Cook good: Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipe cheats | Life and elegance


I used to cheat a lot much less within the kitchen. As a younger prepare dinner, filled with concepts – and of myself – issues needed to be carried out ‘properly’, even at residence: tins have been a no-no and the freezer a no-go; fancy home equipment have been a final resort. Only pure, uncooked elements have been acceptable, and each little bit of prep needed to be carried out by hand. How tedious. These days, I’m way more forgiving. As lengthy as the method is pleasing and the meals sustaining, I’m pleased with any trick, any cheat, something to place a scrumptious meal on the desk.

Orecchiette cooked in chickpea and tomato sauce (pictured above)

Pasta is a sacred factor and this technique of cooking it within the sauce is actually not frequent. My colleague Gitai Fisher, who may as nicely be Italian, went as far as to say that it’s not simply dishonest, it’s blasphemy. For the sauce, I’ve added North African touches to Italian puttanesca. Gitai was of the opinion that this, too, was dishonest. There’s no pleasing some folks.

Prep 20 min
Cook 25 min
Serves 4

50ml olive oil, plus 2 tbsp additional to serve
6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained and patted dry
2 tsp sizzling smoked paprika
2 tsp floor cumin
¾ tbsp tomato paste
Salt and black pepper
40g parsley, leaves picked and roughly chopped
2 tsp lemon zest
4 tbsp child capers
80g good-quality inexperienced olives, pitted and roughly torn
250g cherry tomatoes
2 tsp caster sugar
½ tbsp caraway seeds, evenly toasted and crushed
250g dried orecchiette
500ml vegetable inventory

Put the primary six elements and 2 teaspoons of salt in a big saute pan for which you’ve gotten a lid, then put it on a medium warmth and fry gently for eight minutes, stirring typically, till the chickpeas are barely crisp. Transfer a 3rd of the chickpeas to a small bowl, to make use of as a garnish.

In a 2nd bowl, mix the parsley, lemon zest, capers and olives, then add two-thirds of this combine to the saute pan with the cherry tomatoes, sugar and caraway seeds, and prepare dinner for 2 minutes extra, stirring typically.

Add the pasta, inventory and 200ml water, and convey as much as a simmer. Turn the warmth to medium, cowl with a lid and go away to prepare dinner, undisturbed, for 12-14 minutes, till the pasta is al dente.

Stir within the remaining parsley combination, drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, and garnish with the fried chickpeas and a very good grind of pepper.

Seafood, spinach and celeriac bake

Freezer fish pie: Yotam Ottolenghi’s seafood, spinach and celeriac bake.

Freezer fish pie: Yotam Ottolenghi’s seafood, spinach and celeriac bake. Photograph: Louise Hagger for the Guardian

This makes use of frozen seafood and spinach to save lots of effort and time. The former varies from model to model: most comprise a base of fish, squid and prawns, and a few can even characteristic mussels and/or scallops. Any will do the job right here. If the seafood combine is pre-cooked, there’s no must warmth it within the milk first; simply add it to the bottom with the opposite elements.

Prep 20 min
Cook 1 hr 40 min
Serves 4

1 celeriac, peeled and halved (600g internet)
2½ tbsp olive oil
30g parmesan, finely grated
Salt and black pepper
750ml complete milk
⅛ tsp floor nutmeg
600g frozen uncooked seafood combine, defrosted (ie, 1-2 packets)
75g unsalted butter
2 leeks, trimmed, minimize in half of lengthways, then into 1cm items
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
½ tsp dried chilli flakes
50g plain flour
100ml dry white wine
250g frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
15g every dill, parsley and tarragon leaves, all roughly chopped
15g chives, minimize into 1cm lengths
2 tbsp capers, roughly chopped
1 tbsp lemon zest
¼ tsp paprika

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/fuel 4. Cut 1 celeriac half of into 2cm x 2cm cubes and put in a bowl; minimize the opposite into 2mm-thick half-moons (use a mandoline) and toss in a bowl with the oil, parmesan, a quarter-teaspoon of salt and a very good grind of pepper.

Pour the milk into an enormous saucepan for which you’ve gotten a lid and convey to a mild simmer on a medium warmth. Add the nutmeg, the cubed celeriac and a teaspoon of salt, and prepare dinner for 10 minutes, till tender. If your seafood combine is uncooked, add it now and prepare dinner for 3 minutes. Put a sieve over a big jug, drain the fish and celeriac, then set each apart.

Wipe the pan clear and return to a medium warmth. Add the butter and leeks, cowl the pan, flip the warmth to medium-low and prepare dinner, stirring sometimes, till the leeks are mushy however not colored – about 10 minutes.

Raise the warmth to medium, add the garlic and chilli, and prepare dinner for a minute. Stir within the flour till totally combined in – about 30 seconds – then slowly add the wine and reserved milk, whisking as you go to keep away from lumps, and prepare dinner for 10 minutes, stirring typically, till thickened. Stir within the spinach, herbs, capers, lemon zest, seafood, half of a teaspoon of salt and a beneficiant grind of pepper, and switch off the warmth.

Tip the combination right into a 30cm x 20cm oven dish and canopy with the sliced celeriac, overlapping it to create a fish-scale impact. Sprinkle paprika on prime, cowl tightly with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 25 minutes extra, till the celeriac is cooked by and the bake is effervescent. Leave to relaxation for 10 minutes, then serve.

Tangerine and ancho chilli flan

Blender dessert: Yotam Ottolenghi’s tangerine and ancho chilli flan.

Blender dessert: Yotam Ottolenghi’s tangerine and ancho chilli flan. Photograph: Louise Hagger for the Guardian

Flan is the Spanish-speaking world’s reply to creme caramel. Custard is a tough factor to get proper at the most effective of occasions: cornflour could make it too floury if it’s not cooked correctly, whereas eggs curdle if the warmth is simply too excessive. But you may cheat by placing all of the custard elements in a blender and blitzing them for 30 seconds: even a educated patissier wouldn’t be capable of inform the distinction. You can use orange as an alternative of tangerine, although the latter tastes relatively particular.

Prep 10 min
Cook 1 hr 10 min
Setting 3 hr+
Serves 6

100g caster sugar
1 tbsp tangerine juice

For the custard
1 ancho chilli (you need 18g, so chances are you’ll want solely ¾ of a chilli), soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes
270g condensed milk
100ml double cream
400ml complete milk
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or essence
1 tsp grated tangerine zest
1 beneficiant pinch flaked sea salt

Heat the oven to 150C/300F/fuel 2. Put a 20cm x 20cm nonstick sq. tin (or an analogous sized ovenproof dish) within the oven to heat; be sure the tin isn’t spring-form, although, since you don’t need the caramel to flee.

For the caramel, put the sugar in a big pan on a medium warmth and prepare dinner for about eight minutes: resist the urge to stir, and as an alternative swirl the pan round till the sugar has melted. Continue swirling slowly till the sugar turns a darkish amber, then shortly take the tin from the oven and pour within the caramel, tilting the tin as you go so it covers the bottom evenly. Leave the caramel to set whilst you make the custard.

Take the chilli from its soaking water and squeeze out any liquid. Discard the stalk, put the chilli, seeds included, and all the opposite custard elements in a blender and blitz on excessive velocity for about 30 seconds, till nicely mixed.

Tap the bottom of the caramel tin to test it has set (if it hasn’t, go away it a bit longer), then pour within the custard by a mesh sieve, to catch any bigger bits of chilli.

Gently elevate the tin into a bigger, high-sided baking dish and put within the oven. Carefully pour boiling water into the bigger dish to come back midway up the perimeters of the tin, then bake for 40-50 minutes, till the floor is about and golden-brown, however the flan nonetheless has a very good wobble to it (it’ll set extra within the fridge). Lift the flan out of its water tub, go away to chill barely, then refrigerate for at the least 3 hours.

Take the flan out of the fridge half of an hour earlier than you wish to eat it. To serve, run a knife across the fringe of the flan to launch it, and place a lipped plate bigger than the tin on prime of the flan tin. Holding each the plate and the tin collectively, shortly flip the entire thing over and gently elevate off the tin: the flan ought to launch itself on to the plate. Drizzle the tangerine juice excessive and serve directly.

  • Food styling: Emily Kydd. Prop styling: Jennifer Kay

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