

served with cardamom tea

For any other info or details don’t hesitate to contact me! You can find and share content about this cooking class at #PersianCookingClassRome. Continue reading

Persian Delight, Easy Turkish Delight/Lokum as Christmas Edible Gifts from the East & a Yalda Celebration

Persian Delights - Rosy Candies for Christmas Edible Gifts | Lab Noon by Saghar Setareh-title-01

I. Christmas Flavors from the East

Would a Christmas with Middle Eastern flavors sound outrageous or alternative to you? What if I told you that your Christmas at times — tastes and smells like the feasts and celebrations of the East, and it has been so for centuries? Warm spices such as cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves that evoke the spirit of Christmas, form the flavor pallet of so many ancient and modern Middle Eastern recipes. Many roast or braised meats that we serve on Christmas are enriched with dried fruits such as raisins, plums, dates and apricots; a normality in many dishes from the East.

Persian Delights - Rosy Candies for Christmas Edible Gifts | Lab Noon by Saghar Setareh-2

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Persian Delights - Rosy Candies for Christmas Edible Gifts | Lab Noon by Saghar Setareh-11

Winter feasts, regardless of their location or origin, celebrate togetherness in order to survive the dark. There’s often dry fruits and nuts in the festive dishes, mainly because fresh fruit was not available in the cold season. In the medieval ages spices, figs, dates, nuts, turkish delights, and even sugar were luxury goods that were imported to Europe from the Middle and Far East. So naturally, they were consumed in banquets and feasts. The medieval Christmas has left a footprint of Middle Eastern flavors in the Christmas dishes of northern Europe, and consequently, North America and Oceania. As for Italy, apart from Sicily, Naples and other Southern parts where the dominations have permanently inserted some Middle Eastern flavors to many dishes, the rest of the country does Christmas with little or no warm spices.

If you’ve followed this blog for a long time, you might remember that in Iran we don’t celebrate Christmas, but we do celebrate Yalda, a celebration of the Winter Soltice. Although Yalda is a laic festival based on ancient seasonal traditions, it is similar in some ways to Christmas, which I talked about in details here. Eating nuts, dry fruits and Turkish Delights is one of these similarities. 

Persian Delights - Rosy Candies for Christmas Edible Gifts | Lab Noon by Saghar Setareh-5

Persian Delights - Rosy Candies for Christmas Edible Gifts | Lab Noon by Saghar Setareh-1
Persian Delights - Rosy Candies for Christmas Edible Gifts | Lab Noon by Saghar Setareh-7

One of the sweets that we always serve on the Yalda table along with nuts, pomegranates and —oddly enough— watermelon, is Baslogh. Also known as Lokum, Rahat Lokum (راحة الحلقوم) or more commonly, the Turkish Delights. The Turkish-ness of these sweet, gooey, soft and fragrant candies however can open a never ending debate. They are common in all the Balkan region and the Middle East, and we must admit that choosing the name Turkish Delight has been an incredibly clever marketing tactic, that has opened the way of these festive sweets into the western shops and even literature. 

Turkish Delights are featured in the Chronicles of Narnia, as a sweet temptation of an evil witch that uses them to get information from a boy who loves the candies. The amazing Diana Henry (food writer and author of many books) on a podcast on Channel 4 Food Programme digs deep into the Eastern flavors for Christmas celebrations and a very interesting part of the podcast is dedicated to Turkish Delights. 

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Persian Delights - Rosy Candies for Christmas Edible Gifts | Lab Noon by Saghar Setareh-15

Persian Delights - Rosy Candies for Christmas Edible Gifts | Lab Noon by Saghar Setareh-17

II. Persian Delights: More Delicate, Easy Turkish Delights

No matter the name, these rose scented candies have been present all this Holiday season in my kitchen, beside my tea, all over my apron, in my travels and also in my cooking events! I knew I wanted to make a blog post about them as an edible Christmas Gift (my type of gift, remember this post?), as well as making them for the Christmas Pop up Kitchen we held on December 18th at Latteria Studio. Last weekend I went to Milan to make these Persian Delights with Alice aka A Gipsy in the Kitchen and we filmed it live on Facebook (in Italian). This post is my contribute to the virtual Yalda Celebration of the Persian Food Bloggers, so do check out other Iranian recipes for the festive season at the bottom of this post.

Persian Delights - Rosy Candies for Christmas Edible Gifts | Lab Noon by Saghar Setareh-8

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Persian Delights - Rosy Candies for Christmas Edible Gifts | Lab Noon by Saghar Setareh-4

There really is something fairy tale-ish about these sweets. They’re incredibly soft, yet they have a satisfying texture too. My version of this recipe is super delicate, as I have reduced the sugar amount. After many tries (including some embarrassing failures), I finally realized how to perfect the gummy effect by using a lot of gelatin sheets. The key is to use the double dose of gelatin for the amount of water in the indications, as we’re making a solid candy, not a jelly to be eaten by the spoon.  Continue reading

Regenerating & Reusing the Excess; White Chocolate Truffles with Roses & Cardamom

Reusing Christmas Chocolate to make Chocolate Truffles for La Befana, Italian Epiphany-23
Disclaimer: All the pretty printed gift tags, stickers and postcard (plus an unpictured apron I can’t wait to show you) have kindly been offered by Zazzle. If you need any sort of high quality printed accessory —from personal cards to stationary and design— make sure to check them out. They ship over Europe and the US. They have also printed a high quality calendar of my photos that I give away on my instagram.

Reusing Christmas Chocolate to make Chocolate Truffles for La Befana, Italian Epiphany-11

I. Letting go of the unhealthful and regeneration

The holidays are (almost) over. We’re in 2016 (Isn’t this number a little too large?!). I hope you have had some relax and resting time, maybe with some loved ones, maybe away from them, maybe on your own. I hope you have not been absorbed by the rush of shopping and the stress of having everything ready and everyone satisfied. Because let’s face it; despite the joy, the lights and the jingles, the holidays can be very stressing. So one can ironically be glad, that “we’ve made it through this year too”.

But this isn’t how it should feel. These holidays should be about enjoying ourselves, and our friends and family. Often it happens that we spend too much; we spend too much money, we buy too many gifts, we cook we too much food and we eat and drink way more than being full (to the point that we feel physically bad, and that could even make us feel worse about ourselves), too much chocolate, too many drinks.

Reusing Christmas Chocolate to make Chocolate Truffles for La Befana, Italian Epiphany-8
Reusing Christmas Chocolate to make Chocolate Truffles for La Befana, Italian Epiphany-3

I think this is the problem. The excess. The unnecessary. Please don’t think that I am against the spirit of the generosity and abundance of the holidays. But I do believe that more than often, these holidays leave us exhausted and dried out rather than refreshed, because we don’t drive our spending resources (money, energy, love, time) in the healthy direction. We need to let the energy flow, recycle and regenerate itself. We need to connect, first to ourselves, and then to others. And let go, of things, food, and interactions that are neither satisfying nor healthy for us.

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Reusing Christmas Chocolate to make Chocolate Truffles for La Befana, Italian Epiphany-18

I think this is my resolution for the new year (it just occurred to me!); letting go of the unhealthy and unnecessary and letting it all flow. 2016 is already a year of great changes for me that I await with enthusiasm and some fear to be honest. Some of these changes have already begun. I am moving; moving out, to be precise. And I hope I can let go and be let go of soon, for everybody’s health’s sake.

Reusing Christmas Chocolate to make Chocolate Truffles for La Befana, Italian Epiphany-28

II. Reusing Christmas Candy and Chocolate

In Italy, the holidays have an epic end: La Befana or the Epiphany. The holiday of January 6th is celebrated slightly differently here than other Christian countries. La Befana, is basically a good witch who rides a broom stick, Continue reading