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 🙂 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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Summer holiday series: 2. Red capsicum/pepper and tomato dip

Cooking is my favourite form of relaxation. It makes me really really happy and completely relieves all my daily stresses. When on holiday, it’s even better as I have all the time in the world to plan, shop, prepare and present food and share it with those dear to me. This holiday has been no different. As I mentioned before, I’m joint queen of a rather wonderful kitchen with all modern appliances, cool pull-out drawers and cookbooks to last me a lifetime. Given these luxuries, I’ve been spending a fair bit of time in the kitchen. Not to mention, it is the coolest (temperature wise) part of the house.

Last time I told you about a Hurry Burry Curry. That was dinner for four one evening. The next evening, I thought we’d have something more fancy. Some sort of self-inmposed challenge with French food being so pretty and tasty. One thing that French food is frequently not and my food almost always is, is vegetarian! The menu on this fine summer evening ended up being a 3-course meal with the following items accompanied by a lovely bottle of Malbec that my partner’s dad had bought earlier in the week.

Starter: Red capsicum and tomato dip with Walnut bread
Main: Summer spaghetti with zucchini and cherry tomatoes
Dessert: Peaches and nectarines baked with a macaroon topping

I will share these recipes with you over the next 3 posts. Hope you try them and like them!

This recipe is a Donna Hay classic from a magazine published many years ago. I’ve made some modifications to it – some out of necessity and some out of curiosity. The walnut bread that we had with the dip was from the local village bakery.

Red capsicum and tomato chunky dip

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