The Fresser

Rosh Hashanah menu and table decorations - still need ideas?

With just over two days to go, are you ready and cucumber-like or more headless chicken? Read on and find some zen.

September 18, 2017 11:36

What’s on your menu for Wednesday and Thursday? Has it been a fait accompli for weeks or are you still finalising what you’ll be cooking?

I confess to not planning anything far in advance. You’d think, in my job, surrounded by inspiration, my festive fare would be set in stone by now.

Quite the opposite. So many ideas float around that nothing tends to stick. I have  vague idea of what I’ll be serving. The Rosh Hashanah chicken on my food pages —which is so simple to make, it has a starring role in its own video —is a slam dunk. It’s a winner and can be prepared (but not cooked) on Tuesday night — maybe even Tuesday morning and left to do its thing until you roast it on Wednesday night .

I'll serve it with a crisp green salad — I love the contrast with hot food. Although not greeen, this festive salad from Silvia Nacamulli would be ideal.

The obligatory carb will either be couscous mixed with with plentiful dried fruits, nuts and seeds and dressed liberally with good quality olive oil and lemon juice; or, the mini Fressers’ favourite, roasted potatoes.

Probably the roasties as they are one of my links with tradition. Who doesn’t have memories of hacking the golden crunchy bits off the oven dish around your family’s Shabbat or Yom Tov table? (Or is that only me?) I’d be the first to volunteer to clear the main course plates, and would glide off into the kitchen bearing the roast potato dish to fress further with my fingers.

I’ve been flicking through Emma Spitzer’s fabulous book, Fress for some new ideas and will trying out her tzimmes recipe this year. Maybe one main too many, but I like a spread of colour and variety.

No starter — it’s too much food. We’ll have a few nibbles before the meal. Perhaps some smoked salmon or some crudités and dips. I’ll conjure something up on the day.  

For dessert — more symbolism with a simple apple and honey crumble. There will be honey cake too. FInd my favourite recipe here.

I may even make some effort to dress my table beyond dusting off the smart cutlery and wedding present china.  

I’ve been inspired by Dani Tucker’s dreamy decorations. Tucker, who is behind cookery book The Social Kitchen — a collection of her late mother’s recipes — which has grown into a website.

Tucker has clearly inherited her mother’s creative flair. Her Rosh Hashanah table won’t break the bank, and is worthy of the smartest celebration.

A hessian table cloth makes a blank canvas on which she has arranged a very feminine display of roses and hydrangeas, pink ribbons, pomegranates and golden syrup tins combine to sum up what the season is about. All items are from supermarkets or high street stores so easily obtained. Each guest even gets a honey dipper to enjoy plenty of sweet stuff in the coming year. Tucker has plenty of idea on her website but has provided me with pointers as to where to get your table decorations if you’re still looking.

She used: Hessian table cloth; pink dinner plates; grey side plates; gold cutlery; pink and dusty red flowers; pomegranates; honey dippers and golden syrup tins; but she says: “You can also add more to your setting, like red and pink wrapped Quality Street, dates, Challah bread, honey jars.” 

If you want to replicate this exactly, here’s what you need:

Ikea plates (£1.80 per plate)

Ikea side plates (£1.70 per plate)

Dunelm gold cutlery (£25 for the set)

Golden syrup from any supermarket (92p pet pot) 

One bunch of hydrangeas and one mixed bunch from M&S (£22 total)

Honey dippers (approximately 55p each) (Note from VP: IF you are struggling with these at this late stage, I’ve seen them in Borough Kitchen but they are £5.75 each.)

Pomegranates (from any supermarket approx. £1.50. Tucker used 4 for a 12 person table) 

Table cloth and napkins made from Ikea fabric (£16 for 2 metres)

Candles (£1.20 per candle) 

Glassware (or use your own)


September 18, 2017 11:36

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