Tag Archives: Ottolenghi

Gooseberry, elderflower and ginger relish…

I’ve been a bit tardy in writing this post but have no fear, we are still in the midst of gooseberry season and therefore it’s the perfect time to cook yourself up the most delicious gooseberry, elderflower and ginger relish…a fantastic accompaniment to your favourite cold meats or some delicious pork belly, which is how we served it at the last Plate Lickers Supper Club (blogged here). It turned out to be amazingly popular and I have developed a bit of an addiction to it. I even took a jar of it along to a barbecue with me last weekend and can confirm that it’s also great with sausages :).

After seeing this recipe in an Ottolenghi cookbook, I discovered that by total coincidence my parents had a gooseberry bush in their garden, laden with ripe fruit ready for the picking. So on my next visit home, me and my Mum donned a pair of marigolds (they’re evil, spiky b***ards!) and filled our trug full…

To prepare gooseberries you just need a small, sharp pair of scissors. Settle down with some good music and snip the little tail and the tufty black end from the fruit. I froze my gooseberries until I was ready to make the relish, which wasn’t at all detrimental to the finished relish.

To make about 6 jars of relish you will need…

2kg gooseberries, trimmed

A knob of ginger, approx 3 thumbs worth, peeled and thinly sliced

3tsp mustard seeds

240g caster sugar

210ml elderflower cordial

Tie the mustard seeds and ginger up in squares of muslin and tie tightly with cotton. I chose to make 2 smaller bundles instead of one big one. Put your muslin bundles into a large saucepan with the prepared gooseberries, sugar and elderflower cordial, stir together and put on a low heat…

Simmer for about an hour, stirring every so often and skimming off the scum that tends to collect on the surface. The consistency you’re aiming for is that of runny jam…

To test whether your relish is ready…put a saucer in the fridge for a few minutes, then spoon on a little bit of relish, now drag your finger down the middle of it. If the relish stays parted, then it’s ready, if they merge back together, then just simmer for a bit longer before testing again. When you’re happy with the consistency, turn off the heat, remove the muslin bundles and spoon into jars…

The relish can be eaten straight away or will keep for about a week in the fridge.

It might not look very impressive but you’re going to have to take my word for it…it’s divine!

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Yottam Ottolenghi is a god!

I’m aware that the ‘Ottolenghi’ craze seems to be sweeping the nation and it may look like I’m just jumping on the bandwagon, but I’ve been dying to go to an Ottolenghi restaurant for a very long time. I’ve also spent the last 2 years gazing longingly into the windows of the branch on Upper Street twice a day on the bus to and from work. I’m not quite sure why it’s taken me so long to pull my finger out and eat there, but this week, having made a reservation through their website the time had finally come!

We were seated at the huge communal table that stretches the length of the restaurant, the lights were dimmed and the atmosphere was buzzing with lively conversation.

Our lovely waitress took us through the menu, which was split into two columns…’from the counter’ and ‘from the kitchen’. She recommended that we chose a mixture of 5 dishes between 2 of us from both sections as the ‘from the counter’ ones would obviously arrive sooner than the ones ‘from the kitchen’, therefore staggering the meal and giving you time to savour everything. The menu sounded absolutely divine and I could have happily worked my way through every single dish. We somehow managed to whittle it down to…

Yellow fin, line caught seared tuna, wrapped in nori and panko with wasabi cream…

Roasted aubergine with tahini and yoghurt sauce, chilli, basil and toasted flaked almonds…

Pan fried sea bass with garlic crisps and mixed mushroom, seaweed and truffle oil salad…

Pan fried cured mackerel with parsnip and saffron puree, roasted rhubarb, rhubarb salsa and pasrley leaves…

Ricotta and basil stuffed courgette flower with wild rhyme honey, pine nuts and lemon zest…

It was the type of food that’s so good, you eat it painfully slowly, savouring every single mouthful and not wanting it to ever end! 

We were handed the dessert menu but also lead to the front of the shop to peruse all of the other delights on offer. I was like a child in a sweetshop and we couldn’t decide on only one each so we chose…

Baked vanilla cheesecake with caramel and macadamia nuts…

Moist chocolate cake filled with deicious baileys cream…

and because we’re fatties…a delicious cupcake with the lightest cream cheese frosting I have ever tasted…

In summary…Yottam Ottolenghi is an absolute god!

How someone can make even a simple aubergine taste that good is working some kind of magic! The meal was a bit pricier than I would usually opt for mid-week, but it was worth every penny. Now I just need to win the lottery or get swept off my feet by a rich man so that I can eat there all the time 😉

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You’ve got a friand…

Ever since my recent trip to Bettys in York I’ve been obsessed with financiers and trying to find the perfect recipe to try out. I discovered a few that incorporated soft fruits such as apricots or raspberries and I suddenly remembered the blackberries that I had picked in September and stashed at the back of my freezer for an occasion just like this. On my new mission to find the perfect blackberry financier recipe I stumbled on this one by Yotam Ottolenghi for blackberry and star anise friands. What is a friand I hear you ask…and what have they got to do with financiers??? well… let me educate you… friands are based very closely on financiers and are very popular in New Zealand and Australia but you’re more likely to find additional flavours and ingredients in friands such as fruits, nuts or chocolate. I decided to give Ottolenghi’s recipe a go but, controversially maybe, decided to omit the star anise, mainly because I didn’t have any and was feeling too lazy on Sunday night to go and buy some but also because I felt that it was a bit of an acquired taste and didn’t want to overcomplicate my friands and swamp the delicate taste of the blackberries.

I liked the fact that you bake the friands straight into the cupcake tin as opposed to using paper cases as it gave them a gorgeous golden brown crust with a very pleasant crunch…

They were amazingly light and moist and the glaze, which was made by mixing strained blackberry pulp with icing sugar was the most amazing colour…

My friands looked so pretty when I left the house first thing this morning before they took an unexpected a nosedive on the bus. Luckily they stayed in their containers but looked a little worse for wear by the time I got them into work. Fortunately my colleagues/guinea pigs weren’t overly concerned with aesthetics and wolfed them down…after all friands will be friands!

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