I have often flirted around with the idea of attempting to start a cookbook club of sorts ,whereby one can discuss and review various cookbooks, share ones passion for cooking and baking or just attempt a Cook -The-Book by picking a recipe every month. Whilst I’m still a part of various online clubs and do join in when ever time permits.
The idea of starting one’s own club appealed to me in a big way to perhaps even share and cook recipes from ones blog that have been appreciated and liked a fair bit. It’s a great way to unite cookbook lovers and bloggers and share ones tips and tricks in the kitchen.
I for one have been a cookbook collector for the longest time ,however do resort to online e-books and of late our wonderful public library here in Toronto has a fantastic repertoire of cookbooks. Earlier in the year I got home a great collection of The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Bernanbaum, Ottolenghi Simple,Japanese Home Cooking by Iron Chef Morimoto and a copy of Pomegranates & Roses: My Persian Family recipes by Ariana Bundy
Among some of my favourite cookbook chefs ,Yotam Ottolengi has been tops, primarily for his delightful Middle eastern recipes with huge Mediterranean notes. His recipes spell an abundance of fresh seasonal produce and effortless cooking packed with a multitude of flavours which are perhaps the hallmark of this Chef ,of whom I’ve been a big fan for the longest time. Ottolenghi Simple & Plenty has been borrowed and brought home on numerous occasions for inspiration when I’m craving easy fuss free recipes that use locally grown and sustainable produce. The recipe below has been adapted from his cookbook Ottolenghi Simple with some twists and additions to create my own version.
Now Mondays are meatless in my kitchen and the I for once welcome it whole heartedly. While I do enjoy meat and fish I tend to gravitate towards fresh vegetables and most often land up cooking vegetarian meals quite often.
Last week I choose to follow a simple recipe for Oven Roasted Carrots from his book and added some grilled Halloumi cheese to complete the meal. The original recipe call for the carrots to be glazed with honey which I’ve omitted in this recipe. Roasting carrots brings about their natural sweetness and trust me its the only way I will ever cook carrots! Wouldn’t you agree?
I served these delicious carrots along with some grilled Halloumi cheese and a paired it with a Tahini sauce. The sharp notes of the Tahini sauce hit the right notes with the sweetness of the roasted carrots and the light saltiness of the grilled Halloumi. This semi hard and brined cheese is popular around the Levant region and is a perfect blend of sheep and goat milk. It works well served raw ,however the wonderful salty and nutty flavours are enhanced once this cheese is fried to a medium brown colour.The best part about this cheese is that it retains its shape without melting. Infact fried halloumi works as a great appetizer served with some capers and mint.
This wonderful medley worked just great as a light lunch last week. However you may even serve it on the side with some grills if you wish. Either ways the colours and flavours make it a winning combination at any dinner table.
Do share some of your favourite cookbook authors and a recipe that you enjoy cooking. Hope you are having a wonderful and safe summer. And whilst we all are going through extremely challenging times, one needs to keep the faith that this too shall pass and we will see healthier and happier times world over.
To A Better Tomorrow!
Oven Roasted Carrots:
- 4-6 Medium Carrots (Washed & Peeled)
- 2 teaspoons cumin powder (roasted)
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 20 grams butter
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Salt to season
- Preheat the oven to 230 C.
- In a large bowl mix together the cumin powder,Olive oil,butter,salt and cayenne pepper
- Mix in the carrots to the above.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper and spread the carrots onto it.
- Roast for about 15 minutes till the carrots seemed slightly charred
- Remove and plate. Squeeze some lemon juice over the roasted carrots.
Grilled Halloumi Cheese:
- 1 pack Halloumi Cheese (store bought)
- Oil for pan frying
- Heat a frying pan and drizzle some oil.
- Cut the Halloumi cheese into 1 inch thick slices
- Lay the cheese onto the frying pan or grill pan till nicely browned on either side.
- Remove and plate it with the oven roasted carrots.
- 1 cup sesame seeds
- 2-3 tablespoons Light olive oil
- Pinch of salt
- Add sesame seeds to a dry saucepan over medium-low heat and toast, stirring constantly until the seeds become fragrant and very lightly coloured 3 to 5 minutes. Careful here, sesame seeds can burn quickly.
- Transfer toasted seeds to plate and let this cool completely.
- Add the sesame seeds to a food processor then process until a coarse paste is formed , about 1 minute.
- Add 3 tablespoons of the oil then process for 2 to 3 minutes more, stopping to scrape the bottom and sides of the food processor a couple times. Check the tahini’s consistency. It should be smooth and of pouring consistency. If the paste is too thick you may add another tablespoon of oil and process further.
- Add salt to taste.Process 5 to 10 seconds to mix it in.
- TO STORE
- Store tahini covered in the refrigerator for one month.
To Make A Tahini Sauce:
Take about a cup of the Tahini paste and add two cloves of minced garlic, a pinch of salt, juice of half a lemon and a handful of freshly chopped parsley and mix together. Drizzle this sauce over the roasted carrots.