Ottonlenghi’s ‘Simple’ offers 130 new, easy, flavour-forward recipes to rejuvenate both your dinner parties and your mid-week repertoire.
Cookbook tragics everywhere will be thrilled to know that Yotam Ottolenghi’s newest offering, ‘Simple’, was released this week. I was a very early adopter of the Ottolenghi style of cooking, purchasing online the very first book, ‘Ottolenghi: The Cookbook’, the minute I saw it advertised – and was immediately hooked. The flavours of Middle Eastern food have always resonated for me, due in part to my early discovery of the iconic Claudia Roden, and I’ve long adored Ottolenghi’s modern approach to these traditional flavours, along with the freshness of his dishes.
Yotam is the first to admit that some find his recipes, with their long lists of sometimes exotic ingredients, somewhat daunting. If you’re a little reluctant to wade into what appears to be a complicated process – well this is the book for you. With 130 new recipes, ‘Simple’ takes everything we all love about this food and makes it simple. But note – this is no dumbing down exercise. All the freshness, inventiveness and flavour profiles are still there, but without the hassle, meaning that there’s a lot to love about this book.
These ‘Simple’ recipes are also totally versatile and, while each is outstanding on it’s own, they can be combined to create a dining menu suitable for any occasion – be it a vegetarian dinner party, a Middle Eastern feast or a mid-week family meal.
Ottolenghi categorises the recipes under the headings ‘short on time’, ’10 ingredients or less’, ‘make ahead’, ‘pantry-led’, ‘lazy’ and ‘easier than you think’. He also includes his list of ‘top 10’ ingredients – things he relies on in his cooking and that he hopes will become everyday ingredients for most cooks.
‘Simple’ contains recipes that will suit any cook – from those who want to throw everything in one pot and bung it in the oven, as in his Chicken Marbella, to those who relish spending a little extra time over their food, as in the Lamb Siniyah. Each dish is incredibly approachable and any cook will be wowing those at their table in very short time.
Using his signature clever combination of ingredients, there’s no need to compromise on flavour. Each of these straightforward dishes is made to showcase maximum flavour along with minimal effort – and anyone who is a regular reader of this blog will know that’s totally what I’m all about.