Ottolenghi inspired beans with spring onions and feta

I have probably raved about Ottolenghis vegetarian cookbook Plenty enough for you to know that I love it and use it quite a lot.

The only ‘problem’ I have with the some of the recipes are the more uncommon ingredients that are sometimes required. At least uncommon when not found in a London supermarket. If you live in the countryside and have your own garden it is of course different.

I found a lovely recipe of fried butterbeans with feta, springonions and sorrel. Sorrel being that difficult ingredient to find in a London supermarket this time of year.

Because of omitting the sorrel and making a few other substitutes, this is not an Ottolenghi recipe anymore, but close enough. If you want the real deal, then look in his book and make sure you source some sorrel.

I ate this bean salad as it is with some nice bread for supper, but you can easily serve it as a side dish at a barbecue, instead of mash with sausages or any other way you want.

Ottolenghi inspired beans with spring onions and feta, serves 2

1 can (400g) cannellini beans

plenty of butter and oil for frying

1 garlic clove

1 red chilli, finely chopped

8 spring onions, chopped

2 tsp sumac

1/2 lemon, the juice

1/2 tsp salt

more olive oil

as much crumbled feta as you like

Rinse the beans and drain. Heat up the butter and oil in a frying pan and only add enough beans to cover the bottom, to fry them in batches. Fry until the beans are golden brown, remove and fry the other batch(es). Add the garlic, chilli and onions to the last batch. Fry for a couple of minutes and add the other beans. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice and sumac. Add salt and olive oil and lastly the feta.

Potluck lunch and caramelized garlic tart

On Sunday a bunch of us were invited to Jess and Chris for a potluck lunch and some board games. A perfect Sunday activity!

The hos and hostess had made a lovely coucous salad with feta and also contributed with nice breads. Ben had made a hearty casserole (more like a hash really) with potatioes, sausage and onions and Tom had made a chicken liver paté which was really nice. David and Debbie brought hams and salamis, and some brought wine.

I contributed with marinaded pork fillet and a caramelized garlic tart I have had my eye on for quite a while.

Jess had also made a dessert, that looked like a trifle but was brownies and meringues covered with cream and creme fraiche. Lovely! And Felicity made a gluten free crumble with a crunchy top. Yum!

I must say it was a really good spread and such fun when everyone contributes!

The tart I made is courtesy of Ottolenghi and it features (of course) in my favourite cookbook Plenty.

It is easy to make as you use ready made puff pastry and it has apart from the obvious caramelized garlic also two types of goat’s cheese in it. I used a mild creamy one but instead of the hard goat’s cheese I used Ossau-Iraty, made of ewe’s milk instead. It worked really well, and the tart was exactly so good as I expected it to be. I will definitely make it again, and I think you should all try it too. It does not disappoint.

Caramelized garlic tarte, serves 6

375 g puff pastry

3 heads of garlic, cloves separated and peeled

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp balsamic vingear (I used double)

220 ml water

3/4 tbsp caster sugar

1 tsp chopped rosemary

1 tsp chopped thyme

120 g mild and creamy goat’s cheese

120 g hard goat’s cheese (I used Ossau-Iraty instead)

2 eggs

100 ml double cream

100 ml creme fraiche

Preheat the oven to 180C. Roll out the puff pastry and cover the bottom and sides of a quiche dish with it. Put parchment paper and ceramic beads on top and blind bake for 10 minutes. Remove and bake until golden brown for another 15 minutes or so. Turn the oven down to 160C.

While the puff is baking, place the garlic in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and add the garlic back to the pan and add the olive oil too. Fry for about 2 minutes, then add the water and balsamic vinegar. Bring to the boil and cook for about 10 minutes, then add the sugar and herbs and cook for another 10 minutes or until the liquid is dark and syrupy.

Assemble the tart by shredding the cheese into the pastry case, then add the garlic and the syrup and distribute. Combine eggs, cream and creme fraiche, salt and pepper and pour it into the pastry case. Bale for about 40 minutes in 160C or until the filling is set and the tart is golden brown. Serve warm or lukewarm. Reheats well.

Mezze: Fatoush and Maroccan carrot salad

At least one salad is compulsory when having mezze, and the most common one is probably tabbouleh, but I chose to make fatoush instead, the same way we made it in Syria when cooking with the chef.

I completely forgot to take a photo of it, but it looks like a regular green salad with tomatoes and peppers, chopped herbs and some Arabic coûtons on top. These:

Fatoush, serves 6-8

4 cucumbers, roughly diced

4 tomatoes, roughly diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 head of lettuce, romaine lettuce, roughly chopped

1 bunch mint, only the leaves, chopped

1 bunch parsley, chopped

(2 bunches purslane, chopped hackad – if available)

cider vinegar

pomegranate molasses



Arabic croûtons (deepfried left over pitta/flatbread)

Mix the vegetables. Add the chopped herbs. Season to taste with vinegar, molasses and spices. Add the croûtons just before serving. 

I also made this Maroccan carrot salad from Plenty that was very appreciated. This would work well as a side dishtoo, for something that can handle the spice.

Maroccan carrot salad, serves 4-6

1 kg carrots, peeled and sliced

80 ml olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 tsp caster sugar

3 garlic cloves, pressed

1 spring onion, chopped

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp sweet paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

1-2 tbsp pickled lemon peel (I used the same amount grated lemon peel)

1 bunch coriander, chopped

(120 ml Greek yoghurt (I omitted this, soygurt would not have worked)

Peel the carrots and cut them in 1 cm slices. Boil in salted water 10 minutes or until they have softened but still are crunchy. Drain.

Heat up the oil in a frying pan and fry the onions for 10-12 minutes until soft and brown. Add the carrots and the rest of the ingredients apart from the fresh coriander (and yoghurt). Mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

Leave to cool completely and sprinkle with coriander just before serving. Ottolenghi suggests serving this in individual bowls with yoghurt on top.

Mezze: Baked aubergine with pomegranate and stuffed courgettes

As always when I go on holiday, i filled my bags with groceries when I was on my way home from Syria. Soon thereafter I bought the fabulous cookbook Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi and he uses alot of the things I brought back in his recipes. Perfect or what?!

These two recipes from Plenty don’t require any strange ingredients though, and I highly recommend you trying them. I utterly adored the aubergine dish, but my boyfriend fell in love with the courgettes. I have followed the recipes, but have veganised them where needed. You find the stuffed courgette recipe here in which I omitted the currants. It is from Ottolenghi’s culumn The New Vegetarian on the Guardian’s website, where many of the recipes in Plenty are from.

And below you find my adapted recipe for the baked aubergines with pomegranate.

Baked aubergine with pomegranate, serves 4 or 6 as a buffet

2 medium aubergines

olive oil


150 ml soy cream

1 garlic clove

juice from 1/2 lemon



pomegranate seeds

Cut the aubergines in half lengthways and place them skin down in a greased roasting tray. Cut a diaond pattern in the flesh with a knife, being carfel not to pierce the skin. Brush with olive oil a few times, so it gets soaked up by the aubergine. Sprinkle with thyme leaves and a few thyme sprigs. Add salt and pepper. Bake in 200C for 40 minutes. Leave to cool completely.

Mix the soy cream wuth garlic, lemon, salt and pepper. Pour it over the aubergines just before serving and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.

Fried leeks with paprika sauce

We enjoyed a tapas style dinner on Saturday (for a while at least, then I got a tummy ache and had to lie down *sigh*) and I made these nice little things. The recipe is from Ottolenghi’s Plenty, but I didn’t follow it exactly. The sauce I made up myself and it worked really well with the leeks.

Fried leeks with paprika sauce, serves 2

3 leeks, trimmed

1 egg, beaten


salt, white pepper

at least 500 ml vegetable oil

200 ml creme fraiche

juice from 1/2 lemon

salt, white pepper

1-2 tsp paprika

Cut the leeks into 5 cm long pieces. Boil in salted water until soft (about 15 mins). Drain. Heat up the oil in a pan. Dip the leeks first in the beaten egg then in the seasoned breadcrumbs. Fry until golden brown. Drain on kitchen towel.

Mix creme fraiche, lemon juice and spices. Serve.