Jerusalem, Moro and Ottolenghi and inspired dinner

I have recently become addicted to three cookbooks I acquired from Amazon and our local library. They are, in order of favouritism,

1. Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

2. Moro by Samuel and Samantha Clark

3. Ottolenghi also by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

Why the addiction – well these books respect vegetables like I have been taught to respect them as a life time vegetarian. Growing up in a South Indian household, my mother and grandma had endless ways of making vegetables exciting and I try and continue this tradition till today. However, I’m also a little more adventurous that mum and grandma and I cannot eat the same/similar things day in and day out. This is something I did quite gladly did when I was still dependent on my parents, but ever since I’ve moved out on my own, my kitchen has been a bit of a playground, as is this blog I host.

Jerusalem, Moro and Ottolenghi, while laden with meat-based recipes are also quite generous with their coverage of vegetable/vegetarian dishes from Eastern Mediterranean regions, Israel, Palestine with influences from Italy, Spain and Northern Africa. Overall, these vegetables are prepared quite differently (most of the time) to how I’d prepare them as a person of South Indian upbringing and I find that really really exciting. Sometimes, I find some similarities and start thinking about the origins of certain food and how recipes might have travelled from one region to another in ancient time.

To summarize it is food, vegetarian food, exciting vegetarian food and I love it! Food to me is most satisfying when I’ve made it and others are enjoying it ๐Ÿ™‚ An opportunity presented itself when we decided to host a dinner and board games evening at our place. While I usually cook Indian food, I decided that I’d try recipes from my recently acquired books instead. There was a deathly silence as everyone sat eating until one of our friends spoke up and said , “You know the food is good when everyone is too busy eating and cannot stop to speak”. I’m going to call it a successful experiment based on this !

My menu and links to the recipes are presented below. I managed to take a lot of pictures for the first few dishes and then ran out of time and my guests arrived so I couldn’t keep clicking any more. Hope you try some of the recipes and like them !

Menu for board games night

Menu for board games night

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Easy-peasy Irish soda bread

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine took ill and had to go to the hospital. She was half Irish and half Dutch and was going through a bit of a tough time in hospital while doctors tried to work out what was wrong with her. I decided to go to visit her and thought I’d take her something that would remind her of her home(s). That was the first time I made Irish soda bread. I took her some fresh soda bread and Dutch Gouda amongst other things. She enjoyed it while the rest in her ward eyed the food basket with jealousy. I wish I could say the bread fixed her but unfortunately no, the doctors did ๐Ÿ™‚

The recipe I use is this really lovely, easy and idiot-proof one from the website for theย Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread.ย I promise I’m not making the name up – scroll down to the “White Soda Bread” part for their recipe.

This recipe is so easy that I whipped it up in an hour before I left to work this morning. I was up at 7 am, the dough was ready by 7:15 am, the “closed-baking” was done by 7:45 am and the “open-baking” was done by 8:00 am and at 8:05 am, I was slathering a slice of bread with some Flora spread. Yummy, warm, soda bread!

Do try this recipe and tell me what you think at canwehavesomerasam@gmail.com!

Irish soda bread

Irish soda bread

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