Israelis are no strangers to outdoor markets; every city has a shuk where a vast number of people do their daily shopping. Yet until recently farmers' markets were a foreign concept. Michal Ansky and Shir Halpern changed that three years ago when they started Israel's first farmers' market in Tel Aviv. Today there are six across the country plus a permanent indoor market, and more planned.
Michael Leventhal, organiser of the pleasingly named Gefiltefest, has a dry sense of humour. A recent email sent under his pseudonym, Michael Gefiltefest, disappeared into junk. "How inappropriate for a Jewish foodie to be spam," he replied.
Today food media is as big in Israel as anywhere else in the world, with competing prime-time TV cooking shows and celebrity chefs. But 20 years ago Israel was considered a culinary wasteland. Magazine publisher, food writer and cookbook author Janna Gur changed all that when she and her husband - helped by a bit of foresight - started Al HaShulchan ("On the Table" in Hebrew) magazine.
When Yotam Ottolenghi finishes his work in the kitchen, he gets into his car -and starts working all over again. What with his eponymous chain of eateries, plus his regular newspaper and magazine columns and television shows, even the time spent travelling must be productive. And now his workload has just got heavier with the opening of yet another London restaurant, called NOPI.
Matzah and bread have identical ingredients; the only difference between them is the cooking time. For matzah to be kosher, it is baked no more than 18 minutes. It is all about speed and precision, and, with this in mind, here are a selection of creative new recipes that are quick to prepare and make the most of matzah's amazing versatility.
Gershon Odze is an unlikely food hero. He does not cook much - maybe the odd spaghetti bolognese or roast chicken. He is quiet, unassuming and Orthodox. He had a religious education outside of the mainstream UK schooling system and has no formal qualifications. After his education he went into computer sales; if your laptop needs a rebuild, he is your man.
As someone raised on chopped liver, cholent and chicken soup, I've always found Sephardi recipes exciting. Ashkenazi food offers starch and comfort - carbs to fuel you through a snowdrift. Sephardi food is sexier.
Meatballs are one of our most versatile of foods. They can be small, large, cocktail or flat, can be made of chicken, turkey, lamb, beef, veal or other meats and often include onions, flour, herbs and spices or even dried fruits. They can also be cooked by frying, baking, steaming, barbecuing or braised in soups.
Remember when we were children and Purim was looming? How excited we were, unable to sleep thinking about the Purim party, and the reading of the Megillah when we would be allowed to make a noise in shul with our parents' and the rabbi's permission; and the joy of dressing up as Esther or Mordecai.