Shelf Love

Straight from the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen (also known as #OTK) comes this amazing new cookbook called Shelf Love. With Shelf Love it feels like Ottolenghi is taking a step back in order to push his test kitchen team forward as every strong leader does.

This cookbook brings you recipes that you can make with whatever you have on your shelves, in the fridge or in the freezer. It has quirky chapters like “The Freezer Is Your Friend,” “That One Shelf in the Back of Your Pantry,” and “Who Does the Dishes?” (a.k.a. One-Pot Meals). Shelf Love teaches home cooks how to be flexible with fewer ingredients and how to get creative with what they have. In addition, it gives you suggestions for twists on some classics. All that without losing the Ottolenghi signature being: big bold flavours that pack a punch, veggie-focused dishes and the use of inspiration from all over the world.

Shelf Love is co-authored by Noor Murad, crowned as the queen of Middle Eastern feasts by the TestKitchen Dreamteam. Noor is a Bahraini-born chef with lots of international work experience. That experience eventually brought Noor to the Ottolenghi family in 2016. She developed recipes for the books Falastin and Ottolenghi Flavour, as well as for Ottolenghi’s MasterClass series and other online publications (The Guardian and NY Times). Her Bahraini roots have a strong influence on her cooking, with Arabic, Persian, and Indian flavours making a prominent appearance in her recipes. I have been following her on Instagram for a few years now and I can’t believe how creative she is. She keeps coming up with one great dish after the other. Her personality is just pure pleasure and her humour cracks me up every time. I think she should be prescribed daily. She is medicinal in the very best way.

I asked Noor what the idea was behind Shelf Love:
“This book has less writing and fewer frills. That’s also why it’s smaller in size than all the other Ottolenghi cookbooks. It’s direct, straight to the point and really captures the character of the OTK. It’s everything that people know and love of Ottolenghi, but the OTK books focus on skills and solutions. This cookbook ties into the current times and helps you navigate through your kitchen to make the food you love using humble ingredients. It’s purposely made to look like a notebook, with the intention that people will write in it and take notes and also use the recipes as guidelines while swapping out ingredients they have at home.”

Fontaine publishing recently gave me a sneak peek of the book. I’m also allowed to share 3 recipes with you so you can start cooking while you wait for your copy to arrive. Scroll down to find the recipes for the following dishes:

I made the above recipes this past week and you can see the result on my Instagram account @culyzaar. I fell head over heels in love with this cookbook and highly recommend it. If you want to fall in love too be sure to check it out and order it.

Confit Tandoori Chickpeas
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 20 mins
Servings: 4
  • 2 x 400g tins chickpeas, drained (480g net weight)
  • 10 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 30 g piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into julienne strips
  • 400 g cherry or datterini tomatoes
  • 3 red chillies, mild or spicy, to taste, slit open lengthways
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds, roughly crushed in a mortar
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds, roughly crushed in a mortar
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tsp red Kashmiri chilli powder, or paprika
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 200 ml olive oil
  • Salt
For the Mint yogurt
  • 15 g mint leaves
  • 30 g coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • 180 g Greek-style yoghurt
  • 2-3 limes – 1 juiced, to get 1 tbsp, the rest cut into wedges, to serve
To serve
  • 4 pita breads (or other flatbread), to serve (optional)
  1. Heat the oven to 170C (150C fan)/325F/gas 3. Put the chickpeas, whole garlic cloves, ginger, tomatoes, chillies, tomato paste, spices, sugar, oil and a teaspoon of salt in a large, ovenproof saute pan for which you have a lid, then stir to combine. Cover, put in the oven and cook for 75 minutes, stirring once halfway, until the aromatics have softened and the tomatoes have broken down.
  2. Meanwhile, make the yoghurt dressing. Put the mint, coriander, yoghurt, lime juice, crushed garlic and a quarter-teaspoon of salt in the small bowl of a food processor and blitz smooth.
  3. Serve the chickpeas directly from the pan (or transfer them to a shallow serving platter), with the yoghurt and lime wedges in two separate bowls alongside, with warm pitta or flatbread, if you wish.

Verkregen uit OTK – Shelf Love door Noor Murad en Yotam Ottolenghi (Fontaine,€24,99). Fotografie door Elena Heatherwick

Za’atar salmon baked in tahini
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Servings: 1
  • 4 salmon fillet (about 600g), skin-on and pin-boned
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2 tbsp za’atar
  • 2 tsp sumac, plus ½ tsp extra for garnish
  • 60 ml olive oil
  • 250 g baby spinach
  • 90 g tahini
  • tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • tbsp coriander leaves
  1. Heat the oven to 220 C. Pat dry the fish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine the za’atar and sumac, then sprinkle all over the top of the salmon to create a crust.

  2. Put a large ovenproof frying pan on a medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil. Once hot, add the spinach and a pinch each of salt and pepper, and cook until just wilted – about 2-3 min. Lay the salmon skin side down on top of the spinach, drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over the flesh side and transfer the pan to the oven for five minutes.

  3. While the fish is cooking, whisk the tahini with a 2½ tablespoon of lemon juice, the garlic, a good pinch of salt and 100ml of water in a small bowl, until smooth and quite runny.

  4. When the fish’s time is up, remove it from the oven, pour the tahini mixture all around (but not over) the salmon, and return the pan to the oven for another five minutes, or until the fish is cooked through and the tahini is bubbling. Spoon over the remaining tablespoon of lemon juice and serve straight from the pan.

Verkregen uit OTK – Shelf Love door Noor Murad en Yotam Ottolenghi (Fontaine,€24,99). Fotografie door Elena Heatherwick

Sticky bananas with brown sugar and lime
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
  • 40 g unsalted butter
  • 70 g soft light brown sugar
  • ½ tsp ground star anise
  • 3 tbsp creme fraiche
  • tbsp white miso
  • 4 semi-ripe medium bananas, peeled and halved lengthways
  • 1 lime – zest finely grated, to get 1 tsp, then cut into 4 wedges
For the toasted rice topping
  • 1 tbsp uncooked Thai sticky rice, or jasmin rice
  • 2 tsp black sesame seeds
  • ½ tsp ground star anise
  1. Set the oven grill to its highest setting. Meanwhile, put the rice in a small frying pan on a medium heat and toast for 12-15 minutes, shaking the pan from time to time, until deeply golden. Transfer to a spice grinder, blitz very finely, then tip into a small bowl. Return the pan to a medium-high heat, add the sesame seeds and toast, shaking the pan regularly, for about a minute, then tip into the rice bowl. Add the ground star anise and mix to combine.
  2. Put the butter, sugar, star anise and a tablespoon of creme fraiche in a large, ovenproof cast-iron pan (or large saute pan) and put on a medium heat. Stir the mixture until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved, then, off the heat, whisk in the miso until smooth. Add the bananas cut side-up, and use a spoon to coat the tops with some of the caramel. Transfer the pan to the oven and grill for eight minutes (timings will vary depending on your grill), or until the bananas have softened and taken on quite a lot of colour.
  3. Sprinkle over the lime zest and a tablespoon of the rice topping, and serve hot straight from the pan, with the lime wedges, remaining creme fraiche and some extra crunchy topping alongside.

Verkregen uit OTK – Shelf Love door Noor Murad en Yotam Ottolenghi (Fontaine,€24,99). Fotografie door Elena Heatherwick