Next Monday, August 15, coincides with Av 15 and its festival, Tu B'Av. It is an unusual celebration with an interesting history. In Temple times, unmarried girls of Jerusalem would put on white dresses and dance in vineyards. The city's single men watched them with a view to selecting a wife.
The holiday has more recently become akin to a Jewish Valentine's Day. It is customary to send red roses to your love interest, romantic songs are played on the radio and love is in the air.
If you are planning to cook a romantic Tu B'Av dinner for your date, here are some tips to help it run smoothly:
● Testing new creations on a date night might be disastrous. Take time to prepare, and make something familiar.
● Find out what your date likes to eat or drink, and check whether they have any food allergies so your meal is not interrupted by a visit to A&E.
● Avoid messy foods and ones that stick in your teeth, like spinach, spaghetti or corn on the cob.
This quick but impressive salad is the perfect entree for an intimate dinner for two. Figs are just starting to come into season - choose plump, heavy fruits for the sweetest flavour.
Preparation: 10 minutes. Serves 2.
● 100g rocket leaves
● 4 figs, cut into eighths (or quarters if small)
● 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
● 2 tsp honey
● 3 tbsp fruity extra virgin olive oil
● Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
● 50g flaked almonds
● Combine the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and honey, and season. Add honey or lemon to taste.
● Wash the rocket leaves and spin or pat them dry, tear into rough pieces.
● Arrange the figs and the leaves on two plates.
● Drizzle over the dressing just before serving and sprinkle with the almonds.