Wednesday 2 December 2015

Cookbook Crush: Nopi by Yottam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully

If you have been reading this blog for a while you probably know I'm a big Ottolenghi fan. I'm more than a fan, I worship him and his recipes and to be honest if I didn't love Dublin so much one of my dreams would be to work in one of his restaurants in London.

A few months ago I was looking forward to the release of Nopi and made sure to let Mr. FFID know in advance. He bought me the book the day it was in the shops and grabbed the very last one off the shelf that day, phew!

The only books I 've ever reviewed on this blog were Jerusalem and Plenty More from Ottolenghi too. This book is different though, as it's a restaurant book and it was co-written by Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully (Nopi's head chef). Yotam warns you at the start and he's right, the recipes are more complex, the dishes are cheffy and some of the ingredients are a little obscure (or bloody hard to find) even in Dublin city centre. That said, it's a pretty book and all you need to do is (like for every recipe) read the full recipe before you get started in order to know what ingredients and equipment you need as well as how much time it requires. I don't think the recipes are particularly difficult though.

The book is divided into different sections according to the courses: starters, salads sides, fish, meat, vegetables, brunch, puddings, cocktails and condiments. The food is very interesting as it's a mix of Ottolenghi's Middle Eastern heritage combined with the Asian influence from Scully's origins. As a result you will find yourself using lots of herbs (mint, coriander, parsley) and spices (ras el hanout, sumac, cardamom...) along with tofu, miso paste, tamarind, rice wine etc...

In order to write this review I cooked a few dishes from the book. Here are the things I made from Nopi so far:

- Mixed cauliflowers with golden raisins, ricotta and capers: it's from the salad section and I made it for lunch as a main. I absolutely love cauliflower and the romanesco is such a pretty veg that it made the dish very colourful. It was very easy to make and doesn't require too much cooking skills.

- Sweet potato pancakes with yoghurt and date syrup: I made this for brunch one day and it was delicious! It's a nice change from usual pancakes, they end up quite fluffy and light as well as tasting a little like Christmas with the cinnamon and nutmeg.

- Whole roasted celeriac: Well you don't have much to do in this recipe, you just need not to be in a hurry as it takes 3 hours to slow roast a celeriac but the wait is worth. The result in something utterly buttery and melt in the mouth tasty.

- Celeriac purée with spiced cauliflower and quail's eggs: You'll probably guess I love celeriac... This was just out of this world! A brilliant starter that can be made in advance. The celeriac purée looks like hummus so you can use it as a dip too. Possibly one of my favourite dishes ever!

- French toast with orange yoghurt: this is another winner for brunch, super easy to make and seriously good!

These are probably some of the easiest dishes but I look forward to making more from the book. I have to be honest, some of the recipes are trickier because of the ingredients they require. You pretty much always end up having to go to at least 2 different shops as there is no way you can find some of the stuff in your usual Irish supermarket. You will have to go to an Asian/Arabic food shop and/or a fancy food hall like Fallon and Byrne to find everything, especially for the main courses.

That said, any Ottolenghi fan would love it and with its black and gold cover it looks like a perfect Christmas present for foodies!