Posts Tagged ‘Ottolenghi’

The smokiness here comes from smoked paprika.


It makes for a delightfully different take on a traditionally Italian way with eggs.


This is adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s richer version. I have substituted coconut milk for the cream and lessened the amount of cheese.

I cooked it long and slow on top of the stove and managed to brown the top with a manoevre described below…still no oven or grill!

1 small cauliflower (or half a big one)

6 eggs

4 tbsp coconut milk*

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

75 gm/2.5 oz grated parmesan +25gm/1oz more for the topping

2 tsp smoked paprika

Steam the separated cauliflower florets to just tender and set aside.

In a bowl whisk together the coconut milk, the paprika and the mustard.

Add the eggs and carefully whisk them in.

Mix in the parmesan and season with salt and pepper.


Heat the olive oil in a 26 cm (or 10 inch) frying pan.  Brown the cauliflower in one layer on one side for a couple of minutes (no need to turn them to brown them completely).


Pour the eggy mix over the cauliflower–shake the pan a little to get an even distribution of cauliflower.


Cook the frittata on the lowest possible heat, using a heat diffuser if you have one, until there is just a small pool of liquid left on the surface.

To brown, simply slide the pan under the grill for a minute.

With no oven or grill available, I had to be bold!

I laid a flat plate, roughly the circumference of the pan, on top of the frittata then with my left hand on the back of the plate and holding the pan’s handle with my right hand I flipped the whole thing over, then slid the frittata back into the pan to briefly brown the top.


The challenge made me feel good–but I ran the risk of it all ending up on the floor!

I made the fennel and orange salad from my new cookbook, Healthy Eating for Life, to contrast  the blousy smokiness of the frittata.


*The difference between coconut milk/cream and cream of coconut is fully explained here: 



It looks like milk, it is NOT sweetened and it does NOT taste of coconut!

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When I woke up this morning Pippa–mother of all cats–was there on the bed as she has been for the last two days. She was at her toilet–conscientiously licking her paw, then wiping her cheeks and ear with it–a built-in flannel [washcloth] so to speak.

It reminded me I hadn’t shaved for two days–I’d been laid up with a “gastro“, which had started at roughly 1.30am on the morning after my birthday.

The only other time I remember being as sick (literally) was the day I was filming the dénouement scene in an episode of Sherlock Holmes. I had a long speech of explanation to deliver to a solemn, suspicious and silent Jeremy Brett, Edward Hardwicke and a very young  Jude Law. I managed the first take without interruption–but had to RUN on the word CUT –and it was a bumpy ride ’til we finished.

Two nights ago at least I had no lines to remember. My timing was better on this occasion! The birthday was over and had been much enjoyed. Meredith gave me an album–cataloguing the story of an eventful year–superb photos mostly taken by her.


Pippa looking for a photo of herself.

Looking back on my birthday though, there were signs of trouble ahead.

I remember feeling relieved I had planned ahead and prepared the Lamb Tagine (see recipe below) the day before. That left the broccoli starter and the bulgar wheat–simple!

We were eight round the table–old friends–including my old adversary from Poldark days, Donald Douglas (aka Captain McNeil). It was convivial. I was enjoying the occasion.

It was only late the next day that I realised I had forgotten an essential step in the preparation of the starter–grilling the broccoli (see below). As I served up the dish, I had a nagging feeling something was not quite right! (We have a tradition of forgetting key ingrediants when entertaining for crowds!).

PLUS I forgot to prepare the bulgar wheat, so the table had to wait while it fluffed up.

The recipes:

This dish also served as the starter for the special Saturday dinner on my October Cooking Workshop:

It is adapted from a recipe in Ottolenghi’s eponymous first cookbook.

On that night it tumbled over a small pile of salad leaves–radiccio, rocket, lettuce–dressed with olive oil lemon juice and salt.

Here it is on a bed of Sam Talbot’s Quinoa.

1lb broccoli–broken into bite-size pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper

garlic cloves–sliced as thin as you can

2 fresh red chilis, medium hot–de-seeded and sliced

4 tablespoons olive oil

lemon sliced very thin

  • Steam the broccoli–more than blanched less than tender–still crunchy in other words.
  • Remove to a bowl and pour over 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt.
  • Heat a grill to hot.
  • Scatter the broccoli over it and colour lightly. [Don’t FORGET this step!]

  • Return to the serving bowl.
  • Heat the second batch of oil.
  • When hot cook the garlic slices and the chili until the garlic takes on some color.

  • Pour this mixture over the broccoli.
  • Add the lemon slices and mix in carefully.
  • Serve on a bed of salad leaves dressed with  olive oil, lemon juice and salt.

Lamb Tagine with dried apricots & flageolet beans

(Reproduced from Delicious Dishes for Diabetics p 138)

This superb dish for company is adapted from one in Frances Bissell’s exceptional book The Pleasures of Cookery.

for 6/8

2 kg/41⁄2 lb boned shoulder of lamb–cut away as much fat as possible, ending up with about 1.5 kg/31⁄2 lb lean lamb, cut into 2 cm/1 inch cubes

3 tbsp olive oil
3 onions–sliced
4 cloves of garlic–chopped
11⁄2 tsp cumin seeds
11⁄2 tsp coriander seeds
850 ml/11⁄2 pints/31⁄2 cups stock--I use organic vegetable stock cubes
24 dried apricots–halved (use the yellow ones as they show up better in the sauce later)
salt and pepper
parsley, or even better coriander–chopped
1 large tin flageolet beans–drained and rinsed

  1. Heat the oven at 160°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3.
  2. Seal the meat in hot oil, using a large frying pan; when nicely browned, remove it to the ovenproof casserole you will serve it from.
  3. Gently fry the onions and garlic in the fat and oil left in the pan without browning them.
  4. Fold in the whole spices and let them cook a little.
  5. Add almost all the stock, leaving just enough in which to heat up the beans, and let it reduce a bit.
  6. Add the apricots. Season this mixture and pour it into the casserole.
  7. Add a handful of parsley or coriander.
  8. Heat the beans in a little stock and when hot add to the casserole. Turn everything over carefully.
  9. Bring it all to a simmer and place it on a low shelf in the preheated oven.
  10. Cook for 2 hours, checking after an hour to see if it needs topping up with stock – being careful not to lose the intensity of the sauce.
  11. Serve over bulgar wheat [Which you’ve remember to prepare!]

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This served as the starter for Saturday’s dinner on the workshop weekend.

It is adapted from a recipe in Ottolenghi’s eponymous first cookbook.

That night it tumbled over a small pile of salad leaves–radicio, rocket, lettuce–dressed with olive oil lemon juice and salt.

Here it is on a bed of Sam Talbot’s Quinoa–and was our supper.

1lb broccoli–broken into bite-size pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper

4 garlic cloves–sliced as thin as you can

2 fresh red chilis, medium hot–de-seeded and sliced

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 lemon sliced very thin

  • Steam the broccoli–more than blanched less than tender–still crunchy in other words.
  • Remove to a bowl and pour over 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt.
  • Heat a grill pad to hot.
  • Scatter the broccoli over it and colour lightly.

  • Return to the serving bowl.
  • Heat the second batch of oil.
  • When hot cook the garlic slices and the chili until the garlic takes on some color.

  • Pour this mixture over the broccoli.
  • Add the lemon slices and mix in carefully.
  • Serve on a bed of salad leaves of choice dressed with  olive oil, lemon juice and salt.

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Yotam Ottolenghian Israeli born in Jerusalemowns five restaurants in London and contributes flavoursome recipes to the Guardian on Saturdays, with unusual Middle Eastern taste twists.

Not a great looker--but the taste...!

Ottolenghi’s Chicken is his version of the traditional Palestinian dish, M’sakhan. It is delicately flavoured with soft spices like cinnamon, allspice, and sharpened a little with sumac [dark red and lemony], enhanced with thin slices of  lemon and onion–delicious to bite into–and finished off with za’atar–which is sesame seeds in a mix with oregano, thyme and other herbs.

The chicken pieces are marinaded overnight in these gentle flavours, then roasted for 40 minutes.

Garlicky yogurt sauce & Moroccan bread went well with it at the book launch. For diabetics, better to substitute whole-wheat brown pita bread or brown Basmati rice.

1 chicken–cut up into 8/10 pieces

1 lemon–sliced very thin

2 red onions–sliced very thin

2 cloves of garlic–mashed to a pulp in a pinch of salt

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoons sumac

200 ml stock

1 teaspoon salt 

1 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons za’atar

50 gms/2 oz pine nuts

for 4/5

Combine the first 11 ingredients in a bowl and mix well together.

  • Let this marinade, covered, in the fridge–preferably overnight.
  • Heat the oven to 200C/400F.
  • Lay the chicken pieces, skin side up, in a roasting pan and cover them with the lemon and onion marinade.
  • Sprinkle over the za’atar.
  • Roast in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes–the juices should run clear when you pierce a leg piece.
  • In a small frying pan gently dry roast the pine nuts.
  • Sprinkle them over the chicken and present the dish to the “table” before serving and enjoy the “oohs!” and “aahs!”.
  • Scatter over some chopped parsley to finish, for colour, if you have some on hand.
Yogurt sauce
 2 125gm pots of no-fat yogurt–whisked to smooth
1 fat clove of garlic–pulped in a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Whisk all ingredients together into a smooth sauce.
As so much of this dish can be prepared beforehand it is a useful dish for company.
Two chickens roasted together will give you enough to feed 10 people.

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First “post-launch” post–we’ve been busy!

Twenty-two friends (many of whom, in one way or another, had helped with the book) sat down for lunch on Friday at tables set end on end under the trees–

Ma's Gazpaccio waiting patiently

–nicely protected from the sun but rain could be a problem and it has been uncharacteristically wet this year.

The skies were scoured for signs, forecasts checked hourly and finally a prayer went up to the heavens.

We were blessed–not a drop fell the entire afternoon.

A friendly sounding hum rose early from the throng–Ma’s Gazpacho was hitting the spot; as was the mellow Tuscan red poured from a 3 litre magnum–a gift from our friends Keith and Helen.

It–“the book”–was launched.

Hope James–the book’s illustrator–was there and I read this out from our friend Eva Marie’s email, received that morning:–

“Her beautiful sketches brought me right back to your cozy home and the French countryside. I am suddenly missing you and Meredith!”

That’s what they do–they bring the book to life.

Chicken was next, with unfamiliar spices–sumac and za’atar–[see part two–tomorrow– for the recipe]

An Ottolenghi special that lends itself well  to large parties.

Marinaded overnight on Wednesday, cooked in three batches Thursday afternoon and gently reheated–stacked in its juices–an hour before we ate it.

Served with plain green beans, a garlicky yogurt sauce and toasted Moroccan bread.

Then followed two lovely surprises–for me.

Fellow Poldark actor Donald Douglas [his chilled cucumber soup features in the book] tapping a glass and rising during the cheese course, meant only  one thing–he was going to speak.

He not only spoke–he sang!

“There is nothing like a Dame” from South Pacific–adapted for the occasion.

“He played Ross the brave and bold

Now here he is grey haired and old”.

Now another surprise.

My old friend George–one of three distinguished judges present–touched me and everyone with his words on long lasting friendship.

What a day!

[A second helping promised for tomorrow…!]

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