Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Jerusalem - A Cookbook

A Cookbook

by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

Hardcover, 320 pages

Okay. Are you ready for stunning? Jerusalem is a colourful love story of food written by two men, both born in Jerusalem in the same year, one Jewish and one Arab, and both intoxicated with the bold, bright flavours of a country that has food influence from an ancient history of Muslim, Arab, Jewish, Christian and Armenian cultures.

This book is a celebration of the beauty of the food and the people of Jerusalem and leaves politics to those who have the stomach for it. 

"Food is a basic, hedonistic pleasure, a sensual instinct we all share and revel in. It is a shame to spoil it."

You will be transported to a new and exotic world of warming spices and fresh ingredients with just as many beautiful market and kitchen photos as finished dishes.

This is my favourite kind of book, a culinary adventure by well respected chefs that transports you to another world.
Jonathan Lovekin © 2012 BitesToday

Roasted chicken with Jerusalem artichoke and lemon
As shared on BitesToday
Reprinted with permission from "Jerusalem: A Cookbook" by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, copyright © 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.

    1 lb Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and cut lengthwise into 6 wedges 2/3 inch /1.5 cm thick
    3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
    8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, or 1 medium whole chicken, quartered
    12 banana or other large shallots, halved lengthwise
    12 large cloves garlic, sliced
    1 medium lemon, halved lengthwise and then very thinly sliced
    1 tsp saffron threads
    3 1/2 tbsp olive oil
    2/3 cup cold water
    1 tbsp pink peppercorns, lightly crushed
    1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves
    1 cup tarragon leaves, chopped
    2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Put the Jerusalem artichokes in a medium saucepan, cover with plenty of water, and add half the lemon juice. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 10 to 20 minutes, until tender but not soft. Drain and leave to cool.

Place the Jerusalem artichokes and all the remaining ingredients, excluding the remaining lemon juice and half of the tarragon, in a large mixing bowl and use your hands to mix everything together well. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge overnight, or for at least 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 475°F. Arrange the chicken pieces, skin side up, in the center of a roasting pan and spread the remaining ingredients around the chicken. Roast for 30 minutes. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and cook for a further 15 minutes. At this point, the chicken should be completely cooked. Remove from the oven and add the reserved tarragon and lemon juice. Stir well, taste, and add more salt if needed. Serve at once.

Stuffed eggplant with lamb and pine nuts
as shared in The Globe and Mail

Elran Shrefler, the youngest of Ezra and Rachela Shrefler’s nine children, together with his brothers runs Azura. This restaurant in the heart of Machne Yehuda market serves Jerusalemites traditional Kurdish recipes with a Turkish influence, the cuisine of Ezra’s birthplace. A member of the Slow Food movement, Elran starts work at 4 every morning and cooks all his food in massive pots on small oil-burning stoves, just as his family has done for generations. His food, long-cooked stews and hearty soups, is ready for the first customers who arrive at around 8 a.m.(!) It is essentially real fast food – after the long hours of slow cooking, it takes seconds to plate and serve. Elran showed us how to make his stuffed eggplant, Turkish style, which is our favourite dish at Azura. This is our interpretation.

These are deliciously hearty and best served with some bread or simple rice and some pickles on the side.

Excerpted from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi (Appetite by Random House, $39.95).

    Servings: Serves 4.


4 medium eggplants, halved lengthwise
6 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp sweet paprika
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 lb (500 g) ground lamb
7 tbsp (50 g) pine nuts
2/3 oz (20g) flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 tsp tomato paste
3 tsp superfine sugar
2/3 cup water
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp tamarind paste
4 cinnamon sticks
salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 425 F. Place the eggplant halves, skin-side down, in a roasting pan large enough to accommodate them snugly. Brush the flesh with 4 tbsp of the olive oil and season with 1 tsp salt and plenty of black pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

While the eggplants are cooking, you can start making the stuffing by heating the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan. Mix together cumin, paprika and ground cinnamon and add half of this spice mix to the pan, along with the onions. Cook over medium-high heat for about 8 minutes, stirring often, before adding the lamb, pine nuts, parsley, tomato paste, 1 tsp of the sugar, 1 tsp salt and some black pepper. Continue to cook and stir for another 8 minutes, until the meat is cooked.

Place the remaining spice mix in a bowl and add the water, lemon juice, tamarind, the remaining 2 tsp sugar, the cinnamon sticks, and 1/2 tsp salt; mix well.

Reduce the oven temperature to 375 F. Pour the spice mix into the bottom of the eggplant roasting pan. Spoon the lamb mixture on top of each eggplant. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil, return to the oven and roast for 1 1/2 hours, by which point the eggplants should be completely soft and the sauce thick; twice during the cooking, remove the foil and baste the eggplants with the sauce, adding some water if the sauce dries out. Serve warm, not hot, or at room temperature.

Sami Tamimi  and Yotam Ottolenghi. Photo from Random House
YOTAM OTTOLENGHI is a Cordon Bleu-trained Chef, the author of two best-selling cookbooks, and the owner of an eponymous group of restaurants with four branches in London, plus a high-end restaurant, Nopi, also in London.

SAMI TAMIMI is the head chef at Ottolenghi and co-author of Ottolenghi: The Cookbook. The author lives in London.