The Bottom Line
- Chapters cleverly organised by ingredient
- Stunning photography
- Clear, well written recipes
- Suitable for vegetarians, though not written for vegetarians.
- Suitable for cooking year-round
- Some ingredient lists very long
- A few ingredients only available in specialist shops
- Yotam Ottolenghi
- Published by Ebury Press £25.00
- ISBN 978-0-09193-368-5
Guide Review - Cook Book Review - Yotam Ottolenghi - Plenty
My first reaction was the clean, understated cover gives the impression here comes another cheffy-tome, and to some extent it is looking at the length of some recipes. What it does extremely cleverly though is reach across any divide and invite everyone in. Recipes cover every skill base, and even the most experienced professional can't fail to be inspired by Ottolenghi's work.
Ottolenghi's trademark is his use of everyday ingredients in imaginative ways and draws on his love of ingredients and far-ranging, eclectic culinary influences. Ottolenghi hails from Israel before a radical shift from working on the news desk of an Israeli daily to London, and the role of chef-in-training. The rest as they say is history and he now has his own eponymous group of restaurants with branches in Notting Hill, Islington, Kensington and Belgravia.
The emphasis is on veggies but chapters also include pulses, cereals, pasta, polenta, couscous and a final chapter on fruit with cheese. As Yotam himself describes in the introduction - at the centre of every dish, at the beginning of the thought process is an ingredient one ingredient - not just any ingredient but one of my favourite ingredients. I tend to set off with this central element and then try to elaborate on it, enhance it, bring it out in a new way, while still keeping it in the centre, at the heart of the final dish. This he does with a deftness of hand rarely seen in a cookbook (Nigel Slater has a similar talent).
Mention must also go to the stunning photography. Food pictures from photographer Jonathan Lovekin are one of the highlights of this book. His ability to capture real food, make it so delectable that I want to lick the page is extraordinary. He is one of the best food photographers around.
I have rarely seen a book that has inspired me from page one and sent me into a near frenzy at the end, the frenzy being there aren't enough hours in the day to cook everything from the book.