Monday, May 18, 2009

Ottolenghi for Lunch

Have I mentioned my love of Ottolenghi? I'm sure I have. I'm slowly introducing all my London friends to its wonders, either my dragging them to the Belgravia branch for lunch or to Islington for brunch or experimenting on them at home.

I love the cookbook. Heart it. It makes me feel confident and everything I have made EVERYTHING has turned out beautifully and made me feel like a competent, even fantastic chef.

This was Sunday lunch a month or so ago. Beef & lamb meatballs baked in tahini and covered with parsley and lemon zest.
Kosheri. I've made this numerous times since. It's rice, lentils & vermicelli noodles with caramelised onions, cinnamon and a spicy tomato sauce. It makes mountains and is one of my favourite things to eat for lunch.

Roasted aubergine, pomegranate seeds and basil with saffron yogurt sauce. Surprisingly simple and so lovely. I love saffron and whenever I use it the dish feels just a little bit special.

I've made about 30 items from the cookbook so far. It is love.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


One of the things I love about living in London is that sea salt is just sea salt and is cheap enough that it isn't a special item, to be used sparingly. It's just salt.

When my mom visited me in Toronto a few years ago we found Malden Sea Salt at the St Lawrence Market. It was stupidly expensive but mom bought us both a box and I used it (thriftily) and thought it very special. Fast forward to Tesco and it's cheap! Love it.

Incidentally the website is actually really interesting. Check it out.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Chickpea Fries

So, I think my photographer is on strike.

It's not like I haven't been cooking. It's not like some of the meals weren't beautifully plated on my sage green dishes from Vintage Heaven. They weren't all beautiful, to be sure, but surely some of them were? Surely.

Sigh. Guess not.

In light of that I have a few options. Let the blog languish until the walkout ends, renegotiate the terms and conditions or slog on without photos.

No photos it is.

So. Chickpea fries. So odd. I first saw them here and thought I can make those. But the recipe isn't exactly clear. Water. Chickpea flour. 2-1. But if you read the notes it's not clear which is the 2 and which is the 1. It could work either way. It could flop either way. So which way is it? Not sure so I made both.

And it turns out C liked them both. In fact, I rather think he liked the 'wrong' ones best.

Experiment I

1 cup water
1/2 cup chickpea flour

Whisk together. Add some ground pepper, salt and olive oil. Cook, stirring constantly until the dough turns into a ball. Remove from heat and punch out on plate so that it's relatively flat. Chill. Realise that this looks nothing like the custard promised in Bittman's recipe. Refuse to be defeated, or throw something out. Continue with recipe. Cut into frie-like sticks and pan fry. Sprinkle with salt and eat as a snack whilst C prepares thai fishcakes (excellent).

Experiment II

Make dip: one finely chopped onion and 8 cloves of garlic, gently cooked in olive oil over low low lowest of low heat until golden and fragrant. Squish and mix with salt and pepper into Greek Yogurt. Set aside.

1 cup chickpea flour
2 cups water

Whisk til smooth. Add pepper, salt and a glug of olive oil. Turn heat on low and mix like crazy with a spoon (not a whisk it will get glumpy. Glumpy is the technical term. Look it up.) until the batter is the consistency of thick pancake batter. Pour it quickly into your cooling pan (I used a roasting pan with baking paper in it) and leave it to cool and firm up in the fridge. An hour or so later, take it out, cut into shapes (If I'd had cookie cutters I'd have used them here) and fry in olive oil until goldeny- burnt. Eat with prepared dip.

Experiement I was dry and almost cracker like. Experiment II was definitely what Bittman had in mind- custardy inside- and quite delicious. C liked both but my clear favorite was II. Will definitely make these again. Especially as I have more chickpea flour and not many more uses for it.