PROS: The cover of the book is representative of how the pictures look throughout the book. I love a cookbook with photos. The dishes were hearty and felt wholesome. The flavors were great. The recipes were easy to follow.
CONS: Make sure you look and see how long the recipes take to make. These are not all quick recipes. They do take time. This isn’t truly a con, but a warning.
I’ve slacked on my cookbook reviews as much as I’ve slacked on everything else on this blog. But when Jerusalem became available to me at my library, I jumped. I made food. I took pictures of food. And I ate. (Not that I hadn’t been doing that, because I always eat probably more than I need.) I can’t remember where I actually first heard about this cookbook, but I’ve had it on my hold list for awhile at the library because I really wanted a go at it.
The book is beautiful. The cover, as you can see, is representative of what the rest of this cookbook is like. There are so many pictures! And the pictures look so rustic and delicious and I want to bring Ottolenghi and Tamimi into my kitchen so they can cook for me and plate me this delicious food. I just opened the cookbook to a random page and was greeted by a picture of Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onion with Tahini and Za’Atar. Honestly, I don’t even know what za’atar is, but I want this in my belly. I want it in my mouth. I want to taste it. And I want to taste it like it’s meant to taste. In other news, I didn’t even make that squash in my cookbook review, but oh well. I might need to buy this cookbook because I’m having such a primal reaction to the food pictures.
The book is broken into ten chapters: an introduction, vegetables, beans&grains, soups, stuffed, meat, fish, savory pastries, and sweets&desserts.
Starting with the intro . . . There’s so many pictures of Jerusalem! What did I learn though? I learned that in Jerusalem there’s a great fusion of cultures in the cuisine. “Many of the city’s best-loved foods have just as complicated a pedigree as this one,” Ottolenghi writes after explaining the origins of simple couscous dish with tomato and onions.
I didn’t end up making as much as I wanted from the book, because I had to return it to the library and because there were other people wanting to check it out, I couldn’t extend my time with it. The foods that I did make were delicious, flavorful, and hearty.
Who wants to buy me this book?
Stuffed Eggplant with Lamb and Pine Nuts p. 166
I actually used ground turkey in this recipe because I would have had to go out of my way to get ground lamb. The recipe pulled together well. As you can see, it sort of burnt because I obviously kept this in the oven too long – but it didn’t ruin the dish. The inside of the eggplant was super soft and gooey and delicious. The flavors of the spices lended themselves to making this a stand out dish.
Tomato and Sourdough Soup p. 142
Of the things I made form Jerusalem, this soup was not my favorite. I’m not sure if I failed at reading the instructions or if the soup is supposed to be this thick, but it was just sort of meh to me. It wasn’t bad, but not great either.
Shakshuka p. 66
One of the recipes I randomly made was a breakfast recipe. Shakshuka is essentially an egg cooked in spiced tomato sauce. I’ve actually made a similar egg dish in the past and will be in one of my upcoming cookbook reviews also. This was so yummy. I had it with a side of toast and used the toast to sop up all the delicious juices.
Herb Pie p. 251
The last recipe I made was this herb pie (which I had for dinner tonight.) It took awhile to make and unfortunately I didn’t eat dinner until super late because of that. Granted, that was my fault for waiting until 7:30 to even start thinking about dinner – a dinner that has to bake in the oven for 40 minutes after all the other time consuming parts are done (chopping, sauteing, preparing the filo.) It was so incredibly delicious though. And for as time consuming as it was, it wasn’t actually hard. What it was, was flavorful.
Overall: Since I first heard about this cookbook and saw its cover, I wanted to add it to my collection. It hasn’t made it to my collection yet, but I’m very glad I got to play with it. The meals aren’t easy by any means. But they also aren’t hard – you don’t need to be a seasoned chef to make them. Do expect to spend time with your meals though. This is not a 30 minute cookbook. What you will get though is very delicious, hearty food.