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Cooking trom Ottolenghi's "JERUSALEM"

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Na'ama's Fattoush

A purist would not consider this authentic fattoush, but I consider it delicious, and I'm in a rush to cook the recipes that showcase still-available late summer produce.

400 mil buttermilk (I used about half that)
2 large stale Turkish flatbread or naan (250 g total), torn into small pieces
3 large tomatoes, diced
100 g radishes, thinly sliced
250 g Lebanese or mini cucumbers, thinly sliced
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
15 g fresh mint, chopped
25 g flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 T dried mint
2 garlic cloves, grated on a microplane
3 T lemon juice
60 mil olive oil
3/4 t black pepper
1 1/2 t salt
1 T sumac, or more to taste, to garnish

10 minutes before serving, toss everything but the sumac together in a large bowl. Serve, topped with a generous sprinkle of sumac.

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  1. Sounds like a wonderful way to use up that early fall produce!

    ~TDQ

    1. That sounds really fantastic!

      1. A'ja (bread fritters)

        Unusual, but very good.

        4 slices (approx) white bread, crusts removed (80 g total)
        4 lg eggs
        1 1/2 t cumin
        1/2 t sweet paprika
        1/4 t cayenne (I used Aleppo)
        25 g chives, chopped
        25 g flat-leaf parsley, chopped
        10 g tarragon, chopped
        40 g feta cheese, crumbled
        salt and pepper
        sunflower oil for frying (I used olive oil)

        Soak bread in lots of cold water for 1 minute. Wring out thoroughly and put in a large bowl.
        Whisk in eggs, 1/2 t salt, 1/4 t pepper, and the spices (this takes some elbow grease). Stir in the cheese and herbs (I used half the amount of herbs, as the amounts called for looked rather overwhelming). You can fry these individually, but I made one big cake in a 10" non-stick skillet. Cooked it over medium-high heat about four minutes, did a plate slide and flip and cooked about another for minutes. Served with a tahini sauce (tahini, lemon juice, and salt, thinned with water to a pourable consistency.)

        I highly recommend this one.

        1. Just sticking my toe in to keep up until the book comes out here. I'm looking forward to reading all reports.

          1. Roasted Aubergine with Fried Onion and Chopped Lemon

            2 large aubergines, halved lengthwise with the stems on
            150 mil olive oil
            4 onions (about 550g total), peeled and thinly sliced
            1/2 green chilies
            1 1/2 t ground cumin
            1 t sumac
            50 g feta, crumbled
            1 medium lemon
            1 clove garlic, crushed (I grated mine on a Microplane.)

            Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

            Score the cut side of each aubergine with a cross-hatch pattern. Brush with some olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet, cut side up, and bake until golden and tender, about 45 minutes.

            Meanwhile, add remaining oil (I use only about 2 T) to a large frying pan and cook the onions, with 1/2/t salt, over high heat, stirring often, so that parts of the onion get really dark and crisp, about 8 minutes (took me 15). Seed and chop the chilies, keeping the whole separate from the half. (I didn't have any hot green chillies, so used 2 roasted red bell peppers and added about 1/2 t Urfa for some heat.) Add the whole chilli to the pan along with the cumin and sumac and cook for a further 2 minutes before adding the feta. Cook for a final minute, not stirring much, then remove from heat.

            Cut off the skin and pith of the lemon. Roughly chop the flesh, discarding the seeds. Place the flesh and any juices in a small bowl with the remaining half chilli and the garlic.

            Assemble the dish as soon as the aubergine are ready. Transfer the roasted halves to serving dish and spoon the lemon sauce over the top. Warm up the onions a little and spoon over. Serve warm or at room temp.

            (O, suggests placing a shallow pan of water on the bottom rack of your oven to keep the aubergines from drying out.)

            This was great! I peeled the leftover aubergines and threw them in the food processor along with the remaining sauce to create a really tasty sandwich spread. Will definitely make this again.

            5 Replies
            1. re: pikawicca

              I have the cookbook and want to make this recipe but am not sure what a "green chili" is in the produce section. Is there a specific name or size to look for?

              1. re: christinepinkerton

                I used a small jalapeno.

                1. re: pikawicca

                  Thank you!

                2. re: christinepinkerton

                  You can use a serrano pepper too, if those are available.

                  1. re: geekmom

                    Good to know. Thanks.

              2. Butternut Squash & Tahini Spread

                This was wonderful! It would be a fun app to serve on Thanksgiving.

                1 very large butternut squash (about 1.2 kg), roasted until soft (I nuked it.)
                3 T olive oil
                1 t ground cinnamon (I used a large pinch)
                70 g tahini
                120 g Greek yoghurt
                2 small cloves garlic, minced
                1 t sesame seeds (I toasted mine.)
                Salt to taste
                1 1/2 t date syrup (not enough to add a date flavor, just a mild sweetness)
                2 T chopped coriander (didn't have, so didn't use)

                Throw everything except the seeds, syrup, and coriander in the food processor and pulse until not-quite smooth. Spread on a flat plate, drizzle with syrup, sprinkle with seeds, and garnish with coriander, if using. This dish was very pretty, simple to prepare, and delicious. Give it a try!

                3 Replies
                1. re: pikawicca

                  Sounds delicious!

                  1. re: pikawicca

                    This caught my eye on my first glance through the book. I think I'll put it at the top of the list.

                    1. re: pikawicca

                      Hey, I came up with this on my own, calling it squash hummus. Though I use more traditional hummus seasonings (cumin, a little red pepper, garlic) rather than cinnamon, sesame, or date syrup. In fact, I like it best if the squash is on the less sweet side. If you have one of those mini pumpkins or squash around, it makes a charming serving container.

                      But now I'll have to try this cinnamon version, just to see.

                    2. Thanks for getting the ball rolling with Jerusalem, Pikawika. What I've read so far sounds wonderful. The Guardian has several Ottolenghi Jerusalem recipes on line...

                      Jerusalem: cake and biscuit recipes
                      A clementine cake to knock your socks off, plus spice cookies
                      http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyl...

                      Jerusalem: meat recipes
                      Beef and lamb meatballs, lamb shawarma and roast chicken with Jerusalem artichokes recipes:
                      http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyl...

                      Jerusalem: fish recipes
                      Cod cakes in tomato sauce plus pan-fried mackerel with beetroot and orange salsa recipes:
                      http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyl...

                      Jerusalem: starter and side dish recipes
                      From his mother's stuffed peppers to a heady, spicy rice dish, Yotam Ottolenghi cooks up a storm with the food of his home city;
                      http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyl...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Gio

                        None of these links work for me - it says the copyright has expired! :-( I do have the book in front of me (just finished making one of the recipes, in fact) but it's a pity the sample recipes couldn't have stayed on the Guardian site a little longer.

                      2. From The Independent:

                        Stuffed aubergine with lamb and pine nuts...
                        http://www.independent.co.uk/life-sty...

                        (Taken from 'Jerusalem' by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi (Ebury Press, £27). Photograph by Jonathan Lovekin)

                        1. Na'ama's Fattoush complete recipe and a few pages of photographs from The Book...

                          http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/...

                          1. Here is another recipe link from the Wall Street Journal. My husband pulled it out as something he wanted to make himself. I'm looking forward to it! Roasted chicken with clementines and arak.

                            http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000...

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: LulusMom

                              Unfortunately, that article is behind a pay wall.

                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                Oh poo. Sorry about that.

                                1. re: LulusMom

                                  There are several adaptations of the recipe on line. This one is as good as any and has a photo...
                                  http://youlittletarte.blogspot.com/20...

                                  This from Epicurious...
                                  http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/mem...

                            2. Smoky corn and avocado ceviche
                              Corn and spring onion pancakes

                              http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyl...

                              1. This recipe is even better if you toast the bread.

                                1. Just received my copy yesterday. Very excited to try out the recipes.

                                  1. Semolina, coconut & marmalade cake - p 264 (Canadian edition)

                                    When I found this recipe this morning I had one of those moments which I hope some of you are familiar with, where I absolutely had to abandon all my plans and cook this item immediately. As an added bonus, I had to walk to the supermarket to buy oranges and coconut, so I was able to pre-burn some calories to help justify eating this cake today; and in a little while, I'll be biking to my son's piano lesson with him, so that meant I could eat two slices. ;-)

                                    I'd say the description of this cake in the book is not exaggerated: "The moist yet light texture and the aromatic flavours are what it's all about." Yup. The flavour is phenomenal, with different levels of orangey goodness; the crumb of the cake is really lovely, too, light and crumbly but still very moist and somehow, in spite of the amount of orange-flavoured sugar syrup I basted over the cake after it came out of the oven, it's not at all soggy. The coconut adds some great texture and the cake holds together well even though I sliced it before it had cooled off completely (because, seriously...I was not going to sit here, smelling this cake, and not eat it.) The recipe suggests serving with thick greek yogurt mixed with a few drops of orange blossom water, which I did, and while it does go nicely together I think the cake is also fantastic on its own. Really, a perfect accompaniment to a hot cup of tea on a cool fall or winter afternoon.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: geekmom

                                      Oh, that sounds SO good! There was in interview on the radio this morning with the authors, which I caught the end of. Here's the link if anyone wants to listen. http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/episode/...

                                      1. re: geekmom

                                        ...And I am pleased to report that this cake freezes extremely well. Since there were two loaves, I froze individual slices of cake #2 so that I could enjoy it with my tea from time to time. Today I got out a slice & carefully defrosted in the microwave, and it has retained all the qualities that made it awesome when it came out of the oven. :-)

                                        1. re: geekmom

                                          geekmom,

                                          You've made me smile, I just got the cookbook from the library and had the same feeling about this cake (except I am out of marmalade and the store is 20 miles away.

                                          It's on next week's shopping list, so thank you (I think).

                                          1. re: shallots

                                            You're going to love it! I promise. ;-)

                                      2. Mejadra - p 120 (Canadian edition)

                                        Not able to find this specific recipe online but it is very similar to this one: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyl...

                                        Although very easy, this recipe was a bit time consuming due to having to fry the onions in smaller batches very slowly so they would brown but not burn. For some reason, the book instructs you to wait until you've finished cooking all the onions, wipe out the pan and then use that pan again for your rice & lentils; it seemed to me that the cooking process could be sped up by using a second pan to cook the rice & lentils alongside the onions, since you don't add them till the end. That said, the effort was well worth it. The onions are the star of the dish, no doubt about it - sweet, crispy, moist, and extremely more-ish. We found that the rice & lentil combination on its own came out a little dry, so serving with yogurt or even a mango chutney would help to offset that. And my daughter recommends making at least half again as much fried onion next time.

                                         
                                        10 Replies
                                        1. re: geekmom

                                          By the way, I hope nobody minds my posting these detailed reviews here... I am waiting impatiently for my own copy of this book to arrive, so I can put notes on the recipes as I try them, like I normally do, but in the meantime if I don't post here I will probably forget what I thought about the recipe.

                                          1. re: geekmom

                                            I'm glad your posting your reviews here. I'm planning to bake the Ghraybeh (p 260 Cdn edition, rose water and orange flower water shortbread) in a few weeks.

                                            Recommend the Poached Pears in White Wine & Cardamom ( p 267 Cdn edition).

                                            I also plan to attempt the Krantz cake (p 284-287).

                                            1. re: prima

                                              Oh yeah, that Krantz cake recipe caught my eye too. We know it as babka, from one of our local Jewish bakeries; it's truly delectable. They sell a cinnamon-bun shaped babka as well as a loaf. My daughter's eyes just about fell out of her head when she realized that Ottolenghi (who is already highly regarded in our home) had published a recipe for babka.

                                          2. re: geekmom

                                            I've been eyeing this recipe up since the day the book arrived at my door. This is a more heavily spiced version than the one I usually make, so I'm really looking forward to trying it. The only thing that stopped me was the Great Onion Shortage of 2012 in my household. I really enjoy your reviews, so keep posting!

                                            1. re: geekmom

                                              Geekmom, my kid is an utter mejadra freak. Just how different is the one in the book from the link you provided? Would you be able to note just the differences, perhaps?

                                              1. re: rockycat

                                                The only differences between the recipe in the book & the one in Ottolenghi's column is that the book asks you to use more lentils (250g / 1 1/4cup lentils), and to sprinkle 1tsp salt & 3 tbsp all-purpose flour over the onions before frying (then you mix it well with your fingers to ensure even coating).

                                                1. re: geekmom

                                                  Thanks. More lentils are always good.

                                              2. re: geekmom

                                                I made the mejadra tonight, using 2 onions instead of 4, and Unico long grain white rice instead of Basmati. I added about 1/2 cup of water (2 cups total) to the rice/lentil mixture, as it looked like it needed a little more liquid.
                                                Nice version. I'm sure I'll make it again.

                                                1. re: prima

                                                  I also only used two, average-sized onions; the measurements said 400g and I found that my two were well over 400. It kind of makes me wonder what his idea of a small onion is, if four medium ones would equal 400g.

                                                  1. re: geekmom

                                                    Based on what some of our UK posters have said, it seems that a lot of North American produce is outsized compared to its UK counterparts. Makes it extra-handy to have weights specified!

                                              3. I received the US edition of Jerusalem a week and a half ago, and upon looking through it, my reaction was that I'd like to make (or at least eat) just about everything in the book! As for the "translation," based on what I see in my UK editions of the first two books from Ebury Press, it looks as if Ten Speed has done a very careful job. Spelling and terms have been recast in American English, but otherwise the writing appears untouched. Ingredient amounts that are given in volume here are also listed by weight (both standard and metric), so presumably the metric weights will accord with original in the UK edition.

                                                I couldn't wait to dive in, so I cooked three recipes one day last week, with predictably great results. I did use less oil than called for in all of them, and experienced no lack of flavor.

                                                Mixed bean salad, p. 42/US

                                                Lots of fresh flavors going on here. The "mixed" refers to green beans and yellow wax beans, but I used only green. These are blanched and joined by briefly roasted strips of red pepper, scallions, and a boatload of fresh tarragon, dill, and parsley. Then it's dressed with lemon zest and garlic, capers, and cumin and coriander seeds that are sizzled in olive oil. This holds up well for lunches on ensuing days.

                                                Cod cakes in tomato sauce, p.225/US

                                                Loved, loved, loved these, which the authors say are typical of Syrian Jewish cooking. They're standard fish cakes made from minced fresh cod (wild Alaskan, in my case) bound with fresh breadcrumbs and egg, but boldly spiced with onion, garlic, lots and lots of cilantro and parsley, and a whole tablespoon of ground cumin. I just buzzed the ingredients (bread, garlic, onion, herbs, fish) sequentially in the FP, so prep wasn't too onerous.

                                                The sauce is more onion and garlic, red chile, ground cumin and coriander, sweet paprika, white wine, and canned tomatoes. After it simmers and reduces, the cod cakes are seared in a separate pan, then finish cooking in the sauce + water. The authors want you to eat this warm or at room temp; I had it hot for dinner, and room temp for lunch the next day, and while they were very good both ways, I preferred them hot, Mssrs Ottolenghi and Tamimi notwithstanding.

                                                My only caveat with the recipe is that it calls for 1 1/2 tsp salt in the cod cakes, and though I used only 1 tsp, I would use less still next time as they seemed a bit salty.

                                                Basmati rice & orzo, p.102/US

                                                This is their version of the classic Middle Eastern long-grain rice/vermicelli combo. (Aside: Never having had it, I was in my teens before I learned that this what Rice-a-Roni is, when my stepmother informed me that the "roni" was macaroni.) Anyway, this is straightforward, to be sure, but the instructions - rinse and soak basmati; saute orzo; add stock and boil 3 minutes; add drained rice, cover and reduce heat; cook 15 minutes; remove from heat and place a tea towel under lid for 10 minutes - produced a perfectly cooked and delicious dish. My only deviations (other than halving the recipe) were the aforementioned reduced oil and using whole-wheat orzo and veg stock in place of chicken.

                                                1. I used the Lamb Shawarma recipe ( p 211 Cdn edition) on my 1.7 lb rack of local lamb last night. Amazing.

                                                  Here's are the ingredients called for in the recipe:
                                                  2 tsp black peppercorns
                                                  5 whole cloves
                                                  1/2 tsp cardamom pods
                                                  1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
                                                  1 tsp fennel seeds
                                                  1 tbsp cumin seeds
                                                  1 star anise
                                                  1/2 cinnamon stick
                                                  1/2 whole nutmeg
                                                  1/4 tsp ground ginger
                                                  1tbsp sweet paprika
                                                  1 tbsp sumac
                                                  2 1/2 tsp Maldon slt
                                                  1 oz grated fresh ginger
                                                  3 cloves garlic, crushed
                                                  2/3 cup cilantro, chopped stems and leaves
                                                  1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
                                                  1/2 cup peanut oil
                                                  1 5.5-6.5 lb leg of lamb

                                                  Since I was preparing less than 2 lbs of lamb, I reduced the amount of herbs, spices, salt and oil. I tried to keep the proportions similar to the recipe. I took some shortcuts (ground cardamom, ground nutmeg, ground cloves, ground cinnamon, ground pepper, 1 clove of garlic, no star anise, no fenugreek, didn't bother grinding cumin or fennel seeds). I also used olive oil instead of peanut oil, reduced amount of oil to 2 tbsp, and reduced the amount of lemon juice to 1 tbp, so I had a thick paste I could smear on the rack, which marinated for a few hours in the fridge. Roasted at 375 F for 40 minutes. Next time, when I have more time, I'll try slow-roasting it at 325 F, as suggested in the recipe.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: prima

                                                    Just got my copy in the mail and this will be the first recipe I will be making from it - this weekend. It sounds incredible!

                                                    1. re: chefathome

                                                      Hope you like it as much as I did! ;-)

                                                      1. re: prima

                                                        I have a feeling I will. Lamb is one of my favourite things. We purchase lamb from a local producer who raises very happy animals. That producer also makes Pecorino (from fresca to aged) which is absolutely delicious from their milk.

                                                        These ingredients seem to sing!

                                                  2. Poached Pears in White Wine and Cardamon, p 267 US edition

                                                    We just love poached pears and this is a dead easy and very nice variation - reminding me of some of the similarly syrupped indian desserts.
                                                    2 cups of dry white wine are put in a saucepan with 15 crushed cardamon pods, some saffron threads (O calls for 1/2 tsp), 3/4 C sugar and 1-1/2 tbsp lemon juice., pinch of salt., brought to boil, stirred til the sugar was dissolved, then added 4 peeled bosc pears with their stems. Instructions were to add water if not covered, I added a little, then to cover with a disc of waxed paper, then cover. I use a crumpled piece of parchment as per paula wolfert. The pears are thensimmered til tender (15-25 min) and removed from the syrup to serving bowl. The syrup is reduced by 2/3, or til thick and syrupy and poured over the pears. The recipe directs to cool down and serve at cold or room temp with creme fraiche. Its fine with mascarpone (what we had) or no accompaniment at all. the way I liked it. The saffron turns the pears a beautiful yellow color, and the flavors complement the pear very well. Like I said, like one of those exotic Indian sweets, well worth a try. We had it warm, which I liked I think better than cold - returning a few days later, I had some more, cold, and I thought the cardamon flavor had become more dominant than I liked - I d remove the pods if it has to wait for more than a day before eating.

                                                     
                                                    8 Replies
                                                    1. re: jen kalb

                                                      What an awesome review - thanks for this. I plan to do some serious cooking from this book this week and this recipe was one of the many that really stands out to me. Your picture makes me want to eat it up! Actually, you've just inspired me to make this today.

                                                      1. re: chefathome

                                                        Ottolenghi released the same recipe to Bon Appetit last winter:

                                                        http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/201...

                                                        Very happy with the results.

                                                      2. re: jen kalb

                                                        Yes, this looks absolutely wonderful & if I didn't have a big container of poached quince in my fridge at the moment I would totally make this today. chefathome, let us know how yours turns out!

                                                        1. re: jen kalb

                                                          To Jen or anyone else who has made this successfully, may I know what wine you used please? I've made this twice, great once but the other just o.k.

                                                          I think I used Sauvignon Blanc both times but different producers (< $10 from Trader Joe's). Just bought Yalumba Viognier from Costco without realizing I needed DRY white wine. Been a while since I've made it...thoughts?

                                                          1. re: ceekskat

                                                            a fragrant sweetish wine should not be a problem - not sure what I used probably it came from one of the pinot grigio magnums we tend to have in our frig. If you are concerned by extra sweetness or lack of acidity, you can probably add a bit more lemon juice at the end.

                                                            1. re: jen kalb

                                                              Never made the Ottolenghi version, but one of my favorite recipes for cardamom poached pears is from "The Sweet Life" by Kate Zuckerman and she calls for poaching the pears in Muscat. I would think a sweetish wine excellent with this dish, maybe even better than the dry white called for.

                                                            2. re: ceekskat

                                                              I used sparkling white wine the last time I made the recipe. Can't remember the label. ;)

                                                              1. re: ceekskat

                                                                Thanks everyone for your speedy responses, I'll stick with the viognier.

                                                            3. Chicken with caramelized onion and cardamom rice, p. 184

                                                              Oh my. Oh goodness. Delicious. Just absolutely incredible. I started recommending the recipe to friends 10 minutes into the cooking simply on aroma alone. It's fantastic. I was quite skeptical about the dill, but it was wonderful. This is on my repeat list. I should have taken a picture, because it is also quite a beautiful dish (the picture in the link I provide does not do it justice).

                                                              I needed to cook mine a little longer than the recipe suggests to get the rice cooked. That was the only change. I used thighs, and I was thankfully able to find barberries in my town.

                                                              http://www.turntablekitchen.com/2012/...

                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: debbiel

                                                                Debbiel -- your post came through just as I was leafing through some cookbooks looking for inspiration for the next night's meal, last night. Today we are totally eating this. YUM.

                                                                1. re: geekmom

                                                                  Oh great! I hope you like it!

                                                                  1. re: debbiel

                                                                    Well, I ran into a snag -- couldn't find the barberries at the place I thought might have them, so I'll need to head over to the Persian market tomorrow, then we can eat this marvellous-looking dish!

                                                                2. re: debbiel

                                                                  Chicken with caramelized onion and cardamom rice, p 184

                                                                  Made this for dinner last night and it was a complete hit. I used a slightly larger chicken than the recipe called for, to stretch it out a bit (1.5kg), and had the butcher cut it into ten pieces; there was more than enough for three adults and two adolescents who were all very hungry. Followed the instructions to the letter and the rice and chicken were perfectly cooked at the end. The rice absorbs a fair bit of fat from the chicken as it cooks, giving it a lovely, unctuous texture, and the suggested accompaniment of greek yogurt mixed with olive oil, to me, should not be optional - it really rounds out the flavours and gives a nice smooth counterpoint to the sharpness of the barberries.

                                                                  This was the first time any of us had eaten barberries and we all loved the sourness they added to the dish. I honestly can't see how this would taste similar if you used currants, the suggested substitution. My friend's daughter said, "If lemonade were a fruit, this is how it would taste."

                                                                  A couple of us questioned the addition of dill to the fresh herb mix that's added at the end. I would probably cut the herbs a bit more finely next time, or just leave the dill out altogether. I actually liked the occasional pronounced dill flavour when I'd get a piece of it on my fork, but it's not for everyone, and if you aren't a fan of dill I think the recipe would taste just as nice if you stuck with just parsley and cilantro.

                                                                3. I just made the Roasted Butternut Squash & Red Onion with Tahini & Za'atar - wow, so amazing. I don't even really like squash very much, but this preparation is to die for. The sweetness of the squash and the carmelized onions is perfectly balanced with the creamy tahini, crunchy pine nuts, and the spice of the Za'atar (although mine is from Williams Sonoma and as far as I can tell, does not contain any actual za'atar). I'll be making this again and again.

                                                                  10 Replies
                                                                  1. re: aching

                                                                    Here's the recipe: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddri...

                                                                    Note that this is a different dish than the butternut squash and tahini spread up-thread, though many of the ingredients are the same.

                                                                    1. re: aching

                                                                      I made this dish over the weekend, and it was delicious. Definitely a keeper. So easy to prepare

                                                                      1. re: aching

                                                                        I made this again last night and was as impressed as the first time. It really is just a perfect marriage of flavors and textures - and it's so easy. Don't skip the pine nuts - they are the ideal final note.

                                                                        Also, one of the great things about this recipe is that while it's Middle Eastern inspired, it doesn't need to be served on an all Middle Eastern menu. It would be great with a regular roast chicken, for example, or as a part of vegetarian menu that included some lentils and kale or Brussels sprouts. It's very versatile, I guess is what I'm trying to say.

                                                                         
                                                                        1. re: aching

                                                                          We had it with shawarma and yellow rice, but as I was making it I noted to serve with roast chicken

                                                                          1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                            I made the butternut squash/onions/tahini/zatar along with shwarma last night - it was a lovely combo. I added some small potatoes to the lamb and served it all with chopped parsley/tomato/cucmber salad. Delicious, colorful meal with plenty of great leftovers.

                                                                            1. re: janeh

                                                                              We had this last night, as well, along with rack of lamb and rice pilaf. The lamb was delicious, as was the pilaf, but the squash dish stole the show: lots of complex flavors, and gorgeous, too. This would be a great dish to serve as a vegetarian main course.

                                                                          2. re: aching

                                                                            how do you think this would be with the other ingredients spread over already-roasted and mashed winter squash?
                                                                            I have a freezer foll of roasted squash puree right now.

                                                                            1. re: jen kalb

                                                                              Delicious.

                                                                              1. re: jen kalb

                                                                                I don't see this working with mashed squash.

                                                                                1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                  I could see the mashed squash spread out on a patter, with the red onions strewn on top. The crunchy pine nuts and tart zaatar would add another element. Different than the original, but sounds good to me.

                                                                                  If you've got mashed squash, try the squash and Greek yogurt dip. It's meant to be a smoother texture

                                                                          3. I made the Pureed beets with yogurt & za'atar (page 53 in the US edition).
                                                                            A nearly identical recipe can be found here: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/za...

                                                                            The differences are that in the book it calls for a scant 2 lbs beets, a "rounded" cup of yogurt, 1 1/2 tbsp date syrup rather than maple and 2 oz. soft goat's milk cheese.

                                                                            I was lucky enough to taste Chef Ottolenghi's version during a dinner he did as a part of the book tour and I fell in love. I then made my own version with some modifications to accommodate our family's dietary quirks. I substituted coconut cream for the yogurt and skipped the date syrup and cut the olive oil back to just a top garnish due to the liquid and fat in the coconut cream. I also didn't use goat cheese in the garnish. Even with all of these modifications it came out fantastic.

                                                                            We've been eating it a scoop at a time with roasted meats, breakfast eggs, as a dip for veggies and it has been great with everything. I definitely recommend it in either version.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: tinamonster

                                                                              Just made this beet dish for a sedar....super easy, unusual, excellent!!

                                                                            2. I have this book out from the library at the moment, trying to decide whether it's going on my Christmas list (it is).

                                                                              Barley Risotto with Marinated Feta, p. 109

                                                                              The inspiration for this recipe was a cup or so of hulled barley that has been sitting in my pantry for a long time. I really wanted to use it up and get rid of it!

                                                                              Finely chopped celery, shallots and garlic are sautéed in a mix of olive oil and butter. Pearl barley is added along with vegetable broth, tomatoes, fresh thyme, bay leaf, lemon zest, smoked paprika, chile flakes and salt. All are cooked together until the barley is soft and water absorbed. Meanwhile, marinate crumbled feta in olive oil with toasted crushed caraway seeds. Serve the barley topped with the feta, its oil, and fresh oregano.

                                                                              I made a number of changes: hulled barley rather than pearl barley (this was a mistake as the barley took hours to cook despite a long presoak); replaced the called for combination of chopped canned tomatoes and passata with a box of pomi chopped; replaced the veg stock with a combo of turkey stock and water; omitted the caraway seeds; added freshly ground black pepper; subbed parsley for oregano. Whew! I kept tasting the barley as it cooked and was completely underwhelmed. I served it up for dinner with very low expectations and was completely shocked by how much the feta transformed the dish. With the feta it was yummy and very comforting as the head notes suggest.

                                                                              1. I love this book so far. I've tried three recipes to date and all have been 'keepers'.

                                                                                Lemony Leek Meatballs - absolutely delicious. I am waiting to spot cheap leeks again to repeat this.

                                                                                Fried cauliflower with tahini - we've made this at least three times and it's on next week's meal plan again.

                                                                                Swiss chard fritters - I subbed spinach for the chard, these were again wonderful.

                                                                                1. I thought fans might enjoy this Q&A with Yotam Ottolenghi: http://diannej.com/blog/2012/12/qa-wi...

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                    Thank you for the link! Nice that it included a swoon-worthy photo of the chef as a bonus. ;-)

                                                                                  2. Baby spinach salad with dates & almonds (p 30, UK edition)

                                                                                    A salad of dates and red onions flavoured with white wine vinegar, baby spinach leaves, and toasted chopped pita and almonds seasoned with sumac and chili flakes.

                                                                                    This was lovely, and a perfect use for some leftover plain naan that was sitting around feeling unloved after a big 660 Curries dinner party (the recipe calls for pita, but naan is what we had and I think was similar enough to work well).

                                                                                    I have never thought of putting bits of bread into a salad before, much less toasting them with butter, oil and spices, but it turns out to be a marvelous idea and was a huge hit with my family. My husband in particular kept going back for more and more helpings until the bowl was clean. The chopped medjool dates and toasted almonds add so much dimension to the flavours of this salad and it could easily be a very satisfying main course lunch dish. Normally salad is something that we eat out of obligation and the leftovers wilt in a container in the fridge, but not THIS salad. Will definitely make again.

                                                                                    The only thing I'd do differently next time is use a stronger chili. I used 1/2 tsp of aleppo chili flakes, and there was barely any spicy kick.

                                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: geekmom

                                                                                      Made this tonight and it was a big hit. Used Aleppo, Urfa, and Maresh peppers, plus put them on the table for folks who wanted more spice. Even the date haters liked this one. Best spinach salad I've ever made. If you added feta, this could be a meal.

                                                                                      1. re: geekmom

                                                                                        BabySpinach Salad with Dates and Almonds

                                                                                        I love this salad and have made it four times in five days. No sumac. I roasted almonds and pita separately.

                                                                                        1. re: mscoffee1

                                                                                          Had this for dinner tonight to rave reviews. Sliced almonds, mix of Aleppo, Urfa and Maresh peppers. Cayenne is not a good sub.

                                                                                          1. re: mscoffee1

                                                                                            Do you just not like sumac, or have you had trouble tracking it down? It adds a great citrusy flavour to the bread & almonds.

                                                                                            1. re: geekmom

                                                                                              I just did not have Sumac and didn't want to make a special trip. With your recommendation, I will get it next time.
                                                                                              The fresh dates were not available everywhere.

                                                                                              1. re: mscoffee1

                                                                                                I agree, they can be pretty hard to find (and not cheap). I would say with pretty well any Ottolenghi recipe it's worth tracking down the odd ingredients, but sometimes time and cost are inhibiting factors...

                                                                                          2. re: geekmom

                                                                                            I made this last night. I had very thin pita bread leftover to use up. I think a thicker bread would be nicer. The photo in the book shows what looked like a thicker pita bread than what I had at hand. The thinner bread once ripped up lacked the crunchy and chewy texture that a thicker bread would have. It just had crunch and then soggy as the salad sat longer on my plate. I think the naan you used was probably a great choice.

                                                                                            It's a nice mixture of flavours. I loved the tang of the vinegar in the onions and dates.

                                                                                            1. re: Frizzle

                                                                                              Speaking of the vinegar tang, I just made the salad again a couple of hours ago (I used a greek-style whole wheat pita, and it crunched up very nicely -- I will make note of your experience with the thinner pita next time, because this salad is definitely going into regular rotation in this house) and found that the vinegary flavour of the onions totally overpowered the salad. We still polished the whole thing off but it definitely wasn't as good this time. Last time I actually forgot to marinate the onions & dates until the very end, so they got only a brief time soaking in the vinegar - this time I did that first and then ignored them for about half an hour by which point they had absorbed all the vinegar so there was none to pour off.

                                                                                              1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                I should have mentioned I subbed apple cider vinegar for the white wine vinegar because that was all I had in the cupboard. That may have made a difference. I let mine sit for a couple of hours as the toddler interrupted meal prep and they were delicious. I had very little liquid too at the end. They were so good in fact I'm thinking about doing the dates and red onion like this again to go into a wild rice salad at some point this week.

                                                                                          3. Help, please.

                                                                                            Going to try my first recipe from this book tonight--the Open Kibbeh. He says to line a springform pan with waxed paper. The ingredients are then layered in and it's baked at 400F for 20 minutes. Waxed paper? Really? Don't you end up with wax in your food?

                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                                              use parchment paper

                                                                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                I'd use parchment paper, if it were up to me.

                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                  I used to use wax paper to line pans for fruitcake -- no wax on the cake, but the paper did tend to scorch. Parchment is way better, and non-stick foil better still.

                                                                                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                    Thanks, everyone. I had pretty much decided to use parchment anyway. Don't have any non-stick foil and don't feel like going out to see if my market even has it.

                                                                                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                      pikawicca, why do you say the non-stick foil is better? I've never used it. Is it because it can be molded into the pan shape easily?

                                                                                                      As for waxed paper - the amount of wax that goes from paper to food (I've used it as cake rounds when I lacked parchment) is so tiny, I've never ever been able to taste wax.

                                                                                                      1. re: blue room

                                                                                                        Yes, it is because you can mold the foil to the pan. Wax paper or parchment will drive you crazy. The first time I made my friend's mother's Chip and Cherry Fruitcake (I was 16), trying to line the springform pan with waxed paper (impossible), I said "Crap! My sainted Irish Catholic mother acted like I'd shot the Pope.

                                                                                                  2. Burnt aubergine with garlic, lemon and pomegranate seeds. P 79 UK edition

                                                                                                    This is basically what I know as a baba ganough with the addition of a couple of herbs and pomegranate seeds and with tahini being an optional item (discussed in the dish description).

                                                                                                    Grill aubergine in their skins ( I used the BBQ) and scoop out flesh when cold - allow to drain. Add olive oil, garlic and lemon (zest and juice) and season. Let sit for an hour before mixing through fresh chopped parsley and mint. Serve with more fresh herbs, pomegranate seeds and if you wish a drizzle of light tahini.

                                                                                                    Having grown up eating baba ganough I found this dish so close to what I know that the few changes weren't enough to make it a revelation for me. In fact without the tahini I just felt it was missing something. This contrasts to my experience with the fattoush recipe (N'aama's Fattoush) which was so different it seemed like a completely new dish.

                                                                                                    It was pleasant to eat and with the beautiful greens of the herbs and red of the pomegranate seeds it looked impressive on the plate I just don't think I will make it again.

                                                                                                    As an observation on the recipes in general (most of which are knocking my socks off) I'm finding they require careful pre-reading to plan cooking flow. There seems to be a lot of 'let it sit for one hour' going on and not all of them are weeknight friendly.

                                                                                                     
                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Frizzle

                                                                                                      Planning to make this dish for the weekend. Anything that you would change?

                                                                                                      1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                        It's not a bad dish cheesecake17. If you have eaten lots of baba ganough in the past I would say you will want to add the tahini as you may find the dish feels lacking without it.
                                                                                                        Also, I halved the amount of garlic and it was still pungent. I'm not sure if I have particularly strong garlic, but I would add just a little at a time and taste as I go.

                                                                                                        1. re: Frizzle

                                                                                                          I made it, and it's definitely not babaganoush like I know. But we loved it. I skipped the garlic, as I don't love garlic. I drizzled some Pom molasses over the top. The flavor was good, and the texture was something interesting- smooth eggplant and crunchy Pom seeds

                                                                                                    2. Thanks for posting this. I am currently obsessed with his recipes but I need to buy a cookbook already.