Kosher history of an outcast vegetable

By Ruth Joseph, November 6, 2008

This extraordinary vegetable, with its polished purple exterior, begs to be cooked and, at the moment, British aubergines are seasonal and delicious. Now they are accepted as succulent, filling vegetables but there were times when aubergines were regarded with suspicion.

For centuries, aubergines - like potatoes, tomatoes and peppers, a member of the nightshade family -were eaten in India and other Asian countries. Europeans remained sceptical - maybe because of the deadly nightshade connection.


Ask the dietician

By Joan Wides, October 30, 2008

I use plenty of olive oil which is healthy but expensive - should I be using it in place of all other oils?


The new rice age

By Ruth Joseph, October 23, 2008

A fifth of calories consumed around the world come from rice, and in recent months, due to climate change, the growth in world population and stock market volatility, prices have escalated. So rice can no longer be considered the bland accompaniment to meat, chicken or fish but a precious ingredient in its own right.


The munch crunch

By Victoria Prever, October 17, 2008

Only an ostrich could have failed to notice the increasingly gloomy current financial situation.

With markets crashing around our ears, banks tumbling and financial commentators predicting a winter of discontent, media coverage is stirring up a fever pitch of insecurity. It does not take a genius to work out that it's time to rein in those luxuries and conserve the pennies.


My sweet gourd

By Ruth Joseph, October 10, 2008

Freshly harvested fruits and vegetables make Succot a joyous festival

Succah is a joyous occasion, described in Jewish literature as z'man simchateinu - the Season of Our Rejoicing. But it is also the Harvest festival. What better time to visit a local farmers' market and be inspired by locally grown cauliflower (wonderful steamed and layered with kosher mozzarella); fresh beetroot for a haimishe borscht; parsnips ready for roasting with a little grated fresh ginger and honey; alongside swedes, celeriac and an array of potatoes.


Make cheese like Booba? Piece of cake

By Ruth Joseph, October 3, 2008

Do you remember your grandmother making her own cheese? Many, particularly the older among you, will recall the vision of small, white muslin bags attached to a convenient tree in the garden, swinging gently in a summer breeze.


Which honey cake makes the cut?

By Denise Phillips, September 26, 2008

We recruited a team of testers to taste Rosh Hashanah honey cake. Here are the results.

Honey and Rosh Hashanah are synonymous. We bake it into our challahs, we dip our apples into it and of course use it in our desserts, particularly in honey cake.

There are many different recipes for honey cake. But it is not just the recipe that influences the flavour, it is also the type of honey used - there are many varieties, each with their own individual identity.


Yumtov desserts

By Ruth Joseph, September 19, 2008

Some can't-fail puddings for the High Holy-Days


The kosher pulse that can save the world

By Ruth Joseph, September 12, 2008

Lentils: tasty, historically haimishe and an eco-friendly alternative to meat.


In the past, lentils had a poor image, often regarded as food for sandalled hippies, eco-warriors and veggies. But historically, they have existed as part of Jewish dietary culture. Archaeological evidence in Ein Gedi shows that lentils grew during Chalcolithic times (4300-3300 BCE).

Every Jewish child has heard the story of Jacob and Esau in which Esau sold his birthright for a mess of potage - possibly the most expensive bowl of lentil soup in history.


Interview: Annabel Karmel

By Simon Round, September 12, 2008

Her recipes and supermarket food have earned her global fame, but negative media coverage still hurts

Annabel Karmel may be the country's best-known and top-selling author on children and family food but when people attack her work, it hurts. Although she is a fixture on the best-seller lists, she has been sneered at by interviewers from more than one newspaper.

Sitting over a dish of sea bream in an Italian restaurant in London, she says she cannot understand the criticisms.