Vegetarian antipasti is one of my favourites. This time of year I find myself making it every week or so. It is great served as a cold starter or as a side dish for a summer lunch or barbecue. This week I propose peppers and courgettes. Start practising with those and next time I will give you the recipe for roasted aubergines and grilled tomatoes to add to the wonderful and colourful platter of mixed vegetarian antipasti.
Preparation time: 45 minutes Serves 6-8
● 4 courgettes
● 4 peppers (yellow, red or orange)
If there was ever such a thing as the Golden Age of Meatloaf, then it passed me by. Of course, that may be because it was less a staple of the Anglo-Jewish than the American-Jewish, indeed all-American, household. There are those who claim meatloaf is one of that country's greatest gifts to gastronomy - that may be taking it a bit far, but it certainly has iconic comfort food status.
Fish has always been one of my favourite foods. I am always surprised how little some people cook fish at home because it is actually one of the easiest foods to cook and one of the quickest. My favourite meal out would be sushi but I do not make it at home because I think that is best left to the Japanese who prepare it so beautifully that it is almost a work of art. However when it comes to tuna, I like mine quite rare. Over- cooked tuna is dry and tasteless, whereas if you cook tuna for just a few minutes it can taste sublime.
The World Cup is a serious business requiring preparation, planning, co-ordination and split second timing - and that's just the mealtimes. The idea is to have the food on your lap in time for the 7.30pm kick-off. But what to eat?
This simple and versatile recipe is one of my favourites. It can be eaten either warm or cold, and, depending how it is served, is like two different dishes. It works well warm with roast beef or grilled fish, such as sea bass or sea bream. When cold, the onions with their sweet and sour caramelised sauce become like a relish which can be eaten with cheese or on bread.
Pesto is a generic term for anything which is made by pounding. Historically, pesto is prepared in a marble mortar with a wooden pestle. Nothing tastes as good as home-made pesto, and my version takes just minutes to prepare in a food processor. Adding parsley to the mixture helps to give a good green colour. If you like you could add a few chopped, sun-blush tomatoes to the spaghetti, too, or sprinkle with some pine nuts and shaved Parmesan.
"What's a 'shmear'?" asked my non-Jewish editor when I was writing The Jewish Kitchen. It was a good question. It is more than a spread because there is a element of enthusiastic greed in its application. It is less than a topping and it is surely not a puree - far too elegant, and French. Smear comes closest, but even that implies a parsimonious approach. I explained how "shmearers" had once referred to textile workers who glued pieces of fabric, how the word has come to mean extra-curricular payments to dodgy politicos, how every bagel needs a shmear.
I am constantly looking for filling and uncomplicated recipes to make for my two small children. It is a tough assignment to find meals which are compatible with their delicate little taste buds, which are not wildly unhealthy and which adults are happy to eat too.
I love the aromatic flavours of a tagine and it is a great way to hide fruit and vegetables for fussy children. It is a Moroccan dish, a mixture of vegetables, chicken or lamb and dried fruit which would be cooked slowly in a tagine - a glazed earthenware pot with a conical lid with a knob on the top which was traditionally used by nomads as a portable oven over a charcoal brazier. My version is simple and quick to prepare and I love the rich flavours that come from the combination of butternut squash, korma curry paste and dried apricots.