Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love

Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love, written by Yotam Ottolenghi  and Noor Murad, was egged on by the Pandemic. The recipes were inspired by what was in their kitchen and is a guide to making the ordinary, extraordinary. This handbook has many recipes that are similar to others in the Ottolenghi collection, using ingredients I associate with Yotam, such as rose harissa.

Ottolenghi Test Kitchen Shelf Love
Relaxed, flexible home cooking from Yotam Ottolenghi and his superteam.
Whether they’re conjuring up new recipes or cooking for themselves at home, the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen team do what we all do: they raid their kitchens. But then, they turn whatever they find into approachable creations with an ‘Ottolenghi’ twist.
This instinct is in perfect sync with recent times, when we’ve all been standing in front of our kitchen shelves, our cupboards and our fridges, wondering what to cook with what we’ve got; how to put a can of chickpeas or a bag of frozen peas to good use, instead of taking an extra trip to the shops.
For the first time, the team welcome us into their creative space. These dishes pack all the punch and edge we expect from Ottolenghi, but offer more flexibility to make them our own, using what we’ve got to hand. There’s the ultimate guide to creamy dreamy hummus, a one-pan route to confit tandoori chickpeas and a tomato salad that rules them all.
This book is all about feeding ourselves and our families with less stress and less fuss, but with all the ‘wow’ of an Ottolenghi meal. It’s a notebook to scribble on and add to, to take its ethos and absolutely make it your own.
This is how to cook, the OTK way.
Soda Bread With Prunes
Chapters are divided into:
  • That one shelf in the back of your pantry
  • Your veg box
  • Who does the dishes
  • Fridge raid
  • The freezer is your friend
  • At the very end
Recipes that caught my eye:
  • Creamy dreamy hummus (p20)
  • Green cannellini and tahini (p27)
  • Soda bread with figs, star anise and orange (p41)
  • Green herb bagna cauda (p64)
  • Grilled courgettes with warm yoghurt and saffron butter (p75)
  • Burnt aubergine, tomato and tahini (p83)
  • Baked orzo puttanesca (p114)
  • Berbere spiced chicken, carrots and chickpeas (p117)
  • Carrot cake sandwich cookies (p212)
  • Upside-down lemon, maple and vanilla pudding (p218)
  • Frozen berries for little humans (p223)
  • Varena’s road trip cookies (p224)
Berbere Spiced Chicken
What I made:

I made the soda bread, using what was in my pantry, and used prunes instead of figs. This was so good, and so adaptable that it may become a regular feature at our table. Before I could make the Berbere spiced chicken I had to make the spice blend. The result was an extremely tasty dinner.

My impressions:

As the rules are meant to be broken, I love that there is space to write notes to make the recipes my own. It is basically an encouragement to build using the initial ideas provided in the book. The photographs look like they were taken as the dishes were made, as opposed to be styled, which I prefer.

Berbere Spice Blend
Publishing information:
ISBN 9781529109481
Format Hardback
Published October 2021

Penguin Random House South Africa sent me this recipe book to review.

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14 thoughts on “Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love

  1. With over 800 hundred dearly beloved cookery books on my library shelves I have understandably had a book moratorium going for a number of years. Love Ottolenghi – his food choices, his presentations . . . live on his Instagram offerings . . . Love the sound of this . . . juess where the next few clicks will take me . . . and friends ! Thank you !!!

  2. For some reason two I still hold dear after decades . . . the hugely sophisticated ‘horror’ actor Vincent Price and his beloved wife Mary’s tome and the Time-Life around the world series which were published every few months in the 60s or 70s . . . still the most accurate ‘lessons’ I possess !!!

    1. I must look to see what those are. I think recipes from around the world are always interesting. And it is fun to look back on ‘food trends’ 🙂

  3. Hi Tandy, what a great cookbook review. I love the creativity of their chapters. “That one shelf…” really spoke to me. And any book/recipe that encourages us to break away from the script has my vote. Looks like I’ll be getting another cookbook for my obsession, huh I mean collection. Btw, that soda bread looks amazing!

  4. i really must try to get into the ottolenghi thing some day. i just have never managed to check out his books or make a recipe. tho the recipes sound like my thing …

  5. Ottolenghi’s recipes are great … I have several of his books, but not the one you reviewed, and I like his newspaper recipe columns. I even had dinner once at one of his restaurants in London on a brief visit there a few years ago. The cake you baked looks great: the dessert offerings at the restaurant included PILES of various cakes!

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    1. We walked past his restaurant in London last month and in hindsight would have had a better meal there than where we chose to go. I must look out for his recipe column 🙂

  6. The pandemic has been inspirational to many including myself. I had been wanting to write a cookbook for many years and while I was stuck home during the beginning of the Pandemic, I finished and published Ottolenghi’s cookbooks and recipes are some of my favorites. Glad to know about this book and thanks for a wonderful review.

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