Remember the plums I foraged with my friends Willem and Unity? Well, the genius that is Mandy from @Utopia Ice turned them into a deliciously mouthwatering, finger licking, summer-perfect Plum & Earl Grey sorbet. Ohh yeah.
Merry Christmas y’all! You know, my family and I never used to celebrate Christmas (for various reasons like not being Christian and just never having done so whilst growing up in Iran) but ever since my sister married a ChristmasCelebratingKiwi, we have had a lot of fun with it – mostly as an opportunity to
eat get together.
Here are pictures from our flat dinner – so beautifully decorated by even more beautiful Ashleigh.
*Love heart eyes*
This is a $45 lamb from Pedro’s House of Lamb “perfect for two” (crazy right?) Actually it fed four, and we had leftovers! I totally recommend it especially for a lazy cooking day. Also, because it’s like no1 on TripAdvisor!
Next, the family lunch. Here is my contribution: a healthier ambrosia. It’s very easy, simply mix two pottles of organic yoghurt (one boysenberry, one plain), fresh berries (blueberry, strawberry, boysenberry), chopped pineapple, a cheeky handful of chopped marshmallows and broken dark chocolate, and 1 can of drained boysenberries in juice not syrup. That’s it! Refrigerate for an hour or three to serve cold.
Mama and papa to be!
My Christmas presents from the family: a grapefruit, a pug fridge magnet (I’d like to take this opportunity to say I loved pugs before everyone else did), and melon hand cream. I am blessed!
Do you know these suckers are $7.99 per kg here? Just ridiculous.
Here are my beautiful parents. My mama is actually wearing my dress – gifted by kind-hearted Mandy of Utopia Ice. Just so much love all around! All I am is a concoction of the love I receive!
We cooked turkey for the first time, it was dry. My sister made Persian salad Olivieh (far right). HERE is my healthier version – no offence sis.
Last but not least, some well deserved me time. Have you tried Dubba Dubba Moroccan cuisine? It’s right down the road from me (Bush Inn). This is their chicken salad. I was actually surprised by how good it was! Good being healthy, filling, and yum. Definitely returning.
And, the best part of Christmas. Receiving such love from my students. Anisa sensei is very happy today.
Except for the fact that my heart aches for this stupid smile everyday. Honestly, life is too short and too unpredictable to be separated from your lover. God please never again. 5 weeks left…
Mandy’s baby: roasted plum (from their garden) and cinnamon oat crumble.
Belgium milk chocolate and marshmallow.
Dark chocolate and sea-salt sorbet. Vegan and delishasssss!
Coconut and black sesame seed. It’s vegan everybody! And my new favorite. Life is so sweet.
I was so good you guys! Just look at these teeny tiny scoops. Plus, I think me eating the ice-cream is great advertisement, don’t you think? Here we have three vegan coconut-cream based ice-creams: coconut, blueberry and vanilla, coconut and dark chocolate, and coconut and black sesame seed. Send help!
Tried this before? Coconut yoghurt with turmeric and mango. It has been surprisingly hot. I have been enjoying eating outside in the sun and in the space of a few days, I have gone from no job, well 1/2 job (freelancing for Savvy Tokyo) to 2 and 1/2 jobs. The first is to do with the education of 5-10 year olds. That’s pretty much all I can say without breaching privacy rules. And the second is serving delicious homemade organic gelato, vegan sorbets, and coconut ice-cream for the freakishly talented Utopia Ice. Hashtag life-as-a-wannabe-writer.
Plum and earl grey. Yes, earl grey! CHCH friends, you know where to get your ice-cream fix this ice-cream-weather long weekend ;)
FINISHED. This one is my favourite (so far). I really related to Heidi. She, a real writer, me, a wannabe writer – let’s just say reading it, I had numerous: “for real? ME too!” moments.
Today my mom, my sister and I (dad, God bless him, was working as usual) had a Persian breakfast for lunch. Persians eat bread and feta cheese (here sprinkled with cumin powder) with vegetables like cucumber and tomato (the avocado is a personal addition) with herbs and nuts. And sometimes watermelon makes an appearance, too. Washed down with black cardamom tea. Until the age of seven, all I knew of breakfast was the Persian kind. When we arrived in NZ, I was introduced to cereal for the first time. Also sliced bread. We never had that in Iran. Our bread was huge and round and I had to line up for it with my mom. It would come out of a large round oven filled with little stones. Sometimes, if we were lucky (or so I thought back then) our bread would have one of these stones attached to it. This was my childhood. Walking down the street on my tippy toes, scanning the bread my mother held for lucky stones.
My dad is good at a lot of things but I’d say he’s most well-known for his kebab. He lives and breathes it. Seriously, the guy loves kebab so much, if he could, he’d marry it (sorry mom). For this reason, he knows all the “Persian” eateries in Christchurch like the back of his hands. I use quotation marks here because most of these restaurants are a fusion of Persian and Turkish. Newly opened Prince of Persia is actually authentically Persian. Their kebabs identical to the kebab restaurants of our motherland. Their tablecloths the same as the ones in our dining area. The food comparison by the way, comes from my mother, AKA the queen of complaints. This woman complains everywhere. Too salty, not hot enough, too little this, too much that. But at Prince of Persia she LOVES, and I mean licksherplate loves everything. So I highly recommend it. Persian food at its best.
As well as Persian-mom-approved food (try the ghormesabzi, it’s unreal!), Prince of Persia is affordable (starting from $13…), spacious and child-friendly. Visit their website HERE for more info.
“Reading and eating are natural companions, and they’ve got a lot in common. Reading is consumption. Eating is consumption. Both are comforting, nourishing, restorative, relaxing, and mostly enjoyable. They can energize you or put you to sleep. Heavy books and heavy meals both require a period of intense digestion. Just as reading great novels can transport you to another time and place, meals — good and bad ones alike — can conjure scenes very far away from your kitchen table. Some of my favorite meals convey stories of origin and tradition; as a voracious reader, I devour my favorite books.” (Dina Fried, Food and Fiction)
The other day, as I scanned the library shelves for something new to read, I came across Heidi Julavits’ The Folded Clock which I judged entirely by the cover only and thus ended up issuing. Thankfully, the old adage proved utter bullcrap because this book, with its pretty blue patterned cover, is a, dare I say it, complete beauty! I love Heidi. I wish we could be friends. On second thought, her success would probably frighten me. This is because over the span of a couple pages, I’ve become a huge fan of her writing. Why can’t I write like that? (I’m not fishing). Heidi’s prose is so human and so refreshing. You see, The Folded Clock is a diary which means we are given access to Heidi’s frank, funny, and surprisingly relatable musings. Her thoughts (often irrational) hit close to home for me. Unlike some authors I’ve read, Heidi isn’t pretending. She writes what her overworked mind (much like yours or mine) thinks.
“I am a jack-of-all-trades. I edit and teach and at times desire to be a clothing designer or an artist (one who doesn’t draw or paint or sew) and I write everything but poetry and I am a mother and a social maniac and a misanthrope and a burgeoning self-help guru and a girl who wants to look pretty and a girl who wants to look sexy and a girl who wants to look girly and a woman in her middle forties who wishes not to look like anything at all, who wishes sometimes to vanish.” (Heidi Julavits, The Folded Clock: A Diary)
The Importance of Food Presentation by me.
I just wanted to say I liked The Berry Shop before it was this busy!
Soroosh’s mom taught me this salad. I think it’s so tasty. Recently, I made it for my family and they also agreed.
1 pound boiled chicken, chopped small
3-4 large stalks of celery, chopped (leaves included)
1 cup red grapes, halved
½ cup roasted walnuts, chopped
handful of fresh mint, torn
2 gherkins, diced small
1 cup greek yoghurt
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix until just combined.
My family’s favorite foodie place in all of NZ is ZAB Thai Food Takeaway (except for my dad since he can’t handle spicy food). Oh man, it’s so good. It’s so good that I considered not posting about it. You know, in case it gets super popular and it becomes not good anymore. #padthaigamestrong
Speaking of strong food games, HERE are 8 Japanese foodie Instagram’s y’all should follow!
Dear readers, I apologise for my absence. I’ve been busy. Mostly catching up with old friends, helping out here and there and working on articles, job applications, short-stories and poetry! Gosh, I get myself so busy. And you? What’s new? Won’t you write to me? I’m getting sick of my own writing!
Look who it is!!! Come to visit their one and only beautiful daughter (Anita not me hehe).
Mediterranean Food Company. If you haven’t been you’re missing out. The pizza is GOOD here and also the Mediterranean groceries! Including a large variety of sweets and gherkins from Turkey and of course, everything your stomach desires from Italy: fresh and dry pasta, olives, cheese, tomato sauces, and much more.
Mmm salted chocolate and pistachio torte.
Walking in Victoria Park with my bestie.
Why she is my bestie.
Taking photos of Christchurch’s new Adventure Park.
More to come once I sort my shizz.
Cheese testers galore in Geraldine.
Isn’t my daddy hilarious? This one’s for you, Lifa!
Central otago peaches and cherries, banana, momma’s homemade muesli and unsweetened organic oat milk.
Guys, this is Queenstown in NZ and it is one of my absolute favourites. True, it’s super touristy today but it’s so so lovely always. Thank you Delaram and Andy for organising this trip.
My 2017 resolution (gosh can’t even write “2017” without thinking “wtf”) is to read a book a week. Apparently that’s 52 books in total. Today i finished A Crack In Forever by Jeannie Brewer, a love story: honestly sad, truly sweet, overly sexy and incredibly hard to forget.
What A Crack In Forever taught me during its last tear-gushing chapters is to seriously appreciate each and every moment for a loved one can be taken away at any moment.
On day two we went to Akaroa and it was such a nice day and such a fun time that it turned out to be our guests’t highlight. So far! As in, don’t go away yet, there’s much more to come.
I’m so predictable. Kapiti black doris plum and creme fraiche is my faveeeee.
Treated myself at the gift-store! Sooo cute, right?
Ugly but delicious.Gosh, I love NZ apricots! So did our guests. This is because apricots, alongside some other produce (such as good cheese, brown bread and beetroot) are hard to come by in Japan.
This has got to be the funniest photo. Here’s Yuko and her husband awkwardly agreeing to a photo by my crazy dad as Juri takes yet another selfie!
The small houses in Akaroa are so adorable. Soroosh? Let’s go.
Last but not least, a great Kiwi lunch: battered fish, squid rings, onion rings, L&P and Wattie’s tomato sauce.
My sister’s foxy dog – taken at Halswell Quarry Dog Park.
The Persian Life chose me.
Sugar-free banana, turmeric and blueberry muffins. No recipe because I’m boss like that.Though if you’re looking for a muffin recipe you could try THIS or THAT.
Last of my Japanese sushi bandaids!
G is for…Grapefruit. Had the opportunity of getting in on some behind-the-scenes action at C1 Espresso and proud to tell you that this shizz is hand-squeezed, people. Like, by actual human hands. No wonder it’s so delicious! I taste the LOVE, C1! I taste the love!
Almond milk drinks with my no1 bishes. Actually with my sister and mom…
Lovers in Paris. Or Riccarton Race course. Tomato, tomato, I say.
My sexy bestie and our 17 year old dog!
One of these is not like the other…#problemsolving101
Chur NZ! Drinking Maori herbs!Last but not least, made my sweet mama spicy spinach, mushroom and black bean enchiladas. Guacamole recipe HERE.
Persian breakfasting at the Persian household with organic buckwheat bread.
I’m so happy I got to go to the Riccarton Farmers’ Market this Saturday. I love farmers’ markets and I especially love the one at Riccarton. The river.. the ducks.. the roses.. the smells! My oh my, am I in heaven! You know, the thing I keep telling everyone and myself, is just how much more I appreciate NZ after being away. There’s no place like it. Nil.
Posh porridge with my best friend.
Tis officially stone-fruit season in NZ!
Look Japanese friends! Here we have my gorgeous friend Ayumi serving me vegetarian Gyoza! Yes, Vegetarian! Mmmm!
Yum Yum Gyoza!
After 2 years.. healthy Sunday pancakes at the Kazemis! Recipe HERE.
My mama made me my favorite: vegan Persian dolmeh and boiled broad beans with salt and lemon. Dolmeh recipe HERE.
Last but not least, I’m back at work at Cafe Valentino again and it’s looking like a crazy busy Christmas season. In the mean time, I am actively looking for a writing career.