Those of us in the realm of food cannot help to have noticed the craze over Jerusalem (published September 6, 2012), written by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. Everywhere you look in the food-osphere there are posts about za’tar, barberries and zhoug. If you’re like me, you sensed the trend and subtly dropped hints to the powers that be (i.e. the husband) that this cookbook might be ‘worth a shot’, ‘an interesting read’ or even ‘useful’. All the while secretly dreaming of flipping through its colourful pages and hunting out its foreign ingredients from dodgy web shops. My particular powers that be have so far ignored my plight, although it is oh so obvious, but seeing others’ posts about recipes from this book has only strengthened my will.
A couple of my fellow food bloggers have done some impressive stuff from this cookbook and the food is so outside the norm that it never fails to attract attention. My friend Amanda over at What’s Cooking has blogged about eight different recipes from Jerusalem, from spiced stuffed eggplant (aubergine) to roast chicken with clementines and fennel, hailed as, perhaps, the ‘best recipe in the book’, as well as adaptations like hot yogurt and Israeli couscous soup (adapted from hot yogurt and barley soup).
Another blogger I love, Darya of Tortore, has also done some interesting Jerusalem-inspired posts like her parsley, barley, and marinated feta salad, which sounds like the perfect thing to make up for a day (or week) of indulgence, and dill and fava bean (broad bean) Persian omelette which just looks so unusual and delicious.
The extent of ‘Jerusalem fever’ is so large that last week the New York Times‘ Recipe Lab looked into the secrets of its success. As a true 21st century best seller, Jerusalem has a Twitter hashtag (#tastingjrslm), Google+ circles and a Facebook group where you can swap pictures, share twists on recipes and generally chat with like-minded cooks who have found their new kitchen bible in this collaboration by two relatively unknown chefs − at least outside London and vegetarian circles. The hashtag has a monthly focus for Tweeters to discuss and experiment with. August’s focus is Baharat.
— Beth Lee (@omgyummy) July 30, 2013
On July 31 New York Times‘ Julia Moskin held a Google+ Hangout with the authors to discuss the readers’ recipe pick with them.
The chosen recipe was Chicken with Cardamom Rice. Three home chefs were also chosen to speak with the chefs and Ms Moskin, lucky them! I can only say that, powers that be or not, I will be purchasing this book and cooking this chicken. My finger is hovering above the Amazon ‘checkout’ button as we speak.