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By Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi (Ebury Press, 2012, £27) Food photography © Jonathan Lovekin


I've been looking forward to this book ever since I saw the original programme on Channel 4 last year. The wait has been worth it.  Dazzlingly beautiful, inspirationally conceived and brilliantly executed, and with so many recipes I'm just aching to cook, this is the promised land of cookbooks. I've chosen to highlight the Quick Pickled Lemons from so many, simply because word-of-mouth feedback among my friends pronounces it to be an instant winner.


Quick Pickled Lemons

For these you won't need to wait four weeks as you do for preserved lemons, just 24 hours. Their aroma won't be quite as perfumed but still magnificently pungent. So much so that they warrant a word of warning: a bit like chilli sauce, once you have started accompanying your food with these slices - meat, fish, lentils, couscous - you will find them seriously hard to give up.

Makes 1 large jar, approximately 1.5 litres


  • ½ red chilli, chopped
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 small-medium unwaxed lemons, halved lengthways and sliced widthways as thinly as possible
  • 35g caster sugar
  • ½ tbsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ ground turmeric


Use a pestle and mortar to smash together the chilli with 1 teaspoon of the lemon juice; you want to get a rough-looking paste. Transfer this to a large bowl along with all the other ingredients. Use your hands to mix everything together well so that all the flavours get massaged into the lemons. Leave in a bowl, covered, overnight. Transfer to a sterilized sealed jar the next day - it will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks.