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Cooking together with Ottolenghi recipes   Go to last post Go to last unread
#1 Posted : Thursday, September 25, 2014 10:18:53 PM(UTC)

I'm getting this one started with the first recipe I have cooked from Plenty More:

Cauliflower cake  p.258 (there is also a Recipe Onlne link)

Fantastic - and it looks gorgous too with a rich, cheesy crust on top, broken up with circles of red onion.  I love baked dishes with eggs and this one is really lovely - cauliflower, herbs, red onions, lots of Parmesan, all baked into a "cake".  It does need 45 minutes in the oven followed by a 20 minute settle before eating so take that into account.  He says it's even better the next day so I'm looking forward to the leftovers.

For those debating whether to buy Plenty More, I'd say don't hestitate.  I want to make just about every recipe in the book - it really is gorgeous.  And you don't have to turn vegetarian to use it - he has suggestions throughout for meat/poultry/fish to serve alongside the vegetables.

#2 Posted : Sunday, September 28, 2014 9:59:14 PM(UTC)

Tomato and pomegranate salad - Plenty More p.15

This is the first recipe in the book and YO says "I rarely rave about my own recipes but this one I can go on and on about".  It was good but one thing I can go on and on about is how long it takes to make!  Tomato and pomegranate salad sounds simple doesn't it?  Not when you are cutting into 0.5 cm dice 1340g (almost 3 lbs) of tomatoes, pepper and onion.  I made half quantities and it took ages.  You could finely chop them but with ripe tomatoes you would end up with mush, which is not what this salad looks like.  And it did look pretty, a mix of red, yellow, green tomatoes, red pepper and red onion.  It's quite sweet with the pomegranate seeds and a dressing made with pomegranate molasses.  I found the oregano flavor a bit overpowering when I caught a leaf. I think I'll skip that next time.  It is good just be aware that you won't want to make this one for a crowd.  Oh, and I think the quantity is enough for 6 not 4 as a side salad.  I served it with plain grilled salmon.

#4 Posted : Monday, September 29, 2014 10:22:27 AM(UTC)

I'll join in, if I may. I've got all three of Ottolenghi's previous cookbooks, Ottolenghi, Plenty and Jerusalem. I've paged through them, marked recipes to make, been served food other people made from them, but have never used them to cook from. So this is a great oppoturnity to jump in. Also, the strict discipline of cooking up the produce from the CSA is loosening, since we picked up the last of the CSA boxes until next June.

So we had company this Saturday night and wanted something that wasnt't too finicky or last minute. We chose Chicken with caramelized onion & cardamom rice from Jerusalem. I see we weren't the first to make the recipe, as it has 16 notes already. since it was the first time, we followed the recipe closely, but used boneless, skinless thighs. It was the first time I'd actually used the barberries I bought some time ago and they did give it a special flavour I wouldn't expect to get from currants. I found it very mildly spiced. If not for the fresh herbs at the end, it would have been bland. Next time, I'd probably double the whole spices called for and reserve some of the fresh herbs to use as a garnish since they get a littled cooked and lose flavour when they are stirred into the dish at the end. We'll be eating it as leftovers through the week, so the flavours may develop.

Overall, I found the recipe somewhat fastidious for my cooking style. I think this may be true of his recipes generally, especially after reading Jane's comment above about the Tomato and Pomegranate Salad. I can understand plumping the dried barberries, but I didn't think it needed to be in a simple syrup (although now I have some barberry flavored simple syrup to use in a cocktail somehow). And since I was using the boneless, skinless thighs, I saw no reason to remove the lovely caramelised onion-flavoured oil from the pan "leaving a thin film" prior to searing the chicken. So, as I go on, we'll see if this impression remains.

Next week, perhaps something to use my lovely little orange "Turkish" eggplants...

#5 Posted : Thursday, October 2, 2014 7:28:16 PM(UTC)
Roasted butternut squash with sweet spices, lime and green chile from Plenty:

I played fast and loose with this recipe- subbing Kabocha for butternut squash, and skipping the chiles, cilantro and lime slices. I also sprinkled on the crispy chickpeas from Smitten Kitchen before adding the yogurt tahini sauce to make it more well rounded for the vegetarian in the house. Very nice flavors but still time consuming- even with the shortcuts it took me almost 2 hours to get dinner on the table.
#6 Posted : Saturday, October 4, 2014 11:25:45 AM(UTC)
Mushroom and herb polenta from Plenty

Bloominganglophile and TrishaCP's comments have inspired me to make this. Just home from Farmer's Mkt where the 'Semper Fungi' guy had Maitake. Will need to scrounge among my herbs on the patio for a winning combo & will report back. Alas, no luck growing chervil.
#8 Posted : Tuesday, October 7, 2014 12:30:06 AM(UTC)

This week's challenge will be Marinated aubergine with tahini and oregano, from Ottolenghi. The challenge will not be the recipe, but finding the time to do it. Since the oregano is going to succumb to frosts soon, now seems like the time, however.

#9 Posted : Thursday, October 9, 2014 10:40:19 AM(UTC)

Iranian vegetable stew with dried lime (p.146) and Saffron, date and almond rice (p.61) from Plenty More

Both these dishes were very good and quite easy for a regular weeknight dinner. The stew needs minimal prep time and then 40 minutes total cooking time.  I usually have squash, spinach and tomatoes in the house so it's a good dinner to have in reserve though I think you could play around with the herbs and greens to suit what you had in hand.  I didn't have potatoes so I skipped those and I didn't have tarragon for the herb bundle so I subbed oregano.  One ingredient I think is important is the dried limes though I found I had dried lemons when I pulled them out the pantry.  They added a sharpness that was quite different to fresh lemon juice - I really liked it. I'll try it again with limes and see how different they are.

The first night I made the stew I served it with plain boiled rice,  But the second night (I live alone so most of my meals do at least 2 nights) I made Saffron, date and almond rice which elevated the meal into a different level.  I'd never made rice by this method.  You soak the rice for 1 to 2 hours in salty lukewarm water then cook very briefly for 4 minutes.  It then steams on the lowest heat level possible for 25 minutes.  It really works - every grain of rice is distinct and there was no mushiness at all.  At the bottom of the pan is toasted buttery almonds and dates. At the end you drizzle a saffron water over the rice and leave for 10 minutes - this creates a pretty effect of distinct yellow and white grains, with the other flavorings at the bottom.  My only quibble is that the top layer of rice was quite lukewarm as the minimal heat didnt reach the top of the pan.  But once served up with the stew that didn't matter. 

This was a very satisfying and healthy meal. 

#10 Posted : Thursday, October 9, 2014 10:45:31 PM(UTC)

Roasted butternut squash & red onion with tahini & za'atar from Jerusalem

I made this tonight. No red onions so I used a regular onion and 2 shallots. It was fantastic. We ate about 2/3's of it and nothing else. So glad I will have some leftover for lunch tomorrow. I have lots of tahini sauce left over for another recipe. My butternut squash was huge so I have 1/2 of that left for another night. 

#11 Posted : Friday, October 10, 2014 12:00:02 AM(UTC)

Stuffed peppers with fondant swede and goat's cheese from Plenty More

I got my copy of Plenty More a few days ago - just like his other books I want to cook most things in it. I found myself with a couple of swedes that I was tempted to throw out - they were the only things left from the last couple of weeks vege box deliveries. I have never cooked swedes - one of those horror veges from childhood and I've never been tempted to try it. If anyone can make a vegetable sexy it's Yotam so was delighted to find this recipe AND I had everything I needed (though used goat feta instead of chevre). Prep and cooking time is long  - I ended up prepping one night and cooking the next as I didn't realise how long it took and ran out of time. Worth the effort - they were so delicious, even the teenager ate the swede (not the pepper). Uses lots of butter, but don't think soaked up too much - probably did as the amount I had left was a lot less than the amount I started with! Did as Yotam suggested and strained and stored, and will reuse for other veges. Served with some chicken thighs - though would make a good vegetarian dish on it's own, particularly if you use a good chevre.

#12 Posted : Tuesday, October 14, 2014 7:15:17 PM(UTC)

Roasted cauliflower & hazelnut salad from Jerusalem

My cookbook falls open to this page, I have made it so many times. This time I strayed quite a bit- some successful, some not so much. I added oat groats to make it a veg main. I tried to prep ahead- I roasted the cauliflower on the weekend. The groats tolerate being made ahead but the cauliflower was limp and greasy, and didn't crisp up with reheating. I always include the celery- a 1 cm dice strikes the right balance. I omit the pomegranate- never have it and don't like the crunch of arils. Tonight for the dressing I riffed on Diana Henry's Spiced chicken with melting onions and preserved lemons- olives, lemon, cumin, paprika and cayenne: very successful.

#13 Posted : Tuesday, October 14, 2014 8:09:42 PM(UTC)

And I finally got the Marinated aubergine with tahini and oregano into the marinade on Saturday. Made the Green tahini sauce without the parsley, as Ottolenghi specifies for this recipe, on Sunday. Assembled and ate it for dinner yesterday. We had the tahini sauce in generous amounts on top of the eggplants. Very tasty individual components of the eggplant and the tahini sauce. Even better, they worked nicely together. 

The tahini sauce, with or without parsley, will probably be a frequent visitor at the table. We also used it on last night's lemon cucumber and tomato salad, where it probably needed just a bit more acid to really work. I haven't even tried it yet with the parsley incorporated, but I could see it with sorrel, or chervil, or a touch of mint, or cilantro or oregano instead of parsley blended in.

Speaking of oregano, my oregano, gathered from the end of the season garden, was not flavourful at all and did not seem to contribute much to the dish, as tasty as it was. I'd like to try it again with fresher, stronger oregano.

#14 Posted : Friday, October 17, 2014 3:19:21 AM(UTC)

I've just got a copy of Jerusalem, so I am looking forward to trying some of the recipes!

#15 Posted : Wednesday, October 22, 2014 8:03:10 PM(UTC)

We have made Aubergines with Lamb and Pinenuts from the Jerusalem cookbook several times and again last night. Usually I buy ground lamb but once I only had shoulder chops and ground them in the Cuisinart. The tamerind makes them so interesting, very suble taste. I love that it can be served room temp if desired.

#16 Posted : Wednesday, October 29, 2014 8:15:22 PM(UTC)

Aubergine/eggplant cheesecake from Plenty More

This was so delicious I had to force myself not to eat more than 1/4.  It does take a long time from start to finish - over 90 minutes - but most of that time was the eggplant slices roasting then the cheesecake baking.  It was a lovely combination of roasted eggplant, tomatoes, soft cheese custard and a fragrant finish of za'atar on top.

I have bags of slow roasted tomatoes in the freezer so it will be good to make it with those over the winter.  I'll definitely be making this again.

#17 Posted : Wednesday, October 29, 2014 11:30:40 PM(UTC)

A reprise of the the Marinated aubergine with tahini and oregano this week, since we are still trying to use up the eggplants from the garden. My oregano was so tasteless last time that this time I used winter savory, which turned out to be an excellent variation.

Possibly the Spicy chickpea and bulgur soup from Plenty More will be next week--it got rave reviews recently. And I am looking for something to do with the dried chickpeas we harvested this year. I notice that the online version doesn't use the feta cream that the book does.

However, we have at least another recipe worth aubergines, so maybe we will do Aubergines with crushed chickpeas and herb yoghurt, which will use both aubergines and chickpeas.  

#18 Posted : Thursday, October 30, 2014 8:51:02 AM(UTC)

schambers - try the aubergine cheesecake - it really was fantastic.  And the recipe is available online if you don't yet have Plenty More.

#19 Posted : Thursday, October 30, 2014 6:58:20 PM(UTC)

I only just realised that I have been missing all these interesting posts about Ottolenghi and Dorie Greenspan. Glad I found them now. I look forward to them appearing on the home page agaiin when the bug is fixed.

#20 Posted : Thursday, October 30, 2014 9:00:48 PM(UTC)

Roasted butternut squash with sweet spices, lime and green chile from Plenty p.65

One of things I love about Ottolenghi (and there are many) is the interesting combinations of ingredients that I could never come up with on my own.  This recipe is a case in point.  Although I chose it because it looked interesting, half way through making this I started to have doubts.  There was a lot of cardamom on the butternut squash and I wondered how it would work with the sharp limes and the yogurt tahini sauce.  I really shouldn't have doubted Mr Ottolenghi - he came through again with a wonderful combination of flavors that I could not created on my own.  

The longest part of the prep was getting all the seeds out of the cardamom pods and removing all the bits of the shells before roughly crushing the seeds.  But you must crush the seeds yourself - using ground cardamom would not work here.  You need the fresh flavor as well as the crunch of the seeds (also ground cardamom would burn on the roasted squash).  It was a reasonably quick prep.  It looked pretty with the orange squash and 3 different shades of green from the limes, thinly sliced green chile and cilantro/coriander.

He says this serves 4-6 which I suppose it might if you were serving very small portions as an appetizer (which is actually what he suggests).  I had half the quantity as my meal, so bear that in mind if making this for dinner.

#7 Posted : Friday, October 31, 2014 3:58:04 AM(UTC)

Originally Posted by: Barb_N Go to Quoted Post
Mushroom and herb polenta from Plenty Bloominganglophile and TrishaCP's comments have inspired me to make this. Just home from Farmer's Mkt where the 'Semper Fungi' guy had Maitake. Will need to scrounge among my herbs on the patio for a winning combo & will report back. Alas, no luck growing chervil.


Haha - "Semper Fungi" is a great name!

#21 Posted : Friday, October 31, 2014 5:46:17 PM(UTC)

Mushroom and herb polenta from Plenty I used homemade chicken broth and herbs from my container garden (now indoors)- this gave me all the umami I needed. Then I topped the polenta with a melty-stinky cheese (a Saint Alban?) so I skipped the truffle oil. As it's almost November I had hardy herbs- parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme (really). Served with sauteed spinach for a simple meal. In the end, I didn't use the maitake from the Semper fungi guy as I made this at a later date.

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