Not being a natural cook I can’t admit to being a whizz in the kitchen… in fact, I’m more of a hazard if I’m honest… That being said I’m definitely a natural eater which presents a problem because I can’t afford to pay people to feed me all the time!!! (I wish! A personal chef would the FIRST thing I would arrange if I was to win the lottery!)
Cooking and me have just never been friends. (Thank goodness for a husband who can!) It’s a pity really because my gran was an incredible cook who made up the most amazing meals from memory and with very little at her disposal. Sadly I don’t seem to have inherited her skills… although I do LOVE having people over just as she did.
Initially, when I first starting hosting friends for dinners, I would get into a complete flat panic about the food. I would love everything else about hosting people in my home BUT i would hate making the food. It would send me into a tizz!!!
Fortunately, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realised that actually having friends around should never be stressful, the food is often the least important aspect of the evening as long as there is good music, wine and company!
That being said food does create amazing opportunities for friendships to develop and delicious food makes for memorable meals.
Enter my new favourite cook book. One that keeps things SIMPLE.
Simple by Ottolenghi
First up let’s chat about Yotam Ottolenghi… He is well-respected cookery writer and chef-patron of the Ottolenghi delis, NOPI restaurant and ROVI. He has published six bestselling cookbooks. The most notable being Plenty and Plenty More (his collection of vegetarian recipes); Ottolenghi: The Cookbook and Jerusalem co-authored with Sami Tamimi. Yotam has also made two ‘Mediterranean Feasts’ series for More 4, along with a BBC 4 documentary, ‘Jerusalem on a Plate’.
Simple has been created with Tara Wigley and Esme Howarth and features a collection of award-winning recipes that are a celebration: an unforgettable combination of abundance, taste and surprise.
Bursting with colourful photography by Jonathan Lovekin and playful design, this cookbook has over 130 brand-new dishes that contain all the inventive elements and flavour combinations that Ottolenghi is loved for, but with minimal hassle for maximum joy.
This incredible new book is a work of art. I have fallen deeply in love with it’s form of food prep – simple, quick, easy, yet always delicious.
Each photograph is good enough to eat, each recipe intuitive and easy to understand.
Yotam and his team have devised a straightforward system that allows you to work out what sort of ‘simple cook’ you are, in order to cook the recipes that are right for you.
These brilliant, healthy and flavour-packed dishes are all SIMPLE in at least one (but very often more than one) way.
The concept of Simple is…
S – short on time
I – 10 ingredients or less
M – make ahead
P – pantry basics
L – lazy
E – easier than you think
One of my favourite aspects of the book is Yotam’s list of his essential pantry ingredients, as well as a few of his personal faves including Urfa chilli flakes, Sumac, Tahini, black garlic and preserved lemons. These are the ingredients he relies on in the kitchen and will keep championing until they become our ‘everyday’ ingredients.
And each one of these concepts speaks to me as a non-cook, allowing me to believe that maybe, just maybe, I too can whip up something visually and sensorially amazing!
In fact I have, I tried out the recipe for Puy Lentils with aubergine, tomatoes and yoghurt for a braai we hosted last weekend and it went down a treat. Ok so the aubergines were a no go (we need more practice!) but I took a trick out of my gran’s (non) cook book and just winged it… adding in a few other ingredients we DID have on hand to replace the aubergines and it was still seriously YUM… with quite a few compliments thrown my way!
Also included are SIMPLE meal suggestions from mid-week suppers to weekend feasts with the number of ways in which the 130 recipes can be combined to make various different meals covering a range of occasions (weekend brunch; Summer vegetarian feast; tapas feast; Middle Eastern Feast or Mid-week supper) depending on the season.
Ottolenghi SIMPLE is impressive and stunning… This is a gorgeous book to behold, but even better to get messy.
A perfect introduction to fabulous, fresh Mediterranean-inspired meals that are easy enough for anyone to cook. (even me!)
Simple by Ottolenghi is now available in all good bookstores and online via Loot for R355
The GREAT news is that I’m giving away a copy of this vibrant new cook book to one lucky Becoming you reader!
To enter pop on over to Instagram and follow the steps below…
- Follow @becomingyou on Instagram
- Scroll through my feed until you find the post featuring the fab fresh yellow lemon on the cover.
- Leave a comment on the post telling me who you’d like to cook a meal for using a recipe from SIMPLE
See…. so simple!
Winner will be drawn from the comments on my Instagram post featuring the Simple book on 31 October 2018.
Please note the winner will need to be a confirmed follower of @becomingyou on Instagram.
Images: Kathryn Rossiter