Why Iran?

Last year at work, our directors had a meeting in Melbourne, and I found myself at dinner seated next to our Canadian director. I was telling him about my around the world in 80 cuisines adventure, and the great food we’ve been sampling. We got to talking about Canadian food. Maple syrup is OK, but I cannot bring myself to love salmon, and how anyone can love poutine is completely beyond me – it’s gross.

He then said “well, I’m from Iran. They have great food”. Yes! I immediately nominated Iran as my next choice.

My experience of Iran

As with Egypt, I have never been to Iran and have never eaten their food. I expect it will include rose water, pistachios and pomegranate.

But I have to admit that, although the internet is not the ultimate truth about anything, there is not much that I have read about Iran that tempts me in any way to go there. Hopefully the facts I have found are waaaaay out of date but, if even if a fraction of the internet can be believed, the treatment of women in Iran is appalling. I don’t care that the English word “paradise” comes from the Persian language – I’m still not tempted.


Normally our international lunches are on the last Sunday of the month, which would be 24 June, but Will has a concert on that day (Will is in a barbershop chorus – go Melbournaires!), so we’ll have it on Saturday 23 June. Except that Jan works until 4:00 pm on Saturdays (at North Ringwood Meat Supply), so we’ll have dinner in Iran on Saturday 23 June.

I’ve invited my friend from work, Jess, and her husband, Brian. Jess is going to make a Persian love cake. Sounds delicious!

There’s kind a symmetry in our guests for Iran – Jan was my friend in my first job and Jess is my friend from (hopefully) my last job.

Elysia is not able to come to lunch in Iran, which is a great pity. She has another commitment, as all teenagers should on a Saturday night!

I went to the South Melbourne Market yesterday (9 June) to check out the more unusual types of food they have there. I wish I had done the menu planning before I went, but I bought some Persian fairy floss, which I’ll be able to use somewhere. I also bought snails in brine for lunch in France next month.

The menu requires food such as sweet lemons, barberries and sour dried cherries, so I might go down to Leo’s in Kew next Friday. Other than that, I’m sure there’ll be some middle eastern shops in Coburg or Brunswick.

10 June 2018

Leo’s in Heidelberg didn’t have what I was looking for, but it was certainly worth the trip over there to check out their stock – you never know if I’ll need something from there another time. I bought some lovely looking labneh.

I have found that the health food shop in Heathmont has the most unexpected food, so I thought I’d wander in there and have a look around. Of course, they had sour dried cherries! It is amazing the little things that she stocks in there.

The menu

Much as the country itself doesn’t inspire me, the menu sounds delicious. I’m going to have to make reduced quantities otherwise there’ll be so much food left over that even Lauren’s chooks won’t be able to get through it all (the amount and variety of food that those chooks eat is amazing!).

Here’s what we’ll be having:

  • Persian rose cocktail
  • Ajil-e moshkel gosha (problem-solving nuts)
  • Nan-e barbari (Persian flatbread)
  • Crispy-bottomed Persian rice
  • Kuku sabzi (Persian omelette)
  • Ghalieh maygu (Persian Gulf prawns)
  • Fesenjan (Persian pomegranate chicken)
  • Kuku sibzamini (Persian-style saffron and potato fritters)
  • Yoghurt and beet salad
  • Faloodeh (rosewater and lime noodle sorbet)
  • Bastani (Persian rosewater, saffron and pistachio ice-cream)
  • Persian love cake

Here are the recipes for our faves – Iran best recipes

Click here to see all our favourite recipes.

The food

The Fesenjan was easily the dish of the day – it was absolutely delicious. The bread was good too, and the potato fritters are definitely worth another go. The beet and yoghurt salad was also really nice.

Liam thought the chicken was the dish of the day until he remembered about the cake. The cake was superb. I’m not much of a cake eater at all, but easily ate a good-sized wedge. The kids ate heaps of it! Thank you, Jess!!

The ice-cream was yummy too – very smooth – and it cut through the lime in the faloodeh nicely. And dressed with the Persian fairy floss, it looked a treat. Lani kept calling it hairy floss, which is quite an apt description of Persian fairy floss.

The drinks

The cocktail got better as we had more, or maybe it was because I stopped measuring the ingredients. For me, the first batch was too much gin and too much rosewater. With the food and the cocktails, we managed to get through an awful lot of rosewater on the day.

The quiz

Brian won the quiz. Well done, Brian!!

Here’s the factsheet – Factsheet_Iran

Here’s the place-mat –Place-mat_Iran

And here’s the quiz – Quiz_Iran

The wrap-up

Dinner in Iran was lovely, and I’m so glad we went there. The food was delicious – not many unusual ingredients as such, but the combinations were wonderful. I am so loving this experience!

Where to next?

Lani chose France and, seeing as Bastille Day is in July, we thought we’d have lunch in France in July, on the day after Bastille Day, i.e. on Sunday 15 July. I’m very excited about lunch in France – the kids are going to help me make a croquembouche, and I’ve already bought the snails. And there’ll be vichyssoise, French onion soup, croissants – so much yummy food!

Oh, and I’ll have to reconstruct my Lego Eiffel Tower.