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Posts Tagged ‘Ottolenghi’

What a clever idea this cauliflower cheese pie is, and the filo pastry makes it straightforward too. This one is from the clever people at the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen. It takes shape perfectly in the oven and then oozes appropriately when you cut into it. A definite crowd-pleaser.

Wine Suggestion: A rich white was called for, and while we’d have normally gone for a Chardonnay by default we had something different in the glass: Quinta Soalheiro’s Primeiras Vinhas. An old-vine alvarinho partially made in old oak that was velvety, concentrated and powerful. Despite it being bone dry the fruit was sophisticated and effortless. We’d opened this the day before and had to admit it was even better on the second day so a good one for the cellar.

Curried cauliflower cheese pie – serves 4

  • 1 large cauliflower, trimmed and cut into bite-sized florets
  • 2 tsp mild-medium curry powder
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 100g unsalted butter, 50g cut into cubes and 50g melted to brush the pastry with later
  • 75g plain flour
  • 675ml full-fat milk
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 ½ tbsp English mustard
  • 150g mature cheddar cheese, roughly grated
  • 6 sheets of filo pastry
  • 1 tbsp roughly chopped parsley
  • 1 ½ tsp lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 180C fan.

Line the bottom and sides of a 23cm springform cake tin with baking parchment.

Line a large baking tray with baking parchment and place the cauliflower florets onto it. Add the curry powder, 1 ½ tbsp of olive oil, ½ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper. Toss with your hands to coat, then roast for 20 minutes, or until cooked through and lightly browned. Set the cauliflower aside.

Lower the oven temperature to 170C fan.

Meanwhile, make the béchamel sauce. Put the 50g of butter into a medium-sized saucepan and melt over a medium-high heat, then add the flour and stir to combine. Cook for a minute or two, then gradually add the milk stirring constantly and waiting for it all to be incorporated before adding any more. You can use a whisk to do this but we prefer a wooden spoon. When all the milk has been added, continue to cook the sauce for about 7 minutes or until slightly thickened. Keep stirring the whole time until it bubbles, then turn it down and keep giving it regular stirs. Remove from the heat and stir in the garlic, mustard, cheese and ¼ tsp of salt, keep stirring until the cheese has melted.

Get your filo pastry out of the pack and cover it with a damp tea towel to stop it drying out. Combine the melted butter with 1 ½ tbsp of oil. Take one sheet of filo at a time, brush the upper side with the butter mixture and drape into the cake tin, butter side up. Push it down gently to fit into the tin. Continue with the remaining sheets , brushing each with butter and laying in the tin, rotate the tin slightly each time so the pastry hangs over the sides at a different angle.

Spoon half the béchamel into the tin and top with the roasted cauliflower. Spoon over the rest of the sauce, then crimp the overhanging pastry to form a border, leaving the centre of the pie exposed. Brush the top of pastry with the butter mixture, then place onto a baking tray. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

Carefully release the outer circle of the baking tin and remove the paper to expose the sides, bake for another 20-25 minutes or until the sides are nicely browned. Leave to rest out of the oven for 15 minutes before serving.

Top with the parsley and the lemon zest and cut into big wedges to serve. Some salad is nice on the side.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love by Noor Murad & Yotam Ottolenghi, Ebury Press, 2021.)

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This is a bit of a labour of love from Ottolenghi Flavour. A good bit, however, can be done in advance and the end result is worth it. If you’re not feeling so energetic you can buy some fancy gnocchi from the supermarket and use that instead of making the turnip gnocchi. And another cooking discovery … we’re definitely going to be mashing our turnip in the food processor from now on!

Wine Suggestion: We fancied a Chardonnay tonight and given the savoury nature of miso chose one from the Maçon in France with a touch of oak: Domaine Manciat-Poncet’s Pouilly-Vinzelles. From a vineyard area dating back to Roman times this has depth and breadth, combining a natural, fresh minerality with a fleshy opulence supported by an almond-hazelnut and toasty character.

Turnip gnocchi with miso butter – serves 4

  • 1-2 Maris Piper potatoes with skin on, approx. 400g
  • 2-3 small swede, peeled and roughly chopped into 2 cm cubes, approx. 600g
  • 70ml olive oil
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 150g ’00’ pasta flour
  • 500ml veg or chicken stock
  • 200g spinach, roughly chopped into 8cm lengths
  • 1 tbsp miso paste
  • 1 lime, finely grate the zest to get 1 tsp, then juice to get 2 tsp
  • 5g fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 50g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp white sesame seeds, toasted

Heat the oven to 220C fan.

Wrap each potato in foil and bake for an hour or until cooked through. While warm, peel and mash, you should have about 230g of smooth mash. If you have a bit too much you can always eat some as dinner is still some time away.

You can cook the swede in the oven at the same time as the potato. Line a baking tray with baking parchment, spread the turnip over and drizzle with ½ tbsp of the olive oil. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until cooked through – it may take longer than this so do be patient. Put the cooked swede into a food processor with 2 tbsp of olive oil and blitz until smooth, you’ll need to scrape down the sides a few times. You should end up with about 320g of smooth swede.

Add the swede to the bowl of mashed potatoes, then add the egg yolk and ¼ tsp of salt and mix to combine. Fold in the flour and make sure it is all well mixed in with no lumps. Transfer the dough to a piping bag and put into the fridge for an hour (you can do this up to a day in advance).

Snip the end off the piping bag to give a 2cm wide opening. Fill a medium pot with 1.5 litres of water and 2 tsp of salt. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook the gnocchi in quite a few batches without overcrowding the pan. Pipe 3 cm pieces of dough into the water and use a small sharp knife to cut off each piece. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the gnocchi float to the top. Scoop out the gnocchi with a slotted spoon and transfer to a tray lined with baking parchment. When all the gnocchi are cooked, drizzle them with 2 tsp of olive oil and return to the fridge for 20 minutes or until slightly chilled (you can also do this up to a day in advance).

Pour the stock into a large sauté pan over a medium-high heat and cook for 12-14 minutes or until reduced to 200ml. Add the spinach and cook for 2 minutes until tender, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Return the liquid in the pan to a medium heat and whisk in the miso, lime juice, ginger and butter, then cook for 3 minutes, whisking until slightly thickened. Don’t let it boil or it will split. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside while you fry the gnocchi.

Heat the final 1 ½ tbsp of oil in a large frying pan on a medium-high heat. When very hot, add half the gnocchi and fry for 1-2 minutes on each side, until well browned all over. Transfer to a plate and continue with the rest. Add the cooked gnocchi and spinach to the sauce, then return to a medium-high heat and gently heat for a minute or two.

Divide between plates, sprinkle with lime zest, scallions and sesame seeds.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Flavour by Yotam Ottolenghi & Ixta Belfrage, Ebury Press, 2020.)

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We’ve made plenty of fish and tahini dishes before but particularly liked this one with the additions of zingy za’atar and fresh spinch.

Wine suggestion: this works brilliantly with a juicy, crisp Verdejo, especially those that come from Rueda in Spain. Crunchy, juicy apples, lemons and grapefuit. In our glass was Dominio la Granadilla which demonstrates a passionate family all working together and speaking of the place they grew up.

Za’atar salmon and tahini – serves 4

  • 4 salmon fillets (about 600g in total), skin on
  • 2 tbsp za’atar
  • 2 tsp sumac, plus and extra ½ tsp for sprinkling at the end
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g baby spinach
  • 90g tahini
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 1½ tbsp roughly chopped coriander leaves

Heat the oven to 220C Fan.

Pat the salmon dry with kitchen paper and season.

Mix the za’atar and sumac together in a small bowl, then sprinkle this over the top of the salmon to form a crust.

Put a large ovenproof sauté pan over a medium-high heat and add 1 tbsp of the oil. When the pan is hot, add the spinach with a little seasoning and cook for 2-3 minutes or until just wilted.

Set the salmon fillets on top of the spinach, skin side down, then drizzle the top of the fish with 2 tbsp of oil. Bake in the hot oven for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, whick the tahini, garlic, 2½ tbsp of lemon juice, a good pinch of salt and 100ml of water together until smooth. It will be quite runny.

Pour the tahini around the salmon (but not over the fish) and bake for another 5 minutes, or until the fish is just cooked through and the sauce is bubbling. Spoon over the rest of the lemon juice and oil and top with the coriander and extra sprinkle of sumac.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love by Noor Murad & Yotam Ottolenghi, Ebury Press, 2021.)

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This is a rather unconventional method but it does work, and the resulting dish is perfect comfort food for a cold day. The za’atar pesto is a good addition to cut through the richness and the feta provides creamy nuggets. A crazy but good idea from the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen.

Wine Suggestion: A crisp white with body and texture is called for here to help cut through rich layers and stand up to the complex flavours. Domaine Ventenac’s Cassandre waas our choice and a very happy match indeed. Vermentino from Cabardes in the south of France, this comes from vineyards that have cooling breezes and a little altitude to give it depth of flavour as well as a scintillating freshness; finishing with a slight nutty twist that gave the pesto an extra lift.

Middle Eastern mac n cheese with za’atar pesto – serves 4 to 6

  • 300g dried cavatappi or fusilli pasta
  • 600-700ml whole milk
  • 65g unsalted butter, cut into 3cm cubes
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • tsp ground turmeric
  • 1½ tsp cumin seeds, toasted and roughly crushed
  • 75ml double cream
  • 150g mature cheddar, roughly grated
  • 180g Greek feta, roughly crumbled
  • 45g shop-bought crispy onions or shallots

FOR THE ZA’ATAR PESTO

  • 1 large lemon
  • 3 tbsp za’atar
  • 20g fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 40g pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 6 tbsp olive oil

Put the pasta, 600ml of milk, 350ml of water, the butter, garlic, turmeric, 1 tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper into a large sauté pan over a medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down the heat and cook, stirring now and then, for 8-14 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente and the sauce thickened. You can add the extra 100ml of milk if you need it thinned a bit.

Turn the heat to low and stir in the cumin, cream and cheeses. Stir until the cheddar has melted.

Meanwhile, make the pesto. Finely grate the lemon to get 1½ tsp of zest. Peel the lemon, cut into segments and roughly chop. Put the lemon and zest into a bowl.

Put the za’atar, coriander, garlic, pine nuts, a pinch of salt, plenty of black pepper and 3 tbsp of the oil into a food processor, then pulse a few times to get a coarse paste. Add to the lemon and stir in the remaining 3 tbsp of oil.

Transfer the cheesey pasta to a large serving platter, dot all over with the pesto and top with the crispy onions.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Test Kitchen Shelf Love by Noor Murad & Yotam Ottolenghi, Ebury Press, 2021.)

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We loved this dish! Bursting with flavour and the perfect wintery side salad. The leftovers were also good the next day. You can use capers instead of anchovies if you prefer.

Wine suggestion: This dish works really well with a good, dry Chenin Blanc. Our current favourite is Bernard Fouquet’s Domaine Aubuissieres Vouvray Silex Sec. Dry and full of yellow apple fruits and layers of texture, while remaining discrete enough to allow the sprouts and parmesan to come through.

Brussels sprout and Parmesan salad with lemon dressing – serves 4

  • 700g small brussels sprouts, trimmed, leave 500g whole and thinly shave the rest
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 60ml lemon juice
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 ½ tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 2 anchovies in oil, drained and roughly chopped
  • 60g Parmesan, 20g roughly grated and the rest cut into shards – a veg peeler will do this nicely
  • 120g kale leaves, discard the stems and thinly shred the leaves
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 20g basil leaves
  • 70g blanched hazelnuts, well toasted and roughly chopped

Heat the oven to 220C fan.

Line a tray with baking paper and add the whole sprouts, 2 tbsp of oil, ½ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper, toss to combine. Roast for 18 minutes, stirring halfway, until well browned and cooked through, then leave to cool.

Meanwhile, put the lemon juice, garlic, mustard, anchovies, grated Parmesan, 3 tbsp of oil, ¼ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper into the small bowl of a food processor and whizz until smooth.

Put the kale, the shaved sprouts, the dressing, ¼ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper into a large bowl and toss with your hands, massaging the leaves gently. Leave to soften and wilt for about 10 minutes.

Add the onion, basil, chopped hazelnuts, Parmesan shards and roasted sprouts to the bowl and mix to combine. Turn out onto a platter to serve.

(Original recipe from OTK Shelf Love by Noor Murad & Yotam Ottolenghi, Ebury Press, 2021.)

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We have lovely friends who always bring a cheese course when they come to ours for dinner, and inadvertently we have ended up with a backlog of membrillo / quince paste. This is not a big problem as it keeps for ages, however it also gave us an opportunity to make this seasonal quiche from Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi.

Wine Suggestion: This demands a big, well-balanced, but oaky Chardonnay. Splurge if you can on good Jura, or a Meursault; or like us tonight an old friend, the Rustenberg Stellenbosch Chardonnay. Full-bodied to cope with the richness, and texture and fresh acidity to also cut through this and provide a counterpoint.

Membrillo and stilton quiche – serves 6

  • 1 medium butternut squash, about 700g, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
  • 1 ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 250g top quality shortcrust pastry
  • plain flour, for dusting
  • 200g Stilton, for dusting
  • 75g mebrillo (quince paste), cut into 1 cm dice
  • 3 eggs
  • 150ml double cream
  • 150ml crème fraîche

Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/Gas 7.

Toss the cubes of squash with the oil and ¼ tsp of salt and some black pepper, then spread over a baking tray. Bake for about 30 minutes, turning once, until golden-brown. Leave to cool.

Reduce the oven temperature to 190C/170C fan/Gas 5.

Roll the pastry out on a floured work service until roughly 3cm thick and big enough to line a 24cm quiche tin with some pastry hanging over the edge. Line the tin with the pastry and prick the base with a for, then put into the fridge for 20 minutes.

Line the pastry case with baking parchment, then fill with baking beans and cook in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the beans and paper and cook for another 10 minutes or until the pastry is golden-brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Spread the squash over the base of the pastry case, dot the Stilton between and sprinkle over the membrillo.

Put the eggs, cream and crème fraîche in a bowl with ¼ tsp of salt and some black pepper. Whisk together, then pour over the squash and cheese, leaving some of the filling exposed. Put into the oven for 40 minutes or until set, then remove from the oven and rest before removing from the tin and breaking off the over-hanging pastry. Serve warm.

(Original recipe from Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi, Ebury Press, 2014.)

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Truly original and truly delicious. Try them while we’ve got fresh corn cobs in the shops. Black limes are trendy at the moment but if you can’t find them you can use grated lime zest instead.

Corn ribs with black lime and pumpkin seed butter – serves 4 as a starter

  • 3 corn cobs, husks removed
  • 1.3 litres sunflower oil, for deep-frying
  • 1½ tsp runny honey

FOR THE BUTTER

  • 25g pumpkin seeds
  • 60g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1-2 dried black limes, roughly broken, then whizzed to a powder using spice grainder to get 2¼ tsp (if you don’t have black limes you can substitute grated lime zest)

Preheat the oven to 160C fan.

Spread the pumpkin seeds over a small baking tray and toast in the oven until golden-brown and starting to split, about 10 minutes. Coarsely blitz in a spice grinder (or finely chop) and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Mix the butter with 2 tsp of the ground black lime, the chopped pumpkin seeds and 1 tsp flaked sea salt to combine. You can make this ahead but remove from the fridge half an hour before you need it.

Cut the corn cobs in half widthways, then cut each half lengthways into quarters.

Heat the oil in a medium, high-sided saucepan on a medium heat. When very hot (about 180C if you have a probe), test by lowering in the end of a piece of corn; it should sizzle but not turn brown immediatley.

Fry the corn in batches for 6-7 minutes, turning a few times until they have curled and turned golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Transfer the cooked corn to a bowl and toss with the honey and 1½ tsp of sea salt flakes.

Serve the corn on a platter with the butter on the side and sprinkle with the rest of the ground lime.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Flavour by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage, Ebury Press, 2020.)

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An excellent recipe for figs from Ottolenghi Flavour with the hot dressing perfectly complementing the cool ricotta. You can have the figs and the dressing made well in advance, making this dish simple to plate up.

Wine Suggestion: a complex and challenging dish to match with wine but if you can find a good, dry-ish Marsala, aged Tawny Port, or an Oloroso sherry with a hint a sweetness you’ll find the oxidative characteristics, hints of sweetness and tertiary, developed aromas and flavours really work a treat.

Grilled figs with Shaoxing dressing – serves 4 as a starter

  • 8 ripe purple figs, halved
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 ½ maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine (or you can use pale dry sherry)
  • 2 ½ tsp Chinkiang vinegar (or half this quantity of balsamic)
  • 60ml olive oil
  • 2 red chillies, finely sliced into rounds
  • 1 lemon, finely shave the skin to get 5 strips (a vegetable peeler works well)
  • 60g rocket
  • 140g ricotta

Preheat the grill to its highest setting.

Toss the figs in a bowl with the soy sauce and 1 ½ tbsp of maple syrup, then set them cut side up on a parchment lined baking tray. Don’t leave any paper hanging over the edges as it could burn.

Roast the figs close to the grill until soft and caramelised but still holding their shape. It’s fine if they blacken a bit in places. Return the figs and any juices to the same bowl, then add the Shaoxing rice wine, Chinkiang vinegar and another tbsp of maple syrup. Toss together very gently and set aside for at least 1 hour (or overnight).

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small saucepan over a medium heat, then fry the chillies for 3 minutes. Add the lemon strips and fry for 30 seconds more then immediately pour into a heatproof bowl and set aside to infuse for at least 30 minutes (or overnight).

Arrange the rocket on a platter and top with the figs and dressing. Dot with ricotta and finish with the oil, chillies and lemon.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Flavour by Yotam Ottolenghi & Ixta Belfrage, Ebury Press, 2020.)

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This is really a dish for sharing but we ate the lot with some crusty bread. Fabulous and intense flavours of lemon and harissa.

Wine Suggestion: Given this dish has a lot of strong, savoury flavours, including heat from the harissa and sour from the lemon, we had to choose Grüner Veltliner. Tonight’s choice is by Höpler from Burgenland in Austria and it was a pure and elegant wine with an appetising freshness and zesty finish. This stood it’s own ground against the big flavours in the food, was nice as an apertif and a wonderful palate cleanser after we’d finished; versatile indeed.

Harissa chickpeas with flaked cod – serves 4 as a starter

  • 200g skinless cod, remove the bones and cut into 3cm pieces
  • olive oil
  • 1/3 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 cloves of garlic, one crushed and one finely sliced
  • ½ an onion, finely sliced
  • 2 cardamom pods, bashed
  • 1 tbsp harissa, rose harissa if you can get it
  • 2 tsp tomato purée
  • 1½ small preserved lemons, skin finely chopped (discard the flesh)
  • 1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 200ml vegetable stock
  • 5g coriander, roughly chopped

Put the cod into a bowl with 1½ tsp of olive oil, the cumin, crushed garlic and a pinch of salt. Mix gently, then set aside for 15 minutes.

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large sauté pan, then add the onion and fry for 4-5 minutes, until soft and golden-brown. Add the sliced garlic and cook for another minute over a gentle heat. Add the cardamom, harissa, tomato purée, preserved lemon, chickpeas and ¼ tsp of salt. Stir for a minute, then add the stock and heat for a few minutes, crushing some of the chickpeas with the back of a spoon to thicken the sauce.

Add the fish and gently stir, then cook for 3-4 minutes, turning half-way through, until cooked and easy to flake. Discard the cardamom pods, sprinkle with the coriander and serve.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi, Tara Wigley & Esme Howarth, Ebury Press, 2018.)

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Such a simple and foolproof way of cooking rice from Ottolgenghi Simple. This gives a lovely texture and the salsa is delicious. We served with pulled lamb shawarma but it would be great with all sorts of dishes. 

Baked mint rice with pomegranate and olive salsa – serves 6

  • 400g basmati rice
  • 50g unsalted butter, melted
  • 800ml boiling water
  • 50g mint (leave 40g on the springs and shred the leaves of the remaining 10g for the salsa)
  • 150g feta, crumbled into 1-2cm pieces

FOR THE SALSA:

  • 40g pitted green olives, thinly sliced
  • seeds from a small pomegranate
  • 50g walnut halves, lightly roasted and roughly broken
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 small clove of garlic, crushed

Preheat the oven to 230C fan or as high as your oven goes. 

Put the rice into a high-sided roasting tin, about 20 x 30cm. Season with ¾ tsp of salt and plenty of pepper, then pour over the melted butter and boiling water. Top with the mint sprigs and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 25 minutes, until the rice is fluffy and the liquid absorbed. 

Meanwhile, mix all of the salad ingredients, except the mint leaves, together in a bowl with ¼ tsp of salt. Mix well and set aside. 

When the rice is ready, pull the leaves off the mint sprigs and scatter them over the rice, then sprinkle over the feta. Just before serving, stir the shredded mint into the salsa and spoon over the rice. 

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Simple, Ebury Press, 2018.)

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This soup uses all store cupboard ingredients. You do need fresh coriander but we regularly have an almost full bag of this in the fridge and are happy to have this soup idea to use it up. We make soup almost every week in the winter months and this is definitely one of our favourites. The recipe is from Ottolenghi Simple where they suggest leaving it rough, which we did, but you can blend until smooth if you prefer.

Curried lentil, tomato & coconut soup – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil or sunflower oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp medium curry powder
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 150g red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 25g coriander stalks, roughly chopped, plus 5g picked leaves to garnish
  • 1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk

Put the oil into a large saucepan and put over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and fry for 8 minutes, stirring often, until soft and caramelised.

Add the curry powder, chilli flakes, garlic and ginger and keep frying for another 2 minutes, stirring all the time.

Add the lentils, stir through for a minute, then add the tomatoes, coriander stalks, 600ml of water, 1 tsp of salt and a lots of black pepper.

Pour the coconut milk into a large bowl and whisk gently until smooth. Set aside 4 tbsp to garnish the bowls, then add the coconut milk to the soup. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer gently for 25 minutes, until the lentils are soft abut still holding their shape. Add a bit more water – 100-150ml – if the soup is too thick.

Divide the soup between warm bowls and garnish with a drizzle of coconut milk and some coriander leaves.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi, Tara Wigley and Esme Howarth, Ebury Press, 2018.)

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We cooked this for dinner on Halloween, you need a good eating pumpkin, like Crown Prince, rather than a carving pumpkin. The oxtail is a bit of a fiddle but it’s worth it and you can do all the fiddly bits well in advance. The result is fabulously rich and tasty.

Wine Suggestion: to cut through the richness you need a red with both a bit of acidity and tannins and a favourite of ours for this purpose is Chianti. Tonight the Pian del Ciampolo from Montevertine in the Chianti Classico region who have stepped outside the system but still use the classic grapes for the appellation. Young and joyful but with a serious backbone and a good match for the dish.

Oxtail stew with pumpkin and cinnamon – serves 6

  • 2kg oxtail pieces
  • 200g shallots, roughly chopped
  • 3 large carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 400ml red wine
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 10 sprigs of thyme
  • 5 sprigs of rosemary
  • zest of ½ an orange, peeled into long strips
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 500g pumpkin, cut into 2.5 cm cubes (you could use butternut squash but try and get pumpkin if you can)
  • 300ml water

FOR THE GREMOLATA

  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped parsley
  • grated zest of 1 large lemon
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed

Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4.

Heat a large heavy-based pan over a high heat, it needs to be big enough to hold the whole stew later, and add 2 tbsp of olive oil. When the oil is smoking hot add some oxtail pieces and fry until well browned on all sides. You will need to do this in batches and don’t put too many in at once or they will start to stew rather than fry. Transfer the browned pieces to a colander so the excess fat can drain off.

If there is a lot of fat in the pan, tip some of it off, then add the shallots, carrots and garlic. Cook these over a medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, until golden brown.

Add the wine to the pan and scrape the base with a wooden spoon to get any crusty tasty bits off the bottom. Bring to the boil and simmer until almost evaporated, then add the tomatoes. Tie the thyme and rosemary sprigs together and add to the sauce, then add the orange zest, bay leaves, cinnamon, star anise, black pepper and some salt. Transfer the sauce to a deep baking dish or roasting tray big enough to take the oxtail in a single layer. Set the oxtail pieces on top. Put a sheet of baking parchment directly over the oxtail, then cover with a tight-fitting lid or a couple of layers of tinfoil, then bake for 2-3 hours or until the meat comes away easily from the bone.

Lift the oxtail out of the sauce and into a large bowl, then leave to cool slightly. When it’s cool enough to handle, pick all the meat from the bones and put into the heavy-based pan that you used to brown it in, discard the fatty bits and the bones. Add the sauce from the baking tray to the meat along with the pumpkin cubes and the 300ml of water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft. Season to taste.

To make the gremolata, mix the parsley, lemon zest and garlic together. Transfer the stew to a serving bowl and sprinkle the gremolata on top.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi the Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, Ebury Press, 2008.)

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We made this the day that Ottolenghi Flavour arrived in the post as we had all the ingredients and were feeling enthusiastic! We haven’t tried too many dishes since then but we will. Just when we think we’ve tasted pretty much every flavour combination Yotam and his pals remind us that we haven’t, not by a long way!

We can’t remember now what we served this with but think it’s safe to say you could eat a bowlful on their own!

Spicy roast potatoes with tahini and soy – serves 4 as a side

  • 900g roasting potatoes, leave the skin on and cut into 3cm cubes
  • 50g rose harissa 
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed 
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1½ tbsp chives, finely chopped
  • 1½ tbsp black and/or white sesame seed, toasted

FOR THE DRESSING: 

  • 60g tahini (stir well before using)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1½ tbsp mirin (or maple syrup)
  • 1½ tbsp rice vinegar

Preheat the oven to 240°C fan. 

In a large bowl, mix the potatoes, rose harissa, garlic and olive oil together with ¾ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper. Transfer the mixture to a parchment-lined baking tray and spread out, then cover tightly with foil and roast for 15 minutes. 

Remove the foil, reduce the heat to 200°C and roast for another 25 minutes, uncovered, stirring halfway, until the potatoes are cooked and browned. 

Meanwhile, whisk all of the ingredients for the dressing together with 1 tbsp of water until smooth. 

Transfer the potatoes to a shallow serving bowl and drizzle over the dressing. Garnish with the chives and sesame seeds. 

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Flavour by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage, Ebury Press, 2020)

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A recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi published in the Guardian last October. We were looking for a recipe to use a pork belly joint and this was suitably Autumnal. A rich and complex dish that was full of flavour and umami textures. We put the pork under the grill at the end to crisp the crackling up. Serve with steamed rice.

Wine Suggestion: try a youthful and finely textured Shiraz/Syrah with this dish. Nothing too powerful and rich, avoid burly tannins and look for refinement and persistence on the finish. Two suggestions are the Parker Coonawarra Shiraz from Australia, or the Jerome Coursodon St Joseph Silice. Neither are the top wine from their respective wineries, and both are youthful, but the combination of attention to detail in the vineyard and winery mean that they have the quality of their siblings but aren’t as concentrated and taught … making them so enjoyable in youth. And that is what this dish needs.

Roast pork belly with apple, soy & ginger – serves 4

  • 1 whole boneless pork belly joint (800-900g)
  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into 6 wedges
  • 12 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 40g fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 whole star anise
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 90ml soy sauce
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • 250ml unsweetened apple juice (we used Llewellyn’s Premium Irish Apple Juice)
  • 70ml apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns, crushed
  • 3 medium Pink Lady apples, cored and cut into quarters
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

Heat the oven to 185C/165 fan/gas 4½.

Use a sharp knife to score the pork skin in a diamond patter, your butcher will happily do this for you. Rub a teaspoon of sea salt flakes into the skin and push it into the slashes.

Heat the oil in a large ovenproof sauté pan over a medium heat, then fry the onion for a few minutes to soften. Add the garlic, ginger, star anise and bay leaves, and cook until lightly coloured, about 3 minutes.

Add the soy sauce, stock, apple juice, vinegar, sugar and black peppercorns and bring to a simmer.

Take the dish off the heat and set the pork on top, making sure not to get the skin wet.

Put the dish into the hot oven and roast for 90 minutes, then remove and arrange the apples around the pork. Stir to coat them in the liquid but careful not to get the skin wet. Return to the oven for 30 minutes or until the pork is crispy and golden (if you need it to crisp up a bit, put it on a tray and flash briefly under the grill).

Lift the pork out onto a board and rest for 15-20 minutes before carving into 1½-thick slices. Spoon the apple mixture into a large serving dish and lay the pork on top. Sprinkle with the scallions to serve.

(Original recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi in the Guardian, 12 October 2019)

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Couscous, Cherry Tomato & Herb Salad

We made this couscous salad from Ottolenghi Simple for the first time this week and couldn’t recommend it highly enough. Serve it at all your summer barbecues (provided local restrictions allow) and expect very happy guests.

Couscous, cherry tomato and herb salad – serves 4

  • 250g couscous
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp ras el hanout
  • 300g cherry tomatoes
  • 2 onions, sliced into thin rings
  • 30g golden raisins or sultanas
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
  • 50g roasted and salted almonds, roughly chopped
  • 15g coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • 15g mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon, finely grate to get 1 tsp of zest and squeeze to get 1 tbsp of juice

Put the couscous into a medium-sized bowl. Drizzle over 2 tbsp of oil, sprinkle with 1 tsp of the ras el hanout, ¾ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper. Pour over 400ml boiling water, then seal well with tin foil and set aside for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and fluff the couscous with a fork, then set aside to cool.

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Add the tomatoes and fry for 3 to 4 minutes or until they start to brown and split. Remove the tomatoes from the pan and sprinkle them with salt.

Add the remaining 3 tbsp of oil to the same pan. Add the onions, the other tsp of ras el hanout and an a pinch of salt. Fry over a medium-high heat for 10 to 12 minutes or until dark golden-brown and soft. Remove from the heat, stir in the raisins and leave to cool.

When the couscous has cooked a bit, transfer it to a large bowl. Add the onions and raisin mixture and stir, then add the cumin seeds, almonds, herbs, lemon zest & juice, ¼ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper. Mix gently to combine.

Serve on a platter with the tomatoes on the top.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi with Tara Wigley and Esme Howarth, Ebury Press, 2018.)

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Carrot Salad with Yoghurt & Cinnamon

A salad of long, thin baby carrots with a herby yoghurt dressing. This is a great side dish for a barbecue and the portions are huge! It’s served at room temperature so the carrots can be cooked and dressed earlier in the day and mixed with the yoghurt before serving.

Carrot Salad with Yoghurt & Cinnamon – serves 4 – 8

  • 1 kg long, thin baby carrots, scrubbed and stalks trimmed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1½ tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 120g Greek-style yoghurt
  • 60g crème fraîche
  • 5g dill, roughly chopped
  • 10g coriander, roughly chopped

Steam the carrots for 8-12 minutes or until cooked through but retaining a bite.

Meanwhile, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, honey, garlic, cinnamon, ½ tsp salt and plenty of black pepper together in a large bowl. Add the carrots to the dressing as soon as they are cooked, then mix well and set aside to cool.

Mix the yoghurt and crème fraîche in a medium bowl with a ¼ tsp of salt. Add this to the carrots, along with the fresh herbs. Stir gently to mix roughly together, then serve.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi with Tara Wigley and Esme Howarth, Ebury Press, 2018.)

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Roasted Asparagus with Almonds, Capers & Dill

We thought you couldn’t beat buttered asparagus until Yotam Ottolenghi suggested almonds, capers & dill, a fabulous combination!

Roasted asparagus with almonds, capers & dill – serves 4 as a side dish

  • 600g asparagus, snap off the woody ends
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 20g flaked almonds
  • 30g baby capers, patted dry with kitchen towel
  • 10g dill, roughly chopped
  • salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200°C fan.

Toss the asparagus with 1 tbsp of the oil and some salt and black pepper. Spread over a large parchment-lined baking tray and roast for 8 to 12 minutes depending on thickness, until soft and starting to brown in spots. Transfer to a large serving plate and set aside.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the almonds and fry for a minute or two, stirring, until golden-brown. Pour the almonds and butter over the asparagus.

Add the remaining 2 tbsp of oil to the saucepan and place over a high heat. Once hot, add the capers and fry for 1-2 minutes, stirring all the time, until they have opened up and turned crispy. Remove the capers with a slotted spoon and scatter over the asparagus along with the dill (discard the oil). Serve warm.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi with Tara Wigley and Esme Howarth, Ebury Press, 2018.)

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New potatoes with peas and corianderWe’ve just had a sunny Easter weekend, so we cooked lots of Spring side dishes from Ottolenghi Simple. These potatoes are lovely and fresh and tasted good with some barbecued lamb gigot chops. We’re binge eating Jersey Royals while we can get them.

New potatoes with peas & coriander – serves 4

  • 300g fresh or frozen peas
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 small preserved lemon, pips discarded
  • 15g coriander, roughly chopped, plus an extra 5g leaves to garnish
  • 60ml olive oil
  • 1 small lemon, finely grate the zest, then juice to give 1 tsp
  • 750g new potatoes, halved if large

Blanch the peas in a saucepan of boiling water for 1 minute, then drain and set a third of them aside.

Put the remaining peas in a food processor with the chillies, preserved lemon, coriander, olive oil, lemon zest, ½ tsp of salt and plenty of pepper. Blitz to a rough paste and set aside.

Cook the potatoes in a large pan of boiling salty water for about 15 minutes or until soft. Drain and steam dry in the warm pot.

Roughly crush the potatoes, leaving about a third of them whole. Add the reserved peas, the pea mixture, the lemon juice and the coriander leaves. Gently stir and serve warm (though we found the leftovers were quite nice cold the following day).

(Original recipe from Ottolgenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi with Tara Wigley & Esme Howarth, Ebury Press, 2018.)

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Mustardy Cauliflower Cheese

We love cauliflower cheese and are rarely tempted to tamper with the traditional dish of steamed cauliflower smothered in cheesy béchamel sauce and well-browned under the grill. We suspected we might be safe however in the hands of Yotam Ottolenghi. This version is spicy and has loads of flavours going on. We thought it would be great with roast chicken or lamb or something off the barbecue.

Yotam helpfully suggests that you can make this up to the point of baking and keep in the fridge for up to a day.

Mustardy Cauliflower Chicken – serves 4

  • 1 large cauliflower, broken into roughly 4cm florets
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp medium curry powder
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 2 green chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
  • ¾ tsp black mustard seeds
  • 200ml double cream
  • 120g mature Cheddar, coarsely grated
  • 15g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 5g parsley, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 180C fan.

Steam the cauliflower for about 5 minutes or until starting to soften. Remove and set aside to cool a bit.

Put the butter into a 24cm round casserole dish and put over a medium heat. Sauté the onion for about 8 minutes or until golden. Add the cumin seeds, curry powder, mustard powder and chillies and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the mustard seeds, cook for another minute, then pour in the cream. Add 100g of the Cheddar and ½ tsp of salt, then simmer for 2-3 minutes to thicken. Add the cauliflower, stir gently, and simmer for another minute before removing from the heat.

Mix the rest of the Cheddar with the breadcrumbs and parsley, then sprinkle over the cauliflower. Wipe the inside of the pan clean to stop the cream from burning and place in the oven. Bake for about 8 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and the cauliflower is hot. Turn the grill to high and grill to brown the top for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cook for 5 minutes before serving.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi with Tara Wigley & Esme Howarth, Ebury Press, 2018.)

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Monkfish kebabs

We love the vitality this Yemeni spice mix (hawayej) gives to these monkfish kebabs from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi. We cooked these on a barbecue but you could also use a ridged griddle pan. Delicious served with rice, salad and a cucumber & mint yoghurt.

Wine Suggestion: Umani Ronchi’s Ca’Sal di Serra Verdicchio was our choice tonight as it has a lovely lemony character combined with a nutty, herbal twist; a good match.

Grilled fish skewers with hawayej & parsley – serves 4 to 6

  • 1kg monkfish, cut into 2.5cm cubes
  • 50g flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • lemon wedges, to serve

HAWAYEJ SPICE MIX:

  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 whole cloves
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • 1½ tsp ground turmeric

First make the spice mix by putting the peppercorns, coriander, cumin and cloves in a pestle and mortar (or spice grinder) and pound until finely ground. Stir in the ground cardamom and turmeric, then transfer to a large bowl.

Next add the fish, parsley, garlic, chilli flakes, lemon juice and 1 tsp of salt to the bowl and mix well with your hands, massaging the spices into the fish. Cover the bowl and leave to marinate in the fridge for 6-12 hours (or 1 hour at a minimum).

Thread the fish chunks onto skewers, leaving gaps between the pieces,  then heat a barbecue until hot. Gently brush the kebabs with a little olive oil and cook in batches for about 2 minutes each side, or until just cooked through.

Serve immediately with the lemon wedges.

(Original recipe from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi, Ebury Press, 2012.)

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