After his marvelous book Plenty, Yotem Ottolenghi, chef, food columnist for The Guardian, cook book author and generally a most-gifted man when it comes to all things culinary has turned his hand to the food of Jerusalem. Written with his head chef Sami Tamimi, this book focuses on the vibrant food of their home town. Both men were born in this Muslim, Jewish, and Christian community. Ottolenghi in the Jewish west, and Tamimi in the Arab east side.

This beautiful book serves up 120 recipes, an amalgam of dishes that reflect their unique cross-cultural perspective: a delicious reminder that food crosses all boundaries without regard for political lines drawn on a map. Delve into bowlfuls of saffron rice with barberries, pistachio and mixed herbs, to Mejadra, Fattoush, or a salad made with baby spinach, dates and almonds. All of these (and many more) reflect the vitality of this eastern-Mediterranean food. I particularly liked the Root Vegetable slaw with labneh and the Watercress and Chickpea Soup. Both are so visually appealing that they epitomize the saying that one eats with one’s eyes first. I also tried the Clementine and Almond cake and adapted the recipe to make a Lemon-Almond version which is moist and nutty and excellent with an afternoon cup of tea. I think I may just go and have a slice right now ..


Adapted (slightly) from Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tammi’s book Jerusalem

Serves 8 people

7oz (200 grams) butter – softened
2 cups – less 1 tablespoon (380 grams)- sugar
Zest and Juice of 4 lemons
2 ½ cups (280 grams)almond meal
5 large eggs – beaten
¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon (100 grams) all-purpose flour  - sifted
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons almonds – roughly chopped

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch springform with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Place the butter and all but 1/3 cup of sugar in a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on low speed until just combined. Add in all the zest and beat again. Add in half of the ground almonds and beat until all combined.
  3. With the machine running, add in the eggs a little at a time. You may need to stop it once or twice to scrape down the sides. Make sure everything is well incorporated, then add in the remaining ground almonds, all the flour and the salt and beat until completely smooth.
  4. Pour the batter (it will be very wet) into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Place in the center of the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes. At the 50 minute mark insert a skewer or knife into the center of the cake. It should come out a little moist.
  5. Just before the cake is cooked, place the lemon juice and the remaining 1/3 cup sugar into a small saucepan and bring to a boil, then remove the heat. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven brush the surface of the cake with the lemon-sugar syrup. This will take a few minutes as you want the syrup to be absorbed by the cake so you will brush repeated layers of the syrup onto the surface of the cake.
  6. When you have approximately 1 tablespoon syrup left in the pan add in the chopped almonds, stir so that they are completely coated in the syrup and then pour them over the top of the cake.

For the yogurt-crème fraiche:

1 cup thick Greek yogurt
½ cup crème fraiche
1 large tablespoon honey
Zest of 1 orange

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
  2. Let the cake completely in the pan before removing the springform. Serve with the crème fraiche mixture alongside. The cake will keep well for 3 days.
powered by m27