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!


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

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 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!


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.


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

41 thoughts on “Cookbook Book Club: #dinnerwithOttolenghi (and a giveaway!)”

  1. 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. 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!

  3. 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 ! 🙂

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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!

  8. 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

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

  10. 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.

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

  12. 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!)

  13. 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).

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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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