By Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi


This book is the reason I recently took a trip to Israel. In fact, although I normally pack as lightly as possible (therefore leaving enough space in my bags for foodie souvenirs), I took this hard-cover volume with me, so I could use it as a guide to dishes to try and ingredients to buy.

It's written by the authors of two other books I like, Ottolenghi and Plenty. The first is about the dishes served at Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi's restaurants in London; the second is about vegetables. The authors are both from Jerusalem but didn't meet until they moved to the British capital . Although Ottolenghi was raised in a Jewish household and Tamimi in a Muslim one, they shared many of the same food experiences growing up.

As with the best cookbooks, Jerusalem makes me eager to get into the kitchen; my copy is marked with Post-it notes indicating recipes I want to try. They include burnt aubergine with garlic, lemon and pomegranate spread; chickpeas with hummus and toasted pita; majedra (lentils with spices and fried onion); maqluba (fried aubergine and rice cake with chicken, tomatoes and spices); stuffed aubergine with lamb and pine nuts (which I tasted in Jerusalem while checking out the restaurant Azura, which the authors recommend); lamb meatballs with barberries, yogurt and herbs; and chocolate krantz cake.