Friday, April 11, 2014

Oh Jerusalem

Not quite flawless food, but not too far off

Oh Jerusalem

I recently joined a group of like-wise foodie-minded expats in a small cooking club. Think of it as a book club - mind, there are actually books involved, since a cook book is chosen - but with the addition of good food. Before we meet, one person chooses a cook book from their collection, and the rest choose a recipe. We all meet, cook our chosen recipes, share the dishes and then discuss what we liked, or didn't like, what we thought of the recipe we chose and the book over all.
Selection of amazing food from Jerusalem 

For the first meeting, my friends Janet and Maya chose Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. It's an amazing book, a feast of Jewish, Arabic, Mediterranean and Middle-East cuisine. Among the food chosen was lamb meatballs with barberries, yoghurt and herbs; felafel; chard with tahini, yoghurt and buttered pine nuts; beef meatballs with fava beans and lemon; and clementine and almond syrup cake. The dishes chosen were absolutely incredible; gorgeous food.

I chose roasted chicken with Jerusalem artichoke and lemon. It was incredibly easy. Other than simmering Jerusalem artichokes - which I'd never even seen before, I admit, let alone tried - it was chucking everything in a bowl, marinating it overnight and then roasting it.
Roast chicken with Jerusalem artichoke and lemon

I really liked this - the tender chicken, the lemon, pink peppercorns, shallots, garlic, thyme and tarragon all worked well. The Jerusalem artichoke though I wasn't sold on. Not sure why - maybe it was because I wasn't sure what to expect, but I found the flavour a little too bitter for the rest of the recipe. This dish as a whole though was delicious and was a nice contrast to the other, more meatier, heartier dishes on the table. Having said that, the jury is still out on the Jerusalem artichoke; I'd need to make this again before I could decide whether it belongs in the dish.

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