It is customary to celebrate Simchat Torah with a little bit more alcohol than on a normal day, and so this is a perfect occasion to cook with it. Try this delicious and simple but impressive recipe — one of my old time favourites. Marsala, a Sicilian dessert wine, gives a slight sweet flavour. If you can’t find kosher Marsala use kiddush wine or Port.
Preparation: 10 minutes plus 24 hours curing
For the salmon:
½ side of salmon – head side approximately 750g
2 packs of cooked beetroot in own juice, sliced (thickness of a £1 coin)
200g granulated sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
2 tbsp fennel seeds
2 tbsp cracked black pepper
Drizzled with chocolate and packed with fruit, this is my lightest, ultra-moist carrot cake — a carrot cake with attitude. For the best results only grate the carrots when ready to use and do mix them with lemon juice, or they are inclined to go brown.
Serves: 10 people generously
Preparation: 15 minutes plus 30 minutes soaking time
Cooking: Approximately 1 hour
A refreshing Middle Eastern dessert is the result of a cooking spree with my Israeli friend Einav. It is rich and sweet in flavour for the dates, beautiful and tasty for the use of whole green pistachios and exotic coconut.
Makes: 1 roulade of 25-30 slices
Preparation: 20 minutes plus 2 hours freezing
How important is the food that a restaurant serves? For Guy Michlin, the Israeli founder of EatWith, the food is less important than the company: the social aspect of dining is the key to creating a memorable experience.
The Torah tells us that the 5 types of grain: wheat, oat, spelt, barley and rye, plus any grape or wine products, are all required to be eaten in the succah and need a special blessing. This delicious date and walnut bread can be shaped either into two large loaves or into small rolls. Perfect with hot soup or toast and enjoy with your favourite cheese.
This cold lemon schnitzel is an ideal dish for a Succot meal or a summery Shabbat lunch. It is easy and delicious and can be made with chicken or veal. You can also use vegetable or chicken stock instead of water if you like strong flavours. It was kindly given to me by Jose Romano Levi from Ferrara, home of a fascinating and long-standing Jewish community.
This vegan and gluten free dish is packed with delicious Asian flavours. Quinoa is high in protein and gluten free, and far healthier than white rice/pasta. So don’t feel bad about grabbing seconds — or even thirds. Serve with poached eggs for extra protein.
Preparation: 40 mins
Cooking: 20 mins
200g fine trimmed green beans, finely chopped
This easy dessert is perfect for sunken honey cake disasters or to use up leftovers — if you have any. You can replace the Marsala with any sweet wine or even the syrup from poaching the fruit. If you cannot find fresh figs, tinned or bottled ones in syrup or wine are perfect – no need to poach and you can use the syrup to spoon over the cake.
10 dessert apples (I prefer jazz apples)
Juice of ½ lemon
100g melted butter (lightly salted) or margarine plus a little extra for greasing
230g semolina, fine
130g soft light brown sugar
130g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 large egg, beaten
50g pecans, chopped
This dish — known as Couscous Pkeila in Tunisia — works best in a pressure cooker. If you don’t have one cook it in a large, non-stick pot — the meat for 1½ to 2 hours plus another 45 minutes for the beans.
Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking: with pressure cooker: 1½ hours; without: 2 to 2½ hours