I am in love with Ottolenghi, the Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern deli based in London. The fact that a Palestinian and Israeli, from opposite ends of Jerusalem, could come together in London and begin a food revolution is microcosmic proof that these two people can coexist and live together in harmony if there is mutual respect, mutual trust and mutual understanding for each other's place and position in history.
If the leaders all sat together and discussed options over Ottolenghi's pastries, salads and cakes, all bets are in that a framework for a solution could be hammered out in no time. That's how powerful and symbolic I believe the deli is. Only in food, do I find hope!
I've never been, and have had to live vicariously through the cookbook's pictures and recipes, which are superb. If only I could recreate their window displays. Carlson's a regular when he's back home, and when Alex was in London she took some photos of the shop's exterior and sent them over to me. What a tease:
Roast Chicken with Rosewater, Saffron and Nuts (adapted from Ottolenghi)
1 Chicken, divided into quarters
2 onions, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon dried ginger
1 teaspoon dried cinnamon
1 teaspoon za'atar (if not, use dried oregano)
Generous pinch of Saffron threads
2 bay leaves
juice of 1 lemon
grated zest of half of lemon
4 tablespoons cold water
salt and pepper
100g unskinned hazelnuts, pistachios or cashews
2 tablespoons rosewater
2 spring onions, roughly chopped
Greek Yogurt, for serving
Mix chicken with onions, olive oil, ginger, cinnamon, saffron, za'atar, lemon juice, lemon zest, water, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Marinate for at least an hour, or over night.
Preheat oven to 190 C. Spread hazelnuts (or whatever nut you decide to use) out on to an oven tray and roast lightly for 10 minutes. Chop roughly and set aside.
Transfer chicken and marinade to roasting pan and roast, skin side up, for 35 minutes.
Mix honey, rosewater and nuts together to make a rough paste. Remove the chicken from oven and spoon generous amounts of nut paste on to each piece and spread to cover. Put chicken back in oven and roast another 5-10 minutes till golden brown.
Garnish with spring onions, serve with Greek Yogurt.