Jessica is half British, half Danish, grew up in the UK. Finance by profession, home cook by passion.
She began her Instagram page, sw3kitchen named after her London postcode. It is her creative outlet where she explore different cultures and cuisines with a particular focus on Persian cuisine.
In less than two years Jessica has gained amazing following in the foodie community. She is a genuine and humble self taught cook with impeccable recipes shared on her Instagram page.
Jessica specially likes to use Instagram as an outlet to share her recipes, connect with people and learn from their stories.
“Finance by profession, home cook by passion”
- How did your passion for cooking start?
I’ve always been a ‘foodie’ so to speak. Growing up my parents were into cooking. They loved to host and I was fortunate that we ate together as a family every evening. However like most people, it wasn’t until I moved away from home as a student that I really began to cook and develop my skills in the kitchen.
Moving to London was really the catalyst to this interest. Being surrounded by so many restaurants and pop-ups serving food I could have never imagined. Meeting people from all-over the world, my eyes were completely opened.
In addition the gradual growth of the online food and recipe sharing community meant the world really was my oyster when it came to trying and learning different ingredients and recipes.
- You are very much inspired by the Middle Eastern cuisines, what draws you to this region?
If you take a quick glance at my Instagram It’s no secret that I’m passionate about the Middle Eastern, North African and particularly Persian cuisines.
My gravitation towards this area of cuisine is mostly down to the incredible people I’ve met who have either taught me about their culture and cuisine, or inspired me to research and learn more.
I have incredible friends from all over the world, and my partner is half Persian which has obviously made me a little bit biased towards Persian cuisine !
I really feel that food is this unspoken language that connects people, the passion and pride people show when describing or sharing food from their home is hard to beat.
For Persian food in particular I love the celebration of seasonal and regional ingredients and the incredible effort that’s made when hosting…so many different Appetisers and delicious breads… the piles of steamed rice decorated with glistening barberries and of course the Tahdig !
“I really feel that food is this unspoken language that connects people – the passion and pride people show when describing or sharing food from their home is hard to beat.”
- How would you distinguish Persian flavour/palate?
This is such a good question! Persian cuisine is often compared to other cuisines such as Indian or Turkish and whilst of course there may be an overlap in some ingredients and cooking method, the palate and flavours of Persian food is unique.
I think the best way to describe Persian cuisine is one that has a perfect balance of flavours. Herbs and spices are used in a subtle way to gently perfume each dish, rather than dominate.
Rosewater, Saffron, Sumac and Golpar, all of these elements bring a delicate essence to Persian cuisine.
The idea of balance itself is integral to Persian cuisine in other ways also subsequently influencing the taste.
The balance in eating seasonally is something I really admire of the cuisine. The traditions during celebrations surrounding these seasonal changes such as eating Watermelon on “Shabe Yalda”.
It’s also important to mention the “Teb-be Sonnati” framework in Persian cuisine that ultimately dictates some of the most characteristic ingredient pairings. My favourite being Pomegranate and walnuts!
I’m enjoying learning more about and how the ‘temperature’ of foods affects us.
When I look back to when I first started to discover Persian cuisine, one of the distinguishing flavours that definitely caught my eye was the use of sweet-sour “malas”.
“I think the best way to describe Persian cuisine is one that has a perfect balance of flavours.
Herbs & spices are used in a subtle way to gently perfume each dish rather than dominate.
Rosewater, Saffron, Sumac and Golpar, all of these elements bring a delicate essence to Persian cooking.”
Are there particular herbs and spices you associate with Persian cooking?
What are your top 5 herbs and spices?
It’s hard to narrow down which herbs and spices are most characteristic to Persian cooking as it does vary so much from region to region. If I had to summarise to the 5 most ‘iconic’ flavours from an outsider’s view I would say Saffron, Turmeric, Rosewater, Mint and Cinnamon. But of course you also have Sumac, , Orange Blossom, Cardamom, Cumin and Golpar. Also the fresh green herbs such as Tarragon and Coriander. There are too many to choose from!
As an avid fan of our Drops already can you talk us through how you enjoy each blend and why? We want our community to share their #everydayblooms and encourage others to hydrate.
“Bastani Sonnati” smoothie bowl:
- 2 ripe bananas, peeled and chopped – freeze overnight
- 1 sachet of In Bloom Drops Ispahan
- 1-2 spoons of dairy free oat milk
- 2 tbsp of chopped pistachios-optional
- Homemade granola plus fresh fruit to garnish
This ‘nice cream’ smoothie bowl is a guilt-free way to enjoy the flavours of Bastani Sonnati. This traditional Persian ice cream is flavoured with Saffron and Rosewater – making the Ispahan distillate the perfect pairing. The sweetness of the bananas means you do not need to add any extra sugar or sweetener.
Place the bananas in a food processor and pour in the distillate. Put your food processor on full speed and watch the bananas begin to blend into a thick creamy mixture.
Gently pour in 1-2 spoons of Dairy free milk whilst the blade is going to help create a smooth texture(add more milk if you want a thinner, smoothie consistency). Fold in the optional chopped pistachio nuts.
Serve immediately topped with the granola and fresh fruit – pomegranate seeds are a great touch.
You can make so many variations of this. For example another idea is to blend 1.5 frozen bananas with a handful of frozen sour cherries and instead use Kashan drops.
I have been lucky to try all five blends and I’ve enjoyed each one. At first I would have said my favourite blend was Kashan, but actually I’ve realised now that it really depends on my mood and the time of day.
Currently I’m really enjoying Gilan to pick me up in the afternoons.
My favourite way to have the drops is with iced sparkling water but of course you can incorporate these into simple recipes to add the benefit of the distillates. I’m going to share two smoothie bowl recipes with you using the distillates which can act as a breakfast or healthy dessert option. Topped with a light home-made granola recipe, also using spices inspired by Persian cuisine.
Homemade granola to go with your smoothie bowl
Ingredients and cooking time:
2 cups old fashioned Rolled Oats
3 tbsp coconut oil melted
2-3 tbsp honey or maple syrup (to taste)
A handful of nuts (walnuts-almonds-pistachio)
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cardamom
Pinch of salt (do not forget!)
- Preheat your oven to 1350 degrees Fahrenheit or 180 C. Line a baking dish with parchment paper and leave to the side.
- In a large mixing bowl combine the ingredients and mix until evenly distributed.
- Pour the oat mixture into your baking dish and use a wooden spoon to push the oats together and compress them.
- Place the baking tray in the oven and bake the oats for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove from the oven. Use a spoon to mix up the oats again and to again compress them.
- Put the oats back in the oven for another 10-12 minutes until golden – keep an eye as we don’t want these to burn!
- Once the granola is done, leave it to cool undisturbed! Once its at room temperature break up the granola using a spoon and store in an airtight jar until you need.