**AND a few recipes for your folder**
Iranian Cherry Pilaf2 cups basmati rice
1 or 2 large potatoes peeled and thinly sliced (enough for an even cover of the pot)
2 brown onions thinly sliced
1/2 cup red lentils
7oz sour cherries (I added extra)
1 cup of vegetable stock
1 tbsp tumeric
1 tbsp cumin
pinch or two of safron
To prepare rice rinse thoroughly in water and soak in cold water for 1/2 hr. Gently fry onions in olive oil until soft - add turmeric and cumin. Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to boil - drain the rice and add to the pot. Let it cook at a gentle boil, uncovered, until "ad dente" so the rice is still a little undone on the inside - it only takes about 5 minutes. Then drain the rice in a colander. Then working quickly put the pot back on high heat and add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pot. Sprinkle some saffron into the oil to give it colour and flavour. Next layer the sliced potato in the oil to cover the bottom of the pot. Then quickly add the rice back to the pot along with the onions, lentils, cherries and stock - making sure its even. Cover the pot with a tea towel and then put on the lid - this helps the pot seal tightly and soaks up the moisture of the steam. Then turn the heat to low and let rice steam for 20-25 minutes - you can add some more stock after 20 minutes if you want a little more liquid but the rice is supposed to be fluffy!
It will take a bit of effort to scrape the crispy potatoes off the bottom of the pot but it is well worth it - they are delicious! Serve with plenty of plain yogurt!
Bara Brith (Welsh Speckled Bread)500g dried fruit (sultanas, raisins, currants, cranberries)
300ml hot tea
500g self-raising flour
2 tbsp marmalade
2 tbsp mixed spice
1 egg, well beaten
warmed honey to glaze
Mix the dried fruit and pour over hot tea and stand until the fruit is swollen. Do it overnight if you can. There should still be some liquid when you go to make the bread. Put the fruit in a big bowl, stir in the flour, marmalade and mixed spice and then the egg - you may have to really get your hands into it to combine all the ingredients (and I had to add a little extra tea) Pour into a greased and lined loaf tin and bake for about 60 - 75 mins or until a skewer comes out clean in a 2 litre loaf tin (I only had a 1 litre so I had enough for one big loaf and some little ones too). Brush the top with warmed honey just as it comes out of the oven. Cool in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out and cool on a rack.