Tag Archives: Ottolenghi

Ottolenghi (and friends!)

Now the excitement of the Leeds Indie Food 2017 ticket release has passed (thanks to all those who’ve booked on!) Here are a few details of the inspired by Ottolenghi event at the Manor the other weekend. I say ‘inspired’ because we messed around with the recipes that much that they probably weren’t that Ottolenghi in the end! The aforementioned chef has re-released his very first cookbook, complete with sexy new front cover. We’ve cooked many an Ottolenghi recipe over the years and whilst we’ve never hosted a supperclub from the his first book, we knew it would be a reliable and rewarding muse. What we’ve come to love Ottolenghi for is his simple approach to cooking – flavour comes first, then colour and then use of the most basic, straightforward cooking techniques so as not to compromise on either.

We started proceedings with canapés of cauliflower fritters and beef tacos. The fritter was soft and comforting, packed full of spice from chilli, cinnamon and cumin. Ottolenghi spikes his with a tart limey yoghurt and I couldn’t resist also dabbing on a mango chutney/ lime pickle combo to create a very flavourful mouthful. The taco was an adaptation of Ottolenghi’s beef fillet with watercress and mustard sauce stuffed in a soft taco!

The starters included a seafood and fennel salad and roasted aubergine with saffron yoghurt. The salad was a bit like a seafood slaw, which makes it sound horrible when it absolutely isn’t! Shaved fennel was marinated in sumac, coriander, chilli, dill and lots of lime juice. Fresh baby squid and king prawns were fried in salt and pepper and added to the mix. This was sweet, soft and crunchy – an unexpected taste sensation! The aubergine salad is what many regard as an Ottolenghi classic – his griddled aubergine with saffron yoghurt. Soft smoky aubergine, smothered in floral saffron yoghurt, spiked with basil and pomegranate.

The mains added yet more flavours into the mix and came in the form of a mushroom ragout and harissa spiced chicken. The ragout was not technically an Ottolenghi recipe but was inspired by a cheesy polenta porridge recipe I had spied of his in the Guardian. I wanted something hearty and seasonal to pair with it and stumbled across this top mushroom ragout recipe. A ton of mushrooms were cooked up in tasty sauce of marsala wine and porcini mushrooms and served atop a cornmeal porridge crammed full of parmesan cheese goodness. This was layer after layer of umami tastes and was a big hit in the dining room, perfect for a cold winter’s day. The chicken dish was a wild rice and quinoa salad, topped with harrissa chicken. Chicken thighs were marinated in homemade harissa paste and then roasted and served with the salad. A spicy, fresh affair with the chilli heat of the chicken tempered by the sharp, citrus and sweet elements of the salad.

We turned from winter to summer for our dessert which was a bright little clementine polenta cake. Again, not an Ottolenghi recipe as I wanted a cake that was entirely gluten free. These little polenta cakes were topped with a slice of caramelised clementine and even had the whole fruit inside the cake mix. They were doused in a sweet clementine syrup and came with a smear of clementine curd – a celebration of the little citrus fruit! I paired it with an orange blossom, pistachio and honey ice cream – again not an Ottolenghi recipe but actually a Sabrina Ghayour one, so not far off!

Our final offering with coffees were little almond florentines. Unlike traditional florentines, these were simple, orange zest spiked biscuits that whilst simple in appearance packed a punch.

So, whilst we may have strayed a little from our original intention of hosting an Ottolenghi supperclub, I think what it demonstrates is that these days a lot of people are doing Ottolenghi style food and when he first released his original book that was far from the case, which must be a good thing surely?!

Anyway, we’ll be back next in March with another beer and food supperclub which we’re very excited about!

February ’17 Menu – Ottolenghi Inspired Lunch

We’re already through with January and coming up to our second event of the year! This time we’re lunching and using the reissued version of the Ottolenghi cookbook as our muse. Bold, sunny, spiced flavours to tingle those taste buds.

We’re looking forward to cooking this up, would love to know what you think!

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Nopi Festive Lunch

You know it’s the countdown to Christmas and the new year when we’ve put on a festive supperclub! And this year it was the turn of Ottolenghi’s glamorous book Nopi as our inspiration and guide. Based on the food from his Soho restaurant of the same name, this recipe book starts with a massive disclaimer about how hard all the recipes are! True, most recipes are two or three pages long, but we found that with a bit of forward reading, lots of recipe testing and advanced preparation, most were absolutely fine. Ottolenghi and cheffing partner Scully have translated the recipes so that they can move from a professional kitchen into the amateur realm.

We opted for a lunch for this event – mainly because we then get to go out at the weekend too! We hosted a very rowdy and appreciative lot, which is surely the point of a suppperclub. It was great to fill the house with lots of festive cheer, I certainly feel a bit more Christmassy now anyway!

Guests were welcomed with a spicy ginger and coriander martini. Russian vodka was shaken with a fresh ginger syrup, lime juice, toasted coriander seed and fresh coriander. The lime and ginger were the first things to punch with this drink, the coriander notes a subtle after thought. Nopi has an exciting range of cocktails in the back of the book so do check them out.

Canapes were headed by Susie’s filthily gorgeous brisket croquette. Brisket is slow cooked for hours in a rich Asian masterstock spiked with cinnamon, start anise and orange peel amongst the many herbs. Very festive indeed! The meat is then shredded, breadcrumbed and fried. Served alongside as a dipping sauce, the masterstock is reduced to a dark glossy syrup – truly sweet, sticky and umami! This was swiftly followed by Dan’s delicate corn cakes, which were light and airy like mini souffles. They had earthy notes from cumin and celery seed, plus the sweet corn. A tangy slaw of apple and beetroot gave them a dash of colour and acidity. You could serve larger ones of these as a veggie starter.

We then moved on to a series of small plates, which is how the food was served at Nopi when Susie and I went for a lunch there a couple of years ago. First up was Susie’s purple sprouting broccoli with chilli and skordalia, which is a creamy chilli spiked olive oil mash. The broccoli is charred and served up alongside. Crunchy, creamy and spicy and delicious veggie starter before we moved onto the more meaty dishes. I had my eye on the buttermilk cod with urid daal. Delicate pieces of cod were marinated in punchy spices and buttermilk, the latter making the cod quite firm and silky. The urid daal was flavoured only with fresh aromatics, no dried spices, which created a very light and subtle curry. The result was a very comforting dish, but if I’m honest the buttermilk marinade made the cod taste ever so slightly overdone. I also made a yoghurt version for a guest who cannot eat buttermilk and I thought this was better!

The mains kick started with a luscious piece of Japanese style chicken. Chicken thighs were marinated in a bizarre burnt miso, brown sugar and mirin sauce. This gave it a rich umami and butterscotch flavour, which when paired with juicy chicken and crispy burnt edges was very moreish! This dish is Ottolenghi at his best because it fuses flavours and ingredients that you wouldn’t normally taste together. The Japanese chicken came with more of Middle Eastern style salsa – pomegranate and walnut – as well as a sumac flavoured onion salad. The sweetness of the chicken and the intense tang and freshness of the salsa and salad were very disorienting for the senses but enjoyable nonetheless. Susie’s final savoury flourish was smoked lamb rack. The racks of lamb were marinaded overnight in garlic, ginger and coriander, then smoked over basmati rice before being griddled until pink. Rather imparting a smoked flavour it adds a toasty aroma to the lamb. Alongside the juicy cutlets, Susie also served a tahini and lemon aubergine puree, picked kohlrabi and a vivid green jalapeno sauce. Again, a real mix of sharp, spicy and earthy flavours!

To take us into the sweets Susie served up a frozen version of one of Nopi’s cocktails as a sorbet – pineapple and sage. Sugar syrup is infused with sage leaves, cloves and cardamom before being blended with the fruit imparting an almost medicinal flavour to the mix which was delicious! I then moved on to the main event. I’ll be honest with you here, picking the dessert was an absolute nightmare as we had a dairy free guest to cater for – no cream or butter, eek! Help was on hand, however, with a very retro coconut flavoured tapioca. Tapioca, the childhood enemy of many a guest, we hope we have been able to redeem it for some! This version was rich with coconut cream and palm sugar. I found I had to up the sweetness to suit my palate and also added in some run and cinnamon to make it a bit more festive. The creamy tapioca came topped with caramelised bananas flambéed in a rich rum sauce and finished off with fresh coconut that had been glaced. All the bowls came back scraped clean so I hope it was enjoyed!

As coffees and teas were sent out Susie dusted the petit four with festive icing sugar – these were coffee and pecan friands, which weren’t so much petit but grand!

And so that brings us to the end of our 2015 events, which has been a very fun year indeed. We started with Ottolenghi and ended with Ottolenghi, with some detours via Scandinavia, America, Spain and France – as you can see we’re very diverse! We’re booked up until next spring and 2016 looks set to take us to Eastern Europe, Latin America and…. Nigel Slater’s kitchen! Fear not it you’ve not got tickets for these events, we always announce cancellations on this blog and on twitter, plus there’ll be more events in 2016 to pounce on. For now, have a lovely Christmas and a prosperous new year!

December 2015 Menu – Nopi Inspired Christmas Lunch

In a week’s time will be our last event of the year, and what a year it has been! We’ll be seeing 2015 out with a delicious Nopi inspired Christmas lunch for our guests. Bold, bright flavours from Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully’s beautiful book that, despite not being at all “Christmassy” will get our gets into fun, high spirits!

We’re looking forward to it already!

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Christmas Lunch at the Manor

Saturday 5th December 2015, 1pm to 4pm

Yes it may be July now and the hottest day of the year so far but we know how diaries can start to fill up in December, so we have decided to get in there early 🙂 . This event will be a decadent Christmas lunch, using Yotam Ottolenghi’s new book, Nopi as our inspiration. We went to Nopi for lunch a couple of years ago and you can read our review here.

Tasty small plates, with a festive twist. £30pp will get you 8 small plates and a welcome drink! If you want to celebrate Christmas with us, then book on using the link below.

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Veg Out at the Manor

Last weekend we donned our aprons for the first time in 2015 for our January event. Veg was the theme of the evening as we dusted off Ottolenghi’s Plenty More to create a meat free feast for fourteen hungry guests. In from the cold, our guests were treated to our welcome cocktail, a rose, elderflower and gin. This was a fresh and fragrant concoction that combined gin with sparkling water, homemade elderflower cordial and rose water. A very simple cocktail but it got gin haters enjoying gin and one guest described it as the best cocktail she’d ever had! Sweet and floral it was certainly easy to glug!

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January Menu – Plenty More

Happy New Year! I can’t believe it has been month since out Christmas event – where does time go? After a short festive break, Dan and I are recharged and raring to go with our next event which is under a fortnight away.

A veggie event is on the cards to help cleanse the stomach after a month of excess and we’re using Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty More as our guide. We’re shaking up the format for this one and serving up a mezze feast for our guests. Fresh flavours served up round our Victorian dining room. Lovely.

We’re busy testing these recipes at the moment and we’d love to know what you think!

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