Virtual Midsummer Potluck for Peace: a Persian Cucumber & “Sekanjebin” Summer Drink

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I. Taking a Stand at an Anniversary

Since I started this blog exactly three years ago, I have lived in four different houses. Early after publishing the first post, I left the apartment I shared with great roommates to move in with my ex-boyfriend. A year and half later, I moved out to another apartment with not-so-great roommates. Then finally a month ago, I moved, again, to a tiny apartment right under the Colosseum. The latter, is one of the most exciting and demanding events of my adult life. 

Home, has a always been a big theme in this blog, as I said right in the beginning (gosh, that ‘about’ page needs to be updated!). It’s an argument that occupies my mind whenever I think I’m finally settling down, and whenever I feel lost. Artists, writers and thinkers have dedicated years to work on the subject of home, and movement. I prefer to refer to them, rather than poorly attempting to elaborate this vast subject. But, again, home, it returns, and it is in a way the core of Lab Noon. 

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Lab Noon, was born as a laboratory of (metaphoric) fermentation and baking, as noon means bread in Persian, other than midday. I wanted this virtual space to be my home, no matter where I physically was. I didn’t start this blog as a pure hobby. My intentions were professional right from the beginning, although I didn’t exactly what direction my career as a visual creative and food enthusiast would take. 

Three years later, I work as a professional food photographer, and content creator for social media, and I’m aspiring to more food writing. BUT! I can’t begin to emphasize how important it is for me to keep this blog and my social media, true to myself, and my own values. As late Zygmunt Bauman said years ago, our modern societies are liquid, our reality is fluid. We are living in weird, dark times, and the most dangerous way to behave is to be indifferent. Therefore I am making a plea to all those who have a platform and an audience (which in the era of social media basically means everybody), to take a stand and make their voice heard, while respecting their niche. 

Honestly, I sometimes find it very hard to talk about food and food alone when horrid attacks and bombs and killing is on the order of the day. We can’t increase the violence by discussing the violence and sharing its images. What can do, is however to open up for dialogue; prepare a platform to talk, and to listen, especially to those who are often not heard. We can encourage the conversation. If you think this idea is bizzarre for a food blog, read this note on Food52 that was published the day after the US elections in last November. 

II: A Picnic Blog Party: Virtual Midsummer Potluck for Peace

On that note, I invited dozens of fellow blogger to participate in a virtual gathering and each bring something to eat or drink as IRL. Spread a cloth, set the scene, distribuite the food, eat, drink, be marry and… start a dialogue. Twenty something bloggers have joined me for the virtual midsummer potluck for peace. Some were very eager to participate but couldn’t make it in the end. Many others gave support.

There are recipes of all kind, and different origins. Salads, grills, pies, quiches, bites, desserts and drinks, there’s a glorious amount of summer recipes perfect for picnics or al fresco dining. Check out the guest recipes in the list bellow. I couldn’t have celebrated Lab Noon’s birthday in any better way, so once again, thank you everyone for coming to this virtual gathering!

My recipe is a classic Perisan drink with cucumbers and mint that you can find after the list of bloggers and recipes.
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Guests’ recipes for the Virtual Midsummer Potluck for Peace

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One year of Lab Noon, the Virtual Birthday Party, Friuty Birthday Cake for Summer & a GIVE-AWAY!

Lab Noon's Fruity Birthday Cake | Torta di Compleanno di Lab Noon -3Lab Noon officially turned one on June 19th. I remember how very confused, extremely tired and incredibly excited I was to launch the blog after many months of work. The blog was supposed to be written three languages, English, Italian and Persian. I decided to omit Persian after a short while. My first ever recipe quickly became an all time hit! Though now looking back I see many things that I would’ve done differently. Lab Noon's Fruity Birthday Cake | Torta di Compleanno di Lab Noon -9

It’s been an amazing year. I have said long thanks to all supporters in the invitation to this virtual birthday party. Here I want to thank all these lovely and talented food bloggers, who have accepted my invitation and prepared lovely cakes/dessert to share with you for #LabNoonsBirthdayParty. Some of these bloggers have been inspirational to me even before I started blogging and some I discovered in this one of year blogging. Some of them I have met in person or know them more personally in some way, some were pure strangers that reached me and joined the party. I am so glad I’ve known you all. Big, acclaimed ones, and new comers. I wish I could hug you one by one, and taste your cakes. Thank you everyone, really. 

Lab Noon's Fruity Birthday Cake | Torta di Compleanno di Lab Noon -11Bellow you will find a list of all the food bloggers who have taken part in Lab Noon’s vitual birthday party and their recipes. (I have tried my best to be organized and get the right link to everyone, but if you get a error please let me know and I’ll fix it). Lab Noon's (virtual) Birthday Party-1-2

Secondly, I want to thank once more Paola from Pauta Pot who generously gives these two beautiful, handmade, birdy cups as a give-away for our party. You can win these cups simply by writing a comment under this post, about the recipes and Lab Noon’s birthday. Then I will extract a name randomly and we will send you those cups! Please remember that  free shipping is available only in Europe.

The Recipes of the Guest Food Bloggers for Lab Noon’s Birthday Party (in alphabetical order)

Lab Noon’s Fruity Birthday Cake for Summer

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My idea of home made cake is something simple and rustic. Of course I would love a proper, nice & fancy cake (like many of the recipes above really put me to shame for how beautiful and perfect they are). But cakes that I like to make are simple, and very homy, filled with nutrient ingredient, so that with a sweet treat you can more than just empty calories. Recently I am always using more fruit in the batter and on topping of cakes that I make. Inspired by some natural jams and confections that use apples or apple juice as sweeteners, I have reduced the amount of sugar in my cakes dramatically and I have substitute it with apples! Both apple puree or grated apple work. Apple puree is cooked (so more time need), more smooth, but can also be much more watery. Grated apples brown easily (no matter how much lemon juice you add), some pieces could be bigger than others, but it gives a very nice texture and moistness to the cake. Continue reading

You’re All Invited to Lab Noon’s (Virtual) Birthday Party!

This is not a usual post and there’s no recipes. This is an invitation to a (virtual) party!

I can’t believe it! In a short while, it will be a year since I officially launched Lab Noon. I had been working on the blog actually for many months before I could finally present it to the world. 

I feel so blessed and thankful for everything that has been affiliated with this blog for the past year. A year, which on many other levels, hasn’t been the easiest and/or the happiest of my life. And in those hard moments, whenever I concentrated and created something, cooked or baked, shot it, and shared it with you, you always gave me a warm welcome. You who read me, like what I do, love my photos, cook my recipes. You who take your time to leave an encouraging comment, Thank you!

All you talented photographers, bloggers, cooks & designers, who do a plenty of amazing work, and inspire me to do more, thank you! When I first had the idea of creating this blog I barely knew a tiny fraction of all these people, their food, their photos and artwork and their writing. But as I started to walk this path, thankfully I discovered more and more that there are so many interesting realities out there (and not the ones on TV, heaven forbids), who appreciate food, in a new way, or in a traditional way; and more importantly as a way to bring people together and create new opportunities in every way.
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Thank you so much SAVEUR magazine for choosing me as a finalist in the Blog Awards and thank you much more for having voted me. It felt like a million dollars to have the name of Lab Noon among those fabulous bloggers who are really some of the bests in this business. I wish I could’ve been with them in person during the celebrations in NY early this month.  Thank you also Yahoo Food & Food52 for featuring my work. I didn’t imagine in my wildest dream to appear in these websites in the first year of Lab Noon. 

Words are not enough for me to say how I’ve appreciated all of your support. That’s why I thought I’d create a little something. A (virtual) birthday party for Lab Noon. The official birthday of Lab Noon is June 19th, and I would’ve wanted to celebrate it on the June 21st to overlap the official beginning of summer. But due to some technical troubles (including a dead macbook pro, I know, boohoo) we’re postponing the party to July 8th. And I want you to bring a cake (or a dessert, if you prefer).  Here’s the official invitation:

The party has two sections: one for the readers and one for fellow food bloggers.

The readers:
  1. Prepare a cake or dessert (natural & seasonal recipes are appreciated)
  2. Take a picture.
  3. Share it on your social media with #LabNoonsBirthdayParty with a brief recipe, and I will share them on Lab Noon’s social media.
Food Bloggers:
  1. Email me at collab[at] and let me know that you wanna join the party.
  2. Create a new post on your blog to go live on July 8th with the recipe of the cake/dessert you wanna bring to the party. It should link to Lab Noon and other blogs to participate at the roundup. 
  3. Give me the permalink of your blog post maximum by July 6th. (I will make a google doc with your names and the links which will make the link love easy on our blogs.)
  4. Share your/our material on your social media with #LabNoonsBirthdayParty.

There’s a give-away too!

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