You may have noticed my sporadic presence online over this summer and I think I must, unfortunately, now call an end to what was nicknamed a “summer break” but was more a sofa-slumped summer due to the soggy weather which prevailed. I kept waiting for the hot summer sun to beckon me into one of my new summer dresses but, much to my husband’s dismay when he saw the credit card bill, they all remain unworn, hanging limply in the wardrobe waiting for better luck next year.
And so before I knew it, plums have come into season and the farmers markets are now a celebration of autumnal red, yellow and green.
After seeing the mouth-watering photos of this dish made by Carrie from thePatternedPlate, as well as reading other rave reviews about this yet-another Yotam Ottolenghi recipe, I couldn’t wait to try this dish.
Gado-gado is essentially a salad dressed with a satay sauce. As far as satay sauces go, this is perhaps the most complex recipe I have ever come across! There are quite a lot of steps involved, not to mention quite a lot of ingredients. As you can see from my photos below, I used small red onions in place of shallots. I have a tendency to gather a small collection of different coloured onions and shallots and recently decided that, as a compromise, small red onions should do the trick whenever “onions” or “shallots” are called for. The sauce takes about an hour to make, so you will have to factor this time in when making this dish or perhaps even make the sauce the day before.
Early this morning, one of my neighbours knocked on my door and suggested a barbeque at her place in the evening with some other neighbours. Such spontaneity is not common in Switzerland and I happen to love informal gatherings like these at short notice.
Given that one neighbour happens to be a vegetarian, the first dish that came to my mind was Yotam Ottolenghi’s Aubergines with Buttermilk Sauce which I made for the first time only a few weeks ago.
This time around, I chose much smaller aubergines as they were to be eaten as a side dish alongside other grilled vegetables. I still roasted them for about 40 minutes until they were soft and golden in colour, though they were probably still a bit too firm for my liking – it probably had something to do with the variety of aubergine and perhaps even my oven in Zurich.
I was out during my lunch break yesterday buying some teatowels (as you do) and there nestled amongst the pretty decorative linens were copies of Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty. It’s not a place where you would ordinarily find cookbooks, but I’m sure some thoughtful person had anticipated that product placement of this kind would work on a gullible consumer like myself. If one was in the mood for over-priced but practical teatowels, why not a cookbook to go with? And after a successful attempt at Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipe for Black Pepper Tofu the other day, I couldn’t resist flicking through the book and carrying it with me to the cashier.
Hubby has been quite vocal on several occasions about eating less meat and more vegetarian dishes at home, but the truth is, I don’t think we eat that much meat; we probably eat it everyday but just not in huge quantities. And when it comes to meat, we seem to eat mostly chicken with pork coming a distant second. And if I had to be completely honest, I’m more likely to be cooking with chicken or pork to add flavour (such as to make stock for soups), rather to eat the meat itself; the meat happens to be eaten as a by-product because it would be a waste to throw it away.
This recipe comes from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty and was recommended to me by the lovely Carrie, another food-obsessed cookbook lover who has become an invaluable friend to me in the online world. When she first made this dish sometime ago and raved about how delicious it was, I knew it was something that I had to try. Having grown up on tofu as a child, I love it cooked in whatever shape or form and could happily eat it every night for dinner.
Despite owning over a hundred cookbooks (I’m too afraid to count them now!), I don’t (yet) own any by Ottolenghi, even though quite a few people have emailed me about how wonderful his books and recipes are. The simple truth is, I don’t know much about Ottolenghi so I was very interested in trying out this recipe for dinner tonight.