Tag Archives: rice

Cooking from Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem

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My friend Sam came over last weekend with a big box of vegetables from Shipton Mill‘s biodynamic garden and what seemed to be her entire kitchen larder. The haul including some of my favourite ingredients: beetroot, cabbage, cauliflower, courgettes and a big pile of carrots. She also brought her copy of Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem cookbook. It was obvious what needed to be done.

In a welcome change from my usual foodie escapades, Sam took over the menu, choosing three recipes from Jerusalem:

  • Basmati and wild rice with chickpeas, currants and herbs
  • Roasted cauliflower and hazelnut salad
  • Pureed beetroot with yoghurt and za’atar

My only mission was an Ottolenghi side project: his kohlrabi, carrot and radish salad recipe from the Guardian, inspired by a kohlrabi I received in the latest Riverford organic box.

Pureed beetroot with yoghurt and za’atar

Ottolenghi's Pureed Beetroot with Yoghurt and Za'atar

I’ve had various beetroot dips before, including River Cottage’s beetroot hummus which I adore. This was similar, but with yoghurt instead of tahini for creaminess and was extra exciting because it gave me an opportunity to use the date syrup I was gifted from Tim Clinch. But what really made it bad-ass was the inclusion of za’atar and a garnish of toasted hazelnuts and sliced spring onion. We enjoyed this, first on Saturday with Turkish style flatbread, and again on Sunday with sourdough bread baked by Julio Hevia.

Ottolenghi's Pureed Beetroot with Yoghurt and Za'atar

I’m not sure if it was the bread or the beetroot, but everything seemed somewhat better on day two. The flavours of the pureed beetroot had a chance to mingle and develop, and you can’t go wrong with good sourdough bread.

Roasted cauliflower and hazelnut salad

Roast cauliflower & hazelnut. @ottolenghi recipe from Jerusalem. Crazy (genius?) ingredient combo!

As one Instragrammer put it, “roast cauliflower is the jam”. And it’s even more jammin’ with a kick-ass Ottolenghi dressing. The ingredients were a totally non-obvious combination of cauliflower, celery and pomegranates with a crazy combo of spices and flavours including sherry vinegar, cinnamon, allspice, maple syrup and parsley. It worked. In fact, I’m not even sure if the roast cauliflower was the most jammin’ part of the dish. The dressing was exceptional, and I especially loved how the sweetness of the dressing worked with the hazelnut and the celery.

Basmati and wild rice with chickpeas, currants and herbs

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If we had one regret with this recipe it was that we were short on fresh coriander. But never mind, this dish might also be described as “the jam”, and indeed it went exceptionally well with the roast cauliflower salad. It also fits well into the “vegetarian main course” category, and as omnivore Sam said, it proves that vegetarian food can stand alone.

Kohlrabi, carrot and radish salad

Kohlrabi, carrot & radish salad. Complete!

This dish was perhaps the odd man out. It was more of a pickle than a salad, and as a pickle lover, I think it was my most favourite dish of all. It involves massaging the veg with salt and sugar until the juices release, then letting them sit in their juices for 30 minutes before draining.

Finishing the job we started yesterday: @ottolenghi's kohlrabi, carrot & radish salad in progress.

The veg then gets tossed with an unusual combination of poppy seeds, crushed fennel, lime juice, parsley and mint. It rocked my world, and made me REALLY want a mandolin slicer.

As we finished up our Ottolenghi weekend, I asked Sam if I could look at Jerusalem and take a snap of the recipes we made, but as I flicked through the pages, I found myself bookmarking recipe after recipe. This is definitely a cookbook to own and cook from again and again. There’s already talk of going aubergine style this weekend with his recipes for burnt aubergine and chermoula aubergine with yoghurt and bulgar. Yes, I know there are other cookbooks to try and chefs to learn from, but the thing is, there’s so rarely a miss with Ottolenghi. And furthermore, each dish is like a learning experience in flavour and texture combinations. That much of it is vegetarian is just a bonus (in fact, all of these dishes were vegan but for the kohlrabi salad which included fish sauce, but that’s optional).

Thanks to Sam and Shipton Mill for all the veg, to Riverford for my precious kohlrabi of intrigue and to Julio Hevia for the sourdough bread. Look out for more delicious results from Shipton’s biodynamic farm in blog posts to come. It’s summer glut time, prime opportunity to indulge my obsession with pickles!

Pistachio and Cranberry Veggie Roast

Pistachio & Cranberry Veggie Roast

I’m back in Chicago for Christmas and have been happily very busy, mostly with things involving food. As I’ve written previously, I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect veggie roast. Thanksgiving was good practise – and great fun – but Christmas adds an extra layer of “special” since I’ll be spending it with my family.

The veggie loaf I’ve settled on is this Pistachio and Cranberry “Nut Roast”, adapted from Anna Jones’ recipe in the Jamie Oliver magazine of all places. But I really do love it. She bills it as a “nutroast”, but there’s a whole lot more going here – a risotto-style base of barley (or arborio rice), mushrooms, cheese, pistachios of course, plus lots of Christmassy herbs like rosemary and sage. The best part, though, is the cranberry “glaze” on top that makes it actually look pretty appealing, rather than just a vomitty-colored lump of congealedness on a plate. Plus, cranberries are great with pistachios. And cooking the rice in a risotto-like manner with white wine, wild mushrooms and porchini mushrooms gives the loaf that super umami flavour that you really need on Christmas.

I made this for the Thanksgiving crew and everyone enjoyed it. I’ve adapted it slightly to include lentils for added texture. A slice of this veggie roast requires cashew gravy and, if you’re me, my aunt’s killer cranberry chutney.

Pistachio and Cranberry Veggie Roast
 

Ingredients
  • A small handful of dried porcini
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 red onions, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 90g risotto rice or pearl barley
  • 60g puy lentils
  • 100ml white wine
  • 500ml hot vegetable stock
  • 200g mixed wild mushrooms
  • 100g pistachios, toasted
  • 100g almonds, toasted
  • A handful of breadcrumbs from sourdough or ciabatta
  • 50g strong cheddar cheese, grated
  • 225g ricotta cheese
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 sprigs each of sage, rosemary and thyme, leaves picked and chopped
  • 2 tbsp soft light brown sugar
  • 200g fresh cranberries

Instructions
  1. Cook the puy lentils in boiling water until al dente, then drain and set aside.
  2. While the lentils are cooking, make the risotto base: Soak the dried porcini in a little boiling water. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pan over a low heat. Add the celery and onion and cook for 10 minutes, until soft and sweet. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two.
  3. Turn up the heat and add the rice. Cook for a minute or so until you hear it snap, crackle and pop, then add the wine and stir until absorbed.
  4. Drain the porcini, sieve any grit from the liquid and add this to the risotto pan, stirring until absorbed. Finely chop the porcini and add to the pan.
  5. Add the hot stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring each one in until it has been completely absorbed, about 20 minutes. Stir as much as you can – this is what will make it creamy. Once the rice is al dente (when you break into a grain, it should be almost cooked through but still have a white fleck in the middle), transfer to a bowl to cool.
  6. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F. Fry the wild mushrooms in a little olive oil over a medium heat for 5–10 minutes, until they are just starting to crisp. Bash the nuts into coarse pieces, or quickly pulse in a food processor.
  7. Once the risotto has cooled, add all other ingredients except the sugar and cranberries, season, and mix well.
  8. Butter a 20cm loaf tin and line the bottom with greaseproof paper. Cook the sugar and the cranberries in a pan over a medium heat for 1–2 minutes, then tip into the tin and spread evenly. Pile on the nut-roast mixture and pack it down with the back of a spoon.
  9. Cover the whole thing with foil and bake for 45 minutes, then remove the foil and cook for a further 15 minutes. Once it’s golden brown on top, remove the nut roast from the oven and leave to settle for 10 minutes.
  10. Use a knife to loosen the tin, then place your serving platter or board on top. Cover your hand with a tea towel and flip the whole lot over, then carefully lift the tin off. Serve with cashew gravy and all the trimmings.

 

Image credit: Many thanks to Emily for snapping the above picture on Thanksgiving. A very happy moment captured!