Book Review: Olami

Nirit Saban


Review: Brian Joss

The recipes here are fusions of various flavours from the Middle East to South America, not forgetting South Africa, and all the ingredients are readily available at supermarkets or farmers’ markets that seem to sprout daily everywhere.

Sababa has been operating in Sea Point as a deli and catering kitchen for the past six years but in 2016 changed its name to Olami, says Nirit Saban, who with the name change decided to remake the menu and give it a more global appeal. In fact, Olami in Hebrew means global.

Sub-titled Simple. Nourishing. Fresh it is divided in to nine chapters: Basics, Sides and Mezzes, Soups, Salads, Vegetable Dishes, Mains, Grains and Pulses, Bake and Pies and Sweets, as well as a comprehensive index. What’s missing though on the contents page is a list of the recipes. However, this is a minor shortcoming. In Basics you can learn how to make a Focaccio, Tomato Sauce, a Coriander Pesto or a Marinating Oil for roasting vegetables. Sides and Mezzes include recipes for Hummus with roasted mushrooms, a Lemon Mushroom Mezze and a Chunky Avocado Salsa, to name some. There is also a Salmon Ceviche but you can use Tuna, Yellowtail, Dorado or Calamari. There is a range of soups to give you nourishment and some warmth in winter. The chapter on Salads will make most vegetarians happy: choose from an Artichoke and Fennel Salad or a Bean Sprout Salad which is not as prosaic as it sounds, or Green Beans with Yoghurt.

You will find recipes for fish, meat and poultry in Mains. Spaghetti Bolognaise or SpagBol with a twist, Yellow Chicken Curry or a Spicy Lamb. Another chapter that will make a vegan’s heart beat faster is Grains and Pulses. Choose from Couscous with Roasted Vegetables, a Lentil Stew or Stuffed Cabbages with Lentils, Jasmine Rice and Herbs.  You can learn to make a Cauliflower Bake in the chapter Bakes and Pies. Another one is Potato, Butternut Leek and Onion Pie.

Then if you want something to satisfy your sweet tooth try the Date and Nut Roll, the Gluten Free Poppy Squares or the Coconut Macaroons.

The recipes are for the most part clear and easy to follow and if you put some passion in to your cooking, guests at your table will be coming back for seconds and even thirds.

Olami will be well used and the mouth-watering images will put you in the mood for cooking.

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