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Book review – Nopi: The Cookbook

27 November 2015 by

By Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully

Ebury Press, £28

Nopi: the Cookbook

"It is the complete opposite of the way we cook and eat at home," says Ottolenghi.

Co-written with Nopi's head chef Ramael Scully, it showcases original, flavour-packed dishes with both Middle Eastern and Asian influences, reflecting on the heritage of the authors. It pushes culinary boundaries and is more challenging than any of the previous four Ottolenghi titles.

But the disclaimer does not serve to put people off - even if you are advised to tackle the book as if it were an exam (read the recipe in its entirety before you start) - instead it is there for reference.

The introduction describes Nopi: The Cookbook as being "typically made up of a few distinct elements which need to be prepared separately, occasionally over a bit of time, before being put together on a plate at the very last minute."

It really does sound like an exam. The authors have attempted to simplify Nopi's recipes, and they also provide shortcuts for some of the dishes. The book spans starters, salads, fish, meat, vegetables, brunch, puddings, cocktails and condiments.

Sections for meal suggestions and an A-Z list of ingredients are also provided. The authors nearly included an 'Epic' chapter, but decided this would be a step too far. However, if it had been there, it would have included the rather tasty chicken pastilla. It was first served at Nopi as a rabbit pastilla, which was changed to pheasant over the Christmas season. Here it's been altered to chicken for the sake of preparatory ease, but those sticking with this less glamorous bird need not worry that they will be missing out on the gamey quality of pheasant - the chocolate and smokey chilli sauce ensures people are often surprised it's not pheasant on the plate.

The recipe was a team effort at the restaurant and that team feeling permeates the book - especially in the fun-filled photos towards the end.

By Katey Pigden

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