Ottolenghi cookbooks

Do you like his cookbooks and recipes? Which book do you like the best and which recipes do you make and love? Thanks.

I have Plenty & Jerusalem. I enjoyed reading them when they arrived from Amazon but am rarely inspired to cook anything from them - which I find a bit odd, as Middle Eastern food is my favourite “foreign” food.

I read his column every week in my Sunday newspaper. And every week I think “Nah, don’t really fancy that”

What do you think it is about his cooking that doesn’t appeal to you? Just curious…It’s funny - I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and he is very trendy among people here.

Their first book, Ottolenghi, is one of my best go-to cookbooks. I love so many of the recipes in this book. The food is simple, uses an interesting mix of ingredients, and the results are company-worthy food. But, there are many items in this book that I make repeatedly for everyday meals.

I also own Plenty and Jerusalem, but have not spent as much time investigating so can’t comment.

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I have Plenty (ebook), bought it because I want to improve my veggie cooking and the hype around it. I don’t know if it’s because I don’t like flipping through a ebook on my ipad or the recipes aren’t that inspiring, I tried to find something I’d like to cook (which is few), tried a few dishes, they were okay, but find the flavors of these dishes to be quite mundane. (e.g., the eggplant dish on the cover of the book, I was a bit disappointed, I find the dish lacks something to make it a wow dish) Maybe many recipes, I kind of cooked before, the others, I just don’t find them particularly inspiring. It’s a bit the same feeling that Harter mentioned in his post.

Maybe it’s just that I’m not that in his cooking (you need to like yogurt a lot). Or the problem of layout of this ebook. Try his recipes you can find online before deciding if you want the books or not.

I also have Plenty and Jerusalem, the latter only recently acquired. Several family standards come from Plenty. I do make a lot of his recipes from the Guardian, on the weekend they appear, and then sometimes forget to keep/bookmark the recipe, so it goes out of my head. Must get more organized!

Perhaps I’m simply not trendy when it comes to flavour combinations (whether it’s his spin on eastern Mediterranean dishes, or north European)

For instance, neither of these, from today’s Guardian, hold any appeal whatsoever:

  • Steamed salmon with caper, egg and pine nut salasa

  • Meringue nests with apple and celery sorbet and fresh herbs.

I have several Middle Eastern cookbooks which I do use as I feel I’m more suited to the flavours - I couldnt be without my Claudia Roden ones.

I have Jerusalem and Plenty More.

Jerusalem is my favourite probably because it has a wider variety of recipes, ingredients I’m more likely to have and I’m Middle Eastern so I enjoy his and Sami’s take on classics. From Jerusalem my favourites are (not sure of the listed names):
Lemony leek meat balls
Barley risotto
Fried cauliflower
Cauliflower with pomegranate salad
The golden beet salsa from a mackerel recipe
Meatballs with figs
The fattoush
Pasta with feta, peas & basil

Plenty More is newer so I’ve cooked less recipes from it but I’m finding less standouts in that book:
Mung bean and carrot salad
Walnut and halva cake

I just posted on Jerusalem, with a complete list of reviews of everything I’ve made from it. I’m not sure how to link it here yet, so look it up and check it out!

I definitely recommend Jerusalem first (assuming you eat meat), though all of them really are deserving of praise. The dishes in Jerusalem mostly feel nourishing and hearty to me, though also lively and interesting at the same time. He often adds lemon, yogurt, and/or loads of fresh herbs at the end to liven dishes up. It’s truly incredible. He has a gift.

I am bumping this to ask which Ottolenghi cookbook would be best as a gift for a friend who’s omnivorous but prefers dishes in which animal flesh, if any, is more of a condiment than the focus. This friend enjoys cooking, and grilling in particular, but is averse to recipes with: lengthy ingredient lists, multiple steps, long cooking times (even if they are hands-off). There are no dietary restrictions.

Looking at the Amazon blurbs and reviews, it seems like Plenty More might be the one, but I have no experience at all with Ottolenghi recipes (I do freestyle some similar dishes but rarely follow recipes). But there’s mention of errors in yield and in metric conversion and I wonder if they are frequent enough to be a serious caveat.

I have the Plenty book, obviously there are errors. See post, my reporting: Cooking-of-the-month (Jan-Feb 2016)- Dumpling

I have the US version of the ebook, the quantity is not the same as listed the Ottolenghi UK website online.

Why not you get your friend the UK version. It’s a bit annoying with converting each recipe but at least they should be correct.

Converting is annoying for me - I am sure it would render the book totally useless for my friend.

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