Last night we attended one of the many wonderful events put on as part of Sydney’s Good Food Month and Ideas at the House – aka the Opera House.
We had the utmost pleasure of attending Yotam Ottolenghi in conversation with Joanna Savill. Ever since we heard about this event, we were pretty excited and bought tickets right away. Having recently discovered Ottolenghi, we didn’t really know much about him, but quickly became big fans based on the few things we had seen and heard about this unique individual.
Ottolenghi is a philosopher and journalist, turned chef. The Jewish son of a German mother and Italian father, Ottolenghi grew up in Israel but now resides in England. Renowned for his passion for flavour and for creating ‘sunny’ food, Ottolenghi is a big advocator for vegetarian food. Now don’t be mistaken, not a vegetarian, Ottolenghi just loves veggies. He eats a lot of them, and thinks we should all do the same too. Ottolenghi is famously known for saying we should take our cues from vegetables, not meat and that we should stop seeing meat as the central element on every plate.
And one of the refreshing things about Yotam is that he is not extremist in his views. He doesn’t like to restrict or disclude anything, he just loves his vegetables and is passionate about good flavour and beautiful ingredients. A philosophy we love and agree with!
So last night, the conversation turned to Ottolenghi’s famous cookbook – all about his take on the cuisine of his home city – Jerusalem. Co-authored with long time friend and Palestinian Sami Tamimi, you might be starting to get a sense for the kind of person Ottolenghi is.
In fact, last night he talked about how food breaks down all barriers, whether they be cultural, language or social. He shared with us that whilst shooting one of his cooking TV shows for BBC, he walked into a bakery in Jerusalem and struck up a conversation about food with a Palestinian family. By the end of the conversation, he had been invited home with the family for a meal. This is something unheard of and very special in Israel – for these two opposing groups to share a meal together in a family home. Through this story, Yotam illustrates his very strong belief that food can, and does break down all barriers. Once you have got the food out of the way, the ice is broken and you can really talk about anything.
I found this talk and his philosophy to be so inspiring. I’m sure you agree with me when I say how refreshing it is to see a celebrity chef who is so down to earth, so humble, so respectful of other cultures, yet so truly real. It would be wonderful to think we could solve so many of the world’s problems through sharing the passion we have for food. And without sounding too cliché, I really believe that many more of us who share Ottolenghi’s values can continue to help inspire others for the greater good – especially if it’s through good food!
So enough about Ottolenghi, and on to this quick little recipe.
Matthias and I have been making this veggie juice recipe for years. It’s kind of our breakfast staple that keeps us going and going (along with a bowl of muesli, or sometimes a smoothie). You can make this juice either in a traditional electric juicer or a NutriBullet. The recipe below is for a traditional juicer, so if you are using a NutriBullet, you will want to probably halve the quantities as you will get all the other goodies such as fibre in there too, not just the juice.
2-3 sticks celery, leaves and all
2 beetroot bulbs
a nice chunk of fresh ginger
2 green apples
Throw everything in the juicer and blend. For a little sweetness, try throwing in a handful of fresh garden mint. Drink immediately.
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