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Cookbook evokes flavours of Jerusalem

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Copy of ST AD Jerusalem book cover

JERUSALEM

Authors: Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

Publishers: Random House Struik

Price: R415

Reviewed by: Jenny Kay

I discovered Ottolenghi restaurants a few years ago when I was in London. I fell in love with their food. Now, whenever I visit London, I make a point of popping into one of them and I have never been disappointed.

When owners Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi brought out their first cookbook, Ottolenghi, I was thrilled as I was able to make many of their wonderful dishes. Their next book Plenty was also inspiring, filled with recipes where the focus was on fresh veggies.

The new, much-lauded Jerusalem is quite different. It documents the journey of the authors in the city where they were born and raised – Sami in the Muslim, east part of the city, and Yotam in the Jewish west.

Although they met only years later in London, they discovered they shared a food heritage. This inspired them to open the chain of Ottolenghi restaurants .

Every recipe has a story attached to it, either relating to the person who inspired it or local ingredients.

The book is filled with lovely illustrations of everyday life in Jerusalem and mouthwatering recipes. I have already made a few of them and look forward to cooking my way through the rest.

If you are bored with bland butternut then this recipe will inspire you as it did me.

ROASTED BUTTERNUT AND RED ONION WITH TAHINI AND ZA’ATAR

Serves 4

1 large butternut. cut into wedges

2 red onions, cut into 3cm wedges

50ml olive oil

50ml tahini paste

25ml lemon juice

30ml water

1 clove of garlic, crushed

30g pine nuts

15ml za’atar spice

15ml chopped parsley

salt and pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.

Put the butternut and red onions in a bowl and add 45ml of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Place slices on a baking tray with the skin facing down. Roast for 30-40 minutes until the butternut has taken on some colour and is tender. Check the onions and if they are cooked before the butternut, remove them. When the butternut is soft, remove it and cool.

To make the sauce, place the tahini in a small bowl along with the lemon juice, water, garlic and a pinch of salt. Whisk until the sauce has the consistency of honey. Add more water or tahini if necessary.

Heat the remaining oil in a small frying pan and add the pine nuts with a pinch of salt and fry gently until golden brown. Remove and cool. Take care as these burn easily.

Spread the vegetables on a large platter and drizzle over the tahini. Sprinkle over the pine nuts, za’atar and parsley before serving.

* Tahini paste is sold at larger supermarkets and health shops. Za’atar is sold at Indian spice shops. - The Star


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