It seems everyone has been given a copy of Yotam Ottolenghi’s latest cookbook, Simple, for Christmas.
Yes, I am also a lucky recipient of his new work.
Ottolenghi has certainly had an impact on the food scene worldwide. He came to professional cooking late in life having
first completed a masters degree in literature after being conscripted into the Israeli defence force.
When he was aged nearly 30 he moved to London to study French cooking at Le Cordon Bleu.
He then worked as a pastry chef at Michelin star restaurants in London before opening a deli with partner Sami Tamimi. The rest is history.
He has gone on to open several successful restaurants in London, produce cooking documentaries and write wonderful cookbooks.
I’m not here to give you a Wikipedia page on Ottolenghi, so that’s enough of his background. I simply like his cooking and have always been a believer in his idea to “celebrate vegetables or pulses without making them taste like meat, or as complements to meat, but to be what they are. It does no favour to vegetarians, making vegetables second best.”
There is nothing worse than preparing or disguising food to make it look like another. It is impossible to produce a vegetarian sausage.
With that thought in mind, his first few cookbooks were heavily vegetarian based. The new book contains more
meat and fish recipes as well as brunch and dessert ideas.
I cooked the mustardy cauliflower and the ricotta oregano meatballs in a tomato sauce soon after Christmas.
Along with a green salad, it was a perfect combination.
The ricotta in the meatballs really does make them lighter and able to carry the other flavours. I added some lemon zest to the recipe in the book which follows.