For Tunisian Jews, the symbolic fruit of Rosh Hashanah are pomegranate and quince. A pomegranate's many seeds represent the good points we would like Hashem to count when he inscribes our name in the Book of Life. We put them and other symbolic foods on a plate, like a Seder plate. Pomegranate jam symbolises a sweet new year.
Every Rosh Hashanah, I create a variation on the traditional apple cake. This one has become a family favourite, whether for dessert or for tea. It freezes beautifully, but make sure to freeze it un-iced and add the topping after defrosting.
Serves: 8. Preparation time: 15 minutes. Cooking time: 1 hour plus 30 minutes to cool.
I serve this rather than carrot tsimmes - the golden sweetness of the pumpkin or squash ushers in a shana tova u'metuka and the classic Japanese flavourings bring a piece of my family history to the Yomtov table. Kabocha pumpkins can be tricky to source but butternut squash makes an admirable substitute.
These are a homage to my late, dear father-in-law, Nathan, who adored them. He always said they were a cure for a cold! Maybe not, but they are delicious, comforting and popular with young and old. This recipe makes about 65 dainty rolls, but as each one is little more than a mouthful, they disappear in no time. They keep well, and can be offered to visitors with a coffee at any time of the day.
The gently cooked peas and potato in this rustic broth provide the perfect backdrop for samphire's crisp salty flavour. If you buy your samphire from a supermarket, you will need one packet of 70 - 90g. It should not need picking over. If you buy it from a fishmonger, you may wish to cut off the thicker, tougher stalks.
This cake involves no baking. It is hard to describe quite how delicious it is. All I can say is that you will not find a quicker route to chocolate heaven. Do use a high-quality cocoa powder if you can - it really makes a difference.
Preparation time 10 minutes plus 1 hour in the fridge.
A traditional plum kuchen is normally made with yeast. This coffee cake-style recipe was made by my late mother and is far quicker and easier to make. If you do not have a packet of vanilla sugar you can use 11g of caster sugar and a ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract. It is best enjoyed warm, freezes perfectly and is even more glorious with custard or fromage frais.
This is a lovely appetiser and finger food, which I often offer in my catering. I like to use red onions as they are sweet and look great, but the same recipe can be made using white onions or shallots instead. Gorgonzola or dolcelatte cheese can be used in place of the parmesan, giving it a rounder, tangy taste.
Next Monday, August 15, coincides with Av 15 and its festival, Tu B'Av. It is an unusual celebration with an interesting history. In Temple times, unmarried girls of Jerusalem would put on white dresses and dance in vineyards. The city's single men watched them with a view to selecting a wife.
The holiday has more recently become akin to a Jewish Valentine's Day.