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Cookbook Book Club: #dinnerwithOttolenghi (and a giveaway!)

Cookbook Book Club #dinnerwith Ottolenghi on eatlivetravelwrite.comYes, it’s time for another instalment of the Cookbook Book Club that I take part in around once a month with Jan from Family Bites and Jenn (from Chocolate Shavings).  After our début with #dinnerwithMarcella we followed up late last year with #dinnerwithNigella. This month we ventured to the Middle East with dishes from Ottolenghi, the cookbook.  Originally published May 2008 by Ebury press and released last year for the North American market, it was the first summary of Ottolenghi food for the home cook. The 140 recipes cover everything they do at the Ottolenghi restaurants – salads,  roasted vegetable dishes, cold meat, fish, and substantial main courses as well as breads, savoury pastries and sweets.

I’ve cooked a few of Ottolenghi’s dishes before – notably the Sweet Potato Galette (the cover recipe from Ottolenghi) and the Turkey and Zucchini burgers with Green Onion and Cumin served with a Sour Cream and Sumac Sauce (both of these with my boys’ cooking club!) and so have Jan and Jenn so we were excited to come up with an entire menu from one of the books.  With the Cookbook Book Club, we don’t share the dishes we have chosen in advance so the complete menu is a surprise but so far, we’re managed to create more or less cohesive menus. Great minds think alike, right?

We started with this Cardamom-sage mango spritzer, made by Jenn (not from Ottolenghi but a lovely light and bright start to the meal).

Mango cardamom sprtizer on eatlivetravelwrite.comI was in charge of the entrée (starter) and couldn’t resist this cherry tomato, fennel and crumble gratin. Yes, a savoury gratin (but with a sweet “crumble” topping). We were all huge fans of this – it’s unusual, pretty and pretty darned tasty, though we all agreed that a little bacon might have gone well with it!  I enjoyed a sliver re-heated the next day for breakfast but Mr Neil was not a fan. Perhaps a case of “guess you had to be there” for the original? In any case, I think this is a super versatile dish and I’ll be experimenting with different iterations. Personally I think it could use a little more cheese and salt to make it a little more substantial as a main dish (for breakfast or brunch) but we certainly were surprised but how tasty this, the original version, was.

Ottolenghi fennel cherry tomato and crumble gratin on eatlivetravelwrite.comFor the main course, Jenn made the roast chicken with saffron, hazelnuts and honey (you can find the recipe on Epicurious here)

Ottolenghi roast chicken with saffron hazelnuts and honey on eatlivetravelwrite.comand paired it with the couscous with apricots and butternut squash.

Ottolenghi couscous with dried apricots and butternut squash on eatlivetravelwrite.comI’m already a huge fan of that chicken dish (I had it at another friend’s house a couple of weeks ago) and quite frankly any couscous combining sweet fruits and savoury flavours is a winner in my book.  Jenn (like my other friend) was expecting the chicken to be a little “saucier” but I like that it’s not.  The couscous added a nice textural element and it was so flavourful – I’d actually eat this on its own as a main “salad”.

For dessert, Jan brought “Toffee Brownies” which sounded wonderful.

Ottolenghi toffee brownies on eatlivetravelwrite.comIn fact they are very rich, very sweet, very dense brownies (that needed a little bit more cooking time than it called for in the recipe) to which you add toffee pieces and jam.  We all thought they were really tasty but overly sweet (in fact, none of us could finish more than half a brownie and Jan had made them smaller than the recipe suggested!). You can see the recipe here.  We weren’t sure this brownie needs toffee and jam with so much sugar and chocolate already included. If you are going to make these and follow the recipe, I’d suggest instead of making 8-10 you could easily make 20. Or even more. A tiny piece of this is definitely enough!

Of course, through the course of the night, there was some photo action.

Bloggers photographing food on eatlivetravelwrite.comBut just iPhone action. No big cameras allowed at these dinners. We’re too busy enjoying the food and each other’s company to bring out the big cameras!

Ottolenghi-cookbook-cover

Win a copy of the Ottolenghi cookbook (Canada)!

That’s right – thanks to the kind folks at Random House Canada, I have a copy of Ottolenghi up for grabs for one lucky reader from Canada.

To enter:

1. Leave a comment below telling me what cookbooks you’d want to try if you were in a Cookbook Book Club and why.

2. For a bonus entry, tweet the following message:

I entered to win the @ottolenghi Cookbook from @eatlivtravwrite + @RandomHouseCA http://bit.ly/1gsYwFd

Then come back to leave me a comment telling me you did.

Contest closes on Wednesday February 19th 2014 at 6pm EST. Winner will be chosen by random.org and will be notified by email on Thursday February 20th 2014.

Head on over to Jan’s blog for another chance to win!
Jenn is also giving away a copy of Ottolenghi!

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Disclosure: Random House Canada provided me with a review copy of the Ottolenghi cookbook. I was not required to post about this, nor am I being compensated for doing so. All opinions are my own.

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Worldwide contest: Click here to win a personalised Letter from Paris! Closes February 13th 2014.

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41 Responses to Cookbook Book Club: #dinnerwithOttolenghi (and a giveaway!)

  1. Sarah, Simply Cooked February 12, 2014 at 07:18 #

    I’ve love to win the cookbook and I’m from Canada. :) It’s not often that you see a giveaway just for Canadians! I’m currently in a food book club (no cookbooks, though). If I was in a cookbook club I think I’d like to cook from Simply in Season; it’s so down to earth.

  2. Sarah, Simply Cooked February 12, 2014 at 07:19 #

    I tweeted as well. :)

  3. Mr. Neil February 12, 2014 at 08:40 #

    1. Good for you re at least limiting big cameras. I know it’s nice to document, and the blogs require as much…but I wonder if anyone is capable of enjoying the world if it isn’t twitted and grammed… ;-)

    2. True, Mr. Neil was not a fan of the entree – and was himself surprised by that. In the oven just before Mardi left, it smelled divine. Yes, a tad more cheese. And maybe more savoury – the bacon idea is (no surprise) a good one (though I’d suggest pancetta or shaved dried proscuitto). For me, it seems just this side of becoming a good dish. Though in all fairness it was presented to me during my Sunday New York Times morning…so perhaps not best as breakfast.

    3. The pudding. Maybe replace the toffee with a nice medjool date?

    Looks like a fun dinner overall!

  4. Emma-Jane February 12, 2014 at 10:24 #

    Your cookbook book club sounds fun!

    I’m a member of a regular book club where it seems all the members are united by a love of good food. We’re planning some upcoming foodie sessions so that we can swap some of our favourite recipes.

    I’d love to have an evening with recipes from Moro by Sam + Sam Clark, or perhaps a fruit-filled evening based on River Cottage’s Fruit Every Day book.

    Bonne journée ! :)

  5. Leanne February 12, 2014 at 14:41 #

    If I was in the Cookbook Club, I would love to try recipes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child.

  6. Coco in the Kitchen February 12, 2014 at 15:52 #

    Dumb-founded, can’t think about anything else after seeing those pics.
    Couscous is very creative, but that chicken is over-the-top! I have got
    to make that this week.

  7. Jeannelle February 12, 2014 at 16:22 #

    If I was in a cookbook club, I’d want to try different ‘healthy-eating’ cookbooks. To compare which ones really had the best taste/health combination.

  8. Jeannelle February 12, 2014 at 16:23 #

    I tweeted!

    @jhearts87

    https://twitter.com/jhearts87/status/433712963782840320

  9. janice montroy February 12, 2014 at 16:34 #

    I love all cookbooks , use to collect old ones . if I was in a cookbook club I would want to try anything new

  10. janice montroy February 12, 2014 at 16:36 #

    I tweeted

  11. Geoff February 12, 2014 at 16:38 #

    If I were in Canada, I’d enter. Oh wait….
    Nice giveaway, Mardi.

  12. Jennifer K February 12, 2014 at 16:39 #

    This cookbook is on my to-try list! I often take cookbooks out from the library to test run before committing to a purchase. A club would be fun. I would want to try different vegetarian and vegan books. And also desserts!

  13. Jennifer K February 12, 2014 at 16:40 #

    Tweeted

  14. Trisha February 12, 2014 at 16:43 #

    I think I would want to try recipes from Momofuco ‘s cookbook (or at least do so vicariously through you guys

  15. Trisha February 12, 2014 at 16:46 #

    I tweeted too

  16. jan February 12, 2014 at 18:31 #

    On my list would be, My Paris Kitchen

  17. Elizabeth Mitchell February 12, 2014 at 20:48 #

    I must tell you that I was inspired by the instagrams from your dinner, and was planning to do an Ottolenghi dinner myself! But if I were to choose another book, it would be The Miller Howe Cookbook by John Tovey. My husband and I spent part of our honeymoon at Miller Howe in the Lake District of England 20 years ago — the food was wonderful!

  18. chantal February 12, 2014 at 23:58 #

    I would love to try Marcus Samuelsson’s cookbooks because his food is so interesting and I always love hearing him talk about food, I’m sure reading his words would be amazing too!

  19. chantal February 12, 2014 at 23:59 #

    I tweeted!

  20. Andrea February 13, 2014 at 01:08 #

    I would love to try Gwenyth Paltrow’s book “it’s all good” because there looks to be lots of super healthy recipes to try. And of course Jamie Oliver ones are great too…love his writing and cookie style

  21. Tracey February 13, 2014 at 04:25 #

    I would want to try The Barefoot Contessa Cookbooks and Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty, Jerusalem and of course The Ottolenghi Cookbook.

  22. Tracey February 13, 2014 at 04:26 #

    I tweeted: https://twitter.com/yyz_talk/status/433894820742844416

  23. ikkinlala February 13, 2014 at 09:50 #

    Right now, I’d want to try books with comfort food (maybe one of the new macaroni and cheese cookbooks I’ve been hearing about, or a soup book) because it’s so cold out.

  24. Frances February 13, 2014 at 09:52 #

    I just took Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem out from the library and would really like to cook from that. This one looks great too.

  25. Sarah @ Kiwi & Bean February 13, 2014 at 10:00 #

    I might cook from Save With Jamie, which I’ve been enjoying recently. Or the Balaboosta cookbook, which is also sitting on my shelf waiting for some action!

    (I tweeted too!)

  26. Steph February 13, 2014 at 11:50 #

    I’d want to try many different cupcake books, starting with Martha Stewart’s cupcakes!!

    Also need to get on with learning how to cook for real, maybe some nice Italian and Spanish food. Can’t live off muffins forever (they are a love and joy to make, but lead to vitamin deficiency).

  27. Steph February 13, 2014 at 11:51 #

    Also tweeted as StephCD_

  28. Deidre February 13, 2014 at 12:31 #

    If I were in a cookbook club, I would want to try Yotam Ottolenghi’s and Sami Tamimi’s other cookbook – Jerusalem: A Cookbook! They look like great cookbooks. Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

  29. La Torontoise February 13, 2014 at 18:01 #

    Mardi, if I were in a cookbook club, I’d consider Clotilde ‘s French Market book.

    Have a great weekend!

  30. Lillian February 13, 2014 at 19:47 #

    If I was in a cookbook club I would love to try cooking from their other book Jerusalem or Alice Eats by Julie V. Looks like such a fun book done in a neat style.

  31. Lillian February 13, 2014 at 19:50 #

    Here’s the link from my tweet!

    Check out @beyondumami’s tweet: https://twitter.com/beyondumami/status/434127332270301184

  32. Nicole February 14, 2014 at 00:26 #

    I would love to cook from a Julia Child cookbook!

  33. Nicole February 14, 2014 at 00:27 #

    I tweeted here: https://twitter.com/JubleeW/status/434196625041272832

  34. Angele February 14, 2014 at 09:31 #

    I would love to try recipes from Chuck’s Day Off!
    And I also tweeted ;)

  35. Jen February 14, 2014 at 16:32 #

    I’d love to have a cookbook party where everyone cooks from the Whitewater cookbooks. I love all of the recipes in these cookbooks so far. I’m currently on maternity leave and my goal is to cook my way through these books.

  36. Jody February 15, 2014 at 16:07 #

    I would like to try Mark Bittman’s cookbooks because I really like his book How to Cook Everything.

  37. Monica February 17, 2014 at 11:03 #

    Those dishes look great! I’ve got the book Plenty on loan at the library. If I were in a cookbook club, I’d want to try fast and easy recipes that suit busy lifestyles.

  38. Carol M February 17, 2014 at 22:51 #

    I would like to cook from any of Nigella Lawson’s cookbooks, well because she is a goddess and it’s fun to figure out the conversions.

  39. Kathy February 19, 2014 at 17:24 #

    I would love to try JP Challet’s cookbook One Pot French! His food is Devine and he’s Toronto based :)
    Also tweeted!

  40. suzi February 22, 2014 at 23:25 #

    I’d like to try this Ottolenghi cookbook because the recipes you prepared (and I’ve read about on all 3 blogs) sound super yummy!

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