I was born on the silk road possibly in the garden of Eden, in Tabriz in apricot and rose apple season. Tabriz is in the Azerbaijan region of Iran in the north west of the country. We Azeri’s have our own language, art and food. My family moved to Anglesey when my parents came to study. At the time, we had to travel to London or Birmingham to buy exotic ingredients like basmati rice, feta cheese and soft herbs! On our return to Iran in the 80s, our friends and family were treated to the exotica of British puddings, cakes, chutneys, pies and roasts. Now these dishes are a regular feature in our gatherings and celebrations. This is the beauty of food: to my mind, it is the best souvenir from our travels, and a great way to learn about the history, terrain and culture of a people. I’m lucky to feel at home both in the UK and Iran and travel to my mother’s house in Tabriz regularly. On these visits mum and I go on foodie adventures to research recipes and ingredients.
As children we were encouraged to play then when we got a bit older to study. I came to cooking in my 30s when I’d completed my Phd. I have been baking and preserving since moving back to Bath in 2009. I started Simi’s Kitchen when a friend’s children were diagnosed Coeliacs. I’m very mindful of food choices, intolerances and allergies. I now have an organic allotment where I grow herbs, fruit and vegetables which I use in my classes, cakes and preserves. I enjoy and cook food from all over the world but I’m best known for Persian Azeri food.
Over the last 11 years I have also taught and assisted at Demuths Cookery School which in the last 3 years has moved from vegetarian to a totally plant based cookery school.