Pomegranates and Roses

Roses are blooming in the garden and pomegranates are available here at the moment – it is so exciting when they start appearing before Christmas poppomand you can prise their tart, glowing glass-beady seeds out of their beautiful red carapace (they are the crustacea of the fruit world really) and scatter them liberally over all sorts of summery dishes. I have met people who told me they used to receive one when they were children on Christmas mornings, they also were given a pin. They were kept busy for hours, spearing and eating each seed until all they had left was the empty skin.

I have been really enjoying dipping into Pomegranates and Roses: My Persian Family Recipes by Ariana Bundy (Simon & Schuster). This cookbook is by an Iranian-American chef who trained in France. Bundy inherited her love of food and cooking from her grandparents – who grew cherries, plums, apricots, apples, sugar beets, wheat and barley, bred stewsheep and goats for dairy, and had beautiful vineyards producing prized grapes – and from her father, who owned and ran the first fine-dining French restaurant in Iran. It is a beautifully designed book, with stunning photography and tempting recipes like Ice in Heaven and Pomegranate and Walnut Stew with Chicken – that is a picture of the stew to the left – I have just added walnuts and more pomegranates to the shopping list, might have to save up for the gold leaf…

The book is also an evocative memoir of Bundy’s family and the pleasure and enjoyment they took in Persian cuisine and culture. If you also enjoy cooking with pomegranates (not to mention rosewater and rose petals) then this inspiring cookbook is worth a look.

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