Try as I may, I’ve never been able to knock out a great loaf of bread. Sometimes I might accidentally turn out an OKish flatbread or a decent pan-fried roti but that’s as close I get to fluffy, tall, slice-able thing. So when I read that in Iran bread is king, and is chowed-down upon at every meal, I was not optimistic about my ability to master the dish.
And I was right to be pessimistic.
I followed a recipe in Saraban for Barberi, or breakfast bread. It’s a flat bread, so I thought it wouldn’t be too elusive. It smelled divine while it was rising, and it actually did rise (!). I pulled it into ovals and I pre-heated trays and I baked and I pulled it out of the oven and it smelled great and was fluffy… but was lacking any flavour at all. And it was hard as stone within about 30 minutes.
Ah well, a baker is one of things I am not.
In any case, we had ate it for breakfast, with jams and tea. At least is was photogenicish:
For lunch on the same day the bread got another run as a side-kick for the soup. I found a recipe for beet and lentil soup on Turmeric and Saffron, and since our garden is chock-full of beetroot, and I love lentils in soup I decided to give it a go.
Again I was not optimistic about beetroot soup. I’ve eaten beet soup in the past and found it creepy – too sweet, too grass-flavoured.
This time my spider sense was wrong – this soup was really nice. I changed it a little but so little that you should really check out the original recipe here. To veganise I used vegan stock instead of chicken stock. I couldn’t be bothered with dumplings at lunch so I threw in some little noodles at the last minute, and I left out the beetroot greens, to avoid the grassy flavour. I used dried dill because I didn’t have fresh. and I added some parsley.
On the same day I made some baklava, Persian style. I used my normal recipe for baklava (which has not measurements, so I wont post it), but used rose water in the syrup, and some cardamon in the nut mix to match it to Iranian recipes I’ve pondered on the net.
the resulting pastry smelled gorgeous, but I missed the lemon tang I’m used to. It also had that slightly odd flavour that rose water gets when it’s been heated too long – my fault, for adding it earlier than I should have. Next time I might add a little rose and a little lemon, and see how that goes. That said, even sub-optimal baklava is pretty fabulous.
The verdict? Beet and lentil soup is going into my stack of recipes for extra garden produce. I’m not making bread ever again, I will buy it like we’re supposed to. Baklava is always good, but zi prefer mine with a teeny bit of tang.