Thursday, 17 November 2011

Pickle Heaven at Nour Festival

By now you must have all figured I really like food and cooking, I most probably got that from my mother, and this is another post about food, pickles specifically.

Today I had the pleasure to meet Anissa Helou, a wonderful woman who has a catering company, teaches cooking classes in Shoreditch, gives food tours, and has written 5 cook books. The Nour Festival has been taking place at the Leighton House Museum, and goes from October to November 2011, two whole months. the location is beautiful and because Anissa was the chef-in-residence, she was able to give three different discussions accompanied by cooking demonstrations relevant to the Middle East. 
Today, it was all about pickles. I personally love them, but you either hate or love pickles. After having visited Istanbul (and having loved it), I had noticed and loved all the different kinds of pickles on display, some restaurants only even served pickles, a true heaven for pickle-lovers like myself. Today I learned how to pickle different vegetables in three different ways: the Turkish, Persian and Lebanese ways. Lemons were stuffed with salt, stuffed aubergines swan in olive oil, and a rainbow of vegetabeles floating in cider vinegar coloured a plain jar. ‘Pickelling’ is really quite easy and anyone can do it, no cooking skills required.

I loved all the colors and smells, and Anissa was truly a great teacher. I am definetly going to pickle some stuff up myself, pickled vegetables and toasted bread still remains one of the best snacks ever.
mini-aubergines ready to be stuffed

You really can layer any vegetable you like

Turnips with a couple beetroots

The museum itself was actually really beautiful and worth going all the way there!


  1. Hi there, Your mom suggested her readers check out your FB page, and that led me here. How beautifully you write, and I love that you have written about pickling - all the rage these days here in the U.S. Pickling and preserving are tremendously rewarding pursuits- there is little better in the kitchen than opening one's pantry in December and being greeted with the glorious sight of hundreds of jars full of the bounty of summer. It is pretty easy to get hooked. I certainly did. It is was pleasure to visit your very lovely and beautifully written blog. Nice work. Brava! I started my site just about 1 1/2 years ago, and I have found it to be rewarding and a heck of a lot of fun. Additionally I have "met" some very lovely people. so have fun, and keep writing!

  2. Sophie, I love leighton house as well. Have you been to Two Temple Place? It's near the Strand and it's a fantastic little museum that just opened. As for food and coffee, make sure you pop by Dept of Coffee and Social Affair on Leather lane, they make a cappuccino buono come a Roma! Let me know when you want to meet up, or if you want to come visit us. I am In London every week. Petulia

  3. Beautiful pictures, Sophie. You're ready for Food & Wine!!

  4. Sophie, I had no idea you had the food and writing bug. Great entry and beautiful shots. xo--Alice

  5. Sophie, another very interesting post (with stupendous pix). What I'd like to know is can I go on a pickling course? How much does it cost? Is there a book I can read about pickling? Nicola,

  6. Amazing pictures! Very much enjoyed this post. Who knew a post about Pickling could be so interesting!