The power of a good dessert is simply undeniable and at the moment I only wish it could cure my winter cold. I’m usually not an indecisive person but the indulgent dessert spread at Ottolenghi has a way of making me completely flustered at the daunting prospect of selecting just one dessert to satisfy my cravings. I’d love to try everything, well almost everything with the exception of any and all cheesecake creations.
At long last I have a morning that allows me to sleep in so I take full advantage and don’t rise until past noon. Since that throws any hopes of having a productive start to my day I head on over to Ottolenghi to have brunch and to catch up with a friend that I haven’t seen in forever. Their food always makes me feel ultra healthy up until the point where I misbehave and order a dessert. I decide to try their rhubarb tart and of course it’s delicious. Both of their cookbooks Plenty and Ottolenghi – The Cookbook decorate my personal library so I know very well what I’m in for. Oh dear, it would be so much easier if I didn’t like cakes, pastry, chocolate and cookies as much as I do.
Then on a full stomach it’s time to get working again. My latest project is a photography one so I bring along my camera (which is with me most of the time anyway) for a stroll around the Chelsea, Notting Hill area and end up taking in the busy sights of Portobello Road. It’s a party, the streets are lively with musicians rocking tunes, antiques exchanging hands, plants, kitschy London souvenir shops, smoothie and food vendors, animals and a ridiculous amount of baby strollers line the streets. Although I often dread overly busy streets, today it works to my advantage as people are exactly what I’m in search of.
I get exactly what I came for but for now I’ll have to wait to reveal the official images to you all. Soon though darlings I promise. On Pembridge Road, I, like everyone else stops to gawk at the jewelry in Hirst Antiques. It’s total eye candy as almost everything glitters and sparkles. Inside the boutique the display cases are stuffed with accessories which are organized by color. The diva inside me is convinced that I’d look absolutely amazing in everything I see but luckily my common sense hasn’t gone entirely out the window so for today I manage to resist turning into a showgirl.
This time I have tried to cook up a storm for all of you who feel adventurous and haven’t got the Ottolenghi experience just around the corner. I have prepared a quick and easy, turned out fantastic sallad, from the cook book Plenty (2010), which I recommend. The recipes are based on the vegetarian column from the Guardian‘s Weekend magazine back in 2006. This particular dish I have chosen works wonders (even in dorm kitchens, yikes) both as a dish of its own and with for instance grilled chicken on the side. I bet it works great to mix it in the sallad as well.
You will need:
250 g pasta, sunflower or corn oil, 3 courgettes, 1 ½ tbsp. red wine vinegar, 50 g basil(fresh), 15 g parsley (fresh), 75 g olive oil, 100 g small (frozen ok) soya beans, zest of 1 lemon, 200 g mozzarella cheese, small capers, salt and pepper.
This is how we do it:
Pasta and fried courgette sallad (serves 4)
3 courgettes, thicker slices – fry in oil (sunflower or corn) until golden, let drain, soak in 1 ½ tbsp. red wine vinegar.
Cook (250 g) pasta al dente, rinse in cold water when done.
25 g basil leaves+ 15 g parsley + 75 ml olive oil = mix in a blender
put pasta, the courgettes, the green sauce, 100 g frozen small soya beans (edamame), grated zest of a lemon, 1 ½ tbsp small capers, basil leaves and 200 g mozzarella in chunky pieces, stir. Season with salt and pepper according to taste.
Party mood? White wine. Party mood but driving/having an upcoming creative Sunday: Perrier or some bubbly sparkling water is just as great! Itadakimasu…
Wish you all a great weekend and happy cooking!