If the British Isles had an official vegetable, it would have to be the potato.
– Yotam Ottolenghi
Miso makes a soup loaded with flavour that saves you the hassle of making stock.
If you can’t taste an ingredient, you have to ask yourself why it is there.
The range of ingredients available to home cooks has expanded dramatically. People are incorporating herbs and spices like lemongrass, smoked Mexican chile, sumac, and za’atar mix.
Agave nectar is a good substitute for refined sugars. It has a relatively low glycaemic index, which means it doesn’t cause quick rises in blood sugar levels. It also has a nice, mild flavour.
Some heat, some spice and plenty of citrus are the building blocks of many North African fish dishes.
The kitchen is tough. It’s one of the last bastions in civilized culture that sets out to crush the spirit.
One Indian-inspired favourite of mine is mashed potato mixed with lemon juice, breadcrumbs, coriander and chilli, shaped into patties, fried and served with chutney and yoghurt.
When I was a kid, there was always food to be had on the street in Jerusalem, but anything above a falafel stand was mediocre or worse.
When I cook a meal, I like to serve things one by one and keep them separate. I get that from my father – he’s such a purist. Some people even put their desserts on the main plate. It’s just wrong.
Celery leaves are an underused ingredient, most likely because supermarkets sell mostly leafless stalks.
I get great pleasure from stuffed foods, from an apple strudel to a vegetable samosa, from a whole roasted bird with a sweet and savoury stuffing to a vine leaf filled with rice and spices.
Every era has its own list of ingredients that are considered exotic and then, 15 years later, they’re not.
I enjoy meat, but I can do without it.
Barley and mushroom is a soothing combination. It’s mainly a textural thing, with the barley both gently breaking and enhancing the mushroomy gloopiness.
The differences between a tart, a pie and a quiche are a blur.
Rice and vermicelli is a common combination in Arab and Turkish cooking – it has a lighter texture than rice on its own.
Blanching the cloves removes the harsh and bitter bite of raw garlic.
Take your average couscous salad, and it’s almost always a sloppy mush, no matter how much attention has gone into getting flavours in there.
The emotive power of hummus all over the Middle East cannot be overstated, being the focus of some serious tribal rivalries.
You can really taste the difference between a shop-bought and a good homemade mayo.
Pot barley takes longer to cook than pearl, but an overnight soak in water will speed things along. It’s a robust grain that, if overcooked, won’t collapse but will become more tender.
Souffles don’t deserve their reputation as potential disasters.
Salbitxada is a sharp and lightly sweet Catalan sauce that’s traditionally served with calcots – spring or salad onions, grilled whole, make a good substitute.
Food that’s served at the table in a paper parcel always creates a remarkable culinary moment when opened, because the package is full of aromatic steam from the lightly cooked ingredients inside.
One of the troubles with food is that people take themselves too seriously. This is why I’m very happy for people to change my recipes, alter them, replace one ingredient for another.
There used to be a time – it isn’t so much the case now – that vegetarianism was some kind of religion, and either you belong or you don’t belong.
I’m a firm believer that the world should be your oyster when you’re cooking. People should open themselves to other cuisines – there are a lot of hidden secrets all over the world.
I have an intense dislike of doctrines, because you will always end up eating your words.
Kirmizi biber has a sweet aroma and can vary in spiciness.