A REVIEW – Plenty More, Ottolenghi

Until recent years, I was not a believer in cookbooks because why pay for a book when one can scour the internet for free recipes?  Well, now that I have you gasping – fear not!  I’m not that person anymore.  A year ago, we bought Polpo & Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem book.  I now own all four Ottolenghi’s books.

REALLY PLEASED THAT THIS REVIEW MADE THE FOOD52 COMMUNITY PICKS LIST – CHECK IT OUT HERE!

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Plenty More builds on the vibrant veggie recipes of its prequel, Plenty.  I’ve read heard Ottolenghi speak and read his articles a few times; he writes a weekly column on vegetarian recipes in the Guardian.  He isn’t vegetarian, but felt that vegetables should not be limiting.  Unlike Jerusalem, these recipes don’t follow a specific ethnic cuisine. They draw from many flavours and interesting ingredients.  The layout of the book is very intriguing, chapters are categorised by cooking method – tossed, steamed, blanched, braised, grilled, roasted… and baked! I tried to do a variety of them.

I like that the flavours are asian, indian, middle-eastern in inspiration, but don’t commit to any of them! Ottolenghi is creative in substituting traditional ingredients with others, like who woulda though – courgette ‘baba ganoush’ or steaming aubergine with sesame and spring onion.

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Lentil with Hardboiled egg

This is one of my favourites in the book, also one of the simplest.  There was a fantastic balance of flavours and textures.  The bite of fresh red onion & herby coriander, contrasted with the heartiness of the lentil & earthy warm spice… Mmmm. I don’t know what my obsession is, but I love saying “there isn’t enough ACID,” in any dish we eat.  This dish has great acid to brighten the spice and tahini, it even brings out the sweetness in my coffee this morning. It was mentioned in the book that you can have the dish for breakfast or dinner. – I couldn’t think of a better breakfast.

I would say this is a 8.5/10. (if breakfast was only this good everyday! Satisfying)

 

Mixed Vegetables & Yoghurt with Green chili Oil 

A very similar recipe to a few of the other books.  In Jerusalem there is a roasted veg salad with a yogurt sauce that is quite similar.  This is a crowd pleaser, tastes great and flavours are amazing.  Yogurt and roast veggies are fantastic.  The extra heat from the green chili is adds to the dish.

I would say this is a 8/10. (solid results, dependable as a healthy good compliment to a meal)

 

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomello & Star Anise 

Attempted this recipe a few times, once with ruby grapefruit, which has a slightly more pronounced grapefruit flavour compared to the pomello.  Pomello can be drier or juicy depending on your selection skills.  This recipe wasn’t a favourite of ours. I was drawn to the asian influence of the ingredients (star anise, pomello, ) spicy & sweet.  It is exactly what you expect it to be, slightly odd with the brainy bitterness of the brussel sprouts, fresh citrus and a bit of sweet syrup with a christmasy sharpness.

I would say this is a 6/10. (consider the effort of obtaining the exotic ingredients and having it taste just, ok)

Sprouting Broccoli & Edamame Salad with curry leaves and coconut

I must’ve made this recipe three times, to ensure consistency.  I believe it has to do with my husband’s aversion to curry leaves – I also did not attempt the recipe omitting it. The first time, I used desiccated coconut and second shaved fresh pieces of coconut into the dish.  It was lacking a depth of flavour that we were hoping for.  The curry leaves give it a very distinct taste.

I would say this is a 6/10. (slightly bitter, but overall it is definitely do-able. )

 

We got on a bit of a roll, here are the recipes I attempted: 

Steamed Aubergine with Sesame and Spring Onion

Sprouting Broccoli & Edamame Salad with curry leaves and coconut

Sprouting Broccoli with Sweet Tahini

Alphonso Mango & Curried Chickpea Salad

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomello & Star Anise

Mixed Vegetables & Yoghurt with Green chili Oil

Crushed Puy Lentils with Tahini & Cumin

 

 

Overall a great read and a beautiful book. It has stunning photos, but Jerusalem remains our favourite. – Have you tried any of the Ottolenghi books? Don’t be shy, let me know what you think!

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