28 September 2013

{Just Photos} Oh Ottolenghi

Well that’s 6 months gone fast, just like that in a haze of luscious greens, fritters, pasta, vibrant salads, chocolate & of course a little cake. Each week I have discovered something else delicious to concoct via Ottolenghi.  It certainly has been fun to spend so much time with one of my favourite chefs, though I am not sure chef covers it.  More a master of greens & an alchemist with flavours. So here is a round up of the last 6 months.

What a way with greens, luscious & alluring...

Green Pancakes with Lime Butter...the green, spinach packed pancakes are delicous but it is that chilli lime butter melting over the top that makes these so terribly moreish. Make extras as they will all be scoffed!

Green Couscous...perhaps the most popular Ottolenghi post these last 6 months. The green being pistachios, spring onions, jalapeños, rocket, parsley, coriander, tarragon, dill & mint. This is one that will likely grace many a BBQ this Summer.

Herb Pie... a pie pack full of greens & where herbs are the star; parsley, mint & dill. An encore of this pie on the cards in the kitchen today.

Chard & Saffron Omelettes; saffron infused potatoes & lots of chard wrapped up in paper thin omelettes flecked with thyme, chives & parsley

There was more Swiss chard with these Swiss Chard Fritters, what better way to get your greens?

And there were more fritters...Ottolenghi is a master of the the fritter.  This is my new favourite way to have cauliflower; Cauliflower & Cumin Fritters with Lime Yoghurt

The fritter a nice segue way to these Sweet Potato Cakes

Want to make your salads more vibrant & bursting with flavour?

Chicken, Saffron & Herb Salad - light & bright & herbs again the stars.

Fresh Figs with Manchego & Honey - a few ingredients thrown together make for perfect combination of flavours & textures,

The Ultimate Winter Couscous will brighten up the colder, darker days.

Spicy Beetroot, Leek & Walnut Salad...pretty as a picture & full of flavours & textures.  Sweet, earthy, nutty & little spicy.

Romaine, Pineapple & Gorgonzola Salad...who would have thought that pineapple & blue cheese would be a match made in heaven? This is one I will want to eat again & again & again....

Seafood, Fennel & Lime Salad...bright & fresh with welcome pop of tartness from a scattering of pomegranate seeds.

Ottolenghi also made me love aubergines with these golden & crunchy little croquettes

And there was of course a little comfort food...

Pasta being one of my favourite comfort foods, this one hit the spot; Saffron Tagliatelle with Spiced Butter I love pasta but this one really had me at spiced butter!  

Mejadra...rice, lentils, & caramelised onion; simplicity itself.

A Very Full Tart that delivered all the comfort of a pie plus a good portion of your 5+ a day.

You can’t really go past roast chicken when it comes to comfort; Roast Chicken with Hazelnuts, Honey & Saffron

There were then of course a few sweet treats along the way.

Almond & Orange Blossom Florentines.  Crunchy & nutty & just a little exotic.

Dark Chocolate Mousse with Bailey’s Cream; this one had me at dark chocolate.  This one is most definitely for the chocolate lovers out there.

And if you are looking for a little slice of something alongside your afternoon cuppa then this Semolina, Coconut & Marmalade Cake will hit the spot.

But my favourite....the flavours of this dish all come together & explode in your mouth, sweet, tangy, zest & a hit of chilli...perfection.

So for now it is time to maybe give some of my other cook books a little attention.  If you are looking for a little Ottolenghi inspiration head over here.


26 September 2013

Good For You:Vegetable Burgers with Coriander Cream

So I felt like burgers, but thought I’d veer away from the usual beef & I ended up with chickpeas & lentils.  Maybe a little too veggie for some but I love lentils.  For me they are my ultimate comfort food especially when they are the star attraction in my Mum’s lentil soup, which is the best soup..truly! I have tried many a time to replicate it & much as I make a pretty great lentil soup it is never quite the same as Mum’s.  Every year she is here to visit I have her make a batch for the freezer so that I have comfort on hand until the next visit.  So I thought why not give them a whirl in a burger & I’d spotted what look like some tasty suspects in Dr Libby’s Real Food Chef.  So here you have them my spin on comforting yet good for you burgers.

Vegetable Burgers with Coriander Cream, adapted from Dr Libby’s Real Food Chef

Serves 4


For the burgers

1 cup red lentils
750ml water
1 can chickpeas, lightly mashed
1 tbsp fresh ginger grated
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp olive oil plus a little more for frying
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp garam masala
1 pinch chilli flakes
3/4 cup breadcrumbs plus a few more to coat the burgers
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup coriander, chopped
Salt & pepper

For the coriander cream

3/4 cup raw cashews, unsalted
1/2 cup water
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp cumin
2 tbsp coriander leaves
Salt & pepper


Rinse the lentils & place them in a medium sized saucepan with the water & bring to the boil.  Skim off any impurities & simmer for about 15 minutes or until the lentils are tender.  Rinse, drain & place them in a large bowl with the chick peas.  Add the ginger & egg & mix well to combine.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, add the onions & garlic, season with a little pinch of salt & sauté until they are soft & translucent.  Add the cumin, garam masala & chilli flakes & sauté for a few moments more.

Add the onion mixture & the breadcrumbs to the lentils & chickpeas & mix well.  Add the parsley & coriander, season with salt & pepper & mix to combine everything together.

Divide the mixture in to 10 portions & pat them in to patties.  Gently coat each side of the patties with the additional breadcrumbs.*

Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat & fry a couple of burgers at a time until they golden brown & crispy on each side.  4-5 minutes each side.  Keep them warm in the oven while you fry the rest.

For the coriander cream place the cashews in the bowl of a food processor & pulse until well ground. Add the water, lemon juice, cumin, salt & pepper.  Pulse until you have a smooth cream.  Fold in the coriander & serve with the burgers.

*At this point you could pop them in the freezer, then just thaw before you fry them.

The lentils & chickpeas make these burgers so satisfying, golden crispy crunch on the outside, soft & aromatic on the inside. The coriander cream adding a little aromatic freshness.

If you like this you might like this A Side of Onion Rings with your burger? Yes Please!
Two years ago Chocolate Caramel Tart
Three years ago Tasty Thai


23 September 2013

Bookshelf:The Green Kitchen Red Pepper & Rosemary Spread

A new favourite cookbook made it’s way in to my hands the other week; The Green Kitchen by David Frenkiel & Luise Vindahl.  Better know to food bloggers behind Green Kitchen Stories.  If you love good, nourishing, flavourful food alongside stunning photography then you should head over there to check it out. In their own word The Green Kitchen is “delicious & healthy vegetarian recipes for every day”.

My introduction to this cookbook was at a cooking class with Felicity at Cook the Books.  And what a great introduction, great in that Felicity whipped up some of the dishes from the book.

To kick things off a virgin mojito followed by quinoa cauliflower & ramsons* cakes, well spinach for us a no ramsons here in NZ.  This is almost as good a way to eat cauliflower as these cauliflower & cumin fritters.  Fritters definitely seem to be cauliflowers calling.

*Ramsons: Allium ursinum – known as ramsons, buckrams, wild garlic, broad-leaved garlic, wood garlic, bear leek or bear's garlic – it is a wild relative of chives native to Europe and Asia. Sweet & astringent like leeks, onions, spring onions & chives.  The little white flowers pretty & edible too.

Next up a fennel & coconut tart, this one also gluten free.  The crust made with rice flour, chestnut flour & potato flour for a rustic, nutty flavour.  Being Cook the Books we weren’t finished there.  We also got to sample some fragrant hazelnut, aubergine & mushroom parcels  my favourite of the night a twist on risotto; mascarpone beanotto with mushrooms & spinach.  This is comfort food; hot, earthy & just a little creamy it was a dish that you just want to eat a little bit more of, and a little bit more of....

But wait there was more, dessert of course! Decadent beetroot & chocolate cake & decadent it was, chocolaty of course, rich & not too sweet it was most definitely my kind of cake.  A good dollop of homemade mascarpone was the cherry on the top so to speak.

This book is full of dishes that I want to try, but what I have been enjoying this past week is this red pepper & rosemary spread.  Packed full of roasted red peppers, a little cayenne, toasted sunflower seeds & rosemary it is sweet yet a little herby &  it goes with just about everything!  Spread a top some crackers, on top of some Swiss chard fritters or vegetable burgers,on the side with some grilled chicken I have been eating it just about every day.

Red Pepper & Rosemary Spread from The Green Kitchen


3 large red peppers, halved & seeded
75g / 2.5oz / 2/3 cup sunflower seeds
Pinch of cayenne
Juice of a half a lemon
2 sprigs rosemary, leaves picked
Salt & pepper


Pre heat oven to 200C / 400F

Place the peppers on a baking tray, pop in the oven & roast for about 40 minutes or until a little blackened & charred.  Remove them from the oven & set them aside to cool.

Heat a frying pan over a medium heat, add the sunflower seeds, cayenne & salt & toast for a few minutes.  Just lightly toast them.  Once the peppers are cool peel off the skins & then roughly chop them.

Place the peppers in the bowl of a food processor along with the sunflower seeds, lemon juice & rosemary & puree until smooth.  Taste & season with salt & pepper.

Place the spread in an airtight jar, pop it in the fridge & it will keep for a couple of weeks...if it lasts that long...

It is bright & fresh, sweet & a little mellow; a very friendly little condiment that is the perfect companion to all sorts; crackers*, frittatas, chicken, fish...well you get the drift.

If you like this you might like this Marinated Peppers with Pecorino
One year ago A Taste of Persia
Three years ago Supper Club #3


21 September 2013

Cauliflower & Cumin Fritters with Lime Yogurt from Ottolenghi the Cookbook

I can’t believe that we are almost at the end of 6 months of cooking Ottolenghi at I Heart Cook Clubs.  It seems only a moment ago we were at the midway point & all of a sudden after this week of Pot Luck there is only 1 week to go.  These 6 Ottolenghi months have flown by & it have been filled with many delicious concoctions from one of my favourite chefs.  Each month I have discovered wonderful new flavour combinations  & quite a few fritters & pancakes; Swiss chard fritters, sweet potato cakes & green pancakes.  So as we come the end it felt right to include just one more.

Now I am not a huge cauliflower fan.  Like most people I like it covered in cheese sauce, but that is more about the cheese rather than the cauliflower.  Just boiled or steamed I find it a little bland, a little uninspiring.  Enter Ottolenghi, like with greens he can elevate cauliflower to alluring heights that will tempt & tantalise.  That is where these cauliflower & cumin fritters come in, possibly the best way to eat some cauliflower.

Cauliflower & Cumin Fritters with Lime Yogurt from Ottolenghi the Cookbook

*The only tweak a little less oil.  Ottolenghi suggests 1.5cm deep oil, I just used a couple of tablespoons & they fried up just perfectly.

Serves 4


1 small cauliflower, about 320g
120 grams (1 cup) plain flour
3 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus a few extra leaves to garnish
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 shallots, finely chopped
4 eggs
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
A little sunflower oil or rice bran oil to fry

Lime Sauce...
300 grams Greek yogurt
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander
Grated zest of one lime
2 tbsp of lime juice
2 tbsp of olive oil
Salt and pepper


Place all the sauce ingredients in a medium sized bowl & whisk until all combined in to a smooth sauce.  Taste & adjust the seasoning if need be. Chill or leave out for up to one hour to allow the flavours to meld.*

*I found this sauce was even better if left longer in the fridge, it becomes all the more tangy & limey.

To prepare the cauliflower, trim off any leaves & use a small knife to divide the cauliflower into little florets.  Add the florets to a large pan of boiling salted water & simmer for 15 minutes or until very soft. Drain into a colander.

While the cauliflower is cooking, place the flour, parsley, garlic, shallots, eggs, spices, salt & pepper in a medium sized bowl & whisk together. When the batters is smooth & well combined add the warm cauliflower.  Mix with a fork to break down the cauliflower into the batter.

Pour the oil into a large frying pan over a medium high heat.  Once heated spoon in generous portions of the cauliflower mixture, 2-3 tablespoons per fritter. Take care with the hot oil & space the fritters apart; don't overcrowd the pan. Fry the fritters in small batches & just watch temperature so that the fritters don't burn. They should take about 3 minutes on each side.
Remove from the pan & drain on a few layers of kitchen paper.  Keep the fritter warm in a low oven while you fry the rest.

Serve with the sauce on the side.

These little fritters are quite the tasty treat.  The cauliflower is the star, made all the better spiked with cinnamon, cumin & turmeric.  The lime & yoghurt sauce adds a welcome zesty tang.  So, if like me, you are not a huge fan of cauliflower I really recommend you give this little fritters a try.  For more Ottolenghi inspiration over at I Heart Cooking Clubs head over here.

If you like these you might like this Zuchinni Mint & Feta Fritters


16 September 2013

Spelt & Millet Bread

Last weekend I took myself off to Mana Retreat in the Coromandel for a weekend yoga retreat.  Mana is an idyllic little sanctuary nestled up on the hills, over looking the sea,  just south of Coromandel Town.  It is a beautiful spot, part of an 120 hectare farm, the retreat itself all made with natural timber to keep in tune with the surrounding environment.

After a busy month or two it was time for some relaxing & reviving so Friday afternoon I left the city & headed on a little road trip for the hills.  I had been once before to Juliet Forch’s retreat, 3 years ago, oddly enough just after I started writing this blog & it was actually the subject of one of my very early posts, that & the delicious food we ate over the course of the weekend.  They grow much of their own; so it is a feast of beautiful organic produce made up in to vibrant & delicious vegetarian meals. It was the same this weekend; so you you leave feeling, calm, relaxed, revived & very well nourished.  For our yoga practices we were in the 156 square metre octagon that looks right out over Mana’s gardens & the ocean; really the perfect spot to get away from it all & just breath.

It was again an idyllic weekend away from it all.  Meeting some lovely new people & catching up with a few familiar faces from my last trip to Mana. Juliet teaches yoga focussing on natural movement with close attention to alignment. This weekend was all about our poor, often neglected psoas muscle.  We can’t see it as it is hidden away deep inside & we often can’t flex or release it even though it is so essential to out core being the only muscle that connects our spine to our legs; so this weekend was about giving it a little TLC & learning to release it.  Hello constructive rest...I could stay there for quite some time, I may indeed have dosed off a couple of times I was so relaxed.  Mana tends to have that effect on you.  I am hoping I can retain the calmness with some regular visits down to Juliet’s studio in Papakura.

So there is the nurturing environment, the yoga & then there is the food! Ah the food...bright, fresh, vibrant salads, nourishing & tasty frittatas & polenta pies & dessert!  Always a little room for dessert & the apple crumble was heavenly! Not too sweet & a wonderfully crunchy crumbly topping packed full of nuts.

A Mana Cookbook is currently a work in progress & in the meantime we a little mini book to keep us going.  Sadly this bread is not the bread I gorged on over the weekend as that is a secret family recipe but it is a tasty little loaf.  Light but satisfying, a good way to start the day.

Mana Retreat's Spelt & Millet Bread

Makes 2 small loaves


1 tbsp dried yeast
1/2 tsp runny honey
2 cups warm water
3 cups wholemeal spelt flour
1 cup white spelt flour
1 cup ground amaranth ( Huckleberry were out of ground amaranth so I used quinoa flour)
1 cup ground millet
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt

*Spelt is an ancient form of wheat that is less refined than most, so it contains only a little gluten


Place the yeast, water & honey in a bowl & sit it in a warm place for 10 minutes or until it becomes frothy.

Place all the dry ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer with the dough hook attached. Add the wet ingredients to the dry & mix until all the ingredients come together & knead for 5 minutes or until the dough becomes smooth. If it is a little to dry add a little more water, if a little too wet just add a little bit more flour.

Place the dough in a large oiled bowl, cover & leave to rise until it has doubled in size; an hour or so. Remove the dough from the bowl, knead again for a moment or 2 & then divide the dough in too.

Place the loaves in to 2 small, greased loaf tins & bake for 35-40 minutes in a 170C / 325F oven.  The loaves are ready when you tap them & they sound hollow.  Turn them out, wait a few minute of you can, slice & butter!

These are lovely little loaves, fair & golden the spelt flour make them a little light, the millet adding just a little texture & the quinoa an additional burst of ancient goodness.  Hot with melted butter & a little raspberry jam they went down a treat with an afternoon cuppa.

If you like this you might like this Crusty White Bread
Three years ago Supper Club #4


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...