My imagination when it comes to cookies is fairly limited. I am usually seduced by a good, gooey chocolate chip cookie or ones stuffed full of nuts and dried fruit, and while there will always be a place in my head, heart and stomach for cookies like that, I get excited when I see something I have never thought of before, especially when it comes from a source as deliciously reliable as Yotam Ottolenghi. I have to say, Jerusalem is still my favourite cookbook that I have. My collection is not vast but I always go to it for some inspiration when I am in a rut. I have cooked tons of his savoury dishes, some of which I have shared here (often with very few adaptations). But I got sucked in to his wonderful dessert chapter and these cookies really stood out to me for a bunch of reasons.
I never used to keep couscous in the house. Not for any reason in particular, it was just never on my radar. Now that I am playing around with it, I am realizing how much a grain can inspire different flavours. I definitely don’t usually use spices like cinnamon and paprika very often, but couscous calls for some middle eastern flair, so I went to my most reliably delicious Middle Eastern source, Ottolenghi. This time around I wanted to pair couscous with some mini eggplants, that I bought, once again, because they were so cute. While I realize this is not the best strategy for buying food, I can’t help it. Even though it was tough to figure out a dish, I’m pretty happy that I was forced into a place that I wouldn’t have explored otherwise because it ended up being a very delicious journey.
I got to spend some time in London this month. It was the first time I was back since I finished my degree and everything felt so wonderfully familiar. While I love the feeling of discovering a completely new place, there is something nice about returning to a city that holds so many great memories. I basically wandered for hours upon hours every day, the only structure often being a number of food markets I wanted to stop by along the way. This trip confirmed that I am a market addict. I realize that most people would not centre a trip to London around the food markets (that are absurdly and wonderfully abundant), but I certainly did.
Before I get to the markets though, there were actually a few restaurants I went to that I really enjoyed. The first, is Bone Daddies. There are very few restaurants that I would be willing to eat at when it’s 30C outside, when I only intend to eat hot soup, and where I know I will be dying of heat in a small space with very little air circulation. Needless to say, Bone Daddies gave me a reason to suck it up (and sweat it out) twice. I have very rarely had the opportunity to eat at a ramen place where the vegetarian fare that they offer is so delicious and satisfying. The mushroom broth was packed full with mushrooms, noodles, tofu, greens and a perfectly runny boiled egg. I can hardly imagine how they get so much flavour into the broth, but I’m going to have to try. In fact, that will probably be a recurring theme over the next couple of paragraphs: I have to try and make this at home.
Last night I held book club at our place. I toyed with the idea of making tons of new stuff that I could share up here, but decided to go with a tried and true meal (curried lentil soup, kale salad with dates, pita and sumac, and some chocolate chip cookies) especially since it had to be vegan and dairy free. Anyway, eating the salad reminded me how glorious salad with some crispy bread in it is. Unfortunately, I’m not used to cooking for more than two people and there were no leftovers to satisfy my cravings. Instead of making the same salad today, I decided to make another crispy bread wonder: fattoush.