food for thought

by michelle

Posts Tagged ‘Yotam Ottolenghi

mint chocolate and pistachio cake + fresh mint ice cream

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A wonderful combination of dark mint chocolate, crumbly biscuit and crunchy pistachios takes this hedgehog-style cake to the next level. And fresh mint ice cream is the perfect addition. Thanks to Yotam Ottolenghi for the cake recipe and to Deborah for making it! The ice cream recipe is from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer.

For the cake soak 100g (3½ oz) of sultanas in 2 tablespoons of rum for 30 minutes. Line a 28cm x 18cm (11″ x 7″) baking tray or glass dish with greaseproof paper. Set a large heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water and add 100g (3½ oz) of mint-flavoured dark chocolate, 200g (7 oz) of dark 70% cocoa solids chocolate (both roughly chopped into 3cm pieces), 100g (3½ oz) of golden syrup, 120g (4¼ oz) of unsalted butter cut into 2cm (¾”) cubes and ⅛ of a teaspoon of salt. Make sure the bowl isn’t touching the water or the mix will get too hot and split. Heat and stir for two to three minutes until melted and combined. Add the sultanas and their soaking liquid, 170g (6 oz) of roughly broken digestive biscuits and 75g (2½ oz) of roughly chopped pistachios and mix until everything is well coated. Transfer it into the lined tray and smooth the top. Sprinkle with an extra 25g (¾ oz) of crushed pistachios and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Cover the tray and refrigerate for two to three hours. When set, cut into strips and store in an air-tight container in the fridge. Serve cold. For the mint ice cream measure 2 cups of milk. Take out 2 tablespoons of the milk and make a slurry with 6 teaspoons of cornflour (cornstarch). Heat the remainder of the milk in a saucepan with 1¼ cups of heavy cream, ⅔ of a cup of sugar and 2 tablespoons of glucose (in Australia I use this in place of light corn syrup). Bring to the boil and allow it to simmer for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour in the cornflour slurry. Stir, return to the heat and allow to thicken. In another bowl whisk 3 tablespoons of softened cream cheese with ⅛ of a teaspoon of salt. Pour in the hot milk mixture and whisk until smooth. Now tear a bunch of fresh mint leaves into the hot mixture and cool the mixture down in an ice bath. When the mixture is cold strain out the mint leaves and freeze with an ice cream machine, sorbetiere or even over ice and salt. If you have flexible silicone moulds, transfer the nearly set ice cream into them for ready-to-serve portions.


Written by michelle picker

January 24, 2018 at 12:35 am

noodle salad with cucumber and poppy seeds

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Another delightful salad from the cookbook Plenty by Yotam OttolenghiTart apple, cooling cucumber, pickled onions and fresh herbs. What a great combination.

In a small saucepan combine 60ml (2 fl oz) of cider vinegar, 30g (1 oz) of caster sugar and 60ml (2 fl oz) of water. Bring to a boil over high heat until the sugar has dissolved and continue to cook for a few minutes to reduce by one third. Finely slice 1 red onion and finely julienne a 5cm (2″) piece of ginger and place them in a small bowl. Pour the hot liquid over them and allow to pickle for 1 hour. Meanwhile, break 150g (5 oz) of flat rice noodles into 15cm (6″) pieces and place them in a large bowl. Pour boiling water over them to cover and set aside for 10-15 minutes. When the noodles are soft drain them and put them in a large serving bowl. Toss them with 1 tablespoon of oil and allow  to cool. Blanch and drain 200g (7 oz) of edamame beans, core and slice 1 sharp green apple into thin wedges, de-seed and julienne 2 red chillies, roughly chop 10g (⅓ oz) each of fresh mint and tarragon and cut 2 large cucumbers in half lengthways, scooping out the seeds and cutting them into thin long strips. Add all the prepared vegetables and the pickled onion and ginger to the noodles. Add 1 tablespoon of poppy seeds, some more vegetable oil, 1½ teaspoons of salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Toss well and serve.

Written by michelle picker

January 17, 2018 at 12:17 am

saffron cauliflower + tomato, onion and roasted lemon salad

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Here are 2 salads from the master of salads, Yotam Ottolenghi. Serve them as part of a mezze selection or as side dishes.

Cauliflower is so versatile. In this recipe from PLENTY it’s paired with raisins and olives.

Preheat your oven to 200ºC (390ºF). Soak 1½ teaspoons of saffron strands in a little boiling water and allow to infuse. To a large salad bowl add a medium cauliflower (broken into florets), 1 large sliced red onion, 100g (3½ oz) of moist of sultanas, 90g (3¼ oz) of pitted green olives, 4 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 bay leaves and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Add the soaked saffron and toss everything to combine. Transfer to a baking tray, cover and cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring halfway through. I uncovered the tray for some of the cooking time to allow the cauliflower to brown a little more. Allow to cool a little and stir in 4 tablespoons of roughly chopped parsley.

This unusual tomato, onion and roasted lemon salad was published by bon appétit.


Preheat your oven to 160ºC (325ºF). Halve and thinly slice 1 small lemon and cook the slices in a medium saucepan of boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain, pat dry and toss with 1 tablespoon of finely sliced fresh sage leaves, ½ a teaspoon of sugar, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Spread them onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper and bake until they are dry and slightly coloured. Allow them to cool. Meanwhile, whisk 2 teaspoons of pomegranate syrup with ½ a teaspoon of ground allspice, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add 700g (1½ lbs) of mixed tomatoes, ½ a finely sliced red onion, generous amounts of roughly chopped fresh parsley and mint and the cooled lemon slices. Season again to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and toss gently.

Written by michelle picker

August 7, 2017 at 5:44 am

barley, lentils and mushrooms with fried onions

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Once again Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipe imparts amazing flavours to a vegetarian meal.


In a small bowl cover 20g (¾ oz) of dried porcini with 1¾ cups of boiling water and leave to stand for an hour. After an hour, remove the mushrooms and strain the liquid through a very fine sieve to remove any grit, then return the mushrooms to their liquid. Place 120g (4¼ oz) of barley (pre-soaked) and 170g (6 oz) of brown lentils in a large saucepan. Add 4 times the volume of cold water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a rolling simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Drain, transfer to a bowl and leave to cool down. Cut an onion into thin slices lengthways and toss in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of flour. Heat oil in a medium saucepan (enough to cover the onion slices in batches) to high heat and fry the onion in batches for three to four minutes, until golden-brown. Remove them to a plate lined with paper towel and set aside to cool. Slice a second onion into wider wedges. In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat and fry the onion wedges for five minutes until charred and soft. Stir in 1½ teaspoons of ground cumin, 1 teaspoons of ground allspice and 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Next add 4 sliced large mushrooms, the finely sliced rind of 1 lemon and ½ a teaspoon each of sugar and salt. Fry until the mushrooms start to soften then add the porcini and all their soaking liquid. Boil rapidly for five minutes, reducing the liquid to approximately ½ a cup. Reduce the heat and add the lentils and barley plus 1 tablespoon of dried mint, 1 teaspoon of dried dill leaves, ¾ of a teaspoon of salt and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper. Cook for a minute more then remove from the heat and add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Serve garnished with the fried onion and chopped parsley with sour cream on the side.

roasted turnip, potato and garlic salad

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What to do with this enormous turnip fresh from the garden? And who doesn’t love potatoes?


Adapted from another wonderful recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi here is a spicy and fragrant warm salad.


My turnip weighed 900g (2 lbs) and I used 600g (1⅓ lbs) of potatoes. Preheat the oven to 200ºC (390ºF). Peel the turnips and potatoes and cut them into 4cm (1½”) chunks. Peel all the cloves of a whole head of garlic. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the turnips, potatoes and garlic for 6 minutes. Drain, refresh under cold water and pat them dry. Now put them into a roasting pan and toss with ½ a teaspoon of sweet paprika, 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds, 1½ tablespoons of harissa (if you don’t have time to make this you can get away with chilli paste with the addition of some ground cumin, tomato paste and lemon juice), the rind of 1 orange, 1 teaspoon of dried rose petals (optional), 2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt to taste. Roast for 40 minutes until they begin to colour. Meanwhile in a small bowl combine 2 tablespoons of orange juice, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 2 teaspoons of toasted and lightly crushed fennel seeds and a little salt. Slowly whisk in 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Arrange roquette leaves on a serving platter. When the vegetables are cooked scatter them over the leaves and drizzle with the prepared dressing. Serve warm. 

Written by michelle picker

July 18, 2015 at 5:52 am

rice with onions, chick peas and currants + butternut salad

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Here are another two inspired Yotam Ottolenghi recipes from his book Jerusalem.


This dish is made with a cup of basmati rice and ¼ of a cup of wild rice both pre-cooked separately. Heat some sunflower oil in a saucepan and add 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds and 1½ teaspoons of curry powder. After only a few seconds add a drained can of chickpeas and ¼ of a teaspoon of salt. Stir over the heat for a minute or two and transfer to a large bowl. Thoroughly mix 1 very finely sliced onion with ½ a tablespoon of flour. Wipe the saucepan clean, add a generous amount of sunflower oil and place over high heat. Add the onion in batches and fry for 2-3 minutes until golden brown then drain on kitchen paper. Sprinkle the onion with a little salt. Add both types of rice to the chick peas along with the onions, 100g (3½ oz) of currants, 2 tablespoons of chopped flat-leaf parsley, 1 tablespoon of chopped coriander (cilantro), 1 tablespoon of chopped dill and salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.


This butternut pumpkin (squash) and onion salad has a wonderful tahini dressing. Cut a large butternut pumpkin and 2 red onions into wedges and place them in a bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and toss well. Spread them on a baking sheet and roast in a moderate oven for approximately 40 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked and colouring a little. Remove them from the oven and leave to cool. Meanwhile combine 3½ tablespoons of tahini paste with 1½ tablespoons of lemon juice, a crushed clove of garlic, 2 tablespoons of water and ¼ of a teaspoon of salt. Whisk well until you achieve a consistency like thin honey. To serve, arrange the roasted vegetables on a platter or in a bowl and drizzle with the tahini dressing. The original recipe includes a scattering of toasted pine nuts. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of za’atar (a mixture of dried herbs and sesame seeds available in Middle Eastern stores) and garnish with flat-leafed parsley.

koftas with tahini sauce

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Thanks to Yotam Ottolenghi again for these delicious morsels!


In a bowl mix 400g (14 oz) each of freshly minced lamb and beef, 1 small finely diced onion, 2 large minced cloves of garlic, 50g (1¾ oz) of roughly chopped toasted pine nuts (save some whole ones for later), 30g (1 oz) of finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (save some whole leaves for later), 1 large finely diced red chilli, 1½ teaspoons each of ground cinnamon, ground allspice, ground black pepper and salt and ¾ of a teaspoon of grated nutmeg. Shape the mixture into torpedo-shaped koftas weighing approximately 60g (2 oz) each. Make sure to press them together firmly so that they retain their shape when cooking. Arrange them on a plate and chill them. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 210ºC (410ºF). For the sauce mix 150g (5¼ oz) of tahini paste with 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 crushed clove of garlic, ¼ of a teaspoon of salt and ¼ of a cup of water in a small saucepan. This mixture should be thinner than honey. Warm the sauce a little. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a frypan and sear the koftas in batches over high heat until golden brown. Remove them to an oven tray and when they are all browned finish them in the oven for 2-4 minutes. Spoon the tahini sauce into a serving platter and add the koftas. Garnish with the remaining pine nuts and parsley leaves and serve immediately.

Written by michelle picker

May 11, 2014 at 6:05 am