I’ve expressed this form of love before and here I go at it again. Yes, it is Yotam Ottolenghi yet again along with his baking partner Helen Goh who have me in raptures. Well, it is not really them, but their “Pistachio and Rose Water Semolina Cake” that was just featured in the New York Times that has me all excited.
Just reading the list of ingredients (pistachio, rose-water, lemon juice, almond meal and more) had me in the car on an assembly spree.
And this afternoon, as the pistachios whirred in the food processor and the smell of rose-water wafted in my kitchen, I almost felt like I had been blessed with a virtual visit from the talented powerhouse of Goh and Ottolenghi.
If one could describe the ideal dessert as one where beauty makes a connection with the soul, this has got to be it.
Just a few words of warning!
This does not follow my penchant for light dishes.
True to its middle eastern origin, the cake is sweet and blends in many an exotic flavor. So if you want to get on a magic carpet and take a ride with a subliminal blend of tastes, here’s the way to get on this trip.
Can I make a confession? I’m a baby about my birthdays! For many years now, I’ve made a resolution to not work on my birthday and fill the day surrounded by the people, activities and food I love. And every year I look forward to the 24 hours dedicated to me. But this time around, I decided to extend the celebration to 192 hours. That’s right, eight days of eating my way through London with my teenaged daughter and her dear friend for company.
Now, this was going to be no random Eatathon. I had a wish list of five places I definitely wanted to hit up on my trip. Places where tables tend to get booked up months ahead of time. And here I was with my air tickets to London purchased barely two weeks away from D-day! OpenTable and the phone became my best friends as I wrangled my way to reservations at all five. With those anchors set, I scoured my way through bookmarked clippings from food and travel magazines, Time Out London, and other sources to create a list of restaurants by neighborhood that served amazing meals at not too exorbitant prices. This list was vetted by my travel companions, and the end product was a list accented with highlights and bold colors. We were ready to forage our way through London!
The first stop on this journey was a dream come true. NOPI, a restaurant by one of my favorite chefs, Yottam Ottolenghi. He is the MAN who does vegetables like no other. The flavors, the seasoning, the fresh taste, the creativity…I could just go on and on.
My excitement entering in was like a kid who had been promised a trip to a candy store for a long time and now had permission to pick out anything she wanted. Let me walk you through a visual journey of what we ate! If I had to pick one word to describe the meal? Divine. Add another word? Magic! Tell you how I felt? Like Royalty. How was the taste? It was a like a perfectly orchestrated taste festival on my tongue. And my admiration for the creator of this culinary nirvana? Undying!
Stay tuned for our next post on this 192 hour food fueled journey through London!
On a recent Sunday morning in the UK, reading through the pages of the Guardian, I discovered a chef named Ottolenghi.
Yotam Ottolenghi as I discovered later is a Israeli born, European trained chef who writes a weekly column entitled The New Vegetarian for The Guardian. He owns several successful restaurants in London and is a bastion of bringing fresh flavors and foods together to create simple, healthy concoctions that please the palate and are good to the body.
On this occasion, he was waxing eloquence on the addition of coconut, “I must point out that the chewy texture of the freshly grated flakes contrasts brilliantly with the more yielding beans.” The dish being prepared was Sprouted Broccoli and Edamame Salad with Curry Leaves and Lime. Suffice it is to say that I wanted to eat the salad right there, but had none of the ingredients on hand.
Tonight, back home in the US, I recreated his vision in my kitchen. The fresh tender spears of broccolini complimented the crunchiness of the Edamame. The coconut, mustard seeds, red chilly, curry leaves and lime added zip and zang to an incredible fusion of beauty and flavors. The outcome was a dish that looked absolutely beautiful (see the picture above and tell me if you agree) and tasted like something you would be served in a tropical paradise many miles away.
If you can’t wait to get your hands on the recipe, just scroll towards the middle of the page on this link to bypass the chicken recipe and get to this one.
If you give the recipe a try, do drop us a line and let us know your experience. Stay tuned for more posts on awesome salads we’ve discovered as we continue to nurture the seeds of love for Ottolenghi.