Financial Mail - - LIFE OUTBOX - Zeenat Moorad

By all re­ports, Yo­tam Ot­tolenghi made the masses fall in love with many in­car­na­tions of roasted au­bergine. The Is­raeli-bri­tish chef, restau­rant owner and food writer has, through his half-dozen cook­books, gar­nered an al­most evan­gel­i­cal fol­low­ing, in­tro­duc­ing home cooks to Mid­dle East­ern in­gre­di­ents they’ve never heard of, and flavours they wouldn’t nat­u­rally have thought to pair.

Still, even the staunch­est Ot­tolenghi devo­tee would ad­mit that while the re­sult is al­ways spec­tac­u­larly more-ish, a re­con­nais­sance mis­sion to lo­cate pome­gran­ate mo­lasses, Urfa chilli flakes or black gar­lic isn’t al­ways con­ve­nient.

His lat­est book, Ot­tolenghi Sim­ple, aims for, well, sim­plic­ity.

Sim­ple does, of course, mean dif­fer­ent things to dif­fer­ent peo­ple and so the recipes are marked with let­ters from the word. In this case, they stand for: S — short on time, I — 10 or fewer in­gre­di­ents, M — for make-ahead meals, P — the sort of recipes you cook from pantry sta­ples, L — lazy dishes like stews and soups that cook them­selves, and E — eas­ier than you think, dishes that seem cheffy and com­pli­cated but are in fact a cinch.

While easy does do it (par­tic­u­larly on a Tues­day evening FM dead­line, af­ter a long slog at the of­fice) there’s a cer­tain set of ex­pec­ta­tions when peo­ple think of an Ot­tolenghi recipe. Un­de­mand­ing as it may be, the book is not short of au­da­cious flavours or in­ven­tive­ness.

Sim­ple is just Ot­tolenghi for ev­ery­one — even on a Tues­day.

by Yo­tam Ot­tolenghi, Tara Wigley and Esme Howarth

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