Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Rosewater and Soda Bread by Marsha Mehran

"She lowered the heat on the simmering plum stew and turned to the brick oven. Using a large paddle, she stoked the smouldering logs inside its large belly." p116

In Marsha's second novel The Babylon Cafe - with its red door, purple shutters and wafting smells - is contrasted against the damp cragginess of Ireland. In this story the sisters blossom on their individual journeys of finding love, letting go of the past and finding their futures. A mermaid with a secret, a drunken goat, the local busybody and a deejay priest along with traditions, contradictions, faerie folk and the happy sprinkling of rosewater help them on their way.  The second novel does not include written recipes but it does make reference to many. The recipe below when translated means "green". And green it is! It is light and fruity not thick and hearty like say, an Irish stew.

 Persian Plum Stew Serves 6 -8  Khoresht Gojeh Sabz 
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons tumeric
1 onion diced
3 bunches parsley chopped
3 bunches mint chopped
3 bunches scallions chopped
5 cups of chicken stock
3/4 cup lemon juice
12 unripe plums (prunes)
1 kg chicken or lamb diced

Method: Saute the chopped onions with 1 teaspoon of Tumeric until softened. Add the herbs and saute until dark green. Add stock, plums and lemon juice. Bring to the boil then simmer until the plums are soft - about one hour. (If you are using prunes, plop them in to heat through at the end, once the meat is cooked). In a separate fry pan saute meat with remaining one teaspoon of  Tumeric until browned. Add to the mix. Cook in oven or stove top for one hour. Season to taste and serve with rice.

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