Veggie Tales: Love Is The Right Word


Chef, restaurateur and best-selling vegetarian cookbook scribe Yotam Ottolenghi touchingly shares his family-oriented outlook in photographer and filmmaker Ben Ingham’s intimate short. “We wanted to create a portrait of the way I live, the way I work; to give a picture of my life,” says the Israeli-born gastronome, who turned his back on a career in journalism to study at Le Cordon Bleu London at the age of thirty.

Since opening in 2002, the chef’s eponymous eatery has gone from an upscale take-out joint in Notting Hill to a four-outpost culinary sensation, while his latest London spot, NOPI, has had gourmets lining up for its masterful viennoisierie and signature salads. Following the success of his recent vegetarian cookbook Plenty and a weekly column in The Guardian newspaper, Ottolenghi is now working on a new book focusing on the food of Jerusalem co-authored by Ottolenghi's Palestinian head chef, Sami Tamimi. “We are trying to capture what’s going on there, both old and new, to translate the flavors of the place,” says Yotam.

Here Ottolenghi serves up an exclusive recipe for NOWNESS.

Saffron couscous and chickpea salad

Serves four

225g couscous
½ tsp saffron strands
260ml boiling water
150g cooked chickpeas
150g cooked puy lentils
60g dried sour cherries
40g rocket leaves
4 tbsp chopped chives
4 tbsp chopped mint
3 tbsp chopped coriander
3 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped tarragon
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp fennel seeds, toasted
4 tbsp olive oil
Grated zest of 2 lemons, plus 2 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and black pepper

1. Place the couscous in a shallow bowl. Add the saffron and a pinch of salt to the boiling water and pour over the couscous to cover it. Cover the bowl with cling film and set aside for 15 minutes. Remove the cling film; fluff up the couscous with a fork and leave aside until it cools down completely.

2. Transfer the couscous into a large mixing bowl and add the chickpeas, lentils and sour cherries and toss everything well. Next, add the rocket, herbs, garlic, fennel seeds, olive oil and lemon zest. Stir again and add salt and pepper to taste.

3. You can serve the salad straight away or chill it for up to 24 hours; the flavors actually improve over time. Before serving, bring back to room temperature and add the lemon juice.