Wednesday 27 July 2011

Belleau Kitchen Random Recipe Challenge: My Favourite Cookbook

This month's Random Recipe Challenge, hosted by the wonderfully talented Dom over at Belleau Kitchen, saw me fickly tossing cookbooks aside to choose my favourite.  Seriously...this was one tough decision...I love all my cookbooks equally (I do) and I tend to obsess over one at a time, greedily flipping thorough pages and selectively cooking my way from cover to cover.

Currently, as you know, I am obsessed with Denis Cotter's For the Love of Food...but I can't say that it is my favourite...just my flavour of the month.  Sticking with the veggie theme...I can't deny that my mostest favouritest cookbook on my shelf is....the fabulous...Plenty by the incredible Yotam Ottolenghi.  Many of you will know that I publicly drooled my way through this book when I was gifted it last year, and have been quietly exploring recipes missed out the first time round.  I have a few standby recipes...soba noodles with aubergine, stuffed onions, broad bean know...standbys.

I have to admit now...that I kinda sorta cheated a bit...sorry Dom.  The original random recipe that was chosen (gimme a number David...) was OKRA....I'm sorry...I just couldn't do it...I couldn' random selection number two was the incredible looking Multi-Vegetable Paella.  I hadn't made this recipe yet, so that was a bonus!!

I am not a huge fan of paella...I find that the rice is never cooked properly for me...even in a restaurant.  Then again, I have never been to I reserve final judgement for when (and if) that day ever comes.  This recipe was alright.  In theory I loved it...lovely rice cooked with onions and peppers then topped with grilled artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes, olives and broad beans (Ottolenghi loves broad beans)...I just wasn't convinced....but I think that comes down to my genetic disposition to stir rice...I can let long grain rice mellow...but when it comes to Paella and Risotto...anything slowly cooked in stock...I need to stir (I'm half figures).

Final verdict....I still love Ottolenghi, and this dish looked just wasn't for me.  I would, however, take the different components and transfer them to a risotto without cheese (or is that sacrilege?).


  1. Not sure about a risotto without cheese...I think that might well be sacrilege! But this recipe looks beautiful - so colourful and healthy.


  2. From your photo, at least, it looks glorious, the colors are so intense. I think a risotto might be the answer.

  3. hey! I say if risotto is in your blood, then adapt accordingly....and only a taste testing David would decree if you should make it with or without cheese (there's two more meals on the calendar for you!!!)


  4. haha i love that bit about you NEEDing to stir because you're half-italian! I like paella because you DON'T need to stir. That looks like a beautiful and delicious dish though!

  5. S...the more i think about it the more i think it will work with cheese...

    Sue...the colours were incredible...but i think it has to be risotto next time!

    Mummi-ji...maybe you can be the judge!!!!

    Shu Han...I just can't not is so hard! :) thanks for your comment!

  6. looks glorious and because you've been so lovely (wonderfully talented indeed...) I forgive you for picking twice... you know I love Ottolenghi too and that book is STUNNING, so completely get your choice... Thanks for taking part once again, I appreciate it in these times of no kitchen!

  7. This looks soooo delicious. I'm with you on the risotto front though, I love stiring and watching the rice absorb all the stock, it's just wonderful. Jude x

  8. Dom...only being honest about your talent and thank you for forgiving me...I just couldn't do the okra thing.... :)

    A Trifle...Jude, there is just something so soothing about stirring isn't there?! :)

  9. It's a great book. I've not had a good paella either, but I've also not been to Spain. Quite understand why you wouldn't go for okra, I've never been able to cope with the slimy consistency. But love beans and looking forward to our first harvest - sometime sooooon!

  10. This book is the top one on my list to get my hands on at the moment. I have loads of books but am lacking a single Ottolenghi. The only recipes of his I've made, I've found on the internet and they were lovely.

  11. Choclette...i don't know what it is about paella....or okra!! haha :) mmmm beans!

    Corina...This book is amazing! Now that I am not living close to or working in London I'm going to have to make the effort to go to Ottolenghi when I am visiting!!! :) that's how much I love it!!!!!