From the 1800s onwards, my family was among the "hidden Jews of Islam" in the medieval city of Meshed, Persia - strictly observant Jews at home, but Muslims to the outside world. Wine for kiddush was made in their cellars, they ground their own wheat for bread and matzah. Synagogue prayers and Hebrew lessons were conducted in secret. Shops were open on Shabbat but no sales were made.
This Israeli-inspired lamb recipe is ideal for Succot. It has the colours and flavours of the harvest season, a hint of ancient Temple pilgrimages, and a taste of pomegranates to wish you well and plenty in the year to come.
Make this stew a day ahead in order to let the flavours mellow, and serve with rice or couscous.
● 125ml olive oil
● 1 kg shoulder lamb, cubed
● 200g each carrots, celery and leeks, sliced
● 240g (drained weight) tinned chickpeas or white beans
● 3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
● 400ml red wine
Last year I went on holiday to a Greek island. I love fresh fish, simply grilled over charcoal, and salads, so the food there was a delight. However it was a shame that there were no kosher restaurants on the harbour-side because the smell of the lamb cooking in the many side-street tavernas was truly mouth-watering.
While the most popular dish with the tourists seemed to be the souvlakia - skewered and barbecued lamb served with salad and rice - the dish that appealed to me the most was kleftiko; pieces of lamb slow baked with lemon until they are practically falling off the bone.
Rosh Hashanah is around the corner and it is time for apples and honey again. The baked apples I suggest this year are a simple, healthy and delicious dessert. They can be easily prepared in advance and baked while you are eating dinner, so a comforting scent of the cooking fruit will slowly spread among the diners.
Confide in a friend that you are having an affair, and the first question is… salmon or chicken?
Joking aside, when it comes to special occasions, salmon remains the fishy choice (unless you go proper posh with sea bass). I feel like I have gone from herring queen to salmon princess in one cross-generational, suburban leap upstream.
Both salmon and herring are oil-rich and bubbe-guaranteed to increase brain power, along with other, so-called "blue" fish in the Jewish repertoire, such as anchovies, sardines and tuna.
A few weeks ago, my beloved dog was stolen. Eventually, following the offer of a reward, my dog - and another which was stolen at the same time - was returned. The return of our four-legged friends was a cause for great celebration, so this week I decided to hold a dinner party for my dogs and the owner of the other dog.
As the school holidays continue, don’t forget the best entertainment for kids is still a baking session. Try my scrumptious chocolate and almond biscuits. They have a crisp outer shell and their centre is soft and gooey.
They are fun and easy to make with your children or grandchildren. My girls loved mixing the ingredients together, rolling out the balls and the best bit, licking out the bowl at the end. Their chewy, chocolate, macaroon quality satisfies the strongest chocolate cravings.
As promised, here is the recipe for roasted aubergines and grilled tomatoes to complete the wonderful and colourful platter of vegetarian antipasti which we started last time with the roasted peppers and courgettes. The aubergines are normally cut into round slices. However, if you are using small to medium aubergines, you can also cut them into strips lengthwise. I also use breadcrumbs as an optional additional ingredient.