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Yotam Ottolenghi webchat: Tuesday 12 February, 9pm

(154 Posts)
GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 08-Feb-13 12:04:55

We're delighted Yotam Ottolenghi is joining us for a webchat on Tuesday 12 February at 9pm, as part of our Food Feb celebration of food and cooking.

Yotam worked as a pastry chef and then head pastry chef until he established the Ottolenghi deli with Sami Tamimi and Noam Bar in 2002. Since then, he's gone on to open four London outlets and publish three books.

His first, Ottolenghi, was published in 2008, introducing us to a delicious and vibrant array of salads, which are now dinner party favourites. He has since published Plenty, his exclusive collection of vegetarian recipes, which is drawn from his column The New Vegetarian for the Guardian's Weekend magazine, and most recently Jerusalem, which offers inspired, accessible recipes with culinary influences coming from Jerusalem's Muslim, Jewish, Arab, Christian and Armenian communities.

The Ottolenghi app, which has recipes from all his books, is now available for iPhone. And Yotam has recently launched his Ottolenghi webstore, selling a range of produce, wines, gifts and books.

Post your question to Yotam or join the discussion on Tuesday evening at 9pm and you'll be entered into a draw to win one of five copies of Jerusalem.

Mmmnoodlesoup Tue 12-Feb-13 21:15:16

grin love it! I can only guess what you have on your pancakes...

MaeMobley Tue 12-Feb-13 21:15:24

Hi Yotam,

we also love your books here. My father in law is from Jerusalem. We are off to Israel in May.

My question is: which is your favourite Israeli restaurant?

YotamOttolenghi Tue 12-Feb-13 21:16:13


Yotam, thank you for introducing us to your wonderful approach to food and eating.

Thanks to you, I have shakshuka, or eggs with spinach, chilli and yogurt for my breakfast, or lunch almost every day and have done for over a year now. I never get tired of them!

My question is about flat breads. When I try to make your quick yogurt and flour flat bread. I always start with your the same weight of each, but then end up adding more and more flour because the whole wet mess is sticking to my hands so much I think I've done it wrong! Should I try not to resist adding more flour? Maybe I'm not kneading for long enough? I think British people expect dough to behave like shortcrust pastry and find wet sticky dough a bit scary!

you are right. this is a wet dough and as result the flatbread is moist. try to resist. just work it a it longer and with a light touch, if you see what i mean. add just a tiny amount of flour if you must. and a big thank you.

Mmmnoodlesoup Tue 12-Feb-13 21:16:54

Can I also say, you did an amazing show on Turkey. So insightful. I'm half Turkish and find most chefs don't show Turkeys full food potential, but you really highlighted it well. So well done smile

dpah Tue 12-Feb-13 21:17:31

Thank you for your reply.

tallpoppies Tue 12-Feb-13 21:17:39

Thank you...oranges (and lemons) it is then!

YotamOttolenghi Tue 12-Feb-13 21:18:21


Hi Yotam,

I'm a huge fan of yours. I've made more than 20 of your recipes and thought they were all fantastic. Many have been added to our regular rotation and we can't get enough of them! I have cooked a bunch of dishes from the Guardian, I own and cherish both "Jerusalem" and "Plenty", and I'm still waiting for my copy of "Ottolenghi: the Cookbook" to be delivered. Also, can't wait for your next cookbook! What are some of your favorite recipes that you go back to over and over again?

Since I am currently living in the US, and well-aware that you have a lot (A LOT) of fans here, I'd like to ask if there are any plans for your TV shows to be available in the US?

I just wanted to add that your approach has completely changed the way I cook. I've come to enjoy it so much more than ever, and I'm not afraid of new flavor combinations and cooking techniques. I am now completely in love with Mediterranean/Middle Eastern cooking! Not to mention, I fully trust your and Sami's palates and know I can always count on a modern, delicious take on classics as well! smile Huge thank you for that, to both you and Sami!

And to those who complain about the number of ingredients required for Yotam's recipes, it's worth noting that a lot of the ingredients are spices that, once bought, will go a really long way. It's definitely worth hunting down some of the more exotic ingredients, like pom molasses, date syrup, barberries, orange blossom water (and za'atar and sumac are an absolute MUST smile) because they do make a difference. I also tend to stock up on different nuts such as pine nuts, hazelnuts and almonds, and keep them on hand because they can be used with so many recipes and last a long time. This makes using Yotam's recipes much less intimidating and a lot more enjoyable.

IAmJ, people may think i am paying you. seriously, you make me blush a little. thanks for liking our food so much. it's true the normally the long lists of ingredients aren't that bad if you consider many are basics in a well-stocked middle-eastern cupboard. i am not sure about american airing of my shows. nothing planned yet i am afraid. cheers.

YotamOttolenghi Tue 12-Feb-13 21:18:51


Can I also say, you did an amazing show on Turkey. So insightful. I'm half Turkish and find most chefs don't show Turkeys full food potential, but you really highlighted it well. So well done smile


YotamOttolenghi Tue 12-Feb-13 21:19:07


Hi Yotam. Congratulations on becoming a father. Can we look forward to a cookbook for babies? Older children eat your food hungrily so let's have something for the weaning babes please.

you are very welcome. what an experience it is! he is not even 3 weeks old and gives us so much joy. baby food? gosh, but i love my spices and salt so much. let's see where i am at in 6 months.

YotamOttolenghi Tue 12-Feb-13 21:20:20


Hi Yotam - I am a huge fan and have cooked lots of recipes from your Plenty book! The mushrooms with flatbread is now our favourite thing to eat!!! Awesome!

I have heard a rumour that you are going to open ad restaurant/deli in Bath soon? Is that true? I hope it is.

ta. never believe rumours. i love bath though.

YotamOttolenghi Tue 12-Feb-13 21:20:22


Hi Yotam,

we also love your books here. My father in law is from Jerusalem. We are off to Israel in May.

My question is: which is your favourite Israeli restaurant?

at the moment it is north abraxas in tel aviv. eyal shani's food is incredible and almost revolutionary.

PommePoire Tue 12-Feb-13 21:20:40

Thank you so much for answering my question. Tomorrow I will be brave and make great flat breads! Enjoy your time in the US.

YotamOttolenghi Tue 12-Feb-13 21:21:19


Hi Yotam,

Another huge fan of Plenty here - shakshuka & the pepper tofu are our current favourites - have you got any plans to do another veggie book? (Please!) Or to go back to doing your wonderful veggie column in the guardian?

i have veggie recipes in the guardian every week. and there is probably another veggie book on the horizon...

YotamOttolenghi Tue 12-Feb-13 21:23:25


Hi Yottam, I have been inspired by your approach to food for a long time. I loved the column in the Guardian and avidly watched the recent Mediterranean series. Not living in a big city I sometimes struggle to find some of the ingredients but today I was excited to find Pomegranate molasses in my local Sainsbury smile

My question is whilst you are obviously passionate about food from your home country are there any other cuisines which you like to eat/cook?

i can't think of cuisine that i don't like. i am particularly obsessed with malaysian food and japanese food. i also adore anything turkish.

AndMiffyWentToSleep Tue 12-Feb-13 21:24:06

Just want to add my message of thanks and adoration!

I'm not sure I agree about you writing a cookbook for babies, but I do like the idea someone earlier gave of compiling a book of quicker recipes for those of us who love cooking but just don't have the time and can't get to one of your restaurants.

YotamOttolenghi Tue 12-Feb-13 21:24:12


Hi yotam,
Can you recommend a good online supplier of the crazy herbs and ingredients you use. I live in Devon. It's hard to get anything other than clotted cream wink

girloutnumbered, give me clotted cream any day. here are 2 options, one from ottolenghi:

YotamOttolenghi Tue 12-Feb-13 21:27:10


Yotam - I always read your recipes in the Guardian and think how lovely they sound but get put off by the sheer number of ingredients, often obscure and in quite tiny amounts. Are they all completely necessary smile?

actually, no. you can easily omit an ingredient or two if you don't have them. i am not so obsessed. i think most recipes (at least mine) would not suffer so badly by substituting or ommiting some of the ingredients. cooking should be fun, not a chore.

YotamOttolenghi Tue 12-Feb-13 21:27:44


Another huge fan in Asia who will be sleeping through the interview due to the time difference sad

Raised in Morocco, living in HK. Speaking arabic to my kids while they learn Mandarin.
Although I have never been to Jerusalem, your "Jerusalem" is also mine, via Essaouira, Tangiers, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Istanbul and Hong Kong, with so many in between.
The Mauresque recipes throw me 30 years back into my grand mother's kitchen and help me bridge worlds for my children.
Love love love.

Am with Pommepoire on the faltbreads.
We are in a bread no-man's land in Asia. Craving decent fresh homemade bread. Easy full proof recipe please?..

And as curious as Tante Rose, what is your favorite Asian cuisine?
Fiery thai?
Herby vietnamese?
Japanese minimalist umami?
Or something fusion like in singapore?


laptopwieldingharpy, what a background you have! that's not easy of you don't have a good bread oven. my favourite asian cuisine is malaysian - so complex and with so many influences. very inspiring.

StellaMarie Tue 12-Feb-13 21:28:18

Oh my, thank you for answering my question! I love Japanese food too! I hope the East Coast is treating you well I used to live in NYC and have fond memories of time spent there and on The Jersey Shore!

YotamOttolenghi Tue 12-Feb-13 21:28:31


Hello Yotam

won't be able to participate in the webchat due to time difference

I am posting a comment from a HUGE fan of yours here in Japan. She cooks amazing Middle Eastern food - your recipes feature heavily grin

She is not a member of MN, so I said I would post a question etc. for her if she wanted. Her reply?

"What do you say to a god?!! Love his recipes, his TV programs (what I've seen so far), and his generosity of spirit in keeping his extensive Guardian archives available"


OK, one question from me - do you like Japanese food?

i am blushing! love japanese food with passion. tokyo is my number one food destination. soba noodles - any day!

YotamOttolenghi Tue 12-Feb-13 21:30:18


Hi Yotam,

We love your burnt aubergine, tahini and pomegranate molasses dip. I've seen smoked aubergine in a can for sale in our local ethnic food shop - what do you think of this and would it be sacrilege to make a quick and dirty version of the dip with it?

PS I think one of your best simple dishes for those asking is celeriac, puy lentils, hazelnut and mint. So easy, fairly quick and delicious.

ivanapoo, absolutely fine to use a tin. i am all for shortcuts if they are decent and make your life easier. not sure about the brand available to you but what you can do is mix it with some of your own burnt aubergine so you bulk it up if you are cooking for a few.

JediGirl21 Tue 12-Feb-13 21:31:45

Hello Yotam
Am completely new to cooking ME cuisine tbh but always enjoy it when am offered it.
These stories of 50 ingredients have me rather worried shock
Any advice for a beginner?
Congrats on the new baby btw.

YotamOttolenghi Tue 12-Feb-13 21:32:10


Hello Yotam, could you please tell us what are your must-have spices/herbs? Thank you

buendia, gosh, the list is endless. cumin, coriander, cardamom, lime leaves, white pepper, tarragon, oregano, curry powder, mustard seeds, saffron, i can go on and on and on....

SuiGeneris Tue 12-Feb-13 21:34:15

Is it better to use dried coriander or the fresh/frozen stuff? I always use the latter but sometimes wonder whether I should stock both and use them in different circumstances...

YotamOttolenghi Tue 12-Feb-13 21:34:37


Hello Yotam
Am completely new to cooking ME cuisine tbh but always enjoy it when am offered it.
These stories of 50 ingredients have me rather worried shock
Any advice for a beginner?
Congrats on the new baby btw.

thank you JediGirl21. our newborn is adorable. 50 ingredients is a gross exaggeration. many middle eastern recipes are dead simple and quick to make. perhaps start by making mejadra. it's a rice, lentil and fried onion dish - so good you won't believe it. i have a recipe online and there are more easily available.

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