I haven’t cooked Ottolenghi recipes all of last week! However, as his recipes will be featuring a lot on the blog, I’ve decided to shed some light on this chef and his fail-proof recipes. I was first drawn to Yotam Ottolenghi’s weekly column called The New Vegetarian for the Saturday edition of the UK newspaper, the Guardian. I initially found his combination of ingredients quite intriguing and I imagined the final taste would never suit my palate, but all of this was proved wrong when I successfully recreated Kosheri, an Egyptian lentil and rice dish, with a spicy tomato sauce. Following that I plated up these dishes again, for my friend Mona and explained my fascination with this chef. Mona, being a Londoner, said that an apt thank you for that night’s dinner would be treating me to lunch at Ottolenghi’s (Ottolenghi runs a few restaurants and take-aways in London). And, I’m so grateful to Mona for taking me there. The food in my opinion is the best I’ve eaten in a restaurant in the UK and the food display is both exquisite as it is exciting. What’s more, Mona also gifted me a signed copy of Ottolenghi – The Cookbook and every one of those recipes is a winner. I haven’t tried all of them, but having tried over a score of them, I’m certain that any  of the recipes would turn out well.

Apart from emphasizing the use of the freshest ingredients, Ottolenghi’s food is characterized by a lot of unusual pairings of flavours and seasonings,a definite influence of his Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean food heritage. A lot of weight is placed on presentation and the finished preparation always ends up in a vivid display of colours. The recipes are very easy to recreate here in the UK owing to the ready availability of the ingredients. More importantly, after attempting many of the recipes, I have grown in confidence with mixing flavours that I previously wouldn’t have and getting more adventurous with what I eat. The cherry on the icing on the cake is that Ottolenghi’s food is HEALTHY as it is flavourful!

And, now for what we’ve been eating since last Sunday…

Sunday – October 3, 2010


Thai Noodle Soup

Recipe adapted from Nigella’s Kitchen (the program will only be viewable to those living in the UK).

***I used the left-over beef stock from the pulled beef I had made earlier in the week and some left-over fish instead of chicken.***


Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Watermelon Jam

Recipe adapted from here via the Tastepotting website.

***The finished product unexpectedly tastes a bit like Halwa! I may add some more lemon juice the next time I make a batch and also add some hibiscus and rose flower petals.***


Chicken in a coconut-milk stew with rice-flour dumplings

Recipe adapted from Recipes for All Occasions (B.F.Varughese)

***A bit of Keralite comfort food – a spicy chicken-coconut milk stew with rice-flour dumplings. First the chicken stew is made and towards the end of the cooking process the dumplings are dropped in. The dumplings are made by mixing a cup hot water with a cup of rice flour which has been seasoned with salt and pinch of powdered cumin. The mixture can then be rolled into lime sized balls to be dropped into the stew. Let’s say it’s an easy preparation for the more seasoned of cooks.***


Thursday, October 7 2010


Watermelon, Feta and Kalamata Olive Salad

Another one of Nigella Lawson’s recipes adapted from here.

***I used Kalamata olives as I prefer these to regular black olives. I also used a mixture of baby salad leaves and coriander and parsley. I forgot to buy the mint leaves 😦 and I think that addition would have made the salad even more refreshing.***


Saturday, October 10, 2010


STARTER - Fish baked in brown paper parcels

Recipe adapted from The Suriani Kitchen by Lathika George.

***The original recipe calls for wrapping the fish in banana leaves and cooking it in a mannu chatti (mud pot) over a flame. While I have a mud pod I ended up cooking the fish, slathered with a spice paste, in brown paper parcels on a tray in the oven, because it was more convenient.***

MAIN COURSE - Prawn Biryani

Recipe adapted from The Suriani Kitchen by Lathika George.

***A prawn gravy was made first, then mixed with basmati rice and water and cooked over low temperature until the rice had absorbed all the liquids and was entirely cooked. The dish is garnished with browned onions and cashew nuts. I served this with a cucumber raita.***


A filling of whipped cream and strawberries

Meringue, cake, whipped cream, strawberries, cake and meringue studded with almonds




Another view of the finished product - Strawberry Meringue Cake


Recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson’s recipe for Lemon Meringue Cake from Feast.

***I added the zest of one lemon to the cake mixture and replaced the lemon curd for the filling with whipped cream and fresh strawberries. I also add almond flakes on the upper layer of the meringue as suggested in the recipe for Strawberry Meringue Cake from Forever Summer.


Sunday, October 11, 2010



Brunch at Bacchus Bistro

***Abhi hurriedly finishes up a plate of poached eggs with hollandaise sauce served on freshly toasted muffins with bacon and hash browns while Yohann lets out little screams for us to exit the restaurant. ***


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