After much consideration of all the cookbooks I have bought this year, I have decided that NOPI by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully is my most highly recommended as an addition to your cookbook library ( or as a start to your cookbook library).
NOPI is a visual feast. Firstly, it is a heavy book and its cream cover and gold edging add to the effect of its weight – the appearance and feel of the book make you want to own it. Secondly, the food photography by Jonathan Lovekin is superb – the detail he has been able to capture allow you to sense the taste and flavour of the dishes in a way which is just extraordinary.
Thirdly, and even more importantly, the recipes are to die for in a classic Ottolenghi way, but in this wonderful book I feel he and Ramael have taken food to a different experiential level – each and every recipe is captivating. You can go from a simple recipe of Baby Carrots and Parmesan with Truffle Vinaigrette, to Lamb Rump with Vanilla-Braised Chicory and Sorrel Pesto ( one of my favourites) to Roasted Pineapple with Tamarind and Chilli, and Coconut Cream Ice Cream with such ease but then you keep going to choose between a Lentil and Pickled Shallot Salad with Berbere Croutons and Seared Shallots with Pickled Daikon and Chilli Jam.
In the introduction the NOPI Yotam talks about the complexity of the dishes and notes that this is a restaurant cookbook. He notes that the food in his other cookbooks was conceived in and for a domestic kitchen – thus is is, as he says “the complete opposite of the way we cook and eat at home”. You need to read the story of the food and relationship between him and Ramael in the first few pages of the book to gain an insight into the how and why of this recipe book.
This is in many ways a coffee table cookbook – really the first I have seen – but in saying so, to classify it in that way only adds to why it is such a glorious and important book to own. This is not just a cookbook – it is THE cookbook and you must own it, as well as buying to give it away as a present.
Thank you Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully for giving such a visual feast.