Fig & Quince English Language Podcasts? 

Hi friends, 

I’m writing this post on my phone so I’ll keep it short and sweet. 

Some of you have asked for it, so I’m finally going to tape a few English language podcasts. Here’s your chance to ask talk about any topic or subjects you’re interested to hear about. I’ll combine the podcasts with a blog post to give you a good juicy multi-media experience. 

I’m taping these podcasts in a few days so do let me know via email or comments as soon as possible. 

In other news: the world may look like it sucks BIG time but LOVE conquers all and all of us good people will soldier on. Oh yes we will. 

ps: Do keep me company on my Instagram account, won’t you? 

Till Soon!

xoxo ❤️💫🎈

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A Smorgasbord of Sorts | Persian Style!

hyacinth illustration flower sombol Persian pretty

Spring! (Haftseen illie by moi; beautiful photo by Dr. Bashi joon)

Greetings friends! Spring has sprung in full bloom here – the “golden waterfall” and “wisteria” and myriad other flora are blooming in earnest all over Tehran – providing beauty and pollen and allergens. I never enjoyed any allergies whilst on the coast of East, but here in the Eastern world, I am totally prone to itchiness and sniffles. Oh joie!

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Coffee Actually

Iman Reza Zadeh Coffee Express founder

A javalicious chat with the co-founder of CoffeeXpress (photo by Noosha)

Due to a bit of a profound bout of malaise (rooted in homesickness and work brouhaha and dashes of eeksetera & ouchsetera & yikescetera ) I indulged in a bit of laziness and stress eating but I am happy to spring out of it (somewhat dented but semi intact and once again energized even if slightly more rotund) – to bring to you – albeit rather on a bleated note – the latest Fig & Quince Stories Podcast post.

Tea is still the numero uno drink of choice in Iran for the majority of Iranians, but coffee and a proliferation of ultra modern Persian coffee shops and the popularity of decidedly hipster cafe culture has begun to take root in society and has made major strides in the hearts of Iranian folks when it comes to their favorite beverage and pastimes.

In some ways, Iman, the founder of CoffeeXpress, the very first chain of mobile coffee shops in Iran, is to blame for this!

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Books + Film + Espresso + Food = Paradise

Cafe Tehran tea Persian

Author, Writer, Film Buff, Foodie, Gentleman, Podcast guest

Hello again. As a refreshing change I’m keeping my promise (knock on wood, let’s not jinx it) to write a post here in liaison with each new podcast episode.

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What’s New Pussy Cat? … Pizza & Podcast Sans Pontification.

Foodie cafe Tehran Iran Persian

Interview with a foodie with a penchant for oversized rings!

Hi guys! What’s  new? Click below to read more!
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Fig & Quince goes to Alborz High School

alborz-highschool-tehran-iran-01

I devoured these Persian shirini with my eyes on my way to Alborz High School

Hello lovely folks! Here I am on a freezing Sunday in Tehran tending to my blogging duties. I’m forsaking you not, so forsake me not! But what the heck, my friends: the world is turning topsy turvy and going cuckoo and not in a delicious Persian kookoo way. I am not flippant and I don’t mean to be frivolous and I know this blog is a platform (one that I yearn to use to its full extent) but I also don’t want to get involved in politics. I won’t get involved in politics. Whatever I say, whichever I say it, will be held against me, one way or another. Politics, by nature, is divisive. Food, by nature, is yummy and unifying. So I will only communicate via stories of food and culture, as has been the modus operandi of this here ol’ blog. I must note that a number of you lovely readers have reached out to me publicly and privately – asking about my well being and expressing your concern and support — and for that, for your sweet and thoughtful care and consideration, I am grateful! I can’t send you all Persian cream puffs (’tis a true pity) but I’m sending you something nearly equally wonderful and less caloric: LOVE!  There’s no ban on that yet, huh? And I’m happy to report that while it’s true that I shiver and bite my nails when reading a certain someone’s Twitter stream and fret about the mayhem that may be unleashed, I nevertheless remain hopelessly optimistic that all will be well … and as it is now, I’m busy in Tehran with work and enjoying various Persian delicacies and recreational activities. And I do long to share it all with you! (ps Apologies that this post was prematurely published a few days ago. That was a snafu.)

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Ghoreh to Grape to Dolmeh | A Food Odyssey

Grape vine unripe grape (ghoreh) in Tehran Iran

Unripe grape (“ghoreh”) and grapevine growing in Darband, Tehran.

garden yard Persian Iran tehran grape leave little girl

Little Fateme with basket of fresh grape leaves | Tehran, Iran

kitchen Persian grape leave dolmeh

It takes a village to stuff grape leaves! | Tehran, Iran

dolmeh Persian stuffed grape leaves recipe tutoial yummy

Yummy Persian grape leave dolmeh!

Hi and hope you all had a delicious Thanksgiving! We had a pretty snow day on Thanksgiving day here in Tehran and I was torn between feeling rapt with the enjoyment of it in the here-and-now and also acutely aware of the significance of the day and feeling distinctly homesick for friends and family on the other side of the ocean. Not to mention craving turkey and pumpkin pie and of course stuffing! Oh yummy yummy stuffing.  But actually do you know what edible thing it is that I truly and deeply miss the most? Avocados! Nice, ripe California avocados. Imported and home-grown avocados can be found here but they don’t look the same, don’t have the same texture and they definitely don’t taste the same. It’s a bit tragic. I daydream about daily gorging myself silly on avocados once I finally make a visit to the homestead. One of these days!

Anyhow, trying to get back in the blogging groove and figuring out where to pick up the much scattered thread of narrative. When in doubt, let’s go with a story and a recipe. In the last post I mentioned that I’ve started a digital marketing company called Zeerak. What I didn’t get to tell you is that Zeerak is one of several companies in a private accelerator slash incubator called MAPS. Now MAPS itself is outfitted in an old, traditional house with a big yard in the heights of “Darband” — a neighborhood in the north of Iran that is basically at the foot of the mountains.  Quite scenic.

Now another thing I can tell you is that this house is still also the residential home of the founder and the father of the founder of MAPS and in addition, a sweet hardworking family (husband, wife and 3 rambunctious children) also live here who take care of the house and the household and the yard and the family. Also 6 days a week, Aazam Khanum, the lady of the caretaker family, makes a delicious lunch for all of us ravenous and stressed out motley crew gang of the multiple startups of MAPS. Sometimes our headcount is 30 or more!  A veritable army! Yet every day at 1:30, lunch is served – nourishing and delicious and served with either salad or fresh herbs — and Aazam Khanum feeds our savage bunch with a graceful feast. (Using huge pots! I should document that one day as well.)

The spacious, multi-tiered and charming yard  of this equally charming house is home to a multitude of fruit trees. Winter came early this year and this week we’ve already had snow a few times but just a little while ago persimmons were ripening on the branches of trees; a few months ago there were black mulberries whose very juicy existence were in my mind a very convincing raison d’etre for being alive; and in early spring, the grapevine in the yard sported bright green leaves and clusters of unripe grape leaves.

fresh grape leaves tehran Iran

Freshly picked and rinsed fresh grape leaves

As a food blogger, this was an opportunity not to be missed to make stuffed grape leaves (dolmeh ‘ye barg ‘e mo) and Aazam Khanum kindly obliged and agreed to make a big batch to feed our gang and also let me document her cooking and gave me her recipe. She is a sweet and spirited woman, with a open and friendly intelligent face. I truly wish I could share a few  photos but she adamantly prefers to stay away from the cameras. Luckily though, we can for sure show off the actual labor of her work, the beautiful dolme and share the recipe.

grape leave vine dolme Persian girl garden

Fateme joon, delightful colleague, with tray of dolmeh

Persian recipe for stuffed grape leaves (dolmeh barg mo) | Food blog

Aazam Khanum’s Handwritten Dolmeh Recipe

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