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As most of you know by now, I love Iranian food, and I have been cooking it a lot recently. One of the dishes I discovered on my last trip to Iran is a Gilaki (from Gilan province) classic, a simple vegetarian dish cooked with beans, that are not unlike cannellini, and dill with eggs broken into the mixture at the very last minute just before serving. I make mine slightly differently, leaving it fresher and drier than they do in Iran because I don’t like to lose the definition of ingredients. When I sent my picture of the dish to my friend Nasrine, who I stay with when I am in Iran, she said it was more like art than food! Not so sure about that but it is beautiful, and delicious, and very easy to make.

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I have to say, I am very lucky. I have wonderful friends who I can stay with all over the world and just recently, I’ve been in Tehran, staying with my lovely friend, Nasrine Faghih. I didn’t expect Tehran to be an easy city but thanks to Nasrine and a charming young friend of hers, Ali who was my guide while I was there, I actually had a great time. Ali took me to lots of different places, including the big bazaar which I didn’t actually like much. It is nowhere near as magical as the souks of Aleppo and I much preferred Tajrish, the small bazaar near Nasrine’s home, which was way more exciting. Still the big bazaar was fun, and definitely worth visiting if only for people watching.


But what was far more interesting was the little cook-shop (called tabbakhi in Persian) just outside the main entrance to the bazaar, on the other side of the street, specializing in lamb’s heads and tripe. Some of you may know that I can’t resist offal ( I did after all write The Fifth Quarter) and as soon as I spotted the heads soaking in a large tub of broth, I dragged Ali inside.

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