Both Yotam and Sami were born in Jerusalem but grew up in totally different ways due to their religious background. Sami grew up in the Muslim Eastern part of the city, whereas Yotam grew up in the Jewish area of Western Jerusalem. Their lives parallel each others’ until they met in London where they started their business, Ottolenghi. It is their love of their birth city that inspired the book which shares the treasures the city has to offer. Jerusalem is one of the most diverse cities I’ve ever been to with so many different religions and cultures represented in such a small area. Commonly used ingredients tie these people together such as the use of tomatoes and cucumbers in salads, vegetables stuffed with rice and couscous. In Israel olive oil, lemon juice and olives are used extensively and I can remember eating the best dairy products ever at each meal. In this place, people eat seasonally and use local ingredients. Jerusalem starts with the history of the city and tells the story of the people, food and culture of Jerusalem. The recipes cover traditional age-old dishes to modernized ones inspired by the flavours of Jerusalem. The recipes themselves are interspersed with the history surrounding ingredients used, or the recipe itself.
Vegetables to me typify Israeli food and Na’ama’s Fattoush (p29) is a firm favourite. Za’atar is hyssop and is the base for the spice mix Za’atar (p34). From this chapter the recipes for lemony leek meatballs (p44); kohlrabi salad (p46), spiced chickpeas & fresh vegetable salad (p56), fried cauliflower with tahini (p60) and the roasted cauliflower & hazelnut salad (p62) all caught my eye. I was interested to read that shakshuka (p66) is actually Tunisian and in the recipe I created for Moroccan eggs at least had the addition of cumin correct. The recipe for tabbouleh (p85) reminds me of my visit to Australia where I first tasted this dish.
The section on pulses & grains includes a recipe for felafel (p99) and a basic hummus (p114) that includes bicarbonate of soda. In the chapter for soup recipes I want to try the cannellini bean & lamb soup (p135), the seafood & fennel soup (p136) and without a doubt, the tomato & sourdough soup (p143). The clear chicken soup with knaidlach (p145) will be perfect for making over Passover. I am not a huge fan of stuffed vegetables but I will try Ruth’s stuffed romano peppers (p165) and the stuffed potatoes (p169). When I visited Israel I was a vegetarian and so did not try any meat dishes. I think I missed out on a lot of great flavours such as roasted chicken with clementines & arak (p179), roasted chicken with Jerusalem artichoke & lemon (p180), saffron chicken & herb salad (p188) and chicken sofrito (p190). I want to make the kofta b’siniyah (p195), the beef meatballs with broad beans & lemon (p196), the braised eggs with lamb, tahini & sumac (p205) and the lamb shawarma (p211).
I have turned to my copy of this book often and the first dish I made from it was for chopped liver (p186). The live carp in Machne Yehuda market turned me from a pescatarian to a vegetarian in a flash so to catch up on the fish dishes I did not try, I will have to cook pan-fried mackerel with golden beetroot & orange salsa (p222), grilled fish skewers with hawayej & parsley (p226), prawns, scallops & clams with tomato & feta (p233). Savoury pastries are perfect for work lunches and I will take to the office red pepper & baked egg galettes (p243) or ka’ach bilmalch (p248). No recipe book would be complete without sweets and desserts to bake and I have to turn my hand to ghraybeh (p260), semolina, coconut & marmalade cake (p264), spiced cookies (p278), chocolate krantz cakes (p284), ma’amul (p288), and clementine & almond syrup cake (p294). Jerusalem ends with condiments and to add to my list of ones I have made previously such as my version of the preserved lemons (p303), I also want to make baharat (p299) and zhoug (p301).
Not every recipe has a photograph but the photographs of the city are stunning, invoking warm memories of my time spent there. I loved that the book includes stories told about each other from their own perspective. This is their third recipe book and took 18 months to complete.
What I blogged March 16:
- one year ago – Whisky Oats
- two years ago – The Dogs Of Littlefield
- four years ago – Snoek Pâté
- five years ago – Sprouts