Sunday, 19 July 2009

Ottolenghi love

A large part of the time I spend thinking about food is spent thinking about Ottolenghi food. For those of you who don't know, Ottolenghi is a small collection of restaurant/delis in London. Their food is albout amazing fresh flavours, ingenious combinations, using plenty of great quality ingredients, copius scatterings of fresh herbs. They published a cookbook, which has since become a bible for me and my friends.

I try and cook at least one Ottolenghi recipe a week, whether it's from the book or Ottolenghi's weekly column 'the new vegetarian' in the Guardian's Saturday magazine. Last night I cooked roast chicken with saffron, hazelnuts and honey. It was amazing burst flavours and smells from the souk, gently exotic and luxurious with its saffron, rosewater, cinammon, honey, lemon and ginger. The roasted hazelnuts gave the dish a velvety earthiness, and combined with the honey, cinammon and rosewater, it was like a semi-savoury baklava.

A quick google revealed that Gourmet Worrier had cooked it fairly recently and adapted the recipe a bigger meal, so I shall re-driect you there for the recipe. I used thighs rather than drumsticks though. I do love the thighs!

My partner is also mad keen on Ottolenghi and cooked last week's new vegetarian recipe, beetroot, yogurt and preserved lemon relish. I am absolutely wild about beetroot, especially when combined with plentiful heaps of fresh dill and creme fraiche or yoghurt. With the addition of preserved lemons (or in my case lots of lemon rind, not ever being able to find them in my local middle eastern shops and being too lazy thus far to preserve lemons myself) this was the zingiest, freshest meal I've had in a while. Here's a photo:

That's enough Ottolenghi for now. Don't worry, though, plenty more to come!

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