Dinner at the Dazzis

As promised, Daddy Dazzi’s famous lasagna then Daddy Dazzi’s famous risotto. Washed down with Mama Dazzi’s humble desserts, mocked aplenty by Daddy Dazzi for their simplicity (hehe). Hashtagmarriage. Hashtagdelicious. Hashtagfoodbaby.

Is it an oxymoron if I vow to start my diet in America?
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What even is vegan? Just kidding. Just wanted to express how incredibly flavoursome this was. Wish you could have tasted it, mama! And daddy and Deli and Andy, too.
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Four cheese risotto (very Italian). Curried vegetables (not Italian as the Dazzis specifically pointed out, still V delicious).
Processed with VSCO with c3 presetSorry mama, I’m gonna give your secret away. This is basically a store-bought fall spiced cake, sliced then towered with fresh raspberries, raspberry jam and yoghurt! Could have fooled me!

So I have a confession to make…

But it is not really a confession. More like a realisation. A sad and rather disheartening discovery of self, if you may. Okay, here it is:

Chef Anisa is not really a Chef.

Allow me to elaborate, in pictorial evidence. The following are “Chef” Anisa’s recent creations: a Mediterranean brunch featuring shakshuka and cannellini-bean dip, a vegan smoothie bowl (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) and a vegetarian lasagna.

Do you SEE what I’m sayin’? I don’t know how to cook. I just know how to cook three/four meals, anew.

Ah, the shame. The utter downright ignominy of it all. I’m Persian for goodness sake. Where is the saffron? The pistachio nuts, the glistening fried barberries atop the fragrant jasmine rice and the mint fried onions swimming in my ASH*?

New Year’s resolution TWO: cook new stuff.

*Ash is an traditional Persian soup. It is green and chunky and full of the good stuff: legumes, meat, noodles, herbs and spice.


“What nicer thing can you do for somebody than make them breakfast?”

Have I told you how much I love Anthony Bourdain? (Except for his views on vegans and vegetarians.) But as he says so himself, “I don’t have to agree with you to like you or respect you”, Mr Bourdain.

Wish I could make him breakfast…
but for now, here are 10 of my favourite quotes from him:

1.“Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.”

2.“Do we really want to travel in hermetically sealed popemobiles through the rural provinces of France, Mexico and the Far East, eating only in Hard Rock Cafes and McDonalds? Or do we want to eat without fear, tearing into the local stew, the humble taqueria’s mystery meat, the sincerely offered gift of a lightly grilled fish head? I know what I want. I want it all. I want to try everything once.”

3.“Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life – and travel – leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks – on your body or on your heart – are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt.”

4.“Good food is very often, even most often, simple food.”

5.“Garlic is divine. Few food items can taste so many distinct ways, handled correctly. Misuse of garlic is a crime…Please, treat your garlic with respect…Avoid at all costs that vile spew you see rotting in oil in screwtop jars. Too lazy to peel fresh? You don’t deserve to eat garlic.”

6.“If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them – wherever you go.”

7.“If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. The extent to which you can walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food, it’s a plus for everybody. Open your mind, get up off the couch, move.”

8.“Food is everything we are. It’s an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma. It’s inseparable from those from the get-go.”

9.“An ounce of sauce covers a multitude of sins,”

And last but not least…

10.“But I do think the idea that basic cooking skills are a virtue, that the ability to feed yourself and a few others with proficiency should be taught to every young man and woman as a fundamental skill, should become as vital to growing up as learning to wipe one’s own ass, cross the street by oneself, or be trusted with money.”

Say hello to… Alex Wright

Today I had the chance to chat with Alex Wright; senior chef de partie from Cafe Valentino and sample his Fish of the Day special. Oven baked pistachi and feta crumbed Warehou on beetroot gnocchi with grilled tomato, sautéed asparagus and green beans finished with an orange and saffron vinaigrette was incredibly flavoursome, to say the least. Fresh and local ingredients prepared with a middle-eastern twist; this dish was an absolute delight to eat (and to look at)! 

What’s one thing you’re really good at? Kitchen wise or…(raising eyebrows) nah, I actually tend to only see what I’ve done wrong or what I need to improve on. I guess what I’m trying to say is, the moment you accept you’re really good at something you won’t improve at it anymore.  When are you happiest? When experimenting with food! Apart from cooking, what keeps you together? The support of my family, in particular; my beautiful girlfriend (awww!). Who would you love to work with? Hands down, Darren Wright. Not only is he an amazing chef, he’s also an incredibly funny and down-to-earth guy. What makes you laugh? A really good pun! What’s your favourite food at the moment? Green Leaf’s butter chicken (located in Burnside, if you’re wondering). What do you love about what you do? Unlike specific art forms, cooking is so universal. I mean, because everyone needs to eat, cooking becomes a shared experience; it’s relatable to every single human being. To me, being able to connect with others through a somewhat mundane everyday experience is really special. What do you love about working at Cafe Valentino? Apart from the mass knowledge I’m constantly gaining from my colleagues, I love the open plan nature of CV’s kitchen; it makes me feel closer to the diners. There’s honestly no better feeling than having a customer come up to the pass and personally thank me for their meal. What’s your signature dish? Indian and Thai comfort food. What is your best tip for cooking comfort food? Don’t assume just because it’s comfort food and supposedly “easy” that you can half-ass it. Take each step seriously and cook as well as you possibly can. Favourite ingredient? I’m currently coriander mad. Where do you see yourself in five years time? Running my own kitchen. Even if it’s just a small cafe or a food truck.  What inspires you? Discovery. I love to push the boundaries and do something that’s never been done before. I don’t like to stay with the status quo. I’m constantly stepping out of my comfort zone and challenging myself.