As you may know, I am a huge fan of Yottam Ottolenghi. His books are a constant source of inspiration for me, and I frequently daydream about having lunch at one of his London restaurants.
My first introduction to Ottolenghi was unusual. On a visit to Maine a couple of years ago, my Aunt + Uncle took me to this fabulous book store in Portland, Maine that sold just cookbooks. Just cookbooks. Dangerous.
Out of the mounds and mounds of gorgeous cookbooks, I could not tear myself away from this one vegetarian focused book with an attractive pillow-like white cover. The recipes were different. Unique. A wonderful combination of mediterranean + middle-eastern flavors. When I went to checkout, the cashier owned the book already and went on and on about what a great book it was. I couldn't wait to get home and make every single recipe.
I bought Ottolenghi's book Plenty before it was released in the US, not knowing what a hit it would end up being here. That also means my book is in grams and celcius, and although it is slightly inconvenient, I look it as a badge of honor for discovering this book before it's US debut.
After cooking my way through Plenty, I couldn't wait until I had the opportunity to eat at one of his London restaurants. This summer I had my chance, and it lived up to everything I had expected. I went to his restaurant in Notting Hill and order as many things that would fit onto one plate. I sat outside in the rain (because that was the only seat open) and I was in heaven. While I was there I was also able to pick up a signed copy of his original book, Ottolenghi: The Cookbook which features the recipes made at his restaurants, and it too has become a staple in my kitchen.