I recently started using a new addictive substance – the small dried limes (or lemons) that appear widely in Iranian cooking. They add a fantastic sharpness and unique perfumed aroma to stews and marinades. For long-cooked wet dishes you just throw one in, lightly perforated, and it will impart its flavour to the whole dish. Here, though, I use it in powdered form. Unfortunately this is not simple to achieve because the limes are rock hard. If you have a spice grinder you should be fine; however, a food processor will struggle and give you some powder that you’ll then need to sieve. You can buy the limes in powder form but this is not as potent as what you make yourself. You can find dried limes online at www.maroque.co.uk and from most Middle Eastern and North African shops.
(p 245, Plenty)
Tricia Jadoonanan, for a long period the head chef at our Islington branch, brought Camargue red rice to Ottolenghi and does wonders with it, including this recipe. This French rice has an outstanding nutty flavour, a good dry consistency and a colour much more appealing than other wholegrain varieties. Quinoa, a native of South America, has a satisfying ‘bouncy’ texture and is probably one of the healthiest foodstuffs available. It has more protein than any other grain and the perfect set of amino acids (not that this would make us eat it if it didn’t taste great).
(p 76, The Ottolenghi cookbook)
60g shelled pistachio nuts
200g Camargue red rice
1 medium onion, sliced
150ml olive oil
grated zest and juice of 1 orange
2 tsp lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
4 spring onions, thinly sliced
100g dried apricots, roughly chopped
salt and black pepper