Me: What would you like for dinner tomorrow night?
Sister: Something new!
With little hinting required, I received the book 'Jerusalem' by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi for Christmas. I had returned from a trip to London last summer raving about the food, displays, presentation and atmosphere of the Ottolenghi restaurant in Islington. All I needed was the right opportunity and sufficient encouragement to give some of the recipes a go.
|Sharing dishes of fattoush and hummus with lamb kwarma|
I picked four recipes - Na'ama's Fattoush (p.29), Fried Tomatoes with Garlic (p.50), Basic Hummus (p.114) to be used for the Hummus Kwarma (lamb) with lemon sauce (p.118). Also, although discussed in the book with no specific recipe (p.76), I made a Baba Ghanoush taking guidance from a David Lebovitz recipe on his website.
|Hummus with lamb kwarma|
I followed the recipes as accurately as possible. This is not my preferred modus operandi but the results were very impressive. The hummus was wonderfully smooth and creamy. The fattoush was fresh and light. (I suggest that there are strong similarities, and perhaps even historical links, between fattoush and Italian panzanella. I have yet to prove it but I did not have a lot of support for the idea on twitter!). The kwarma was a great match for hummus. Interestingly, I expected the fried tomatoes to be the background dish to all the others but they turned out to be a hit for both their simplicity and their flavour.
|Fried tomatoes with garlic|
Notably, the baba ghanoush requires 'burning' of the aubergine over a gas hob - nowhere near as messy or smelly as it sounds and definitely worthwhile. In principle, I am not a lover of the aubergine, but slowly.....every so slowly, I am coming around to it. Making the baba ghanoush was a big and very enjoyable step towards the aubergine revolution.
|Burning aubergine's to give the baba ghanoush smokiness|