My parents grow pumpkins and store them in a dark and airy room while they slowly mature. As a symbol of the beginning of the season, the first pumpkin is eaten for Rosh Hashanah, where in Rome we do a short "Seder" and pumpkin is one of the symbolic foods. Here is a lovely frittata baked in the oven and eaten in little squares.
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.