Continuing with my “eat at home” theme (not got much choice really, in what feels like day 3229 of the lockdown), I have been amazed (and delighted) at how fleet of foot Cardiff’s food and drink indies have been in the face of the harsh economic realities of the Covid 19 lockdown.
Our indies have regrouped and come up with various strategies to combat the loss of footfall (and thus revenue) due to the lockdown.
Last week it was Mr. Croquewich’s Bistrot Oven ready meals and this week it is an offering from another serial innovator, in the form of Cook by Leyli Joon & Co.
It was a case of love at first bite in terms of the culinary delights cooked up by Leyli Joon & Co., starting at a friend’s party they catered for and followed up with amazing Venetianand then Persian themed mealsat pop ups in Cardiff.
Interspersed between these has been visits to Sticky Fingers and Leyli Joon & Co’s Bab Haus offering.
All seriously good and when I saw their response to the lockdown, in the form of cook at home meals, it took me about 20 milliseconds to click on the link and order it.
For the Persian meal I ordered, various options are available, covering both meat and veggie meals, with 2 and 4 people sizes. These (on the first week) ranged in price from £28 (veggie option for two) to £55 (meat option for four) with everything needed provided and measured out precisely along with cooking instructions.
Mrs. SF and I opted for the Persian Feast (with meat) for two at £30.00.
All nice and easy to order online, with all major cards taken.
On the given Sunday, a box was delivered to our door – all social distancing requirements duly observed.Quite exciting to open it up
and fish out all the goodies.Opening the myriad of cartons and noting the sheer number of ingredients, it was all a tad daunting at first, but I then I looked at the instruction (Mrs. SF made me read them properly, twice, as I am not very good at following recipes/instructions – I like to ad lib) and it all became clear.
Details of what ingredients to use to make the various elements of the meal (all precisely measured out)and a step by step set of instructionsmade it a breeze to cook.
All very stress free, it made for a rather enjoyable cooking experience.
Chicken thighs sealed off, shallots browned and then a sauce made using garlic, advieh (a Persian spice mix which includes cinnamon, black pepper, cardamom, nutmeg and coriander I believe), a cinnimon stick, saffron and chicken stock. The smells coming from the casserole dish were glorious.The chicken and shallots were then put back in and orange slices (I interpreted this, incorrectly it seems on reflection, as segments) added to the mix. The whole shebang was then put in the oven for an initial blast and, after 30 minutes, carrots and a slug of water were then added. It all cooked for a further 10 minutes with the lid off. Again the smells were wonderful – rich and aromatic.
Whilst the saffron chicken was finishing off, I made the “zereshk” saffron, orange and barberry butter, which had a lovely vibrant colour and cooked the rice. Cooking instruction made for perfectly fluffy rice.Half the zereshk was added and mixed in to make the rice jewelled.
Taking the chicken out of the oven, I was rather pleased with the result I was even more please when I put the chicken and jewelled rice on a platter and finished it off with the remaining Zereshk butter, herbs, the pistachio nuts and half of the rose petals.
I thought it looked great and it cetainly tasted fantastic With the saffon chicken and jewelled rice, I made (from the box) a yoghurt, mint and cucumber number adorned with zaatar, radishes and remaining rose petals Lovely to eat and rather lovely looking I thought.
The final element of the meal was a generous slab of nan e barbari – a nigella seed and zaatar flat bread – and a zhough dip (both ready made by Leyli).
.Lovely bread and the zhough (a mix of green chilli, coriander, garlic, olive oil lemon juice, cumin and cardomon) really packed a punch.
Fiery yet refreshing, with a real hit of garlic, you will have no issues re people social distancing from you after eating a good dollop of zhough I can tell you.
I was rather proud of the end result of my labours I have to say and it all tasted absolutely delicious.
On the booze front, I paired the meal with a Baron Maxime Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence Rosé (picked up for just shy of a tenner)
Lots of refreshing summer fruits in the mix here, with plenty of acidity but also a touch of sweet spice. It worked very well with the spices in the various dishes.
As a big sherry drinker, I think an amontillado or a palo cortado would also work a treat with this sort of food.
The above cracker of a wine from Bodegas Mons Urium would have been a fine pairing with this meal I think.
Great idea and a rather fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon in lockdown.
The instructions (you could also access a video online via the website of Leyli making it) made it all a doddle to follow (me going slightly off piste route on the oranges front aside) and I was really pleased with the end result.
Would I buy again? Definately – fun to cook, good value and (most importantly) it all tasted great. What more could you ask for?
Looking at the Easter Sunday offering (which is ready made put in the oven, the 18 hrs lamb shoulder and the porchetta look particularly awesome) on their website, some people are in for a right treat.
I hope, post Covid 19, that these cook at home boxes are continued by Leyli Joon & Co..
Personally I think Leyli should write a cook book. On the basis of this recipe and instruction alone, I would buy it without hesitation.
I also think it is fantastic that they (and many other indies) are cooking meals for NHS staff. Click on link below to see Leyli in action cooking up a storm for NHS staff:-
I know times are hard, but if you have a spare tenner or more why not donate to this worthy cause:
or this one:
Ordering is online via their website shop, which can be accessed by clicking on the link below:
Deliveries are made on Sundays, with ordering in the week until they sell out (be quick as, if the first week and this weekend are anything to go by, they will sell out quick in any given week).