My Tel Aviv Table – When I was first looking at reviewing this glorious new cookbook, published earlier this month, I had no idea, of course, that terrible atrocities were about to happen in Israel and Gaza. Irrespective of politics, the food of the region is glorious. So, fans of London’s Delamina restaurants (Marylebone & Shoreditch) will be delighted to learn that Limor Chen, who runs the restaurants with her husband Amir, has written a celebration of her recipes in My Tel Aviv Table, her debut cookbook.
Her restaurants are famed for their fragrant, exciting, and vibrant dishes and in this book, Limor shares her wholesome cooking style (centring on healthy, fresh dishes). Tel Aviv, where she grew up, is almost in its carefree bubble, one of the food capitals of the world – it’s a melting pot of cuisines and inhabitants. Limor has tried to ensure that her recipes don’t require complicated methods and can be made in a home kitchen. She offers shortcuts where possible and highlights some of her favourite ingredients, such as za’atar orange blossom and rose waters. Here are some recipes from this fabulous cookbook that will take you on a journey of flavours and aromas from this sun-soaked city. My Tel Aviv Table is published by Nourish Books at £28 for a cloth-bound hardback with colourful photography – it will make a wonderful gift!
Crispy Cabbage & Onions with Toasted Pine Nuts & Za’atar & Sumac Yogurt (serves 4)
I’ve always felt that cabbage is an underappreciated vegetable. Aside from being full of nutrients, it absorbs flavours well and is super versatile. In this recipe, it becomes crispy when roasted together with the onions, which makes a delicious contrast to the lemony spiced yogurt.
1⁄2 red cabbage, thinly sliced.
1 large red onion, sliced into thin strips.
1⁄4 tsp salt
Pinch of coarse ground black pepper
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted Pinch of sumac
Put the cabbage and onion in a large bowl. Add the salt, black pepper and olive oil and mix well, massaging the oil into the vegetables.
Line a large baking tray with baking parchment. Spread the cabbage and onion mixture out evenly, then cook in the oven for 1 hour. Mix every 20 minutes. It’s important to do this to avoid some parts burning and others not getting crispy enough.
Mix the yogurt with the lemon juice and zest, za’atar and sumac. Spread out the yogurt on a large plate and place the crispy vegetables on top in a nice pile in the middle, then sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts and an extra pinch of sumac.
Persian-style Omelette (serves 2-4)
“My father was an omelette expert who would cook this dish for us frequently as kids, and my children would lap this up when I made it for them on weekends! The abundance of herbs and turmeric helps make it nutritious as well as delicious. With its striking green and yellow colours, it makes a wonderful centrepiece for a healthy brunch when you want to whip something up quickly. It’s also lovely with a dollop of yogurt on the side.”
1⁄2 small onion, chopped very small.
Handful of chopped parsley
Handful of chopped coriander/ cilantro
Handful of chopped dill
1⁄2 tsp ground turmeric
1⁄4 tsp salt
2 tbsp rapeseed/canola or vegetable oil
A dollop of plain yogurt (optional)
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the eggs with a fork.
Add the onion, herbs, turmeric, and salt and mix well until combined.
Place a large frying pan on a medium-high heat and add the oil.
When the oil is hot, pour in the eggs and reduce the heat, as we don’t want the bottom to burn.
Cover and let it cook fully or flip it over after a couple of minutes when it has firmed up.
Transfer to a large plate and slice into portions. Serve with a dollop of yogurt if you like.
“My husband loves chicken, and this is certainly a household favourite. The combination of olives and raisins results in a delicate balance of sweet and savoury flavours. Once cooked, the chicken absorbs the sauce and gets slightly darker and very tender. I recommend serving it with white rice. I have made this dish probably more than any other, and it never disappoints.”
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced.
6 garlic cloves, chopped.
6 tbsp tomato purée/paste
11⁄2 tbsp white wine vinegar
375ml/13fl oz/11⁄2 cups water
11⁄2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sweet paprika
1⁄2 tsp chilli flakes
8 skinless chicken thighs
150g/51⁄2oz/11⁄2 cups pitted green olives.
200g/7oz/scant 11⁄2 cups black raisins
Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized, heavy saucepan over a medium heat. Sauté the onion for 2–3 minutes until translucent, then add the garlic for 1–2 minutes. Once the onion and garlic are slightly golden, add the tomato purée/paste, vinegar and water and give it a good mix. Add the cumin, paprika and chilli flakes. Increase the heat to high and bring to the boil.
Place the chicken in the sauce and let it continue to bubble for about 5 minutes.
Add the olives and raisins, bring them back to a boil for a few more minutes, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer, covered for 11⁄2 hours. The chicken will be very tender and dark and will have absorbed the flavours. Serve with rice.