The Many Meals of Christmas – Starting from the Beginning

Diary: 30 December 2015

In the past few days we have been entertaining many of our friends and family.


For large numbers, Ottolenghi’s salads are a real must.

One of the most frequently heard phrases in our household is: it’s an Ottolenghi recipe. This is because all of us have copies of Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbooks (the children and my in-laws have their own copies). Needless to say I have the entire collection, however Junior 2 has one (Plenty) which is personally dedicated to her by Mr Ottolenghi himself.

Should we eat more vegetables? Definitely yes. Should we all become vegetarians? Hmm…I have always maintained that if God wanted us to be vegetarians he would not have made animals.

So I went back to the beginning of the Bible, to the book of Genesis which tells the story of creation. I wanted to look for some words to the effect that God said: here are all the animals I have created for you, please enjoy eating them, and hopefully use the brains I have endowed you with to barbeque, smoke, grill, roast, bake, stew, boil and fry it to make delicious meals.




According to the Bible, God is very orderly. He starts by creating light in day 1, then the sky in in day 2; the land, sea and vegetation in day 3; the sun, moon and stars in day 4; sea creatures and sky creatures in day 5; land creatures including man and woman in day 6. Then sensibly he had a rest on the seventh day.

Creatures need to live and God says to the man and woman, in Genesis Chapter 1:

I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.

If the story of mankind had stopped here the omnivores amongst us would be in trouble.  But later, in Genesis chapter 9, God does say to Noah:

Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.

Now we have the happy situation of meat and two veg (in our case, more than two veg). The salads below are all taken from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi (ISBN 9780091922344). Even for those who say they don’t like vegetables, I can guarantee that there is more than one dish within the covers of these books that you will return to again and again.


Radish and Broad Bean Salad




Marinated Aubergine with Tahini and Oregano




Burnt Aubergine with Yellow Pepper and Red Onion



French Beans and Mangetout with Hazelnut and Orange



Roasted Butternut Squash with Burnt Aubergine and Pomegranate Mollases



Chargrilled Cauliflower with Tomato, Dill and Capers



Mixed Mushrooms with Cinnamon and Lemon






In the next post we have the answer to the question: What do we do with post-Christmas mincemeat and leftover chocolate truffles?