Yotam Ottolenghi’s blueberry recipes (2024)

My first serious encounter with whisky was over a summer I spent in Edinburgh in 1994, as part of a literature students’ exchange programme. It was also when I first tasted fresh blueberries. And, of all the lofty notions to which I was exposed during those blissful months, it’s the idea of combining the two (with a generous sprinkling of crushed juniper) that has stayed with me ever since.

Fried goat’s cheese with quick blueberry chutney (pictured above)

This summery starter is a bit of a retro throwback, but don’t let that put you off: the warm cheese and sweet, spicy chutney are a marvellous combination. This will make more chutney than you need, but it keeps in the fridge for a week.

Prep 10 min
Cook 40 min
Serves 4 as a starter

300g soft goat’s cheese
15g chives, finely chopped
20g tarragon leaves, roughly chopped
20g dill leaves, roughly chopped
1 lemon – zest finely grated, to get 1 tsp, and juiced, to get 1 tbsp
30g plain flour
1 egg, beaten
75g panko breadcrumbs
200ml sunflower oil
120g rocket
½ tbsp olive oil

For the chutney
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 wide strips shaved lemon peel (avoid the bitter white pith)
2cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 green chilli, finely chopped (10g)
1½ tsp coriander seeds, toasted and lightly crushed in a mortar
8 cardamom pods, skins discarded and seeds finely crushed in a mortar
1 tsp mustard seeds
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
250g blueberries
2 tbsp caster sugar
3 tbsp cider vinegar
Salt and black pepper

For the chutney, heat the oil in a medium saute pan over a medium flame. Add the onion and lemon peel, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until the onions are soft and lightly browned. Add the ginger, chilli and spices, and cook, stirring, for a minute more. Add the blueberries, sugar, vinegar, two tablespoons of water, half a teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of black pepper. Cook for another 10 minutes, until it has reduced to the consistency of jam, then leave to cool.

In a bowl, mix the cheese, chives, half the tarragon and dill, the lemon zest, an eighth of a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Put the flour, egg and panko in three separate bowls. Shape the cheese mix into eight flat patties about 6cm in diameter and weighing about 40g each. Working one patty at a time, dip it first in the flour bowl, shaking off any excess, then in the egg and finally in the breadcrumbs, to coat. Put the breaded patty on a tray and repeat with the remaining mix.

Heat the sunflower oil in a large saute pan on a medium flame. Once hot, fry the patties for about three minutes on each side, until golden brown, then transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper, to drain.

To serve, mix the rocket with the remaining herbs, olive oil, the lemon juice, a light sprinkling of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Divide the salad between four plates, top each with two patties and a generous spoonful of the chutney.

Blueberry, juniper and whisky jam

Yotam Ottolenghi’s blueberry recipes (1)

Something quick and delicious to have in the fridge, ready to spoon on your morning toast or over a rich, creamy dessert in the evening. This jam isn’t particularly thick, but its pourability makes it versatile.

Prep 5 min
Cook 25 min
Makes About 350ml

450g fresh blueberries
200g caster sugar
2 tsp juniper berries, roughly crushed in a mortar
1 lemon zest finely grated, to get 1 tsp, and juiced, to get 1 tbsp
3½ tbsp whisky (no need for anything fancy – something like Famous Grouse will do very well)

Put the blueberries, sugar, juniper, lemon zest, three tablespoons of whisky and 50ml water in a medium saucepan and turn the heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil, stirring continuously, then turn down the heat to medium and simmer rapidly for 15-20 minutes, until the mix has thickened slightly. Take off the heat and leave to cool down, during which time it will thicken further. Stir in the remaining whisky and the lemon juice, spoon into a sterilised jar and seal.

Creamy oats with blueberries macerated in whisky

Yotam Ottolenghi’s blueberry recipes (2)

Burn’s Night this year caused lots of conversations (and hangovers) in my test kitchen. There was talk of making haggis and roasting swedes whole. Turning porridge into a dessert prompted another long discussion, and led to the creation of this dish, which doubles up as breakfast or pudding.

Prep 5 min
Cook 1 hr
Serves 4

150g pinhead oats
600ml whole milk
150ml double cream
3 tbsp maple syrup
½ tsp vanilla paste
1 orange – shave off 3 fine strips of peel, then finely grate the remaining zest to get 1½ tsp
¼ tsp flaked sea salt
160g blueberry and whisky jam (see previous recipe)

For the bluebberries
200g blueberries
1 tbsp whisky (again, something like Famous Grouse)
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 tsp juniper berries, finely crushed in a mortar

First, macerate the blueberries. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, then roughly mash with the back of a fork to break up about half the berries. Leave to steep at room temperature for at least an hour.

Put the oats in a medium saucepan with the milk, cream, maple syrup, vanilla, the strips of orange peel and salt. Put on a medium-high heat and, once bubbling, turn down the heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the porridge is thick and the oats are soft but retain a bite. Remove from the heat, discard the orange peel and stir in the grated orange zest.

To assemble the dish, put two and a half teaspoons of jam in the bottom of four bowls. Top each with porridge, a generous spoonful of the macerated blueberries and their liquid, and serve at once.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s blueberry recipes (2024)
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