Sunday, 24 June 2012

Lunch with Yotam Ottolenghi - Plenty for everyone!

Sometimes you eat something that totally blows your socks off so much that, not only do you go back for second’s, but you go back for third’s too. 

This has only happened once before that I can remember.  I was travelling around New Zealand and the tour driver cooked the most incredible Moroccan lamb (New Zealand Lamb is in-cred-i-ble) – everyone went back for 3rd’s and I still don’t know what the guy put in it (I’ve been trying to replicate it ever since).

I was bought the Yotam Ottolenghi book Plenty for my birthday last year and I still hadn’t got around to cooking anything from it.  Sure, I’d lusted over the amazing photography of his vegetarian delights – but there was so many of his dishes that looked great, I didn’t know where to start.

Thankfully, the decision was made for me when I was faced with an empty cupboard this weekend, albeit a tin of chickpeas, a few carrots, a bag of spinach (ok the recipe calls for chard, but spinach is a very close relative) some coriander (that was almost going over) and some Greek yoghurt.  Ah ha… I could try something chickpea’y from the Ottolenghi cookbook! 

…and Bob’s-your-uncle, the Chickpea Sauté with Greek yoghurt recipe on page 211 sounded almost too perfect for these ingredients to be married in. (I just had to pop to the shop to get some caraway seeks, but it was well worth the long walk!)

'Plenty' is published by Ebury Press and available from all great bookshops!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Yotam’s work, he’s seriously shaken up modern vegetarian food on the back of his restaurant successes.  His recipes are clearly influenced by a few cultures; Thai, Indian, Lebanese, Iranian - it’s a modern fusion of tastes using fresh herbs and vegetables.  Basically, if you’re a cool, modern, hip vegetarian who owns a Mac or the new iPad, you’ll probably be totally comfortable cooking up Yotam’s innovative dishes.

The Sautéed Chickpea and Greek Yoghurt was so fantastic I am not ashamed to say that I made a whole pan full and polished the lot off in a 3rd sitting.  I’m not a vegetarian, but if the new wave vegetarian food is this good, then I might just join the gang.

If you do anything this summer – go and grab the book and enjoy Yotam’s healthy, tasty, plentiful food ideas for yourself!

My take on Yotam's recipe - turned out so well, this will be my new lunch of champions!


  1. Ooooooh! Full disclosure, I used to work for Ebury, but I LOVE this book so so much. Almost everything I have cooked from it has been amazing. Warning, though. The tofu with black pepper is so hot it was inedible for me - SO SPICY. Who knew just black pepper could do that! Otherwise though - amazing book.

  2. Hi Katie, thanks so much for stopping by! Great to meet you via BYW! Oooh you used to work for Ebury? That's so cool, I hope that they like my review! Thanks for the note on the tofu and black pepper - it's good to get a benchmark of spiceyness from someone who's made the dishes before! Have you made any of his other recipes? Any that you recommend? See you soon, enjoy the last week of BYW - Best wishes, Angie xoxo :))

  3. One of my favourites is the potato and quail's egg salad - SO good. Also, there is a recipe for green couscous which is amazing. Have you got his other book (just called Ottolenghi Cookbook)? It's not veggie, but still - fantastic. He has a new one out in September which I am SO excited about. Will have to beg/borrow/steal from my old colleages...

  4. OOoh I did spy the quail's egg salad one and my mouth did a nice dance! I will have to go and get his other books - hooked now! I'll keep eyes peeled for the new book too....I'm surfing amazon now! :D

  5. Hi Angie,
    I don't have any of Yotam's cookbooks yet but have lusted after his food since the first book. I love the presentation of all the food at his Ottolengi cafe/foodstores..may have to track down one of his books now after this post.

  6. I definitely recommend it Catherine! The dish I made was well worth the (little) effort. I feel a bit embarressed that such a quick, easily prepared dish was so tasty! It literally took less than 15 minutes from start to finish! And the greek yoghurt was a surprise element... I'm now putting greek yoghurt on everything! :) Angie xo