I fell in love with cooking from an early age watching Ken Hom and Madhur Jaffrey on TV in the 1980s, and by the time I was 11, I took over in the house as the main cook.
Being self taught and a home cook means my disciplines are better suited to every day home cooking and being creative with just a few ingredients, has always been my strength. I was born in Iran but came to England as a child and have lived here for nearly 40 years. Whilst I am proud of my Iranian heritage, I am every bit as fiercely proud of growing up in the UK and love my pies and puddings as much as I love my Kebabs and Khoresh stews. The great benefit of exposure to both cultures has given me a bravery with combining both produce and flavours of the East with those of the West to make vibrant, simple and delicious dishes that are approachable and simple to recreate.
Although I started with Persian and Middle Eastern food, I absolutely love food of almost every origin and description. I have a particular fondness for Southeast Asian food, Italian, Turkish, Mexican and South American cuisines but I also (rather unashamedly) love Walnut Whips, beef flavoured Monster Munch, Scotch Eggs, Lancashire Hotpot, Cornish Pasties and chips with gravy too. My diet is every bit as much salad as it is cake... And no two days are the same for me when it comes to eating.
My first book Persiana was given the kind of reception that one could only dream about and the support and feedback I had in the past 2 years was overwhelming. It also made me realise that we all struggle with the same concerns in our kitchens at home. Time is a massive factor, convenience, ease, speed and simplicity... All key factors when we decide what to cook after a busy day. My approach has always been straight forward... good recipes can always be adapted, ingredients can be substituted or omitted and the recipes and ingredients are mostly fairly short an straightforward. This was my way of building my own confidences as a cook and I very much hope you find the same confidence with my recipes.
My second book Sirocco (released 3rd May 2016) is a celebration of Eastern flavours and ingredients creating dishes that feel very familiar and Western in style. Call it what you want but I simply like to call it 'good food'. Recipes are still nice and simple and this time, I have thrown open my store cupboards for you (based on all the questions people have asked me in the past couple of years since Persiana was released) and I will share my little useful tips on how to use these spices and store cupboard staples to transform everyday humble produce into something a bit different and delicious.