Last month I had the great pleasure to attend the launch of Yotam Ottolenghi’s new cookbook at his Soho-based restaurant, NOPI. The NOPI cookbook was written with Nopi’s Head Chef Ramael Scully and it includes over 100 of the restaurant’s most popular dishes: from simple starters to main courses, from cocktails to puddings.
The event was a bloggers’ breakfast during which I tasted some of the brunch dishes NOPI is famous for, which are also featured in the cookbook.
Courgette Fritters, one of NOPI’s most popular dishes; Black Rice with coconut milk, mango and banana, which was delicious; and Sweet Potato Pancakes, my favourite dish!
I also had the chance to meet the authors, Yotam and Ramael, and talk to them about the inspiration behind Nopi’s menu.
Ottolenghi’s cuisine is famous for its middle-eastern influences, which at NOPI they are fused with Malaysian and Australian culinary traditions from Scully’s background.
Yotam and Scully’s pantries come together so that sumac meets star anise, miso meets molasses and pandan meets pomegranate. The resulting dishes shine brightly. [NOPI]
It was such a pleasure to meet Yotam! I was nervous at first, but he was very friendly and chatted to all of us bloggers, and even sat down at the table to have breakfast with us. Definitely a day to remember! :)
Some of my favourite Ottolenghi recipes ever are breakfast/brunch dishes (Shakshuka from Plenty – Chocolate Babka from Jerusalem), so of course the first recipe I tried from NOPI’s cookbook had to be a brunch one!
As I loved the sweet potato pancakes at Nopi so much, I decided to make them at home.
I love this recipe so much! It takes longer than traditional pancakes, but the result is a soft, not-too-sweet pancake. The pairing with natural Greek yoghurt and dates (syrup or a paste) works perfectly: the pancakes are quite plain, but the flavours are elevated by the sour yoghurt and sweet dates.
Overall the preparation took much longer than I anticipated, and I ended up having brunch at 5pm! :-/ I am sure with a bit of practice I can take the prep time down to two hours or so (including roasting the potatoes).
Preheat the over to 220°C fan. Place the sweet potatoes on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and roast for an hour, until soft. Remove from the oven, set aside to cool, then peel off the skin.
Note: the original recipe says to place the flesh in a muslin cloth and squeeze out the juice. I skipped this step as my potatoes did not have a lot of liquid.
Mash the potato flesh with a fork. The weight of the baked potatoes should be around 300-400g.
Mix together the flour, baking powder, nutmeg and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Place the egg yolks, milk, melted butter, vanilla and honey in a separate bowl and whisk well. Fold into the dry ingredients and stir to combine before adding the sweet potato flesh. Whisk well, until completely smooth.
Place the egg whites in a separate bowl and whisk until stiff. Gently fold into the sweet potato mix and set aside.
Put a slither of butter into a large frying pan and place on a medium heat. When the butter starts to foam, ladle about 2 heaped tablespoons of pancake mix into the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes, turning once halfway through, once the edges of the pancake are brown. Be careful as you turn the pancakes over.
Transfer to a parchment-lined tray. Keep the pancakes in the oven set to 160°C fan to keep them warm while you continue with the remaining mixture.
To serve, place three pancakes in each plate and spoon Greek yoghurt on top. Drizzle date syrup, dust with icing sugar and serve.
Note: I served my pancakes with a homemade date paste made with Medjool dates mashed with a little bit of water.