The ideal lazy Sunday for me is the winning combination of a delicious cup of coffee made from my stove-top Birletti espresso maker and a pile of my favourite cook books. Reading recipes and coming up with a plan for Sunday night’s dinner gives me as much pleasure as cooking and sharing the meal with loved ones.
As a foodie, I proudly admit that buying cookbooks is an addiction. But in the last couple of months, the author I’ve been obsessed with is Yotam Ottolenghi. His books ‘Plenty’ and ‘Plenty More’ are well known and brilliant, but it is ‘Jerusalem’ that I can’t keep my taste buds away from. With this book, he shares the cooking style and all of the exotic spices he grew up with. The Middle Eastern flavours are complex, flavourful and fascinating.
If you don’t have the book, don’t fret. Go to Ottolenghi’s website under his Mediterranean Feast recipe section. You will find a lot of options to keep your senses curious and satisfied.
Ottolenghi’s style of cooking is comforting but the flavours are pronounced and intense. So picking the right wine to go with his food can be tricky. White or red, the key is to opt for wines that will withstand the intensity of flavours.
His vegetarian dishes work like a charm with Mediterranean whites. Vibrant, herbal and zesty whites like Assyrtiko from Greece or Vermentino from Sardegna would be a natural. In Canada, I like to go with the mouth-watering whites from British Columbia that have subtle sage notes. The Turkish Style Vegetables with Yoghurt and Green Chilli Oil recipe matched with Haywire Pinot Gris 2012 is magical.
Lamb is inevitable for me when I think of Mediterranean food. The Barbecued Leg of Lamb with Almonds and Orange Blossom is delectable. A spicy red from a region from the South of France like Corbières would be fantastic. My Canadian twist is a seductive, floral and peppery Syrah from the Okanagan Valley made by Moon Curser.
Treat yourself and make the world of Ottolenghi your next Sunday night date - simply irresistible!
Michelle Bouffard is a wine educator and journalist who splits her time between Montréal & Vancouver. She co-owns the Vancouver-based company ‘house wine’ and is the president of the BC Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers. She Tweets @michellebwine and Instagrams @michellebouffard.