“Oh my goodness. You have so many cookbooks. Do you cook from them all?”
This is the question asked by most people who are perplexed by the size of my collection. In fact the IKEA shelf that I purchased specifically to house them is now full and there are books overflowing onto the floor. Most of the books that end up on the floor are far too obese for the lean wooden shelves (Ripailles – yes, I am talking about you).
Quite often I purchase a cookbook for its potential. This is the possibility of creating something that will satisfy my greedy appetite. If I only get one ‘great recipe’ out of a cookbook, then I consider it worth its value, at the very least.
I recently purchased Ottolenghi – The Cookbook and was flabbergasted by the quality and diversity of the recipes. I could not flick pass one page without cooing, pointing or bookmarking it. Every recipe is filled with vibrant ingredient combinations that are not only healthy, but delicious. The other thing that astounded me was that the ingredients used in the book can be accessible (in my opinion).
I could not settle on a recipe, so I randomly flicked open a page in the salad section and landed on the Roasted Eggplant with Saffron Yoghurt. I did the same for the Meat and Fish section and got the Roast chicken with Sumac, Za’atar and Lemon. Both recipes turned out fantastic.
It is cookbooks like this that puts half the books in my collection to shame.
The post for Roast chicken with Sumac, Za’atar and Lemon will follow in the next few days.
Recipe from Ottolenghi – The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi
3 medium eggplants, cut into slices 2cm thick, or into wedges
olive oil for brushing
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
a handful of pomegranate seeds
20 basil leaves
coarse sea salt and black pepper
a small pinch of saffron strands
3 tablespoons hot water
180g Greek yoghurt
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/ For the sauce, infuse the saffron in the hot water in a small bowl for 5 minutes. Pour the infusion into a bowl containing the yoghurt, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and some salt. Whisk well to get a smooth, golden sauce. Taste and adjust the salt, if necessary, then chill.
2/ Preheat the oven to 220 degrees. Place the eggplant slices on a roasting tray, brush with plenty of olive oil on both sides and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-30 minutes, until the slices take on a beautiful light brown colour. Let them cool down.
3/ To serve, arrange the eggplant slices on a large plate, slightly overlapping. Drizzle the saffron yoghurt over them, sprinkle with the pine nuts and pomegranate seeds and lay the basil on top.
Tips from cookbookmaniac.com
* Although the recipe states that it makes enough to share between 4 people. Pizzaboy and I were left wanting more. I would probably double the eggplant quantity.
* The ingredient list for the Saffron Yoghurt yielded a large quantity. I think I’ll halve the amount next time.
* The raw crushed garlic was quite harsh in its taste. I suggest roasting it in the oven along with eggplant for 10 minutes before adding it to the yoghurt to sweeten it up a bit.
* This recipe was delicious! Pizzaboy licked the bowl at the end. This is always a good sign.