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This review is from: Plenty (Hardcover)
If you are a fan of Ottolenghi's weekly column 'The New Vegetarian' in the Guardian, then you may (like me) vaguely remember reading some of these recipes before. You may even have cooked a few, or (more often in my case) vowed to cook them at some point, possibly cutting the recipe out, or just throwing the magazine on the stack in the corner of your cluttered desk, or kitchen table, then tidied them away and allowed the Pear Crostini (Dec 2007), or the Puy Lentil Gallette (Jan 2007), or even (shame on you) the Scrambled Smoky Duck Eggs on Sourdough (June 2008) to drop off the wipe-clean tablecloth of your culinary agenda. Which is why this book is a dream-come-true: it is a cupped palm collecting all those crumbs (adding some previously unpublished ones for good measure) and repackaging them in a stunning, beautifully photographed hardback book. 'Plenty', indeed.
I absolutely believe that this is the best book of vegetarian food I've ever read or cooked from. The reason for that is, I genuinely never once felt like I was reading or cooking from a vegetarian book. Some vegetarian cookbooks speak 'meat' as a kind of Derridean absent subtext almost as loudly as they speak vegetables; I'm thinking of recipes I remember reading in other books like 'vegetable toad in the hole'.
In Ottolenghi's cookbook the absence of meat is silenced, easy-to-forget, totally squashed and rendered unimportant in culinary terms. Of course there is no meat or fish in the 'Artichoke Gratin' (p.178) or the 'Ultimate winter couscous' (p.262) or the 'Saffron tagliatelle with spiced butter' (p.260), 'Halloween Souffles' (p.64) or 'Egg spinach and pecorino pizza' (p.156) because these recipes are complete and perfect and authentic as they are, meat would be an unnecessary embellishment.
It's wonderful to have Ottolenghi's New Vegetarian recipes collected in one place, organized by a central ingredient, so that if you fancy an inventive egg dish or a quirky but wholesome cereal recipe, you know exactly which chapter to consult. This is a great followup to The Ottloenghi Cookbook.
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Showing 1-10 of 14 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 27 Apr 2010 21:52:22 BDT
I greatly enjoyed this review -- it is so well written. I happen to know Yotam's parents (who live just outside Jerusalem), so looked up this book. Your review has prompted me to order it for my vegetarian brother (and girlfriend). I shall look up your other reviews! Thank you,
In reply to an earlier post on 27 Apr 2010 22:06:16 BDT
Thank-you so much for your feedback. The book is great!
In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jun 2010 06:34:58 BDT
Yet another "spot-on" review, I really fell for this book, great food, with such a pleasant respect for vegetables.
Dishes that are wholesome, and interesting !!!!!!
In reply to an earlier post on 16 Jun 2010 22:40:20 BDT
Thank-you so much... you are far too kind. But, the book, now that deserves your praise! I'm really glad you like it. It's great isn't it? I've now cooked quite a few things from it, and every one, as you say, wholesome and interesting.
In reply to an earlier post on 13 Sep 2010 17:00:03 BDT
BA Carter says:
I agree, i loved the reference to the cupped hand sweeping up all the crumbs. I'm looking for christmas presents but i might have to try it for myself first... just like all good hosts.
Posted on 14 Nov 2010 20:15:21 GMT
Mr. S. W. Smith says:
Really enjoyed the review, thanks - informative and very well written. Do you write professionally? The review and other comments have confirmed my decision to buy this for my (good food-loving, vegetarian) partner for Christmas. Is Otto's first book similar in content/style?
In reply to an earlier post on 16 Nov 2010 17:26:29 GMT
Thank-you Mr Smith. I don't really write professionally, but I try. Put simply, I'd like to. You have made a very shrewd move getting this book for your partner for Christmas (unless they keep track of your amazon comments- in which case your cover's blown). Ottolenghi's first book is different in so much as it's not exclusively vegetarian, but it is an excellent book with a great selection of vegetable and salad dishes. The highlight of that book for me is the baking section, with recipes for Ottolenghi's famous meringues, as well as great cakes, breads and biscuits.
Posted on 8 Oct 2011 10:24:02 BDT
Miss H. A. Cansino says:
I laughed out loud at the Derrida, ha.