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Everything I want from a cookery book...,
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This review is from: Jerusalem (Hardcover)
This is an ambitious and brave book, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi and one which delivers.
The complexity of Jerusalem, the city, in terms of politics, history, culture and food is sensitively described. Both authors regard Jerusalem as home, "because it defines us, whether we like it or not". I love their faith in the possibility of food and more particularly hummus, bringing Jerusalemites together, "if nothing else will"
The backdrop of the city is the very beautiful context of this book. However, a cookery book has to be ultimately about the food and "Jerusalem" provides a lavish feast of new ideas, tastes and food combinations.
Thanks to The Guardian, I have already begun to cook from this book. Mejadra, a simple combination of lentils, rice, spices and fried onions is stunning. Lamb Shawarma is deeply and gorgeously spiced.Chicken with caramelised onion and cardamom rice is perfect and simple comfort food.
I am planning my next month of menus around this book. First up will be Burnt aubergine with garlic, lemon and pomegranate seeds. When I have time for some serious weekend cooking, I will make the Chocolate Krantz cake, a yeasted cake which looks soft, chocolatey and worth the effort.
This is a beautiful book with sublime photography. Check out the photo of the Jerusalem skyline at dusk or the overwhelming colours of the roadside grocery vendor. The photos of pan fried sea bream with harissa and rose and the small plates of hummus studded with pine nuts and herbs are genuinely mouth watering.
I feel instinctively that this book will inspire and change my cooking. A completely essential book.