Tuesday, July 24, 2012


My dear friend Rhoda sent me a gift. It wasn't for my birthday or any other occasion. It was one of those lovely, unexpected "just because" gifts -- the best kind! She thought of me when she saw this gorgeous vegetarian cookbook called Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London's Ottolenghi (copyright 2010). It is written by Yotam Ottolenghi (who isn't vegetarian, as he explains in the introduction) and beautifully photographed by Jonathan Lovekin. With permission from the publisher, Chronicle Books, I would like to share a recipe and a few photos of the many mouthwatering dishes in this cookbook that are sure to be on my menu in the near future. 

If you have this cookbook and can recommend a recipe or two from it, please leave a comment and let me know. Or, share the name of your favorite cookbook and a few tried-and-true recipes!

Leek fritters
Don't these look yummy? The sauce has Greek yogurt, sour cream, garlic, lemon, parsley and cilantro in it. Or the fritter can be had with just a squeeze of lemon.

Lentils with broiled eggplant
I love cooking with lentils. They are a good protein source and so delicious. My husband also loves them. I am lucky that he likes the same kinds of foods I do. It makes cooking a pleasure.

This dish looks so fresh, healthy and tasty! Here's the recipe.

Green Bean Salad with Mustard Seeds and Tarragon

1-1/4 cups green beans, trimmed
2-1/4 cups snow peas, trimmed
1-3/4 cups green peas (fresh or frozen)
2 tsp coriander seeds, roughly crushed with a mortar and pestle
1 tsp mustard seeds
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp nigella seeds*
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1 mild fresh red chile, seeded and finely diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp chopped tarragon
coarse sea salt
1 cup baby chard leaves (optional)

1) Fill a medium saucepan with cold water and bring to a boil. Blanch the green beans for 4 minutes, then immediately lift them out of the pan and into iced water to refresh. Drain and dry.
2) Bring a fresh pan of water to the boil and blanch the snow peas for 1 minute only. Refresh, drain and dry. Use the same boiling water to blanch the peas for 20 seconds. Refresh, drain and dry. Combine the beans, snow peas and peas in a large mixing bowl. 
3) Put the coriander seeds, mustard seeds and oil in a small saucepan and heat up. When the seeds begin to pop, pour the contents of the pan over the beans and peas. Toss together, then add the nigella seeds, red onion, chile, garlic, lemon zest and tarragon. Mix well and season with salt to taste.
Just before serving, gently fold the chard leaves, if using, in with the beans and peas, and spoon the salad onto plates or into bowls.

* Note: Nigella seeds (I didn't know what they were until I looked online) are used in Asian cooking and are much like onion seed with a bitter, pepper-like taste; I may not be able to find them locally, so I will probably leave them out.


  1. What a nice unexpected gift. Those leek fritters look yummy! Let us know which recipes you try out... x

  2. My pleasure- I am so glad you liked the 'just becu ase' gift!! Thanks for sharing this on your blog.

  3. This seems like an amazing cookbook. I am always looking for "vegetarian" cookbooks for my mom, who gave up red meat 40 years ago.....and all meat 30 years ago. I have passed your bean and rice burger recipe to her. Thanks.

  4. I love cookbooks. I read them all the time, and I keep my collection like a sacred little library in my kitchen. There are obvious favorites like the one given to me as a wedding present which taught me how to cook all those years ago.The binding is gone on that, but it is still used and referred to like an old friend. Then the ones from Texas which helped me bring a little bit of home to a foreign country.Then there's anything by Jamie Oliver, Martha Stewart, or Ainsley Harriott who make cooking fun and practical.

    However, my very favorite cookbook is Annabel Karmel's Feeding Your Baby and Toddler, published by Dorling Kindersley. I bought it in 1999 to give me some clue on how to healthily feed my one and only child, and when you start from the very basic purees and then build up a human's diet, you learn about nutrition all over again! I'm flipping through the pages now, and so many of them are dripped on and stuck together (I am a hygienic, if not neat, cook), and it makes me smile to see so many family favorites which we still enjoy even though our son is now a teenager. Tomato and mascarpone pasta sauce, fillet of fish mornay with vegetables, shepherd's pie. They're all good and nutritious, and they use a lot of fresh herbs which my son loved to pick and chew on (still does). Heck, I even still make some of the purees as they're brilliant for soup bases!

    Your gift from Rhoda looks gorgeous, and I can't wait to see what you make from it. Thanks for your lovely blog - it's like having a friend over for coffee!

  5. Looks amazing! Something to do with all of our veggies from the garden!

    1. And what a beautiful garden you have! Just visited your blog - very nice.

  6. What a nice surprise from your friend. I've seen this cook book before, but don't own it...yet. It's so beautiful!

  7. It is indeed a beautiful book. I remember (when we lived in London) walking past his shop and seeing the most divine meringues I'd ever seen. Chocolate, raspberry and possibly mango. Rounded but peaky and very generous. I wonder if they're in that book?


Your comments mean so much! Thank you for visiting My Little Bungalow.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...