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Ottolenghi

  • THREE SEASONAL SOUPS (AND ONE AUTUMNAL DITTY)

    With socks and slippers now back on the autumn-leaf track,
    it’s time to get in the loop with some seasonal soup;
    With Iranian lime, the Gondi will take you no time
    And there’s nothing at all hard about the soup with Swiss chard.
    Whoever feeds on the pumpkin soup seeds
    will delight in the night when the meal was just right.
    This is more than just food to fill a hole: its autumn comfort, in a bowl. ghondi-soup_NL red-lentil-soup_NL pumpkin-soup_NL
  • HOW TO MAKE HUMMUS: kitchen notes from a chickpea pedant

    hummus_jonathan_lovekin

    Yotam’s irreverent take on the great hummus debate. The key take-aways?: Olive oil, Greek yogurt and tins need not apply: this is all about an overnight soaking and using the kind of creamy tahini you could eat by the spoon.



    Every chef has their chosen-specialised-subject: the thing they’re allowed to hold forth on and be vaguely incredulous about when opinions other than their own are entertained. Various names are suggested for those who take such a stance, some being politer than others. In the case of hummus and me, I’d like to think of it as what Honey & Co.’s Itamar Srulovich calls the necessary “humility before the old traditions”. Others, of course, would simply think that taking such a big stand on such a small matter is frankly dotty, unnecessary or just plain wrong.

    I’m talking, of course, about olive oil. Whilst my love of the golden stuff knows close to no bounds, those bounds do appear when it comes to the making of hummus. Every time I see another recipe which calls for a great glug to go in with the chickpeas as they are blitzed, I’m not angry – as they say – just disappointed. How could some of the cooks I admire most be so misguided and confused? There is, certainly, a place for olive oil when hummus is being served, but that place is drizzled generously on top of the hummus after it has been made and swished on to plate. This not only makes the hummus look nice and shiny but also enhances the eating experience as the oil soaks immediately in to the pita when it’s dipped in.

    Bore that I am on this great and mighty matter, I’ve clearly not being going on and on about it quite enough. To settle the matter once and for all, I’d like to set up a very long table with, down one side, armed with their bottles of olive oil (and, in some cases, Greek yogurt, jars of flame-roasted peppers and peanut butter) the otherwise-impressive and altogether brilliant line up including Nigella, Heston, Sam and Sam Clark, Thomasina Miers, Mary Berry, Stephanie Alexander and Claudia Roden. After apologizing to Claudia that we could possibly ever disagree about anything at all (and confiscating Nigella’s peanut butter – a completely unacceptable inclusion – in exchange for a list of places where she can buy the sort of tahini that she has, I suspect, not yet discovered), I would line up my cohort of hummus-makers on the other side of the table.

    With a list of ingredients which includes little more than dried chickpeas, bicarbonate of soda, tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt I’d introduce The Jewelled Kitchen’s Bethany Kehdy (who would also sneak in 3 ice cubes and a pinch of allspice) HONEY & Co.’s Sarit Packer (who, after much debate with the above-quoted Itamar, will also be allowed a pinch of ground cumin) and ‘Cook the Perfect’s’ Felicity Cloake (who, having tried and tested more hummus than she knew what to do with, would also welcome the pinch of cumin).

    And then the cook-off (or tin opening, for those who have yet to be converted) could begin. The rules for my cohort are respectfully time-honoured and clear: 1) The chickpeas must be dried and soaked overnight with some bicarbonate of soda: the texture of hummus should be utterly smooth and soft and this is the way to prepare the peas before they are cooked. 2) Ratios of lemon juice and garlic will vary according to taste but, if a light and whipped consistency is sought after, neither olive oil, Greek yogurt or peanut butter need apply. Instead, hold back some of the cooking water from the chickpeas and add this to food processor once the machine is on and everything is being blitzed. I’m also a big fan of Bethany’s addition of ice cubes to the mix, one at a time, when the machine is whirring. I do a similar thing with ice-cold water, finding this to be the best way to bring about the smooth and creamy hummus I am looking for. 3) And I’m afraid the Greeks are going to give up on me entirely when I say this, having already banned their yogurt from just this one particular party, the tahini in the hummus must be one of the several good Arabic brands – Al Yaman and Al Arz are two favourites – rather than the Greek varieties, which I can find to be rather claggy. Really, for all the hard and fast hummus-making rules, the real secret – the make-or-break ingredient which will secure my winning the case of Ottolenghi vs. The People’s Olive Oil – is here, in this pot of crushed sesame seeds. Don’t believe me? I challenge you to try it. . . .
  • Upcoming events with Yotam



    October 6th
    Off the Shelf Festival of Words, Sheffield

    October 9th
    Cheltenham Festival

    November 10th
     An Evening with Yotam Ottolenghi, Edinburgh

  • Yotam's Plenty More book tour 2014

    For more information about Yotam's upcoming Plenty More book tour in North America and Australia, please follow these links:

    US
    New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco
    San Francisco: Book Party for Yotam Ottolenghi, hosted by Omnivore

    CANADA
    Vancouver

    AUSTRALIA
    Sydney
    Melbourne
    Brisbane
  • YO-YO YOTAM!

     
    A Q&A with Yotam in which he dons his favourite apron, says goodbye to some summery biscuits, tells us why he is excited to be stocking verjuice and shares a turn-of-the-season recipe.

    Q: You’re looking very happy there, in your apron?

    A: I am indeed. If I had my way I’d be stamping the PLENTY MORE cover image on every tea towel, tote bag and coffee mug I come across at the moment. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but, really, the jury was unanimous on this one. I love it!

    Q: Is there anything else you are excited to be stocking at the moment?

    A: Yes, Verjuice! I’ve used this in my cooking for years – it’s made from the juice of semi-ripe wine grapes and tastes somewhere between red wine vinegar and lemon juice, but without the sharpness of either – but it’s been painfully hard to get hold of outside of Australia, where it’s championed by everyone’s favourite Maggie Beer. I’m so happy we’re able to sell it now!

    Q: Can you give us some recipes or ideas of how to use it?

    A: You can use it in all sorts of recipes and dressings but one of my favourite Autumnal recipes in PLENTY MORE is the seared fennel and garlic cloves with black olives, capers and a tomato and verjuice sauce. It’s a dish which is comforting and surprising in equal measure, a combination which I love. FENNEL WITH CAPERS AND OLIVES

    Q: Are there any other recipes you want to share as the season changes?

    A: It’s the perfect time to give some comforting warmth to summer peas and broad beans, which you can just still get hold of fresh. Lightly stewing these in stock with long wedges of little gem leaves and some freshly chopped mint is lovely, served with some buttery basmati rice. LIGHTLY STEWED BROAD BEANS, PEAS AND GEM LETTUCE

    Q: Is there anything you’ll be saying goodbye to in the weeks to come?

    A: We need to make some space for our autumn and winter sweet treats so it’ll soon be farewell to our passionfruit buttercream-filled crunchy Yo-yo biscuits. We’re selling them up until Sunday, though, so order now for that sip of the summer wine.

    Q: Anything else before we go?

    A: Have I mentioned the Plenty More hamper?! It’s the one-stop shop for the new kids on the block.
  • Yotam about Plenty More

  • PLENTY MORE is here!

    plenty_more_550Clear your pantry shelves: the wait is over! PLENTY MORE is here, along with all the ingredients you need to get you going. Let us be your one-stop-shop for the new kids on the block. Introducing mellow black garlic and urfa chilli flakes, sweet-sharp tamarind pulp and dried barberries, creamy tahini, nutty Dakos, sweet halva and so much more, all of Yotam’s favourite new PLENTY MORE ingredients are ready and waiting, along with a signed copy of the book. louis_308
  • SPICE UP YOUR COOKING!

    Sami Tamimi

    We ask Sami for his all-time favourite spices and how he likes to use them.

    Sumac

    “This features heavily in my cooking, giving a sharp and citrusy burst of flavour to all sorts of chicken, seafood and vegetable dishes”.

    Dukkah

    “I find it hard to eat any hummus-type spread without a sprinkle of this Egyptian aromatic seed and nut mixture. It’s also great on leafy salads or roasted veg”.

    Baharat

    “There is no one exact version of baharat – the word means “spices” in Arabic and everyone has their own recipe – but it’s a warm spice mix of ground black peppercorns, coriander seeds, cinnamon, cloves, allspice , cumin, cardamom and nutmeg which I love”.

    Za'atar

    “This is the taste of my childhood. It’s a blend of sumac, sesame seeds, thyme and hyssop which can be sprinkled on hummus, labneh, fried eggs or roast meat. It’s lovely also mixed with some olive oil to brush over warm pitta bread, fresh from the oven”.

    Aleppo

    “I love the taste and look of this – it’s a medium strength chilli with a sweet aroma whose burgundy colour looks magic when sprinkled on top of poached or fried eggs or when added to melted butter to finish off a dish”.

    Nigella

    “Like the Aleppo flakes, these both taste great and look stunning. They have a sharpness which pairs well with sweet roasted vegetables and look brilliant sprinkled on top of white rice or couscous”.

    Allspice

    This spice has a flavour character that is like a really mellow combination of clove, cinnamon and nutmeg which I love to add to slow-cooked lamb or meatballs”.

    Aniseed

    “It’s not all ouzo and raki, you know! This is a really distinctive spice, close friend to fennel and liquorice, which is a really interesting addition to all sorts of sweet cakes and cookies. It’s also wonderful toasted, lightly crushed and sprinkled on a salad of confit trout, golden beetroot and ricotta”.

    Cardamom

    “This is also one of Yotam’s favourites. It’s a versatile spice with lots of things going on at once: it’s floral but pungent, fruity but citrusy. It brings something very special to a range of dishes, from a delicate set milk pudding to a robust tray of roasted root veg”.

  • Q&A Summer Wines

     

    What makes a summer wine a summer wine? Are there any chilled reds which are just made to be drunk with fish? What are the rules about which sort of glasses we should be drinking from or, indeed, are there any rules at all?
    Our in-house wine expert Heidi and Yotam (who've been known to raise a glass or two together over the years) share their thoughts. . .

    What’s the difference between a summer wine and a winter wine?

    Heidi: I associate summer wine with lightness, sun and balmy evenings! A wine that can be enjoyed with grilled foods, preferably outdoors, or without food to cool you down in the sun on a picnic. A winter wine for me is a hearty wine that can stand up to stews, bakes and roasts.
    Yotam: Heidi’s hit the spot. A summer wine needs to be easy to drink, not in a bland Pinot-Grigio kind of way but in a way the keeps you keen and curious well into a long summer evening, with food or without it.

    Your perfect summer lunch wine: red, white or rose?

    Heidi: Depends on what we are having for lunch! If we are eating cheese and baguette in the park, a nice rosé from Provence like Bandol Rosé, La Suffrene ‘13 would be great.
    If you are taking me out for tapas on a terrace somewhere in the sun, I would drink lots of ice-cold Manzanilla sherry.
    For fish and chips by the seaside I would love to drink Lambrusco.
    Yotam: Red, orange or white. Heidi is still working on my ridiculously baseless bias against rose. I am waiting to be converted.

    What’s your take on chilled reds? Are there any stand-outs you’d recommend?

    Heidi: I love chilled reds. Choose lighter bodied reds with soft tannins if you would like to enjoy them chilled. These two work particularly well: Brezo Tinto, Bodegas Mengoba '10 and Le Clocher Pour Une Poignee de Bouteilles.
    Yotam: Chilled reds are at the top of my list at the moment. I find it hard to stop drinking them; in the same way I carry on drinking a good cider without noticing I’m on to my third little bottle. This Pulled pork sandwich with pomegranate salad is a fantastic partner to both Heidi’s suggestions.

    Do you stick to the red-with-meat and white-with-fish tradition? If not, is there a white you’d recommend with meat and, vice versa, a red wine that goes with fish?

    Heidi: Now that the category of orange wines has been thrown into the mix, things have really become interesting! What I love about many orange wines (white wines that have been made like red wines) is that they can be enjoyed both with your starter and main, meat, fish and salads. They are incredibly versatile – this Georgian gem of a wine would be perfect for a barbecue where you would have both meat, fish and veg on the grill. But no, I don’t adhere to traditions – I could happily enjoy a bottle of rich, white wine with meat just as I could easily enjoy a bottle of Nebbiolo, Valpolicella or any other light red with fish or chicken – this would be beautiful with most lighter dishes: Ar Pe Pe Rosso Di Valtellina 2011
    Yotam: : I am not a stickler to tradition on any front, particularly when it comes to old ideas about matching food with wine. Okay, a hearty venison and pancetta stew wouldn’t exactly go hand-in-hand with this light Palestinian white, which I absolutely adore, but there is way more grey than black-and-white when it comes to food and wine. Look at these Polenta crisps with avocado and yoghurt , or even the Roast chicken with dates, olives and capers: what is “right” here? Light red? Orange? White? As far as I am concerned, they’re all good.

    Champagne, Prosecco, Cava or spritzer? Which one would you choose and are there any varieties which particularly excite you?

    Heidi: I love cloudy “old-school” style prosecco’s – these two are particularly good: Prosecco Sottoriva Malibran and Prosecco di Valdobbiadene, Casa Coste Piane. But my favourite sparkling wine, this time of the year is Lambrusco – nothing beats a cold glass of dry, frothy Lambrusco on a hot summer’s day! Forget about the sugary stuff you normally find in the super markets -these two are outstanding: Lambrusco di Sorbara Radice Paltrinieri and  Ferrando, Quarticello '13.
    Yotam: : I am not very good with sparkling wine, so I will have to pass on this one.

    If you could take one summer white wine to a supper party, what would it be?

    Heidi: I would bring a bottle of Aphros Loureiro, Vinho Verde, ‘13. This is a real best-seller at our Nopi restaurant! It is a fresh and mineral Vinho Verde. Not particularly complex or layered, but incredibly easy to drink and super refreshing so would be perfect as an aperitif or as a palette cleanser!
    Yotam: : Excuse me but I’d rather take this Manzanilla sherry. As dry as it gets and the perfect match to anything I’d want to eat: savoury pastries, oily fish, grilled white meat and most desserts.

    If a summer wine is lighter and fresher than a winter wine, does that mean you drink twice as much?

    Heidi: I’m afraid the answer is yes.
    Yotam: : With the risk of sounding like Heidi’s alcoholic older brother, yes, and yes again.

    Do you like to drink your wine from a classic wine glass or the stemless French Picardie tumblers. Do you think it makes a difference?

    Heidi: I think there’s a time and place for both – some of the nicest wines I have had from plastic cups in my friend’s garden.
    Yotam: :Wine from a plastic cup, excuse me Heidi, definitely not. Otherwise, I am pretty happy with most glass-made receptacles.

  • Yotam is visiting Good Food Month in Australia

    Yotam Ottolenghi

    For all Yotam's Australian fans, these are the dates when he will attend Good Food Month 2014:

    Sydney events: October 28th and 29th
    Brisbane event: October 30th
    Melbourne events: October 31st and November 1st

    More details can be found on Good Food's website: www.goodfoodmonth.com

    Sign up to the Good Food newsletter here, to be the first to be advised as event details are released and tickets go on sale.

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