Yotam Ottolenghi’s latest book is full of Flavour…


Yotam Ottolenghi is a paradigm shifting force on the global food scene. His new book FLAVOUR is quite the revelation and I certainly don’t use that word lightly. Even though Yotam is not a vegetarian, he has been celebrating and singing the praises of vegetables for decades and is on a mission to present them in new and exciting ways.  He and his team have been testing, tasting and sharing the many recipes they have devised to ramp up and create new flavours that totally banish our concept of traditional vegetables.

Although his six restaurants all across London are not vegetarian, vegetables feature abundantly on the menus. He’s written and co-authored seven cookbooks thus far

Among them, PLENTY which was published in 2010, PLENTY MORE in 2014,  FLAVOUR is the most recent book in the series, Yotam teamed up with Ixta Belfarge who is equally obsessed with vegetables. Her journey to the world of food via Mexico City, Brazil, France, Tuscany and Australia was complex and varied, she even had a market stall in London for a spell and eventually got a job at Nopi, one of Yotam’s restaurants.

Her eclectic cooking is deeply engrained in the cultures she absorbed during her travel over the years.

The third contributor to this inspirational book was Ballymaloe Cookery School Alumni, Tara Wigley. She cooks and writes like an angel and also collaborated with Yotam’s business partner Sami Tamini on his recent book Falastin (see Examiner article 26th September 2020)

So why am I waxing lyrical about FLAVOUR – Well, for a start I’ve been cooking all of my adult life and a good part of my childhood, I live on an organic farm, I too love vegetables and I am fortunate to have access to beautiful freshly harvested produce throughout the year. Since 1983, I have taught thousands of students here at the Ballymaloe Cookery School since and thus far written nineteen cookbooks. Yet, Yotam and Ixta have introduced me to a myriad of new ways to add hitherto undreamt of flavours to our favourite vegetables. Cauliflower, celeriac, even carrots and cabbage will never be the same again.

How do they do it? – well you’ll need to buy the book to discover all the secrets but a few hints, Yotam and Ixta introduce us to a series of twenty essential ingredients to add extra oomph – I’ve got to add Guachong chilli paste to my larder! Furthermore to add extra magic they hone in on four processes, charring, browning, infusing and ageing and there’s more…

Pop into your local bookshop – FLAVOUR is published by Ebury Press. Treat yourself and maybe pick up an extra copy for a friend who loves to cook. Once again, here are a couple of recipes to illustrate how common vegetables and pulses can be utterly transformed.

Ottolenghi’s Cauliflower Roasted in Chilli Butter

Serves four

2 large whole cauliflowers, with leaves (1.9kg)

2 onions, peeled and cut into eighths

8 red chillies, whole with a vertical slit cut into them

1 lemon, cut into wedges, to serve


Chilli butter

120g unsalted butter, melted (or 120ml olive oil, if you want to keep it vegan)

110ml olive oil

1 ¼ tbsp. red bell pepper flakes

2 ½ tsp tomato paste

1 ¼ Urfa chilli flakes

90g rose harissa (adjust according to the brand you are using)

¾ tsp Aleppo chilli flakes (or 1/3 tsp regular chilli flakes)

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 ½ tsp caster sugar

Trim the leaves at the top of each cauliflower, so that about 5cm of the actual cauliflower is exposed. Cut both cauliflowers into quarters lengthways, making sure the leaves remain attached at the base.

Fill a very large pan (large enough to fit all the cauliflower quarters) with well-salted water and bring to the boil. Once boiling, blanch the cauliflower quarters for 2 minutes, weighing them down with a lid a little smaller than the pan to ensure they stay submerged. Transfer to a colander to drain well. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius fan.

Mix all the ingredients for the chilli butter together in a small bowl with 1 teaspoon of salt. Place the cauliflower quarters, onions and chillies on a very large, parchment-lined baking tray and pour over the chilli butter. Carefully mix to make sure everything is very well coated (gloved hands are best for this). Arrange the cauliflower quarters so they are spaced apart as much as possible; one of the cut sides of each quarter should face down, so the leaves are exposed. Roast for 30 minutes, baste well, then turn the heat down to 170 degrees Celsius fan and continue to roast for another 35-40 minutes, basting twice, until the cauliflower is very well browned and the leaves are crispy.

Transfer everything to a platter, spooning over the remaining chilli butter and browned aromatics from the baking tray. Serve at once, with the lemon wedges alongside.

(From Flavour by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage, published by Ebury Press)

Ottolenghi’s Curried Carrot Mash with Brown Butter

Serves four as a side dish or six as a dip

1-2 red chillies, finely sliced into rounds (deseeded for less heat)

1 ½ tbsp white wine vinegar

½ tsp caster sugar

800g carrots (that’s roughly 8), peeled and roughly chopped into 2cm pieces

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp medium curry powder

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

30g unsalted butter (or 2 tbsp olive oil)

5g fresh ginger, peeled and julienned

½ tsp nigella seeds

½ fennel seeds

½ tsp cumin seeds

½ tbsp lime juice

1 spring onion, trimmed and julienned (10g)

5g mint leaves, finely shredded


Put the chillies, vinegar and sugar into a small bowl with ¼ tsp of salt, massage together and set aside to pickle for at least 30 minutes.

Put the carrots into a steaming basket or colander, place on a high heat, cover with a lid and steam for about 25 minutes, or until you can cut through them easily with a knife. Put the carrots into the bowl of a food processor with the oil, curry powder, cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of salt, and blitz for about a minute until you get a semi-smooth mash (it should still have some texture and not be completely smooth).

While the carrots are steaming, put the butter, ginger and nigella, fennel and cumin seeds, with a generous pinch of salt, into a small saucepan on a medium heat. Gently cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the butter begins to foam and turn light brown and the seeds become fragrant. Set aside until ready to serve. You may need to gently melt the butter again when you’re plating, if it has set.

Spoon the mash on to a large platter, creating dips with the back of the spoon. Drizzle over the butter with the ginger and seeds, followed by the lime juice. Drain the pickled chillies well and scatter them over the mash. Finish with the spring onions and mint and serve warm.

(From Flavour by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage, published by Ebury Press)

Ottolenghi’s Curry-Crusted Swede Steaks

2-3 swedes (1.8kg), peeled and cut widthways into 8 (total) 3cm-thick steaks

120g crème fraiche (or coconut yoghurt)


Fenugreek Marinade

1 ½ tbsp fenugreek seeds

6 small garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped (25g)

1 ½ tsp cayenne pepper

1 ½ tsp ground turmeric

2 tsp caster sugar

2 tbsp lime juice

75ml olive oil


3-4 ruby grapefruits (750g unpeeled weight)

1-2 banana shallots, finely sliced on a mandolin, if you have one, or by hand (70g)

2 red chillies, finely sliced into rounds

20g picked mint leaves

10g picked coriander leaves

2 tsp olive oil

2 limes : juice to get 1 tbsp, then cut into wedges to serves

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius fan.

For the marinade, put all the ingredients into a spice grinder or the small bowl of a processor with ¾ teaspoon of salt and blitz to a paste, scraping the sides as you go if necessary. Put 2 teaspoons of the marinade into a small serving bowl and set aside.

Put the remaining marinade into a large bowl with the swede steaks and mix well to coat all sides (this is easiest with gloved hands). Place the steaks, spaced apart, on a large, parchment-lined baking tray. Cover tightly with foil and roast for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Remove the foil, turn the oven to the grill setting, and grill for 3-4 minutes, until the swede is cooked through and the marinade has turned into a golden-brown crust.

When the swede is nearly cooked, prepare the salad. Cut the grapefruits into thin wedges by removing the skin and the white pith, then release the segments by cutting in between the white membrane, discarding any pips. Put the wedges into a large bowl, avoiding the juice (which can be kept for another use).

When you’re ready to serve, add all the remaining salad ingredients to the bowl with a generous pinch of salt and gently mix together.

Arrange the steaks and any marinade left on the tray on a large platter with the salad (or plate individually). Swirl the crème fraiche into the remaining marinade and serve alongside the steaks, with the lime wedges squeezed on top.

(From Flavour by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage, published by Ebury Press)

Ottolenghi’s Whole Roasted Celeriac

1 large celeriac, hairy roots discarded (no need to peel) and scrubbed clean (900g)

60ml olive oil

Flaked sea salt

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius fan.

Pierce the celeriac with a fork all over about 40 times and place on a parchment-lined baking tray. Mix the oil and 1 ½ teaspoons of flaked salt, then rub the celeriac generously with the oil mixture. Roast for a minimum of 2 ¼ hours, or up to 2 ¾ hours, depending on the size of you celeriac, basting every 20 minutes or so, until the celeriac is deeply browned, soft all the way through and oozes a celeriac caramel.

Leave to rest for 15 minutes, then cut into either wedges or steaks brushing each cut side with the oil and caramel left on the tray (you may need to add a little more oil if there isn’t enough to coat the cut sides).

(From Flavour by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage, published by Ebury Press)

Ottolenghi’s Celeriac Steaks with Café de Paris Sauce

Serves four as a main

2 whole roasted celeriac (double the master recipe), each cut widthways into 2 1/2 cm thick steaks

Flaked sea salt and black pepper

Café de Paris Sauce

110g unsalted butter, cut into 2cm cubes

1 small banana shallot, finely chopped (25g)

1 garlic clove, crushed

3 anchovy fillets in olive oil, drained and finely chopped (optional, but adjust seasoning if not using)

½ tsp medium curry powder

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

1 tbsp mustard seeds

1tbsp baby capers

2 tbsp chives, finely chopped

2 tbsp tarragon leaves, finely chopped

1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped

2 tsp thyme leaves

110ml single or whipping cream

2 tsp lemon juice

Put the first seven ingredients for the sauce and ¼ teaspoon of flaked salt into a small saucepan on a medium heat. Cook for about 6 minutes, swirling the pan until the shallots have softened and the butter has melted and become golden and caramelized. Add the capers, herbs and a very generous grind of pepper and continue to cook for 1 minute, then remove from the heat.

Turn the oven to its highest grill setting. Arrange the celeriac steaks, spaced apart, on a large parchment-lined baking tray big enough to fit the slices in a single layer. The steaks should have been brushed with their cooking oil and celeriac caramel by this point, but if not, brush with some olive oil and a little maple syrup or honey. Make sure there is not overhanging parchment that could burn. Grill the steaks on the top shelf of the oven, until they are golden-brown on top, 6-8 minutes. Turn the oven off, keeping the tray warm in the oven until you’re ready to serve.

Return the sauce to a medium heat and gently cook for a minute, then add the cream and lemon juice. Swirl for another 2 minutes or until warm, but don’t over mix it too much – you want the sauce to be split, not emulsified.

Pour the sauce on to a large platter with a lip and arrange the celeriac steaks on top (or plate individually with some sauce poured on top and the rest served alongside). Sprinkle the steaks with a little flaked salt and black pepper, and serve.

(From Flavour by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage, published by Ebury Press)

Ottolenghi’s Hispi Cabbage with Nam Prik

Page 44

Serves six as a side

2 pointed cabbages (aka hispi or sweetheart cabbage), quartered, lengthways (1.6kg)

3 tbsp sunflower oil

5g coriander, finely chopped

1 lime, cut into wedges to serve

Flaked sea salt

Nam Prik

20g fresh galangal (or ginger, as a substitute), peeled and roughly chopped

1 small garlic clove, peeled

1 tbsp fish sauce (or light soy sauce)

1 ½ tsp Aleppo chilli flakes (or ¾ tsp regular chilli flakes)

1 tbsp shop-bought tamarind paste, or double if you’re extracting it yourself from pulp

1 ¼ tsp soft light brown sugar

50g cherry tomatoes

1 ½ tbsp lime juice

1 tsp sunflower oil

To make the nam prik, put the galangal and garlic into the small bowl of a food processor and blitz well. Add all the remaining ingredients and pulse until combined and finely chopped but not completely smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside until ready to serve.

Toss the cabbage with the oil and 1 teaspoon of flaked salt. Place on a very hot barbeque or griddle pan and grill for 4-5 minutes on each side (i.e. 12-15 minutes in total), until the cabbage softens on the outside, while still retaining a crunch, and you get clear grill marks. Transfer to a platter. Add the coriander to the nam prik and spoon the mixture evenly over the cabbage pieces. Serve either warm or at room temperature, with the lime wedges alongside.

(From Flavour by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage, published by Ebury Press)

About the author

Darina Allen
By Darina Allen


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