Herb and Walnut Fritters

These Iranian fritters are herbaceous and delicious. They are a perfect snack at afternoon tea time, or make a great lunch with flatbreads and fresh salads.

We make our herby fritters with a chickpea flour base rather than eggs. With a little eno or baking soda for aeration, it is the perfect replacement for eggs in this type of recipe.The inspiration was Ottolenghi’s dish in his book Simple. They are very easy to make and utterly delicious. These fritters are a bit of a fridge raid – use whatever soft herbs you have to hand.

Similar recipes include Rosti with Goat’s Cheese and Chives, Spinach Fritters, Vegetable Fritters, and Chickpea Flour Fritters and Pancakes.

Browse all of our Fritters and all of our recipes from Simple. Or explore all of our Mid Summer recipes.

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Cucumber and Tomato Raita with Lemon-Chilli Paste

Picture a Tunisian grandmother, a master at cooking kofta, making them with Ottolenghi. This scene from his Mediterranean series is a classic. She gets fully ticked off with his faffing around, the time he takes, the number of ingredients he uses. She sits on a stool in the corner, rolling her eyes and muttering under her breath. Ah, Grandma, we know, we KNOW.

It must have been a trial for Ottolenghi to bring out Simple, his latest book. Recipes pared down to their bare essentials. No more layerings of flavour upon flavour upon flavour. No more dishes that can be a meal in themselves. HE must have been the one rolling his eyes and huffing and puffing as testers and editors stripped yet another ingredient from a dish.

I am in 2 minds about Simple. Yes, there is a level of difficulty in his other books, and not all of those recipes are for typical week night cooking. But there is something in the Simple recipes that I miss. An undefinable something. It is as though every recipe in his other books stretches us in the kitchen somehow. A new ingredient, a new technique, a new way of cooking, a new combination of ingredients. Not so Simple. Some dishes are quite ordinary by comparison, albeit delicious.

Still, they are as visually pleasing as the dishes from his other books, and a delight in their own way (just a different way to the Ottolenghi we have been used to). This raita, a riff on an Indian dish, is quite good. I’ve said before that Ottolenghi does not yet understand Indian food very well – perhaps he doesn’t care about that. He has been known to use Indian ingredients in ways that don’t showcase them to their best. But in this dish, although not typically Indian, it is a pretty jolly good plate of food.  Love the inclusion of preserved lemon in the chilli paste which is layered on top of the raita. Brilliant.

Raita is traditionally served with an Indian meal as a salad and as a cooling agent, contrasting well with the spiciness of the rest of the meal.  Leave off the chilli paste if you want to serve it this way. But raita is very versatile. It is lovely as a dip, gorgeous with some warm pitta, and excellent spooned on top of spiced rice.

You can find the original recipe for this dish here.

Similar dishes include Pomegranate Raita, Pomelo Raita, and Carrot Raita.

Browse all of our Raita recipes. Our dishes from Simple are here, and all of our Ottolenghi recipes are here. You might like to check out our Indian dishes and our Indian Essentials. Or explore our Late Spring dishes.

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Avocado and Broad Bean Mash

Only in Spring could you get away with having a dish this green!

And what a great crop of broad beans we have had this year – they have grown extraordinarily well and we have had enough to freeze as well as make all of our favourite broad bean dishes. In the early part of the season we pick them small and eat them whole, or podded without being peeled. As the season continues, we let them grow larger for a different more meatier taste. This way we can have them for 3 – 4 months without getting sick of them. Today I picked 2.5 kg of the large ones. Podded and peeled, we are making this Avocado Bean Mash with some, and the rest go in the freezer for Summer and Autumn.

Note that, because my broad beans are home grown, they are still tender at this stage. Beans bought from a green grocer are likely to be tougher if very large. Look for the smaller beans. With my home grown beans, I used around 850g unpodded beans to get 250g podded and peeled beans. Yours might be different. Perhaps buy around 1kg to have enough.

This is another recipe from Ottolenghi’s new book Simple. It’s the second one we have made from his new book, and love the lightness and simplicity of this dish. It is a great dip and spread – use it as a mezze plate, a snack in front of the TV, or as nibbles with a glass of wine and group of friends before you head out on the town. There is no garlic in it, so you’ll be right.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of 1 or 2 days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. We’ve been a bit distracted by Simple. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar dishes include Broad Bean Spread with Roasted Garlic Ricotta, Beautiful Fennel Puree, Avocado Salsa with Deep Fried Tortilla Chips, and Fava Bean Puree.

Browse all of our Broad Bean dishes and all of our Dips. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Simple are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Roasted Whole Cauliflower with Green Tahini Dressing

Cauliflowers, roasted whole, have become a fashionable item for sometime – perhaps you might say it is going out of fashion, along with cauliflower steaks. But riced cauliflower still makes a regular appearance and I am glad about that – late onto the bandwagon as usual, I tried it for the first time recently and it is quite amazing.

So it is a surprise that Ottolenghi has a roasted whole cauliflower recipe in his new book Simple. And simple it is – par boiled then roasted with butter and oil before serving with a green tahini sauce. Elements of Ottolenghi, without all the hoohaa of his other books.

In a way, though, it is shockingly simple. It almost doesn’t feel quite right, doesn’t feel quite  like Ottolenghi. Even the style of the book has changed – the texture is different (different papers used), the layout is different. I am in 2 minds about the style changes – I wanted it to have all the lux of over-the-top Ottolenghi cookbooks, but with simpler recipes.

The book defines simple in 6 different ways (the first letters of which spell out SIMPLE), and each recipe is labelled to indicate which of these various simplicities it belongs to. For me, the most important simplicity is S ie Short on Time. In my household, somewhere between 6 and 8 dishes are made daily, so spending a minimum of 1 hour on an Ottolenghi dish does not make efficiency sense, even though we might adore the dish. HOWEVER, in defence of Ottolenghi’s other books, they contain recipes that can be a whole meal. That is not the case in Simple. TBH, you’d have to make 2 or 3 dishes to make a whole meal from Simple, or pair one dish with other plates of food.

Another first impression is that, reading through Simple, many of the recipes feel like half-recipes. That is not a criticism! It is a comment on the way he layers textures and flavours in his other books, and thus the simplicity of this book shocks! For example, take Whole Roasted Cauli. I might have expected Roasted Cauli, pureed, with cooked and toasted chickpeas, a tahini dressing and herb oil topped with baby falafel with a sumac dust. No, wait! That actually sounds great! (makes note to self). But here in Simple, we have only the cauliflower with a tahini dressing. It does make the recipes very accessible for weeknight cooking. And, for all its simplicity, this dish is a cracker!

Again, the comments on simplicity are not a criticism, it is an emotional response. We all have these when confronted with change. During my project of cooking Plenty More I often lamented the complexity (especially of time) and hankered after some Elizabeth David recipes. I have my wish now, although perhaps the style of Simple is a little like Elizabeth David on a small dose of steroids. She can specify recipes in 2 or 3 lines. Ottolenghi still takes a page or 2 for each dish.

Truthfully, I can’t wait to dive into this book and get to know it as intimately as I know the others.

“I like to serve this in the centre of the table, for people to share with drinks at the start of a meal. We break the cauliflower apart with our hands, dip the individual florets and crisp green leaves into the sauce and sprinkle with salt.”

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking through Plenty More (nearly finished), but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Roasted Cauliflower with Cumin and Sumac, A Plate of Cauliflower, Cauliflower Roasted in Olive Oil, and Cauliflower Roasted with Mustard Seeds and Curry Leaves.

Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. As we cook more, you will find all of our dishes from Simple here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

Continue reading “Roasted Whole Cauliflower with Green Tahini Dressing”