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Posts Tagged ‘Ottolenghi Plenty’

We’ve been cooking regularly for vegetarian friends this year, using recipes from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Guardian column and his new cookbook, Plenty.  Every dish has been an unqualified success – hearty and satisfying, with subtle, interesting flavours.

Last night’s dinner was perhaps the best to date.  We began with Ottolenghi’s two potato vindaloo, a tasty combination of sweet and waxy potatoes,  tomatoes, capsicums and shallots, flavoured with an array of spices.

This was paired with a new rice dish from the Guardian website. Instead of  mixing wild rice and Basmati as specified, we substituted smoked rice that we’d purchased a few months ago in Marrickville. The  flavours matched the vindaloo perfectly.  It was simple to construct – drained tinned chick peas and spices were fried briefly, and then combined with the cooked rice, currants, herbs and fried onions.

Our third dish of the night was Ottolenghi’s beetroot, yoghurt and preserved lemon relish, made with fresh roma tomatoes instead of tinned.  Served with yoghurt, it was a perfect accompaniment to the other two dishes!

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We made black pepper tofu from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty last Friday night – it was rich, sticky and flavoursome.  The recipe can be found on the Guardian’s New Vegetarian blog, and we followed it to the letter.  Interestingly, the Guardian photo looks nothing like the photo in the book (which our pic above closely resembles) – perhaps the editors felt an all black dish might not appeal?

Do be aware that this is a very spicy dish – we cut the peppercorns down to three tablespoons instead of  five (!!) and reduced the number of chillies.  It still packed a punch!

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Yesterday, inspired by our success the previous night, we tried another recipe from Plenty.  These sweet potato cakes were easy to make and delicious with their accompanying yoghurt sauce (we omitted the sour cream as we didn’t have any on hand).  We served them as a side with our roast lamb dinner, but they would have made a great vegetarian starter or main course.

As the cookbook is a compilation of recipes from Ottolenghi’s Guardian column, this recipe can also be found online.

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Everyone has their culinary bugbear – some can’t bake cakes, others struggle with pastry, and many are put off by tempering chocolate.  For us, it’s always been homemade pasta.  That’s not to say we haven’t thrown time and money at trying to get it right, but each attempt has turned out stodgy, floury and brittle.

So it was with some trepidation that we decided to try a recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s new cookbook, Plenty.   But oh, we were so delighted with the results!  The pasta was mixed in minutes in our large food processor, and passed easily through the rollers and cutters without the usual shredding and crumbling.

We began with four eggs from our girls, and gifts from friends – a small box of saffron from James and a knob of turmeric that Diana grew in her backyard.  The recipe specifies ground turmeric, but Di’s fresh version was too good to pass up.

The finished dough was a glorious golden yellow…

  • 440g pasta flour or 00 flour
  • 4 large free range eggs
  • 4 tablespoons (80ml) boiling water
  • 4 tablespoons (80ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 scant teaspoons saffron threads
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric (we used grated fresh)

1. In a medium sized bowl, soak the saffron threads in the boiling water for ten minutes, then stir in the turmeric and olive oil.  Add the eggs and beat well to combine.

2. Place the flour in the large bowl of a heavy duty food processor and, with the motor running, gradually pour the egg and oil mixture through the chute.  Pulse the food processor until the ingredients are thoroughly mixed and start to come together.

3. Tip the dough and any loose flour onto a clean bench and knead briefly until smooth.  Wrap snuggly in a plastic bag, and then rest the dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or up to one day.

4. Cut the rested dough into four pieces, keeping three covered as you work the first one. Shape the small ball into a long rectangle, then pass it through the rollers of a pasta machine, starting with the thickest setting.  Pass the sheet through, fold it, and pass it through again – repeating this process a few times to give the dough strength.

5. Once the pasta is elastic and doesn’t tear or crumble through the rollers, gradually reduce the  settings until it reaches the desired thickness.  Flour the thin sheet of pasta well, then either cut it into strips with a knife, or pass it through the cutting blades of the pasta machine.  Hang the noodles up while you process the remaining dough – we used a laundry rack, but I think tradition dictates a wooden dowel supported between two kitchen chairs!

This pasta cooks in mere minutes in salted boiling water, and we served it with slivered almonds, mint, parsley and the spiced butter and shallot sauce which accompanied the recipe in the cookbook.  Truly superb vegetarian fare!

PS. We’ve repeated this recipe without the turmeric and saffron and found it works perfectly well for “everyday” egg pasta.  The quantities given above make approximately 750g of pasta dough.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe

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