Having been in a bit of a vegetable rut, I asked for Yotam Ottolenghi’s book “Plenty More” for Christmas, and Father Christmas was very obliging – I must have been good last year!
I asked for it based on seeing a recommendation somewhere on the internet, and foolishly, didn’t realise (even though it’s obvious from the title) that it’s a sequel.
Ottolenghi is a chef who specialises in vegetables (although not vegetarian, I understand). So it’s a book full of new and interesting ways with vegetables that can be sides or meals in their own right in many cases. I’m a bit guilty of cooking meat too often and relying on things like sausages and fish cakes for a quick meal for the kids, so I was very keen to experiment with some new vegetable recipes. I’m always on the lookout for the next family favourite.
The photos show the first two recipes I’ve cooked from the book. (Both in February, as January disappeared under a mountain of work). Right is root mash with wine braised shallots, which we had as a change from my usual array of veg with the Sunday roast. The flavours were fantastic. Puy lentils through mashed carrot, celeriac, squash and sweet potatoes, flavoured with cumin and maple syrup. And the crowning glory on the top are the shallots braised in red wine. Loads of flavour going on and nice and easy to make.
The second picture is aubergine with sesame and spring onion. This is genius and packed with oriental flavour. You only have to peel and steam the aubergines then tear them into strips and dress with a sauce made from mirin, sesame oil, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger and maple syrup. Top with toasted sesame seeds and shredded spring onions. Utterly delicious and fast to cook.
The book is organised into cooking methods: grilling, brasing, steaming etc, and includes a variety of different cuisines. Plenty of the recipes are gluten free or can easily be tailored as long as you buy the right ingredients, such as soy sauce, and avoid the freekeh, which I discovered to my disappointment is not gluten free.
I’m very much looking forward to trying the fig salad, the saffron, date and almond rice, and the Thai red lentil soup very soon. There’s so much I want to cook!
I might even have to check out Plenty to see what I’ve been missing in that!
You can buy the book online from Ottolenghi’s website, all of which are signed by the man himself.