This weekend I’m getting married. So while you read this recipe sitting comfortably on your sofa, I will be having a very hectic time: a special Shabbat dinner at my parents; a Shabbat Chatan at the main synagogue in Rome and, of course, the chuppah on Sunday… all very exciting!
This gorgeous Pesach dessert, with caramelised fresh pineapple atop a moist almond filling, makes a wonderful (and convenient) finale to a Seder or Passover meal. The sweet almond filling makes a delectable contrast with the refreshing pineapple bathed in a glistening, golden glaze.
Call me brave or possibly foolish but I’ve just invited chef Tom Aikens and his lovely wife to my home for supper and am now thinking: what do you cook for someone with a Michelin star when your career is based on mushing up peas…?
Should I cook the lovely Tom my version of chicken dippers or my macaroni cheese with hidden cauliflower? I ask my best friend Peggy and she wrests my new bookazine (halfway between a book and a magazine) from my hands and gesticulates to my salmon en croute.
JPs’s are not supposed to be superstitious. However, I have never met one who would walk under a ladder on purpose, who doesn’t go into a Princess Panic when her compact mirror breaks, or one who doesn’t study men’s noses and hands with avid interest. Nudge, nudge; wink, wink.
Now this is a classic. This chocolate mousse recipe comes from my sister, Simona, who is addicted to chocolate. In fact, all my chocolate-related recipes are either hers or go through the Simona test first. If she likes it, so will every chocolate lover. The great thing with this mousse is that you can personalise it. If you want a pure chocolate taste, then add only water, otherwise you can replace it with either orange juice, coffee or milk. You can also use alcohol either for the whole amount or just put in half and top up with the other fluids.
My mother used to tell how, as a young wife, she was somewhat put out when a guest, looking at the pot of Boeuf Bourguignon — the height of sophistication in the late 1950s — would ask, “And what do you call this stew?”
Today we prefer the word “casserole” to describe such a dish, but even that doesn’t do justice to the many and varied recipes - “tagine, “ragoût” or “daube” — that are created by gently simmering a mouth-watering mixture of meat, wine or stock.
This is my son’s favourite fish dish and that’s saying something as he is not generally a big fan of fish — but it is so tasty that it might just be the recipe to win over diehard carnivores.
The definition of a genius is, I am told, an average child with Jewish parents. We all know that fish is good for the brain and so naturally we want to make sure that our child enjoys eating it (provided, of course, it’s not the type with a shell and pincers). Sadly, however, most attempts at serving fish are met with “That’s yucky” and a mild tantrum.
Of course everybody likes to be a winner. When it comes to success, don’t we all want to pick up a gold medal? However, if you are not an Olympic champion (I don’t know many JPs who are), is coming first all it’s cracked up to be?
As promised, here is my recipe for Italian Jewish meatballs in tomato sauce. This dish can either be part of the Cuscussu’alla Livornese (Italian Jewish version of couscous) or cooked on its own. The main difference with normal Italian meatballs is the lack of Parmesan cheese and/or milk which is usually used to soften and give more taste to the meat. I like to wet the breadcrumbs in a little vegetable broth to give extra taste and I also use cinnamon and nutmeg. The latter is something that my mother and my grandmother used.
Summer may be synonymous with salad days, but winter salads can be a memorable blend of exotic flavours and contrasting textures if you pick your ingredients carefully. At this time of year, stick to citrus. As with any fruit, the best guarantee of flavour is a short maceration in a light sugar syrup. As the fruit soaks in the syrup, there is a magical exchange of flavours — oranges, for instance, develop an intensified taste, accented in this Moroccan-inspired salad with cinnamon and orange flower water (or rose water) and chopped pistachios.