It is safe to say I didn’t need another cookery book. There are seven bookshelves full in my kitchen, more in my bedroom, piles down the side of the bed – the list goes on. I gave up counting my family collection long ago. We are avid collectors and the amount is constantly growing. There are lots of charity shop finds – classics collected along the way to fill gaps in the collection. Nigel Slater, Diana Henry and Rachel Allen all have a dominant presence. Certain favourites show the test of time – the batter-covered brownie page from Nigella’s How to Eat, the Leiths Cookery Bible without a spine. Despite the already overflowing shelves, there was one new release that I have been anticipating ever since it was announced: Sweet, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh.
I’ve always found it interesting how Ottolenghi is so renowned for his savoury cooking. For me, when I think of Ottolenghi I think of his shop windows. The displays are always stunning – cake stands groaning with blackberry financiers, passion fruit tarts, new cheesecakes, huge pink meringues. Sweet is those windows transformed into a beautiful book. As the name suggests, it focuses on all things baking and dessert. It contains the familiar window favourites along with brand new ideas and twists on classics. The recipes are extremely precise and detailed, but in a way that makes you simply feel confident the recipes will work rather than daunted by an overload of information.
I’ve only had this book a few weeks but it has already dominated what’s been going into my oven – as you can see by the pictures here! So far I have made the banana bundts with salted caramel, coffee and walnut financiers and honey and orange madeleines. Needless to say, they all turned out perfectly and vanished quickly. The list of things I still want to make grows every time I open it up – the orange flower amaretti and mini chocolate tarts are particularly calling my name. The recipes range in complexity and style (although ground almonds are a dominant presence!) but all are visually stunning. I defy you to read it without wanting to turn the oven on immediately! Ottolenghi’s previous books all currently sit proudly on the crowded bookcase but his newest release is by far my new favourite and well worthy of its place.