Saturday, March 21, 2020

Pomegranate Soup by Marsha Mehran

Recently I saw that Deb from Kahakai Kitchen was reading a book for an online book club called Cook the Books, and I straight away thought that it might be a book club that worked for me! I therefore requested the February/March read from the library straight away, which is Pomegranate Soup by Marsha Mehran.

This is a book that I have been aware of for a long time but I hadn't read it before. In fact, I haven't read any of the books that have been selected for this year.

Pomegranate Soup begins with the three Aminpour sisters arriving in a small town in Ireland called Ballinacroagh. Marjan, Bahar and Layla are looking for another new home and are opening a cafe serving their traditional foods in a town that may not be ready for them

The three women escaped from Iran at the start of their revolution in 1979, making their way to Ireland by sneaking over the border into Pakistan, making their way initially to London and then to Ireland.

Marjan has unsurpassed ability with food. Her food can change your mood, and even the direction of your life in some cases. Each day, she and her sisters cook delicious lamb stews, pomegranate soup, bake elephant ears pastries and serve coffee using beautiful samovars, sending the delicious scents of cinnamon and other spices wafting into the main street of the town. Whilst there are those who are willing to accept strangers into their town, especially after tasting their food, there are others who are not.

There was lots to like about this book. I loved all the food content, the descriptions of the way that Marjan in particular nurtured those around her through her food. I liked that there were a number of recipes included in the book, and enjoyed the almost magical realism feel to it, focusing on the power of food to change the way that you are feeling. I guess I would call it magical realism lite for want of a better term.

There were some things that didn't work as well for me. Many of the characters felt almost like caricatures, especially the characters who weren't willing to accept the family, from the nosy busy body neighbour who spied on the women, and the local bar owner who had his own plans for the cafe space.

Overall, it's a readable book, without being amazing.

I am looking forward to reading the next selection of the Cook the Books bookclub which is Hippie Food by Jonathan Kauffman

The idea of the Cook the Books is that you cook something inspired by what you read. I am choosing to share a recipe for Persian Drizzle Cake which I made last year.  The recipe is from Queen.com.au. I chose to top my cake with Turkish Delight Easter eggs  rather than rose petals.

Persian Drizzle Cake


Cake
¾ cup (180ml) milk
Pinch of saffron
150g butter, room temperature
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ tsp rosewater essence
1 ½ cups (225g) self raising flour
1 tsp ground cardamom
2 tsp lemon zest (approx. ½ lemon)
½ cup (60g) chopped pistachios

Lemon Rose Syrup
⅓ cup (75g) caster sugar
80-90ml lemon juice (juice of 2 lemons)
½ tsp Queen Rosewater Essence

For the cake

Preheat oven to 180°C (fan forced). Grease and line a 20cm round cake tin.

Gently warm milk in the microwave for 40 seconds. Add saffron and allow to infuse while you make the cake.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla extract and rosewater essence and beat well.

Add flour, cardamom, lemon, pistachios and saffron milk and mix on low until just combined.

Pour into prepared cake tin and bake for 55-60 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

For the Lemon Rose Syrup

During the last 10 minutes of baking, combine sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan and heat until sugar has dissolved and mixture has slightly thickened. Add rosewater essence, stirring to incorporate. Straight from the oven, pierce the cake multiple times with a skewer and pour warm syrup over hot cake. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in tin before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Top with rose petals, pistachios and icing sugar before serving.


Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. For more information, see the welcome post.





I am also linking this post up with Foodies Read hosted at Based on a True Story






And also at Novel Food


33 comments:

  1. I like the sound of the book. I appreciate when immigrants try to make a new beginning in strange environments. It shows grit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do enjoy an immigrant story Mystica!

      Delete
  2. The saffron and rosewater flavors of that cake sound super delicious.

    Be Well... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a treat! You went all out with your dish for this book. Too bad we can’t all get together and share our dishes. Mmmm

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Based on the recipes I've seen it would be an enjoyable meal if we could do it for real Tina!

      Delete
  4. Totally agree with your review of the book. This cake looks amazing and would be a perfect Easter (or other spring celebration) dessert. Glad you posted up for CTB this round.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh fun that you joined Cook the Books. It's something I'd like to do one of these days. Your cake looks awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  6. So glad you joined in and I look forward to having you for Hippie Food too! The cake looks delicious and I love the egg topping. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm working on getting hold of Hippie Food Deb!

      Delete
  7. A delightful cake for the season, as well as inspiration from the book! Now to find some of those Turkish Delight Easter eggs. I'm assuming you didn't make them as well??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No I didn't make the Turkish Delight Easter Eggs Claudia. You can buy them from the supermarket here every year

      Delete
  8. This cake really intrigues me with the rosewater and cardamom! The flavors sound wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I got a copy of the book from the library too for Cook The Books, which I haven't joined in a while. Your cake looks really good!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Vicki! Hope you enjoy the book!

      Delete
  10. Ooooh! That drizzle cake looks delicious!

    I got Pomegranate Soup out of the library and confess that I just couldn't get into it. I leafed through to look at the recipes, but thought they were a little mundane. I kept trying again to read the book from time to time, but never got past page 3; then I had to take the book back because it was due.... (I think I've been spoiled because of just having finished reading Naz Deravian's beautiful cookbook, "Bottom of the Pot".)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm off to have a look at Bottom of the Pot now Elizabeth!

      Delete
    2. I hope you like Naz Deravian's book, Marg!

      Another really great cookbook in the same vein is Naomi Duguid's "Tast of Persia". There are good recipes and beautifully written sections describing her travels in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Kurdistan - places that were part of the Persian Empire.

      Delete
  11. That is a cake that I'm going to make! Thanks for the recipe:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome. I hope you enjoy it when you make it!

      Delete
  12. Replies
    1. It is a little bit exotic isn't it Carole!

      Delete
  13. Oh yes, this definitely sounds like a club for you! Can't wait to see what else you read and cook.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am looking forward to seeing what I cook too Deb!

      Delete
  14. I was looking forward to reading your review of this one. I'm bummed that the characters aren't well etched in this one but sounds like it was okay otherwise. Such a good premise!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was definitely okay Athira. Okay enough to still want to read the sequel.

      Delete
  15. Nice review! I agree with you that some of the characters were a bit close to caricatures. I think that when characters don't change as a result of their experience, they feel that way to readers. Glad overall you enjoyed the novel. Thank you so much for contributing to Cook the Books and Novel Food :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It felt like the characters weren't even given the opportunity to change! I did pick up the sequel so we'll see what happens Simona

      Delete
  16. So glad that you decided to join us in this wonderful group. I know I am going to love reading your reviews and recipes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am looking forward to reading along with you all.

      Delete

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails

  © Blogger template Simple n' Sweet by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP