Blanket coverage

By Bernard Josephs, July 16, 2009

There can be few more depressing aspects of the great British summer than that moment when you settle down to a meagre picnic of sardine sandwiches and warm Diet Coke only to be confronted by a family tucking into their luxury Fortnum & Mason hamper, complete with fine china, Champagne flutes and linen napkins.

It is at that moment you realise that eating al fresco is not simply a way to curb hunger pangs after a bracing stroll in the sun. Indeed, it is an undertaking to be taken seriously.


Vanilla’s golden age

By Ruth Joseph, July 8, 2009

Think of custard. To many, it symbolises perfect comfort food, fragrant with childhood memories. Yet the history of the vanilla pod is far from comfortable. Vanilla began to surface in Europe at a time when Jews and Jewish merchants were being persecuted. But it was Jews who brought it to our shores.


Flipping good advice

By Annabel Karmel, July 2, 2009

There is nothing like a summer weekend spent relaxing in the garden with a barbecue. Follow my tips below and you will be surprised how easy it is. It’s a wonderfully informal way of eating and you can enjoy tasty morsels spread across the afternoon as different dishes are cooked.

If you are cooking a large amount of food, you will need a good depth of coals in your barbecue to keep the heat going long enough.


Strawberry fields forever

By Bernard Josephs, June 25, 2009

Farmers around the world all claim that their strawberries are the best. In Wepion, Belgium, for instance, proud growers have built a museum dedicated to the berries whose Latin name, frugaria, means fragrance. In America competing farms have declared themselves to be situated in the strawberry capital of the world, while in Israel, the halachic implications of eating strawberries were recently the subject of a rabbinical rumpus.


Salmon Special: Slice of life learned from master carver

By Alex Kasriel, June 18, 2009

Ever wondered why Jewish-style lox tastes better than Scottish smoked salmon? Len Lawson has the answer — and the 87-year-old should know, as he has been cutting salmon for almost 30 years.

Mr Lawson attributes the delicate flavour of heimishe lox to its wafer-thin slicing. Because of this, the fat rapidly melts in the mouth and the flavour is let loose before chewing.


Gone fishing… for a salmon substitute

By Simon Round, June 17, 2009

A slump in salmon production and a surge in demand from around the world is threatening to take British Jewry’s most ubiquitous fish off our menus — or at least to make it a more expensive treat.

So what are the alternatives? The truth is that there is no other single fish with the versatility of the salmon — there are few other fish which can be smoked cold or hot, served raw, cured, poached or pan fried and which have the health benefits of omega 3.


Wine: Dalton winery

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 10, 2009

On the day before Shavuot, I visited Dalton winery in the Upper Galilee. The main reason for my visit was to taste the new white wines just out to accompany the festival of cheese.

They were fantastic, but then the winery’s manager, Moshe Haviv, pointed out that they were all of the 2008 vintage, the Shmita year, and therefore would not be exported for sale outside Israel. So I won’t tantalise you with my favourable impressions, seeing as those of you not planning to visit Israel will not get to taste them.


The red devils that keep you in the pink

By Ruth Joseph, June 10, 2009

Sinking your teeth into the summer-sweet flesh of a British tomato, it’s hard to believe that the fruit was once the subject of hatred and contempt. Eastern European religious Jews believed that the red juices running out of the fruit were a form of bad blood and therefore treif.


Some like it cold

By Simon Round, June 4, 2009

As you probably know, there are two types of fried fish in this country. There is the fried fish you buy from the chippy, coated in batter, deep fried and served with chips, a sprinkling of salt and soused with malt vinegar. Then there is our fried fish, coated in egg and matzah meal, pan fried and served cold with a nice bit of chreyn.


Shavuot, the perfect time to revisit barley

By Ruth Joseph, May 28, 2009

As a reader I’ve always been captivated by good narrative, and surely one of the most beautiful romances occurs in the Bible between Ruth the convert and Boaz. She is always pictured gleaning the barley harvest — Boaz tells his young men to leave her some full sheaves and at the end of the day she has all the barley she needs. And the story of Shavuot continues.