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Saffron – November 2005

It has been 5 weeks in the little shed already! We hope to be in our new shop in the beginning of February!
Our shop is about you and hopefully the new shop will reward you all for your patience, your support and your unswerving desire to buy healthy, affordable, exciting foods from Piko Wholefoods.
Thank you to all those who shopped in the rain when we first moved into the shed, apologies and thanks to all those who still shopped when we lost the tarpaulin in that huge southerly storm and apologies to all those who wanted a certain product only to find their way to the shed and then find we didn't have it. We are trying to keep as much as possible in the shed. There is a list on the door of the products that we have temporarily deleted while we are in the shed. Some of the products we usually stock are unavailable at the moment ... the most obvious being chinese pumpkin seeds, long grain brown rice and various types of lentils. We do expect these staple products back but we agree that sometimes the waiting can be tiresome. Sorry!
You are amazing customers, we are grateful you continue to shop with us and so help us fund the expansion.
Any donations large or small are gratefully received!
There is a plan on the container wall and our website has photos and information about the expansion.


It may seem expensive but a little saffron goes a long way. A few threads add amazing aromas and flavours and the colour makes food gleam. All this, for adding only a dollar or so to the cost of a meal.
Saffron threads are the dried stigmas of the crocus flower Crocus sativus linnaeus. The plants are harvested by hand over their flowering period. The saffron industry in New Zealand is new but thriving and already the Canterbury
saffron that we stock at Piko has won an award for innovation and excellence!
Saffron comes in threads, tips or powder and has a distinctive sweet almost floral aroma. Choose a reputable brand as some is mixed with turmeric, and use within a year or two of harvest.
To get the maximum colour from the threads crush them in a mortar and pestle and soak the saffron in hot water for at least an hour before using it. The greater the quantity the darker the colour but use 12-15 threads for a dish for 4 6 people as a maximum amount or the flavour will become too strong.


500g basmati rice
6 tbsp salt
500g carrots peeled and cut into thin
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sugar
Pinch of saffron in a bowl, pour over 4 tbsp hot water and stand for two hours then use 8 tsp of the liquid saffron in this recipe
Rind of 3 mandarins or oranges
30g shelled pistachio nuts
30g almonds
30g currants
30g dried berries (cranberries, cherries)
2 tsp advieh (Persian spice made with 1 tbsp cinnamon, 20 saffron threads, ½ tbsp gd cardamon & 1 tbsp rosewater)
4 tbsp clarified butter
1 l water
Soak the rice in plenty of water with 3 tbsp salt for 3 hours.
Fry the carrot with 1 tbsp oil for 10 minutes. Stir in the sugar, 2 tsp of liquid saffron and 2-3 tbsp water.
Cover and cook for 4-5 minutes till the liquid is reduced. Reserve, setting aside 2 tbsp for garnish.
Thinly peel the mandarins avoiding all pith. Cut into julienne strips place in a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil.
Strain and repeat to remove all bitterness. Reserve 1 tbsp for garnish.
Cut the pistachio nuts and almonds into slivers. Dry roast a tbsp of the almond slivers in a fry pan and reserve for garnish. Keep 1 tsp pistachios for garnish, toss remaining almonds with pistachios place in cold water in a saucepan bring to the boil, strain and reserve. Soak the currants in warm water for 30 minutes, drain and keep 1 tsp for garnish. Soak the berries in water for 10 minutes drain and gently fry in 1 tbsp oil for 1 –2 minutes to refresh the colour then reserve, keep 1 tsp for garnish.
Bring 2-3 litres of water to the boil with the remaining salt in a large saucepan.
Drain excess water from the rice then pour into the boiling water. Boil 3-4 minutes until the grains are soft on the outside but still firm in the centre. Strain, rinse with tepid water and toss in a colander.
Preheat the oven to 180C. Melt the butter in the base of a heavy ovenproof dish.
Sprinkle ¼ of the rice over the base. Layer 1/3 of the carrots, rind, nuts and currants over the rice and sprinkle over 1/3 of the spice. Repeat the layering process twice and finish with a layer of rice. Make a few holes in the rice with a fork handle and pour over the remaining saffron liquid and 1lt water. Cover with a lid of heavy foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Let the rice stand for 30 minutes with the lid on then tip onto a serving platter. To serve, sprinkle the garnish of reserved carrots, rind, toasted almonds, pistachios, currants and berries over the dish.


500g sugar
2L water
generous pinch (20-25) saffron threads
6-8 whole pears, ripe but firm
Cyclops thick and creamy yoghurt
Make sugar syrup by dissolving the sugar in water with the saffron. Bring to the boll and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Peel the pears leaving the stalks attached. As each pear is peeled drop it into the simmering syrup making sure it is submerged. (You can lightly place a pot lid on top of the pears so that they are held under the surface otherwise they will discolour). Simmer the pears for 30 minutes or until cooked through. Leave in the syrup to cool.
When cold transfer to serving dish. Vigorously boil the syrup till it reduces to 2 cups.
Cool then pour over the pears. Serve with a little syrup and yoghurt or whipped cream separately.

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