Five minutes with Sabrina Ghayour

We grill Sabrina Ghayour on her fondest food memories, favourite ingredients and must-read book. Plus, find out who would be her ultimate dinner party guests.

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Five minutes with Sabrina Ghayour

What’s your first memory of food?
Cooking boil in the bag cod in the 80s with my Mum, which of course sounds utterly naff now but they were a huge staple of the 80s. What we fail to recognise is that ‘boil in the bag’ is actually a really sophisticated cooking method, which we now refer to as ‘sous vide’.

What’s the first recipe you learned to cook?
It was most likely a Chinese stir fry with beef and vegetables. Wok-cooking became the newest trend, coupled with ready-cook sauces and Chinese cookery thanks to Ken Hom, and pretty much every household had one!

beef stir fry

What’s the recipe you can’t live without?
There are so many to choose from but I would probably say a Persian Ghormeh Sabzi which is stew of lamb, herb, dried lime and beans. It’s the most popular stew of my culture that has a really unique, unmistakable flavour and it brings back memories of my childhood.

At the moment I’m also really enjoying creating vegetarian recipes such as my stuffed courgettes with preserved lemon, pine nuts and feta recipe which I’ll be serving to family and friends to celebrate Garden Day on Sunday 12th May.

What’s the one ingredient you’d take to a desert island with you?
It’s a close call between garlic and salt but I’d take a garlic bulb with me as I could get salt from the sea.

What’s the food you’d miss the most?
It has to be Persian food because it ties me to my family and childhood memories the most. Everything from stews and saffron-perfumed rice with crispy crust, to grilled kebabs and those wonderful aubergine dips and breads.

persian meatballs

You can have a one-off dinner party on your island…who would you invite?
I’d invite Oscar Wilde, Stephen Fry, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner and Marilyn Monroe. While sipping on vintage Dom Perignon champagne, smoking cigars, listening to jazz and talking about the world I’d soak up every single word they’d have to say.

Which cookbook would you take with you to the island?
Anything by Nigella Lawson because she is so unpretentious in her recipes and writing and what Nigella doesn’t know about cake isn’t worth knowing! Her recipes are wonderful and reliable and a go-to for me for so many occasions.

Sabrina Ghayour is an official ambassador for Garden Day, a community benefit project launching nationwide on Sunday 12th May that is encouraging everyone to celebrate their gardens – however big or small – by hosting gatherings at home with family and friends. For more information please visit

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