I could have waited until Christmas, but I decided not to 😉. Two lovely cookbooks will inspire me for the following weeks, and probably for much longer. Jamie Oliver and Ottolenghi know how to reinvent themselves and how to stimulate creativity in our daily menu.
Let’s open ‘Ottolenghi test kitchen’ first. Leen, one of our dearest friends spends a few days at our place. Long evenings with nice conversations are ideal for a kind of mezze buffet. I know I will have more than enough for a dinner and the following day lunch, but there are too many inviting recipes in this new book to restrict me.
A must have in every mezze meal is HUMMUS. The book explains you how they finally achieved the best recipe ever : a soft, lucious creamy hummus. Soak 200 grams of dried chickpeas in a pan filled with water and 1 teaspoon of baking soda for an overnight. Drain. Put the chickpeas back in the pan. Refill up to 4cm above the chickpeas. Add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and allow to boil for approximately 50 minutes ( until tender). Remove the foam and the floating membranes regularly. Drain but keep the liquid. Put the chickpeas in the blender. Add 1 garlic clove, 2 table spoons of lemon juice, 80grams of tahini ( a bit less than the original recipe), a few table spoons of the liquid and some salt. Blend. Add extra water if necessary. Taste, add pepper and salt. Store cool. Keep some of the liquid if the hummus is too thick. Finish with some good olive oil.
The second dish to prepare the day before is another mezze ROASTED EGGPLANT, TOMATO AND TAHINI. Cut 1 kilo of eggplant in halves. Make a few incisions in the meat and the skin. Put on baking paper on an oven tray. Brush olive oil on the eggplant. Heat the oven at 250° and bake for approximately 20- 30 minutes, until the skin is almost black roasted and the inside is soft. Cool down. Remove the skin and tear apart. Make the tomato sauce. Chop and fry 1 red onion, 2 garlic cloves and 1 chili in a 2 table spoons of olive oil. Bake and stir for a few minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of concentrated tomato puree and 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds. Add 1 can of tomatoes, 1/4 can of water, a pinch of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Allow to simmer for approximately 15-20 minutes. Stir now and again. Add the eggplant and some water if necessary. Allow to cook for 5 more minutes. Taste, add pepper and salt. Store cool until the following day. Mix 2 table spoon of tahini paste with water until a smooth and liquid mixture. Add some salt. Roast 2 table spoons of pine nuts and 2 sliced garlic cloves in 1 table spoon of olive oil. Reheat the sauce. Finish with the tahini sauce and the pine nuts. Finish with fresh coriander. Serve immediately.
Prepare some AIOLI SAUCE to combine with simple oven roasted potatoes. Put 1 chopped garlic clove, 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard, 1 egg and a pinch of salt in a blender. Blend and add slowly 200ml of sunflower oil until you obtain a solid mayonnaise. Add 2 table spoons of lemon juice and 75 grams of low fat Greek yogurt. Taste, add pepper and salt. Store cool. Mix 1 kilo of washed and halved small potatoes with 2 table spoons of olive oil, a pinch of smoked paprika, pepper and salt. Put on a tray or in an oven dish. Roast in the oven at 200° for approximately 30 minutes until ready. Serve the potatoes with the sauce. Finish with fresh parsley.
Roasted grapes and fennel seeds is another Ottolenghi recipe from one of his earlier books, Simple. Click on the link to find the recipe.
Leen was hoping to eat tomatoes and good olive oil every day😉. The choice of tomatoes is of course not the same as in summer. Chop 2 garlic cloves in slices. Chop 5 cm of ginger in little cubes. Bake both in 4 table spoons of olive oil for 20 minutes on a low fire. Stir regularly. Cool down. Add the zeste of 1 lime, 3 table spoons of lime juice and 10 grams of fresh chopped coriander. Spread a few chopped or sliced beautiful tomatoes on a large plate. Season with pepper and salt. Finish with the dressing and extra coriander. What a lovely TOMATO SALAD!
ROASTED PUMPKIN WITH A SWEET DRESSING AND PECORINO will put some extra color on your table. Remove the skin and seeds of a small butternut ( approximately 1 kilo total weight). Cut each half in slices of 1cm. Mix the slices with 2 table spoons of olive oil, a large pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, 1 table spoon of dried oregano, salt and pepper. Spread on baking paper on an oven tray. Bake for 30 minutes until ready. Turn halfway. Mix the zeste and juice of 1 untreated orange. Heat. Allow to cook to obtain a concentrated amount. Add 1 teaspoons of honey. Stir. Cool down. Add 1 teaspoon of cider vinegar and 2 table spoons of olive oil. Taste, add pepper and salt. Roast 2 table spoons of pumpkin seeds. Spread the pumpkin slices on a nice plate. Finish with the dressing, the pumpkin seeds and pecorino flakes.
Too much food for 3p, probably enough food for a dinner with 5-6p