Category: Jewish baking

‘JERUSALEM’ by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sam Tamimi book review

Have you ever been to Jerusalem? It’s an amazing city full of diversity and amazing sights, scenes, sounds and smells. Being Jewish I’ve been a few times and even though it’s the original ‘old city’ it always seems different each time I go. I have really, really fond memories of Jerusalem from when I went there with my family for the first time when I was 15 to when I was traveling with Tim during our gap year. When I first picked up this book all those memories came flooding back.Flicking through the pages has made me desperate to go back…. very soon!

The authors of this book are Yotam Ottolenghi who is from Jewish West side of Jerusalem and Sami Tamimi who’s from the Muslim West. They grew up there as kids and didn’t meet until years later in London when they set up the Ottolenghi deli (and there’s also a restaurant now) The cultural influence of this great city has such an impact on their recipes that this book is literally bursting with flavor.

I love the city shots

As well as all the great recipes here there are tons of atmospheric photos of markets and food sellers. Piles and piles of fresh fruits and vegetable. I love the shot of the hand written sign above a Falafel shop that reads in English and Arabic ‘I HAVE GOOD FALAFEL’  I mean say it like it is or what? It’s touches like this that make this book so beautiful. There’s tons of who, what, where and why for each section and mentions of both Jewish and Muslim traditions. I love that. The fact that these recipes and food combinations have been handed down over generations, carried on through families.

So what will you find inside this book?

In a word. EVERYTHING. If you’re vegetarian then it’s a must. If you’re a meat lover, then it’s a must. In fact if you like flavor then this book is a must!

Introduction: 

Jerusalem food, The passion in the air, The recipes, A comment about ownership & history

VEGETABLES 

Roasted sweet potatoes & fresh figs

At home Tim and I make what we call Israeli salad. It’s basically tomatoes, cucumber and onion all chopped up into very small cubes, drenched in olive oil, with a touch of salt and pepper all mixed up. It’s amazingly simple and totally delicious. If you take this kind of simplistic ‘throw it all together’ approach that’s what you get in this chapter, but so much more sophisticated. It’s all about knowing what to put together and boy do these guys do it well! Roasted sweet potato and fresh figs, Broad bean Kuku, even the simple mixed bean salad made my mouth water.

This is one big, jam packed section that I would eat from every evening. It’s also worth mentioning the Latkes. Who can resist a Latke?

PULSES & GRAINS

My family went to Israel for our first holiday abroad when my brother had his bar mitzvah. One of the big memories from the holiday (apart from my brother going down to breakfast first thing in the morning and then again for second breakfast when everyone else got up) was that every street corner had a falafel stand on it. I had falafel at practically every stand! I got completely addicted to them. Why am I telling you this? Well, guess what the first recipe in this chapter is? Yep. Falafel!

Whether it’s chicpeas, rice, pasta or couscous there’ s plenty of choice in this chapter. The thing about this book is that it has an amazing array of herbs and spices to flavor the most basic of foods. The Basmati & wild rice with chickpeas, currants & herbs looks amazing. The hummus…. don’t get me started on the hummus, and couscous with tomato and onion are so easy to make. Some I could eat as a snack (ie devour when no one is looking) but I am sure they are meant to be shared!

SOUPS

Watercress & chickpea soup with rose water & ras hanout

I love the soup chapter as it’s got so many unusual flavors. Who else could come up with  burnt aubergine & mograbieh soup? (Mograbieh is a type of large couscous by the way) there’s a meatball soup, pistachio soup and a seafood and fennel soup (slightly not Kosher but Tim loved the look of this) but the best soup has to be the proper Clear Chicken soup with knaidlach (aka Jewish Penicillin) Knaidlach are like dumplings and when we were little we nick named them knaidlebums and the name has stuck ever since. This soup is very easy to make and really does make you feel better when you are ill. I swear by it!

STUFFED

No, not a sign that you have eaten too much food from this book and need to loosen your belt buckle, this is all about stuffed foods and literally anything goes. I didn’t know you could stuff a carrot! I thought it was all about cabbage leaves! Not in this book. How does Lamb-stuffed quince with pomegranate & coriander grab you? Or how about stuffed onions, stuffed Romano peppers or stuffed potatoes?

MEAT

There are lots of easy recipes here that you can pop in the oven and leave to enhance. Roasted chicken with clementines and arak is on my to do list (especially for our next dinner party!) If you like chicken then there’s definitely something here for you. The meatball and Kofta b’siniyah look mouthwateringly good as does the lamb shwarma.

FISH

We eat a lot of fish in our house and as I’m no cook (Tim’s the cook. I can bake!) so it’s really good to get some fresh flavour ideas on our regular favs. Pan fried sea bream with harissa & rose, cod cakes in tomato sauce, Marinated sweet and sour fish, I could go on and on.

SAVORY PASTRIES

Red pepper & baked egg galette

I’m addicted to eggs. There I said it. I love them and could eat them every day (in fact I nearly do) so when I saw this red pepper & baked egg galette I knew it was love at first sight. I mean what’s not to love? puff pastry+ peppers +topped with a perfect egg! This chapter is all about the mouthwatering flavour of herb pies and Burekas. Nom, nom, nom!

SWEETS & DESSERTS

Mutabbaq

The first page in this chapter opens with Sweet filo cigars with all the sweet honey just oozing out, then moves swiftly onto sweet cheese. I love savory and sweet together and the Mutabbaq looks so mouthwatering. There’s also recipes for cakes, rice pudding, crumble, spice cookies (which I have the recipe for and will be sharing with you tomorrow) as well as yeasted cakes.

Chocolate Krantz Cake

CONDIMENTS

It’s really good to be given so many great condiment recipes. I’ve always wanted to add tahini sauce to my falafel and now I can. There are also yoghurt with cucumber recipes as well as countless picked options.

So in all, I love this book. It seems so perfect for this time of year when it’s cold and windy outside and you want a warm and full flavour dish to keep you toasty and satisfied on the inside.

It would definitely make great Christmas/Channuka present. Smiles all round I think.

You can buy it on Amazon.com by clicking on the link here-  Jerusalem– or on book image below

EmmaMT

Apple Tarte Tatin and my epic disasters!

Sometimes you have days when things go wrong. Sometimes those days turn into weeks! I have just had one of those weeks. Nothing I have baked this week seems to have worked!

On Saturday night we had friends round for dinner. In my head I had everything perfectly planned. As always I was on dessert alert and Tim was doing the main meal cooking. My timings were all set (in my head at least) and I already had all the ingredients I needed as I had dashed into Waitrose on Friday to get Tomar (a non dairy butter that tastes great in pastry and is Parve so can be used in kosher desserts for after a meat dinner). My trip for a “few essential ingredients” turned into a £75 shop and we hadn’t even decided what were making for the main meal yet! Damn those great offers/magazines/early Channuka pressents!

Epic Fail No.1- The Banoffee pie

When it came to choosing deserts Beau really wanted Banofffee pie, which she helped me make.  Once it came out of the fridge and was cut into slices it was more goo than anything else and the base was as good as welded onto the pie dish. I won’t mention that I hadn’t whipped up enough cream to pipe over the bananas and it looked really, really sad. I had to serve it anyway. Banoffee goo!

Epic Fail No.2- The Tarte Tatin and Honeycomb ice cream

Tim suggested that I make this Tarte Tartin which I had made last month to take to my Mum’s for our family Rosh Hashanah meal. It went down really well then and he loves it. This time I managed to over bake the pastry but that didn’t seem to stop anyone enjoying it on the night. I also made Honeycomb ice cream to go with the tarte. I didn’t read my friends recipe instructions properly and started making it at 1pm. It was supposed to go in the freezer for at least 8 hours- preferably over night! There were kids coming for dinner and we weren’t expecting to eat that late! Oh well. I decided to go for it. In the end it came out after just 6 hours and was rock solid. Everyone had finished their desserts before it was soft enough to scoop and serve. I still managed to add a dollop to my guests now nearly empty plates. (It did taste good though).

Epic Fail No.3- Chocolate pudding

I really wanted to make Chocolate pots. You know those little individual chocolate puddings you get that when you cut into them they have delicious melted chocolate ooozing from inside? Well, I tried out the recipe from The first Great British Bake off book with my girls and my 4 year old nephew last Friday for the first time. Even with lots of little hands helping me and spilling most of the ingredients, I still had more success then, than I did this time.

Saturday nights chocolate pots were a complete last minute thing. I had to make sure that I was showered, the house clean and tidy, girls dressed and table laid before I even started to make them. Figuring that my guests would be a little late (because I always am) I started pulling ingredients out 10 minutes before they were due to arrive. That’s when I discovered that I only had self raising flour not plain flour as I needed! Oh well, what could go wrong? LOTS it would seem!

My guests arrived just as I was putting the cake mix into each of the holes of the muffin tin. I put the whole thing into the fridge ready for later. Time to pour the wine.

After our meal I put the muffin tin into the oven for 12 minutes. Once ready, I took them out and left them for a minute or two to set. I then got a chopping board and inverted the tin onto it, ready to see if they would release easily. They did. A bit too easily! Eight of the 12 cakes came splurging out all over the worktop. Hot molten chocolate everywhere! I then managed to drop the hot muffin tin into all the spilt cake goo! It was a mess. But a mess that smelt gorgeous. (Have I mentioned that we have a kitchen diner and everyone was watching me make a mess of it?) Serious EPIC FAIL! I just had to laugh. It was all going horribly wrong. I write a cake blog showing people how to make cakes! This is not supposed to happen to me!!!! Luckily I have great friends who know me well enough to know that this is just what happens with me when I do an “add on”. I could’t just leave it at two desserts and an ice cream. I had to ‘add on’ just one more!  Lesson well and truly learnt….. well for now anyway.

Needless to say that the Banoffee Goo, chocolate splats , over baked Tarte Tatin and rock solid ice cream were all tasted and good sounds of “Mmmmm” were to be heard over the dinner table. Even if it was from the nine year olds!

So onto the Tarte Tatin.

This tarte recipe is for a 20cm (8″) pie dish and will serve 8 people

Ingredients

For the pastry

  • 200g butter / Tomar / Cookeen- at room temperature
  • 320g plain flour
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 tbsp cold water
  • 3tbsp caster sugar

For the filling

  • 450g cooking apples
  • 400g eating apples ( I used 4 small Gala)
  • 50g butter / Tomar
  • 4tbsp apricot jam
  • 25g golden caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

How to make Tarte Tatin

To make the pastry add the butter to the flour and use your hands to mix them together until they resemble breadcrumbs. Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix until you have a dough. Avoid over kneading as this will create a tough textured pastry.  Once all the ingredients are bound together wrap it in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

When the pasty is chilled heat your oven to 180ºC/ Gas 5.  Knead  and roll it out so that you have enough to fill your pie dish. It should be nice and thin.  When I made this one I pinched the top edge of the dish and then cut off the excess straight away, but it’s actually a better idea to leave the excess on until you have done the blind bake. That way the pastry is a little baked and won’t have shrunk down into the dish. It will sit flush with the top if you cut off the excess after the first bake with the ceramic beans.

To bake blind: Use a fork to make holes in the pastry case. Scrunch up a piece of baking paper (silicon paper is best and less prone to sticking) and place it over the pastry. Fill the dish with ceramic beans and then bake for 15 minutes.

Remove the pie dish from the oven. Carefully take out the ceramic beans and silicon paper and bake for another 5 minutes until it turns golden but not brown. Place the pie dish on a cooling rack till the apple filling is ready.

To make the filling: Peel, core and cube the cooking apples and place them in a lidded frying pan with a knob of butter. Cover and cook them over a medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until they become soft. Then add the golden caster sugar and 2 tbsp of apricot jam and stir in well. Use a fork to mush the apples to a puree consistency. I like to leave a few bigger pieces in there.  Set aside to cool down.

Prepare the eating apples by coring them. You can peel them but I think the tarte looks so pretty with the skin showing. Also it cooks down so much that it will be nice and soft to eat.  Cut each apple into quarters then each quarter into three or four very thin slices.

Add the puree apple to the pastry case, covering the bottom, then arrange your apple slices on top. Finally brush the decorative apple slices with the lemon juice and pop it in the oven (again at 180ºC gas 6) for 20 minutes or until the apple slices start to brown up nicely.

To glaze the tarte tatin: Heat up the remaining 2 tbsp of apricot jam in the microwave (or in a saucepan) till it’s runny and brush over the top and serve. 

Et Voila! One epic non-disaster Tarte Tatin. Let’s hope this week brings me a lot more success!!!

enjoy!

Apple and Honey cake recipe

This week it’s all about the apple and honey! It was Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year and we traditionally dip apple into honey to bring us a sweet year ahead. So I thought I’d give my favourite Honey cake a bit of a tweek and add some apples. The end result. In a word. Moorish!

Apple and Honey cake recipe

Ingredients

  • 90g plain flour
  • 100g Self Raising flour
  • 1 ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 4 eggs at room temperature and separated
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 110 ml honey
  • 110 ml sunflower oil
  • 50 ml Orange juice
  • 1-2 small eating apples, peeled, cored and cut into slices

How to make Apple and Honey cake

Heat your oven to 180C

Measure out and sieve the flours, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and nutmeg into a bowl.

In a separate bowl mix the egg yolks and sugar until well blended.

Keep the mixer going and add the honey and oil in steady streams. Mix well.

Add the dry ingredients and orange juice until completely combined.

In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks.

With a large metal spoon gently fold the egg whites into the cake mix.

Cut the apple into small chunks and drop them into the cake mix. They will sink to the bottom and make the cake very moist so don’t add more than one layer of apple.

Bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.  The cake will puff up due to all the air in the egg whites, but don’t be surprised when it drops back down again as it cools.

Leave it to cool completely on a wire rack before turning it out onto a cake plate ready to devour!

Cinnamon balls recipe for Passover

 Passover cinnamon balls recipe

I love these cinnamon balls. They really remind me of Pesach from my childhood along with the Macaroons from yesterday’s post. We could never leave them alone and with four kids in the house my poor mum could never bake them quickly enough!

They are a quick and easy to make, not to mention very tasty biscuit that are really soft inside and are totally moreish. I use the recipe from The New Complete  International Jewish Cookbook, By Evelyn Rose. It’s a fail safe recipe. It’s also a great one to do with kids.

The Ingredients

(makes around 20)

2 egg whites (at room temperature)

125g caster sugar

225g ground almonds

1 level tbsp of cinnamon

How to make Cinnamon Balls for Passover

Line a baking tray with grease proof paper and heat your oven to 160°C, Gas mark 3.

 Passover cinnamon balls reciepe

Whisk the egg whites. I use a hand-held electric whisk as they are super speedy and effortless to use and clean.

Whisk until you have stiff white peaks.

Passover cinnamon balls

Evelyn Rose says in her book that you know when your egg whites are perfect when you lift out your whisk and the peak doesn’t flop to the side but stays upright.

Passover cinnamon balls

Add all the rest of the ingredients.

Passover cinnamon balls recipe

Use a spatula or metal spoon to mix the ingredients together. Avoid using a wooden spoon as it will bash all the air out of your egg whites and you want them nice and fluffy.

Passover cinnamon balls recipe

Now for the fun bit. Make your hands wet. I tried doing this part with dry hands and it just makes a big, mushy goo on your hands! Half fill a mixing bowl with water for speed and convenience. With a wet palm roll around 20 balls and place them on your baking sheet. They don’t spread too much when baked so you can fit quite a few on a tray.  Pop them in the oven for 18 minutes.

Passover cinnamon balls recipe

Remove the tray from the oven. Place the icing sugar in a bowl and while the cinnamon balls are still warm roll them around until coated all over. Then leave to cool completely. You can add a second coating of icing sugar but I never feel the need.

Passover cinnamon balls reciepe

Just look how moist and cinnamony these are!  Tim came home from work just as I was finishing up, popped one in his mouth and said “Lush!” Nice compliment I think.

enjoy!

Almond Macaroon Recipe for Passover

Passover Almond Macaroons

Well, what can I say about these sticky, sweet and delicious bisuits that doesn’t involve going into the complete disaster I created whilst trying to make them in a hurry! Let me start by saying they are really easy to make but I made a complete pig’s ear of it!

Anyway, let me set the scene….

On Friday night my sister hosted our family’s Seder night (which is a meal that starts the Jewish festival of Passover). We were missing a few key ingredients (namely a mum, dad, brother and his family. I imagine it’s what it feels like to have your first Christmas dinner without key people!)

Anyway, I digress…..

My sister and her husband had gone to a lot of effort with not only a cracking roast chicken dinner (OMG it was soooo good!) and she had printed off kid friendly Hagadas (the prayer book we follow through out the meal) and had props at the ready. When it came to the part when the Egyptians wouldn’t let the Israelites go and the 10 plagues are described there were flying plastic bugs (for locusts) red blobs of lipstick applied unexpectedly to my face for boils and flying teddies for wild beasts. It was brilliant.

I offered to make cinnamon balls (tomorrows recipe) and macaroons for our desert. I thought I had left plenty of time. That is the story of my life. I’m always late. Sorry Shell.

I set about making the macaroons and they looked great in the oven. I turned my back for two minutes and they burned. So the lesson here is don’t ever turn your back on a macaroon!

The next batch turned into a soggy mess in the food processor. I tried to add a bit more egg white to see if they would be fluffier – big mistake! I added more almonds and more sugar but that didn’t seem to make any difference. It was more like cake mix than a roll-able dough. The third mix was great but I was so worried that I would overcook them that I took them out of the oven a little early and had anaemic macaroons.

The thing with Macaroons is that they bake quickly and it’s a judgement call as to when they are done enough. I actually prefered the pale ones which were really soft throughout with a harder shell and were completely delicious. Beau ate practically all of the overdone ones before we have even left the house! It’s a matter of taste.

I would say that if they last longer than a day (highly unlikely!) they do get firmer in time so I would veer towards a light brown colour.

The Ingredients

(makes about 15 macaroons)

125g ground almonds

1 egg white (from a medium size egg) at room temperature

150g caster sugar

table spoon of icing sugar

15 almonds half to decorate

How to make Almond Macaroons for Passover

Heat your oven to 200°C, Gas mark 6. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Chop almonds. Peseach Almond Macaroons recipe

Give the ground almonds a whiz a food processor for 10 seconds. You don’t have to do this step but it will make the texture of the macaroons even finer.

add sugar.Peseach Almond Macaroons

Add the sugar and whiz again till blended.

Add egg white.Peseach Almond Macaroons

Add the egg white and blend thoroughly. It should form wet clumps.

Roll into balls.Peseach Almond Macaroons

Roll out the macaroon balls. I like them to be quite large so they are really soft inside. Give them plenty of space to spread. About 3 cm between each one is perfect.

Flatten a little.Peseach Almond Macaroons

Flatten the balls lightly with the palm of your hand

Brush with water.Peseach Almond Macaroons

Brush each macaroon with water with damp pastry brush. Don’t over wet them.

Dust with icing sugar.Peseach Almond Macarooms

Give the macaroons a light dusting of icing sugar and top off with half an almond. Pop in the oven for 12-15 minutes. Watch them like a hawk so they don’t over bake like the ones below!

Pop them on a cooling rack till they are completely cool.

Peseach Almond Macaroons

All that’s left to say is Chag Sameach (or Happy Holidays!)

enjoy!

The New Complete International Jewish Cookbook review

The New Complete International Jewish Cookbook review

Let me just start by saying that Evelyn Rose rocks!

As I mentioned in my post about Hamantaschen last week I have a fantastic Jewish cook book that is used by all of my family. It’s called the ‘The New Complete International Jewish Cookbook’ written by Evelyn Rose, published by Pavilion. My mum bought us all this book when we moved out from the family home. Mine was signed by Evelyn which makes it extra special. As you can see it has been made wet at some point and has smudged a little which really upsets me!Evelyn Rose's New Complete International Jewish Cookbook

Evelyn Rose was like the Jewish Delia. There was nothing that she didn’t know about Jewish cooking. There are many food laws to consider when you keep a kosher kitchen, mainly that you can’t mix meat and milk products, so a kosher cook book is essential! This book has over 1,100  recipes, 30 chapters and explains all about the different foods for different festivals.  Every Jewish festival comes with a traditional cake of some description. It’s a wonder there aren’t more overweight Jewish people around considering how many festivals there are!

The book

The chapters are broken up into the following categories

  • Starters
  • Fish and Vegetarian meals
  • Meat
  • Vegetables
  • Desserts
  • Baking (Yay- obviously my best bit!)
  • Preserves
  • Cooking for a crowd  (also known as feeding an army!)
  • Festivals

Now, I have to admit that although I can bake, I’m pretty rubbish at cooking so this is my only book for cooking kosher meat and fish. I follow the recipes to the letter and they always come out great. They are also exactly as I remember them as cooked by my grandma as well as my mum. Real, traditional style cooking.

A friend of mine recently remarked that she hated not having pictures in a cookery book, as she didn’t know what the dishes were supposed to look like. I have to say that I have never worried about that, and that’s probably as I have always used this book (even from a young age with my mum). It doesn’t have a single photo in it. With 1100 recipes there really isn’t room! It does have these really cute illustrations though.

Evelyn Rose's New Complete International Jewish Cookbook
Just one of the lovely illustrations throughout out the book

The Jewish Festivals

When it comes to baking for festivals I love it that you just turn to the right page for all you need. So when it comes to Rosh Hashanah you know where to get a Honey Cake recipe.

For Purim there are no less than five types of Hamantaschen (sweetand savory) to choose from.

Hamantaschen diagram
I love the little diagrams, like how to fold Hamantaschen

Peseach is especially hard to bake and cook for as the food we eat for the 8 days of that festival are limiting and very specific, so this one stop book is all you need- the cinnamon balls and macaroons are a family favorite not to mention the Plava (Oh how I love a heavy Plava cake! Not long now. ) I have to admit that as I am flicking through the pages of this book-  so as not to leave anything out- it automatically falls open at cinnamon balls!)

During Shavuot we traditionally eat Cheese cake (which is probably why it’s Tim’s favorite festival) I love Evelyn’s  Yomtov cheese cake, but let’s face it. I love all cheesecakes!

I could go on and on, but I will end this post saying that I am sure one day I will be buying this book for Beau and Darcey. I can’t see it ever going out of print or fashion. It’s the official Jewish cooking bible and I truly wouldn’t be without it!

EmmaMT

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
%d bloggers like this: