Tuesday 19 February 2013

Portobello Road, Bullet Holes and Persian Noodle Soup

We had a long weekend in London with a whole day at our favourite Portobello Road. Lunch in The  Juice Bar, while people-watching. Listening to great music, counting all the Edwardian beards and curly handle bar moustaches. I was looking for vintage clothes for me, but couldn't find anything but 'A' got a  1950's tie and an awesome 1940's three quarter coat, complete with worn collar, cuffs and random holes. He swears one is a bullet hole....I do hope not. I've even persuaded him to try a handle bar for himself....Do you think it's a bit pretentious? It probably is, but I do like them.  Then we found an amazing old 1960's camera and magic lantern slides for kipperbone. I just loved all  the hustle and bustle, travelling by tube, and a good root around The cloth shop and all the other amazing, but usually over-priced shops in Portobello road. I've no time for sewing at the moment, so  didn't buy anything but it was just lovely to admire it all. I wouldn't want to do it every weekend but it's so good every once in a while...

Later we caught up with relatives for a big family meal where we had chicken in spicy tomato sauce with dill rice, eaten with lots of fresh herbs...a mountain of them, and Persian noodle soup, Ash-e Reshteh which was the star.  It's served with kashk a kind of salty, sour dairy product like whey or sour cream that's supposed to be really good for you, and lots of finely chopped onions and garlic that are fried until crunchy with dried mint. Recipes vary a lot but this is my mother-in-law's recipe. 

To make Mama's Persian Noodle Soup you will need:
  • A box of Persian Wheat Noodles you can buy them on-line here or you can use dried linguini noodles.
  • Garlic
  • One cup of dried chick peas
  • One cup of cannellini beans (you could substitute black-eyed beans)
  • One cup of green lentils
  • One large white onion
  • Two big bunches of spinach
  • One bunch of coriander
  • One bunch of flat leafed parsley
  • Kaskh or sour cream/yoghurt
  • Oil for cooking
  • Sea salt and white pepper
  • A little dried mint 
  • A little turmeric and if you have any a little bit of saffron.
  1. Cook the chick peas and beans in plenty of water. You could substitute canned beans if you like.
  2. Add the lentils 
  3. Meanwhile wash the herbs well and finely chop them removing any tough stalks.
  4. When the beans are almost cooked add the chopped herbs and allow to cook.
  5. Add the dried noodles.
  6. When the noodles are cooked add kashk if using.
  7. Whilst the soup is cooking finely chop the onion and crush the garlic. 
  8. Cook the onions for a long time until caramelised and nice and brown.
  9. Add the garlic and dried mint and continue to cook, till it's all golden brown and crunchy.
  10. Serve the soup with the crunchy topping and more kaskh if liked.  
That was a bit of my weekend...I hope yours was good...as usual I'm popping over here to check out what everyone else is doing...coming?


  1. Love this dish! I think I have most of the ingredients to cook this. Love the photos of your outing, looks like you had nice weather!

  2. we have amazing blue skies and sunshine at the moment but it's cold and this soup is so warming and wholesome. We were sent back home with big doggy bags of all the food so I've just enjoyed some of this for lunch today...After writing about it, I couldn't resist sneaking a bit...

  3. Everytime I visit your space Debby I find myself wishing we lived closer, I think you and I would have a lovely time together.
    Thank you for the well wishes concerning John, they mean a lot.

  4. Ah that would be so nice Tracey.

  5. Oh! All that food is making me hungry. I want to go to London!!!!!
    Thanks for your sweet comment on my blog today, I don't believe we've met...but I am a "friend" of Tracey and Karen so we're both in good company!

  6. your weekend food always looks so amazing and never fails to make me hungry!

  7. That street is of full of things to see! What a fun excursion for your both. That jacket sound fun - one with a sordid past. And you always make my tummy rumble.