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Cook from the book: Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Extra Good Things

by Francesca Sleet

published on 28 September 2022

A year after the publication of Shelf Love, The Ottolenghi Test Kitchen team is back with a brand-new cookbook. Extra Good Things is packed with ideas for interesting side dishes, showstopping main courses and decadent desserts. Best of all, each recipe is designed to leave you with a little extra something left over – from crunchy sprinkles and flavoured oils, to punchy dressings and pickles – that can be used to jazz up a future dish. Always first in line to put a batch of new Ottolenghi recipes to the test, The Happy Foodie team has been cooking up everything from aubergine parm pies to mushroom Kyiv. The verdict? Extra good indeed.

From the book

Yotam Ottolenghi, Noor Murad, The Ottolenghi Test Kitchen Team

Who: Emily Brickell, Editor, Ebury Publishing

What I made: Rosti with Cream Cheese, Dill Pickle and Everything Seasoning

What I thought: I love a rosti so this was a natural choice for me. The rosti was delicious, but it was the ‘extras’ that made it even more special. A fun centrepiece to pop down at brunch, and very simple. I’ve got lots of the seedy sprinkle left over to spruce up more meals in the future.

Who: Ellie Auton, Communications Assistant, Ebury Publishing

What I made: Sambal Tofu with Cashews and Ginger Pickle

What I thought: If there’s one thing I know I’m going to get from an OTK recipe it’s an explosion of flavour, and this did not disappoint. The tofu had a deliciously spicy kick and paired with the sweet ginger pickle it was just so yummy. I can’t wait to work my way through the rest of the recipes in the beautiful book.

Who: Abby Watson, Head of Campaigns, Ebury Publishing           

What I made: Devil’s Food Cake

What I thought: I’m a keen baker but my sponge cakes are usually the typical sugar, flour, butter, eggs combo so I was intrigued to try an oil-based sponge. This is also the first time I’ve ever bought and used kefir, I have to confess I wasn’t too sure what it was and was unsure where I’d find it in the supermarket aisles – it’s by the yoghurt if you were wondering. Despite this being a new and somewhat unknown cake mix for me, it came together like a dream and the texture, colour and flavour are just wow. It is very different to a typical sponge – it feels richer, more flavoursome and the texture is incredibly indulgent. The hazelnut praline is delicious and a spoon-worthy snack whilst assembling the cake… My food processor didn’t quite have it in it to create the nut butter consistency needed so I switched it out for my hand blender which worked a treat. A delicious showstopper.

Who: Demeter Scanlon, Head of Campaigns, Ebury Publishing

What I made: Harissa Butter Mushroom Kyiv

What I thought: I have memories of my mum cooking up a chicken Kyiv in the oven for a quick weeknight dinner so I thought I would take a trip down memory lane with an Ottolenghified version…and I must say, this recipe takes the humble kyiv to a whole new level. The harissa butter is so easy to prepare (I may have cheated and used the Belazu Rose Harissa rather than making my own) and packs a real punch. I love the fact that the recipe celebrates oyster mushrooms in all their glory. They’re such hearty veg and a fantastic meat substitute that is still so flavoursome and filling. Full disclosure: this multiple-stage recipe does take a while to prepare but the results are worth it! The crispy coating of the panko complements the juicy mushroom, but the real hero is that harissa butter which provides of a burst of flavour and tang. The yoghurt and lime are the perfect accompaniments to cut through the richness of the dish. The next day, I fried up some broccoli with the harissa butter as a side to a piece of salmon!

Who: Francesca Sleet, Marketing Executive, The Happy Foodie

What I made: Blackened Chicken with Caramel and Clementine Dressing

What I thought: While my chicken thighs are not as blackened as they should be (due to an unfortunate lack of skin-on thighs in my local Tesco), this dish is packed with incredible flavour! The chicken, marinated in turmeric and fish sauce, is gorgeous on its own, but once you add the caramel and clementine dressing the dish is elevated to an entirely new level. Sweet, tangy, and a little spicy, this dressing is ridiculously good – I’ll definitely be making more to try it with other dishes. This recipe is also deceptively easy to pull together, but is an amazing showstopper for dinner parties – it looks and smells incredible.

Who: Francesca Thomson, Campaigns Assistant, Ebury Publishing

What I made: Shawarma Cauliflower with Green Tahini 

What I thought: This delicious vegan main was such a fun dish for a crowd. The ingredients are very cheap and accessible, and I’d bet that you already have most of the lovely spices in your cupboard already. Doubling up the cauliflower would make for a perfect lunchbox leftover, but I piled this high onto a platter in the middle of the table for all my friends to get stuck into. The green tahini sauce is DELICIOUS and I ate it by the spoonful! This recipe is a great place to start, and if you work your way through Extra Good Things, I have no doubt that you would genuinely become a better home cook, by drawing on so many of the delicious extras, sides and sauces that the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen team do so well.

Who: Lara McLeod, Brand Executive, Ebury Publishing

What I made: Potato Slab Pie with Salsa Verde

What I thought: The potato slab was indulgent, cheesy and moreish. It was not difficult to make, was a great crowd-pleaser at home, and then made a great lunch packed up the next day. The pie was so tasty with the freshness and zingyness of the salsa verde, which I then kept and had drizzled over a steak. I love being able to have the extras to play forward and it makes such a difference to my meals. 

Who: Alice King, Senior Campaigns Manager, Ebury Publishing

What I made: Parmigiana Pie

What I thought: This was the most incredible, indulgent, warming weekend meal. Using a pie tin really helped all the aubergine layers bind well and baking them in the oven with the breadcrumbs first ensured they were really nice and crispy and held their shape. The extra good thing in this recipe was the tomato sauce which was so rich and flavourful, I used the leftovers the next day on some pasta for a quick dinner. Definitely a dish I’ll be making again!

Who: Mia Oakley – Campaigns Officer, Ebury Publishing

What I made: Double Lemon Chicken with Cheat’s Preserved Lemon

What I thought: I thought I would make something out of my comfort zone as I have never cooked with preserved lemons before. And I wasn’t disappointed. Making the cheat’s preserved lemon filled my kitchen with such a wonderful citrus smell. It also gave the dish an amazing bright yellow colour. The chicken marinade offset this colour beautifully and I loved the crunch the cornflour gave it. I’m pretty chuffed with how close mine ended up looking to the recipe photo. I plan to use the extra cheat’s preserved lemon as a salad dressing.

Who: Jessica Lockyer-Palmer, Channel Lead (Food)

What I made: Pistachio Macaron Cake with Elderflower Apricots

What I thought: I am a huge fan of any nut-based cake and this gluten-free recipe boasts a double whammy of almond flour and pistachio flours (the latter lends the cake a very pleasing green tone too). The cake itself is moist but with a slightly chewy crust, hence the title of macaron cake. The cake would be lovely on its own but I urge you not to skip the apricots, which are poached in elderflower, lemon and vanilla and are absolutely heavenly.

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