last december i watched a fabulous documentary on bbc4 – jerusalem on a plate. the show saw chef yotam ottolenghi explore his home town of jerusalem and its varied food cultures – arab, jewish and christian being the main communities and influences although there was also everything in between and around the edges.
he visited traditional restaurants and cafes, street vendors, home cooks and the some of new modern chefs who are drawing on all of the cities food cultures as well as more global trends (find out more about the specific places they visited on the ottolenghi blog). the dishes he shared with us were fascinating to learn about, especially where there were common ingredients, techniques or dishes but very different and often fiercely debated versions. it fascinating to understand how food was shaped by the city’s diverse cultures and also how food in its turn was shaping the city, bringing together people from different backgrounds in collaborative ventures.
the documentary made me want to visit the city and it made me want to cook the food. thankfully the show was linked to ottolenghi’s new book, written with his long time collaborator sami tamimi who also grew up in the city, jerusalem.
this is a fabulous cookery book and having had it for a week i have cooked half a dozen recipes, all of which i will make time and again and which i look forward to sharing with you. the picture above (apologies for the quality, it was a quick snap on my phone) is for meatballs with broad beans and lemon, which can be found here, along with a selection of other recipes from the book.