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July ’24 – My favourite Cookbooks of the Month

A collage featuring the spines of several Ottolenghi cookbooks with two dishes inspired by his style of cooking

July ’24 – My favourite Cookbooks of the Month are an ode to one author, Yotam Ottolenghi. Yotam and his business partner Sami share a incredible collection of recipes through their restaurants and cookbooks, elevating vegetables to new heights and showcasing their versatility and flavours. They combine traditional and contemporary techniques to create unique, colourful, and flavour-packed dishes that bring together the rich flavours of the Middle East. Think of ingredients like barberries, pomegranate molasses, harissa, preserved lemon, and sumac, which are now fairly common in many kitchens, including mine.

The plating style also became popular in settings where a more formal approach had been the norm. Sharing plates and family-style platters graced the tables of many weddings (often in castles) when I was working in luxury catering in Edinburgh, Scotland. Brides would arrive to discuss menus with Ottolenghi cookbooks under their arms. This period inspired many recipes on our website.

The Ottolenghi whole-food, vegetable-centric, and flavour-forward approach to cooking is perfect for plant-based cooks. A few adaptations or homemade dairy free alternatives will allow you to tailor recipes to suit your dietary preferences. If, like me you are allergic to sesame seeds, which are a staple in Middle Eastern cuisines, it’s not a problem. Sunflower seed tahini and sesame-free dukkah are ideal alternatives for many dishes.


My Ottolenghi Inspired Dishes


Ottolenghi Cookbooks

I particularly love the earlier cookbooks. Plenty and Plenty More are still on my bookshelves, along with Simple and Flavour. I’ve gifted a few when I outgrew them. Nopi, with its beautiful gilt edges, differs from the others. The style of food might be described as more ‘cheffy,’ but it retains the trademark ingredients and ethos. I pick it up, flick through, and want to cook.

  • Ottolenghi: The Cookbook – 2008
  • Plenty – 2010
  • Jerusalem: A Cookbook – 2012 – co-authored with Sami Tamimi
  • Plenty More – 2014
  • NOPI: The Cookbook – 2015 – co-authored with Ramael Scully
  • Sweet – 2017 – co-authored with Helen Goh
  • Simple – 2018
  • Falastin: A Cookbook – 2020 – co-authored with Sami Tamimi
  • Flavour – 2020 – co-authored with Ixta Belfrage
  • Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love – 2021 – co-authored with Noor Murad
  • Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Extra Good Things – 2022 – co-authored with Noor Murad

and more to come this year.

More Favourite Cookbooks

If you love cookbooks full of vegetable-centric recipes, you’ll enjoy my posts from earlier this year. In January I wrote about some of my favourite vegetable cookbooks. In March I featured cookbooks by the Irish vegetarian chef and restauranteur Dennis Cotter. Last month I featured single ingredient cookbooks, flour, seaweed and one on bitter foods. My personal cookbook collection includes more than just vegan or plant-based cookbooks; I’ve had a passion for cookbooks long before we discovered plant-based eating.

With the right tools, like the tips and techniques from callmeishbel.com, you can adapt almost any recipe to a plant-based version or at least find inspiration! This opens up a vast selection of amazing cookbooks, allowing you to explore and enjoy a wide variety of culinary creations. Happy cooking!

Remember to follow, tag @call.me.ishbel and subscribe to receive new recipes to your inbox.

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