I had been hearing a lot of good things about the cookbook Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi and decided to check it out on Amazon. I've never seen so many raving reviews for a book. At the time, every review was a five star, but since then a few lower ratings have been added but the five stars greatly outnumber the rest.
I ended up buying it at my local bookstore and I'm now in agreement with all the five star reviews. The recipes are fresh and original. Most of them are unlike anything I've seen before.
The front cover: Eggplant with Buttermilk Sauce and Pomegranate
Lemon and Goat Cheese Ravioli
The recipes are so mouth-watering that you might not even notice that they are all meatless. Ottolenghi isn't a vegetarian himself, but he writes a weekly column for the Guardian entitled, The New Vegetarian.
Royal Potato Salad
I've since made two recipes from the book and was happy with the results.
I started with the very simple Asparagus Mimosa.
The recipe calls for quail's eggs but I've never seen them in a grocery store so I doubted they'd be easy to find in Saskatoon. I used regular eggs instead. You can find a similar recipe on the Sunday Times website. No need for an egg slicer, you can just grate them with a cheese grater - the eggs are slippery little buggers but the grater does the trick.
As I said yesterday, I'm clearly no food stylist, but I'm always pretty pleased when my plate looks similar to that in the cookbook.
The second recipe I tried was a bit more daunting - Stuffed Onions.
The prep work for this one was a bit time consuming but worth the effort. The onions are stuffed with a mixture of chopped tomato, breadcrumbs, feta, parsley (I omitted), olive oil, green onion, garlic, salt and pepper.
These are the onions before they go to the oven...
....and after. A couple of them exploded, but most of them stayed surprisingly intact.
If you're hungry for some of Ottolenghi's recipes, they can be found on both The Guardian, and on his website. He also has a blog which includes photos that Anthony Bourdain would rightly refer to as food porn. Here are just a few that make my stomach grumble....
Gawd I just love homemade Mac 'n' Cheese...it's something I don't make often enough.
This one is clearly not vegetarian...
Those little green guys on the strawberry cake are pistachios.
And there are even more great photos on the website. The food looks so amazing that my next trip to London will definitely include a meal at one of his four locations.