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4.6 out of 5 stars
Plenty
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29 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on 24 September 2011
This book got up my nose right from the Introduction. Discussing the origins of his magazine column in The Guardian, the author claims that 'Ottolenghi', his modestly-named restaurant, "had become famous for what we did with vegetables and grains, for the freshness and originality of our salads (read: my salads), and it only made sense to ask me to share this".

I think that 'What a tosser' is an entirely appropriate reaction to such boasting about salads.

So then we move on to the recipes. I have tried to make several of these. Observations:

- Such a pain to find "marinate for at least 60 minutes" sneaked in to the small print. Does he think we have all day to cook his stuff?

- A phenomenal number of different ingredients. 25 just to make leek fritters - why such complexity?

- Must he be so specific about amounts? What is 30 grams of basil, for God's sake - a handful, a tablespoon, a bucket? Does he really think we can be bothered to weigh basil?

- Biggest crime by far: the obscure ingredients. Trying to use up some spare courgettes, I turned to his courgette salad. But this requires cob nuts (or substitute with shredded coconut, thanks a lot), hazelnut oil, and purple basil leaves. What is he thinking? I live in central London and I can't get hold of most of this stuff. How is anyone else going to cope?

- Turn to another recipe, for marinated buffalo mozarella. Ok, got all that stuff; hang on, except for rapeseed oil. Rapeseed oil? Why, for a minor variation on an Italian salad?

Just about every page in this book either asks for ingredients that nobody will have at home (tamarind pulp!), or are impossible to buy (verjus! Dried Iranian lime!). The recipes are extremely fiddly and time-consuming. And after all that, the results are pretty ordinary.

Compare and contrast the River Cafe's great cookbooks. These can be annoying at times (famously calling for "6 lemons, the freshest possible" in one recipe) but they are clear, simple, and the food tastes good.

Worst of all, the author is such a bighead. On page 38, someone who cooked his garlic tart (and who perhaps is financially dependent on him) calls it 'the most delicious recipe in the world', to which Ottolenghi says "What else can I add?" Since you ask, how about 'Sorry for being so up myself'?
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13 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 25 November 2012
I was really excited about this book - it makes me wonder whether the people who've reviewed it have actually tried the recipes?

I am often complimented on my cooking, and I can follow recipes with precision, but for some reason everything I've cooked from Yottam's Plenty has tasted sub standard - or even terrible!

I spent over two hours cooking a few dishes for Friday supper - the Burnt Aubergine Tahini was a time consuming and uninspiring baba ghanoush. The Roast Butternut Squash with Lime and Spices was overwhelmed by the lime. The spices on the squash were nice, and it worked well with the tahini yogurt but even though I halved the quantity of lime but it was still far too acidic for my guests.

I tried to make up for the disappointing dinner with a special brunch the next morning so I made the Green Pancakes with Lime Butter. The recipe does not specify what sort of green chillies to use, so I used quite hot ones, this may have been why the pancakes tasted vile! The lime butter was also unpleasant. I made a tzatziki to mask the taste, but it was still inedible. It looked exactly like the recipe and I followed it to the letter, but it just did not work. I spent an hour and a half slaving over food that all went in the bin.

I can only assume that this recipe book was rushed out without recipe testers. I was going to take this book to the charity shop, but I'd hate to spread the disappointment.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 6 June 2014
A little too boring and repetitive for me, too much lentils and aubergines, have bought previous ottolenghi books and found this the least inventive. Favourite dish , the black pepper tofu!other than that, I found little inspiration in this book.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 March 2015
Go ahead, cook the black pepper tofu. And see how accurate the instructions are. Or just give yourself the reputation as a really conservative user of peppercorns. AVOID!
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10 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 27 December 2012
I love cooking, have a lot of cookbooks and I have never had a recipe not work but every recipe I have tried from both of Ottolenghis cookbooks just do not work and dont taste as good as the stuff that you buy from the stores. Dont bother.
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14 of 59 people found the following review helpful
on 14 May 2011
beautiful book, just don't expect to be able to cook anything in it unless you live in a fairly cosmopolitan area. I live in Gloucestershire - not especially rural - and have given up on it as I can't get the b***dy ingredients. There should at least a list of commonly available substitutions at the back. In short, a good book if your into Lifestyle Porn
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0 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 20 August 2014
Disappointing recipes.
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1 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 1 August 2014
This was a present for someone who hasn't used it yet
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6 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on 2 August 2011
Book good, but what lunatic designed with with soft padding? My copy is already has indents and a sharp object would easily rip the soft padding.
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0 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 28 November 2014
A beautiful book and inspiring recipes. I cannot wait to get started and work my way through!
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