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"Unique blend of cultures, herbs and spices…"
I discovered the wonderous cooking of Ottolenghi and Tamimi when Yotam O popped onto our television screens on BBC Four in a short series on Jerusalem food. I said to my husband at the time that this man's screen presence will surely be snapped up by the mainstream tv channels and sure enough, it did , with the more recent tour he did around the Mediterranean on Channel 4.
His and Tamimi's unique blend of culinary backgrounds makes for a range of recipes that although varied, have in common a rich layering of flavours and aromas. I've cooked my way through several of the recipes and the current favourite here is the Chicken With Cardamom Rice (catch the 'recipe lab' interview with the pair on the New York Times website: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/23/dining/chicken-with-cardamom-rice-from-jerusalem.html - a great guide on how to follow their recipes).
In short: a highly recommended book, one for when you've got a bit of leisure and not too expensive once you've invested in a decent spice cupboard (and especially if you live close to an Arab neighbourhood, where the spices and herbs will be miles cheaper). n.b. Don't be shy to vary recipes to your tastes, but remember the long list of ingredients is what makes for the wonderful flavours.
Oh yes, and the book featured in cookbook of the month a few months ago. See here: http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/food_and_recipes/1740800-Cookery-bookclub-May-Jerusalem-by-Ottolenghi-and-Kitchen-Diaries-I-by-Nigel-Slater.Read moreLess
"Bringing Ottolenghi to the masses, which is a good thing…"
Poor old Yotam got a lot of stick around the time that this book came out, mainly because the loyal fan-base surrounding his New Vegetarian column in the Guardian Weekend magazine had erroneously concluded that he was himself a herbivore. When meaty old Jerusalem was released, and it transpired that this was not the case, people didn't like it and accused him of selling out. He has always cooked with meat though; he just happened to make a name for himself through this column and the subsequent book Plenty, which highlights said column's best recipes.
Despite not being a meat-eater myself (really), what Jerusalem has done is introduce carnivores who might previously have been sniffy about his food to a different way of thinking about flavours and what constitutes a 'proper meal'. It still contains lots of great veggie recipes, such as the bulgar wheat-stuffed aubergine with yoghurt, and if a meat-eater gets enticed by one of his lamb recipes and then decides to give this a go, that can only be a good thing. What's more, him going mainstream seems to have led to ingredients like sumac being more readily available in supermarkets, so the recipes are much easier to make than they used to be. The majority of the recipes are still quite fiddly, with long ingredient lists, so probably best saved for weekends, but for dinner parties anything out of this book is guaranteed to impress.Read moreLess
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