Is the cookbook dead?
I really hope not. More importantly, I hope I am not part of the movement that has done such a thing.
While the internet and blogs are very powerful and convenient, it does worry me that cookbooks could be a thing of the past… I want to release one first! But seriously, how easy is it to Google, find exactly what you want, print it off, or even just use the recipe straight off your smartphone, tablet or laptop, and, its all for free. It’s a scary thought.
For me there is something special about buying a cookbook though. Physically flipping through its bright and beautiful pages of photographs. Going to your favourite restaurant who has published cookbook, making that purchase and feeling like you are taking a little bit of the restaurant home. Or, flicking through older cookbooks and being able to tell at a glance how good and frequent a recipe was by how much food is stuck to its page. Ah, now you can’t get that online.
A cookbook can also be a beautiful thing, a work of art, not just something that is shoved in the back of a cupboard. One of my latest fav cookbooks is Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. Its a fabulous book, from its ‘coffee table worthy’ hardcover, which does actually sit on our coffee table, to delicious recipes and interesting history of this vibrant city with its diverse Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities, this book is a must have if you like international, particularly Middle Eastern food. So simple and so easy, never eat boring again.
Now, try this recipe and go out and buy yourself a beautiful cookbook. That’s an order!
Serve 4 as a side
From Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
2 tbs white wine vinegar
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dates, quartered
2 tbs butter
2 tbs olive oil
2 pita breads, roughly torn into inch chunks
1/2 cup whole almonds
2 tsp sumac
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
150g baby spinach
2 tbs lemon juice
Place the vinegar, onion, and dates in a small bowl. Add a pinch of salt and mix well with your hands. Leave to marinate for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the butter and half of the olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the pita and almonds and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring all of the time, until the pita is crunchy and golden brown. Remove from the heat and mix in the sumac, red pepper flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside to cool.
When you are ready to serve, toss the spinach leaves with the pita mix in a large mixing bowl. Add the dates and red onion, the remaining olive oil, the lemon juice, and another pinch of salt. Taste for seasoning and serve immediately.