by cookbookarabia

London, Ottolenghi & pomegranate

In Israelian kitchen, Middle Eastern kitchen, Palestinian kitchen on March 1, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Recently Merijn was in London for delicious. and visited the fantastic Ottolenghi places, the one in Islington, and met Yotam & Sami. It was so great to see their warm and superb Middle Eastern fusion kitchen live. Even nicer was Yotam’s warm enthusiasm. Merijn gave him our books, and we are proud he loves them as much as we loves his/their books. We made plans to cook together here in Amsterdam, as Yotam’s coming to promote his great Plenty book.  And to conclude this post: a festive cocktail (with or without champagne) with pomegranate for prosperity and a free future for the whole Arab world!

Prosperous pomegranate cocktail

Mix pomegranate juice with champaign or sparkling water, make mint sugar from fresh mint, lemon rind and sugar and dip the wet glasses in the mintlemonsugar. Pour in the pomogranate cocktail and add some seeds!

Beans & veggies

In Chickpeas, Pugliese kitchen, Southern European kitchen on December 29, 2010 at 4:43 pm

As often we tend to get an addiction when back from a foodie destination. So recently we made a Puglia feature for Dutch women’s magazine VIVA and we should share one of the recipes here. It just shows how poor kitchens can give so much satisfaction. So whenever it’s cold and you’re hungry, a plate of this farmers food will warm your stomach and satisfy your soul. At least that’s what it does to us. And this chickpea puree, does it remind us of something? did someone say hummus?

Chickpeas with endive and olive oil
Serves 4

800 g canned chickpeas ** (or 400 g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in advance in plenty of water …. much better!)
endives or scarola or another green leave vegetable from the bitter endive family.
anchovy fillets in oil
olive oil

Cook the chickpeas in a small amount of water during 5 minutes (if you’re using fresh chickpeas, boil them in plenty of water for about 45 minutes until tender: of course this is much nicer than the canned friends). Cut the endive coarsely. Heat a little oil with lots of chopped garlic and add to taste quite a few anchovy fillets. Allow to simmer 2-3 minutes, add the endive. Stir fry until the endive is almost completely wilted. Mash the chickpeas with a little cooking liquid, salt and a generous dash of olive oil until a thick puree. Serve with some more olive oil  and next to it, the endives!

Image courtesy Sven Benjamins.

Olives & more from Puglia

In Olives, Pugliese kitchen, Southern European kitchen on December 13, 2010 at 11:17 am

Last week we were in beautiful Puglia in the south of Italy, for a very special occasion: Qoco : a young chef’s competition about the special Pugliese olive oil, made from the Coratina olive variety, and we were members of the jury. We got out of the plane, in the bus, and we saw olive trees, olive trees, olive trees and more…olive trees!

A beautiful countrysite rustic and pure.

Antonella Millarte, our Pugliese olive oil expert told us there are 60 million olive trees in Puglia! One for every Italian.

There were some chef’s from Italy and some more from nordic countries, as far up as the talented Magnus Nilsson’s Faviken, in the north of Sweden. We brought along Wally Bosman, chef at our Amsterdam favorite Toscanini restaurant (look how he’s enjoying the olives in the above picture), who made some nice dishes (with chickpeas, raw mackerel and orzo) but it was Magnus who deserved to win! But aside from these wonderful dishes the chefs presented with the high quality extra vergine Coratina olive oil –which is an oil that is often still stone crushed, temperature not higher than 27°C and has therefore and also due to the Coratina variety high levels of antioxidants and a very pure taste of green tomatoes and artichokes
we discovered something very very interesting! Not only was everyone telling us Puglia still has Arabic influence in their food, but we could taste it, like everywhere! Mashed up chickpeas like hummus, with cooked bitter vegetables (like endives) and other indigenous bean vegetables dishes, lentils, in combination with fresh cheeses (like the burrata), the typical sweets all was pointing in the same direction. And even the ancient olive trees, as they came to Puglia from Greece and Syria. We’ll be back soon in Puglia for our next book.