Blood Orange Tart with Orange-Almond Crust

Blood Orange Tarts with Orange Almond Crust

When I hear someone say “blood oranges”, I am immediately whisked away to my time in Lugano and my many trips over the border into Italy. They have a perfume like no other and I loved having a tall freshly squeezed glass of the beautiful blood red juice. As I drank the sweet and tangy glass of nectar, I thought about the blue waters of Sicily. So when I made my weekly trip to my local organic farm shop and saw a crate full of blood oranges, my heart burst with joy. “Where are these from?”, I asked the green grocer. “They are from a farmer in  the Golan. They just arrived.”

Mr BT was returning from a business trip in a week, so I asked if they were going to be selling them for a while, and he said yes. So, a few days before Mr BT’s return, I bought enough for cocktails and for an idea I had for a Passover dessert. Initially, I was going to make an upside-down blood orange polenta cake which some Italian Jews serve for dessert on Passover, but the weather started getting warmer and I thought a nice simple tart with a creamy blood orange curd sounded more refreshing.

Blood Oranges

Until I cut into the orange, I was not sure what variety the oranges were, but as soon as I saw the dark red flesh, I knew they were the lovely Moro variety. The flavor is stronger and the perfume is more intense than a normal orange. It is more bitter than the other varieties, which is perfect for cocktails, marmalade, and creamy, luscious curd.

Blood Orange Juice

Mr BT and I have a history with blood orange juice: our guests were served a blood orange caipirinha when they arrived at the reception. The cocktail represented my Italian ancestry, payed homage to my Brazilian cousins, and reminded Mr BT that he was created from a beautiful love in Rome, the place where his parents married, lived, loved and made Mr BT.

The tart was made with simple ingredients, but delivered even more than I expected. It brought back beautiful memories of my time in Lugano and trips to Italy, my wedding, my in-laws’ grand love affair, and stirred the excitement of a early fall trip to one place neither one of us have been to: Sicily. We will be celebrating rather important, ahem, birthdays this year, and what better place to do so, than in beautiful Sicily?

Almond-Orange Tart Base

Blood Orange Tart with Orange-Almond Crust
For the curd:

6 egg yolks

Zest of 2 blood oranges (don't forget to grate the zest first before juicing)

125 milliliters (½ cup) blood orange juice

1-½ tablespoons lemon juice

165 grams (¾ cup) caster (superfine) sugar

70 grams (5 tbsp) cold butter, chopped

For the crust:

170 grams (6 ounces) whole almonds

1/4 cup caster (superfine) sugar

2 teaspoons blood orange zest

70 grams (5 tablespoons) butter, melted

For curd:

Place the egg yolks, orange juice, lemon juice and sugar in a saucepan over low heat and whisk to combine. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Remove from the heat and gradually add the butter, stirring well after each addition. Pour into a bowl, press a sheet of plastic wrap onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight. The curd should be thick.

For the crust:

Preheat oven to 180C (350°F) and butter a 22cm (9-inch) tart tin or 4 individual tart tins with a removable bottom.

In a food processor, grind the almonds with the sugar and orange zest until finely ground. Add the butter and pulse a few times, until the butter is evenly distributed. You may need to stir the mixture with a spatula before placing it in the tart tin. Pat almond mixture into the bottom and sides of tart tin. Bake for 10 minutes, until the nuts are lightly toasted, then remove to a rack to cool.

“Fudgy” Haroset Brownies

It is hard to get a chef to part with a special recipe and when you finally get the recipe out of them, they may leave out key ingredients so that when you try to make it at home, it doesn’t taste like you had at their restaurant. I can understand why they don’t want to give away all of their secrets because chefs, cookbook authors and some bloggers work very hard at perfecting their recipes, and they don’t want to give them away for free.

This story rings true with Mr. BT’s haroset recipe. This recipe was a closely guarded secret of my husband’s and I have been trying for years to get his permission to post his recipe, but he has always refused. But this year, he finally gave in and is letting me post, well…..most of the real recipe. This version will still taste good, but he just couldn’t part with a few secret ingredients.

I introduced Mr. BT to Venetian-style haroset when we first met and he loved it at first taste. He decided to try making his own version, which he has perfected over the years, and it is the best I have ever had. It is not for the weary and some people will be shocked by its powerful punch.

Faye Levy’s Passover article on Haroset in the LA Times contains five delicious recipes, but the one that I had to try was the Haroset Bars. I had been searching for something new to make for the seder and this was perfect since we always have leftover haroset. I adapted her recipe because Mr BT’s haroset is already sweet enough and packed with dried fruit. I also substituted walnut meal for matza meal. I do not usually bake with matza meal.

My recipe produced a very moist bar and some of my relatives used a fork to eat them instead of using their hands, but that is probably because we are a little too European :-) to eat dessert with our hands. I grew up eating fruit with a knife and fork, but I have learned to eat it with my hands. It took me years to eat fried chicken with my hands.

I think the marriage of haroset and chocolate was meant to be. This is definitely a recipe I will make again and again.

I hope that you and your family had a lovely Passover holiday.

Chag Sameach!


"Fudgy" Haroset Brownies

Yield: 24 small bars, 16 large

Adapted recipe by Faye Levy

1/2 cup ground walnuts or almond flour

1/4 cup potato starch

1/4 teaspoon salt

113g (1 stick) unsalted margarine or butter, soft, cut in small pieces

3 tablespoons mild olive oil

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar (about 2.4 ounces)

1-1/2 cup (packed) haroset with Mr. BT's World Famous Thermonuclear Haroset (see below) or Faye's haroset

2 large eggs

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Lightly butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Line the pan with foil and butter the foil.

In a medium bowl, mix the ground walnuts, potato starch and salt.

In a large mixing bowl using a hand-held mixer, or in a stand mixer, beat the butter until it is smooth. Add the oil and the brown sugar; beat until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Add the eggs, one by one, beating thoroughly on high speed after each one. Add 4 tablespoons of the ground walnut mixture and beat over low speed. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the remaining ground walnut mixture. Stir in the haroset and chocolate pieces.

Transfer the batter to the pan and spread it in an even layer. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts and pat them lightly so they adhere to the batter. Bake until the top browns lightly and a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out nearly clean, 18 to 22 minutes; if the wooden pick comes out chocolaty, test again. Cool the brownies in the pan on a rack.

Turn the brownies out gently onto a plate, then onto another plate or a cutting board so that the walnuts are on top. Using a sharp knife, cut it carefully into 16 bars. Serve at room temperature.

Mr. BT's World Famous Thermonuclear Haroset

Yield: 6 cups

Mr. BT's World Famous Thermonuclear Haroset

4 large Granny Smith apples, cored, but unpeeled and cut to 1/2 cm (1/4-inch, but really 1/5th) dice

Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon

150g (6 ounces) chopped walnuts

150g (6 ounces) chopped almonds

150g (6 ounces) dried Mediterranean apricots, cut into eighths

12 dried figs, stems removed, cut into twelfths

12 large Madjhool dates, pitted, quartered along its length, cut into fifths

12 pitted prunes, cut into eighths

150g (6 ounces) golden raisins

150g (6 ounces) dark raisins

1 cup sweet kosher wine

1/4 cup brandy

1/2 cup date honey (Silan)

3/4 cup sweet chestnut paste

Grated rind and juice of one orange

1/2 knob (about 1-inch) fresh ginger, peeled and grated on a micro-plane

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/2 tablespoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon allspice

Place the apples in a large bowl and add the lemon juice. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Add more spices and sweet wine to taste.


Chinese for the Holidays – Kung Pao Turkey

There is a stereotype that all Jews eat Chinese food on Christmas Eve, well…. my family either ate Chinese at our favourite restaurant or we had Texas barbecued brisket from Ft. Worth, Texas’ famous Cousin’s Bar-B-Q , Greenberg’s smoked turkey from Tyler, Texas and the fixins: homemade mustard coleslaw, Mom’s baked beans, etc.  I can’t eat it anymore because it is not kosher, but Cousin’s make some of the best damn barbecued brisket I have ever had. One of these days I am going to try to make my own.

So, in keeping with the family tradition, I made a non-traditional Kung Pao Turkey by torchlight. No, it is not a family  tradition to cook by torchlight on Christmas Eve: the power went out right as I was finishing chopping the vegetables. Mr BT helped me finish the meal by holding a torch over the stove top. Luckily, I have a gas stove top, so I could continue cooking in the dark. The power didn’t come on until halfway through dinner, so we ate by candlelight. Awwwww, how romantic.

Mr BT and I wish you and yours a very happy holidays!

Kung Pao Turkey

Serving Size: 4

Kung Pao Turkey

For the Kung Pao Turkey

250 g (1/2 lb) skinless turkey breast, cut into cubes

100 g cashews or peanuts, toasted

2 whole red fresh chilies

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 inch piece of ginger, thinly sliced

3 green onions, chopped

1 cup bean sprouts

2 small courgettes, diced

1 small container white button (champignon) mushrooms, sliced

For the marinade:

1 tablespoon water

½ tablespoon Chinese rice wine or cooking wine

¼ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cornstarch

For the sauce:

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

1 teaspoon dark soy sauce

2 tablespoon vinegar

1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or cooking wine

2 teaspoons sesame oil

Pinch of salt

2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons cold water or chicken broth

Roast the cashews in a 160C (300F) oven for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside.

Mix the water, rice wine, salt and cornstarch in a medium size bowl, add the chicken and marinate for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix all the ingredients of the sauce together.

Heat oil in a wok or frying pan over high heat and stir fry the chicken until opaque and half cooked. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Stir fry the chillies, garlic and ginger for a few seconds and then add back the chicken and give it a good stir. Add the mushrooms and the courgettes and stir for a couple of minutes. Then add the sauce and the bean sprouts and stir until the sauce thickens. Finally, add the cashews and the green onions and stir until mixed through.

Serve immediately with a bowl of steamed rice.

Jiǎozi – Chinese Pot Stickers

For those of you who have followed me on this blog, you know that I have had many cooking mentors in my life: my mother, father, both grandmothers, Uncle Alfred, my second mom Alberta, and my third mom Ying. Ying is not just a cook, she is really a chef who understands the science of cooking, someone who knows if there isn’t enough leavening, if there is too much sugar or too much butter, and knows how to doctor something that was over or under seasoned. She just knows and can explain it. She was my baking science teacher and my Chinese cooking teacher. She and my Dad (z”l) taught me everything I know about Chinese cooking and I will be forever grateful.

I used to make Chinese food a lot, but I got so wrapped up in learning about other ethnic food when I moved to Israel, I put it on the back burner. Also there aren’t any good Chinese, Thai or Vietnamese restaurants here, so I don’t have much inspiration either. But lately, I have had a craving for Chinese food and so I decided to make one of my Dim Sum favorites, pot stickers. I love them steamed and fried, but decided to make pan-fried ones.

From Wikipedia:

Dim sum is usually linked with the older tradition from yum cha (tea tasting), which has its roots in travelers on the ancient Silk Road needing a place to rest. Thus teahouses were established along the roadside. Rural farmers, exhausted after working hard in the fields, would go to teahouses for a relaxing afternoon of tea. At first, it was considered inappropriate to combine tea with food, because people believed it would lead to excessive weight gain. People later discovered that tea can aid in digestion, so teahouse owners began adding various snacks.

The unique culinary art of dim sum originated with the Cantonese in southern China, who over the centuries transformed yum cha from a relaxing respite to a loud and happy dining experience. In Hong Kong, and in most cities and towns in Guangdong province, many restaurants start serving dim sum as early as five in the morning. It is a tradition for the elderly to gather to eat dim sum after morning exercises. For many in southern China, yum cha is treated as a weekend family day. More traditional dim sum restaurants typically serve dim sum until mid-afternoon. However, in modern society it has become common place for restaurants to serve dim sum at dinner time, various dim sum items are even sold as take-out for students and office workers on the go.

While dim sum (literally meaning: touch the heart) was originally not a main meal, only a snack, and therefore only meant to touch the heart, it is now a staple of Chinese dining culture, especially in Hong Kong.

On a trip, many years ago, to Seattle, I went to a great cookery shop near the famous Pike Place Market that was then only know to locals and a few tourists, Sur La Table. It was and still is a cookery lover’s dream. I came home with three things that I still have: a funky bespoke hat, a 1987 edition of Paula Wolfert’s Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco and Huang Su-Huei’s Chinese Snacks, which is written in Chinese and English. Chinese Snacks contains recipes for many Dim Sum favourites like steamed buns, steamed dumplings, won tons, etc. It has step-by-step photos, but with that said, it really helps to have a Chinese grandmother to show you some of the tricks of folding and shaping the dumplings. If you don’t have access to one, there are YouTube videos that show you how to do it.

Chinese Pot Stickers

My folding technique is not perfect and the dough is not quite as thin as packaged gyoza skins, but I was rather proud of the way mine turned out.

Jiaozi – Chinese Pot Stickers

Yield: 50 dumplings

Jiaozi – Chinese Pot Stickers

For a vegetarian filling, use cabbage, bok choy, spinach, celery, carrot, etc.

500g (1lb) ground beef

6 tablespoons sesame oil

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

4 - 6 garlic cloves, crushed in a garlic press or minced finely

500g cabbage, chopped finely

1 teaspoon salt

6 green onions (green part only) or garlic chives, chopped finely

Dipping sauce:

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon white rice vinegar

2 teaspoons chilli oil


3 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cups cold water

1/2 cup flour (for kneading)

or use Gyoza Skins

For the filling:

Mix the ground beef, the sesame oil, salt, pepper, grated ginger, and garlic together. Set aside.

Mix the chopped cabbage with 1 teaspoon of salt and set aside for 10 minutes. Squeeze out the excess water and add it and the green onion to the beef mixture. Mix the mixture until everything is well incorporated and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

For the dipping sauce:

Combine all the dipping sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.

For the skins:

Place the flour in a large bowl and add the water. Knead into a smooth dough and set aside for 10 minutes. Roll it into a long snake and cut it into 50 pieces and then roll each piece of dough into a 7.5 centimeter (3-inch) disk, making the outer edge thinner than the center. Dust them liberally with additional flour, and stack them (the flour will help keep them fresh and prevent them from sticking to each other).

To get perfectly circular wrappers, use a biscuit/scone cutter that is 7.5 - 9 centimeters (approximately 3- to 3.5-inches) in diameter, roll out your dough to a slightly larger size, and use the cutter to cut out a perfect circle.

Moisten the edges of the dough with water and place a teaspoonful of the filling in the center of the dough. Fold the circle in half and using the index finger and thumb, bring the sides together to pleat the front of the dumpling while keeping the back of the dumpling smooth. For an excellent tutorial of how to fold the dumplings, go here.

To cook:

Heat a frying pan on medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of canola or peanut oil. Arrange the dumplings, flat side down in the pan. Don't be afraid to put them close together. Turn the heat to low and fry the dumplings for one minute or until golden brown. Add 1/2 cup of water and cover. Cook for about 6 minutes over medium heat or until the water has evaporated. Flip the potstickers onto a plate and serve with the dipping sauce.

Slow Roasted Short Ribs in Pomegranate Juice

Over the years I have posted a lot of recipes for slow cooking on my blog; this stems from my dream to have an outdoor brick oven for making pizza, bread and clay pots filled with some slow-simmering concoction. Slow cooking takes me back to my childhood when I watched my great-grandmother make all of the lovely baked goods, stewed fruits, and gooey, browned chicken that she made in a crusty old enameled pot she brought with her from Germany in 1935. Oma used her body and soul to make plum cakes, lebkuchen, butter cookies, spiced plums, stewed figs, etc. She didn’t have a Kitchenaid or a food processor, she made everything from scratch, her hands and arms were the whisk, the wooden spoon, she knew when something was mixed enough and didn’t concern herself with weights and measurements, nor did she bother with oven temperature. She made everything by sight, touch, taste and feel, and she always knew when the oven was hot enough for this, that or the other.

I thought a lot about Oma while I was preparing my mise en place for our Rosh Hashana dinner. I felt her watching over me, reassuring me that I had enough onions, garlic and carrots, and that I should be careful not to burn anything. It is at times like these, especially when I am making an old family recipe, that I wish I could bring Oma and Mama K back here, for just a few hours, to give me pointers on how to not make the butter cookies spread out,  or so that I can ask them if I have made the dish to their standards.

Slow Roasted Short Ribs in Pomegranate Juice

3 hours, 30 minutes

Serving Size: 4 to 6

Slow Roasted Short Ribs in Pomegranate Juice

Adapted recipe from Eli Landau and Haim Cohen

3 kg short ribs (asado or shpundra), with as much fat removed as possible, cut into sections

2 medium onions, sliced thinly

8 small shallots, peeled and cut in half

1 head of garlic separated into cloves, peeled and roughly chopped

3 carrots, peeled and diced

3 celery stalks, diced

6 sprigs of thyme

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary

3 fresh bay leaves or 2 dried

2 cups (1/2 liter) of pomegranate juice

2 cups (1/2 liter) of chicken stock

Seeds from 1 pomegranate

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 100C (200F).

Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a large oven-proof pot on medium-high heat. Add the short ribs and brown them on all sides. Place them on a plate and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and the shallots, and saute them until they are transparent. Add the garlic, carrots and celery, and stir until the onions begin to brown. Add the thyme, rosemary and bay leaves, stirring for 2-3 minutes.

Add 1 cup of pomegranate juice and scrape the pot, loosening any bits that have stuck to the bottom. Add the rest of the pomegranate juice and chicken stock, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil.

Add the meat back to the pot and bring to the boil again, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and place it in the oven or leave it on the stove top, on the smallest burner and the lowest flame, for 3-1/2 hours. Occasionally baste the meat.

When the meat is cooked, almost falling of the bone, place it on a serving platter. Place the pot on medium-high heat and cook until the sauce thickens. Pour some of the sauce over the meat and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.

Goat with the Wind Dairy

Goat with the Wind Dairy (2)

As you drive on the rocky and uneven road down to the Goat with the Wind (Halav im HaRuach) organic dairy, a solar-powered goat farm near the village of Yodfat in the Galilee region, you are taken back in time. I felt like I was in Biblical times, a shepherdess walking to visit my friends up the hill who sell amazing cheeses. The air was clean and fresh, and the view was breathtakingly beautiful which made me forget about all the stresses and normal day-to-day life.

Goat with the Wind Gate

Lunch with a View (1)

Amnon and Dalia, who studied cheesemaking in Italy, have made everything beautiful: the stone buildings, the restaurant kitchen, the treehouse-like dining rooms; even the barn for the goats has beautiful hand-painted doors that I wanted to take off their hinges and take home with me.

Content Goats with the Wind

Goats with the Wind

The goats look so happy and are so well taken care of that it makes you want to try the goat’s milk, cheeses and yogurt even more.

Goat with the Wind Dairy

Mr BT and our friends Cassia and Massimo stopped here for their dairy lunch. As we entered the restaurant, we were seated in our own little balcony that overlooked the area.

Goat with the Wind Dairy (1)

The table was decorated with Indian fabrics and we sat on small wicker stools. I loved the wooden plates and decorative place settings with the fragrant lavender.

Goat with the Wind Ricotta

Goat with the Wind Labane

They bring out a selection of all of their cheeses which are all delicious, but the real stars of the show are their ricotta, which is some of the best I have ever had in Israel, their labane, and their yogurt.

Goat with the Wind Eggplant Salad

Goat with the Wind Salad

And we all loved their salads, which were perfectly seasoned and showcased our fantastic vegetables here in Israel. The thing I loved was that not all of the salads had tomatoes in them because I am allergic to raw tomato. The lunch is all you can eat, so you can stuff yourself silly.

Goat with the Wind Dessert

The meal closed with this adorable presentation of a chocolate brownie and a nut tart.

Happy Goat with the Wind

I highly recommend a visit to the farm, and if you want to take some ricotta back home with you, make sure you pre-order it when you book a table. The farm welcomes volunteers to work on the farm who will perform tasks such as cleaning, gardening, feeding the animals, milking the goats, decorating or carpentry work.

Oh, and if you happen to need to use the loo, then don’t worry. It is in an outhouse, but with a real toilet and a sink to wash up. In fact, it is a rather beautiful outhouse.

By the way, Halav im HaRuach is pun on the Hebrew translation of the film title “Gone with the Wind”: Halaf im HaRuach.

Spring Meal with Friends

Pasta with Sauteed Cherry Tomatoes and Garlic

As I started describing in my last blog post, Mr BT and I went to our friends Cassia and Massimo for a festive Yom Ha’atzmaut meal: we brought the lamb and dessert and Massimo made the primo piatto, pasta with sauteed cherry tomatoes and garlic. The cherry tomatoes were sauteed in a lovely extra virgin oil oil from our favorite olive oil producer, the Jahshan family in Kalanit near Tiberias, and he also added about six cloves of fresh garlic that we bought at Shuk Ramle a week before. The cherry tomatoes were bursting with sweetness and the garlic gave the sauce a slight fiery touch. It was bellissimo!

Cassia and Massimo also provided the wine we all bought at the La Terra Promessa Winery in Kibbutz Gat. The winery is run by Sandro and Irit Pelligrini. Sandro is originally from Parma, Italy and his wife Irit’s family is originally from Cochin, India. The winery is in southern Israel near the buffalo farm that we like to visit to buy their delicious buffalo yogurt, cream and cheeses, which are now available a some supermarkets around the country. La Terra Promessa wines were a pleasant surprise: fruity, full-bodied with a wonderful bouquet, and featuring grapes that are relatively uncommon here in Israel, such as Primitivo. They also had a very interesting Emerald Riesling that was dry, instead of the usual semi-sweet Israeli wines made from this grape. Sandro and Irit also have a restaurant that has received good reviews, featuring dishes from both their Italian and Cochin heritages.

Buttermilk, Raspberry and Almond Cake

For dessert, I made a soft almond and buttermilk sponge cake filled with raspberries which we served with Massimo’s homemade limoncello. His limoncello is some of the best I have ever had and he has promised to show me how to make it when I can find some unwaxed organic lemons.

Buttermilk Raspberry Cake and Lemoncello

Raspberry-Almond Buttermilk Cake

Serving Size: 8

This is a quick and easy dessert that is perfect for Shabbat or anytime.

140g (1-1/2 cups) ground almonds or almond flour

140g (1 stick or 10 tablespoons) butter or margarine

140g (3/4 cups) sugar

140g (1 cup) self-raising flour

1 egg or 2 eggs for a parve cake

3/4 cup buttermilk (omit for parve cake)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

300g (2 cups) raspberries, fresh or frozen or any other berries

2 tablespoons flaked almonds

Preheat oven to 180C (350F).

Place a piece of round parchment in the base of a 20cm (8-inch) springform tin and grease the tin with butter or margarine. Place the ground almonds, butter, sugar, flour, egg, buttermilk and vanilla in a food processor and blitz until combined.

Spread half of the mixture in the cake tin and then scatter the raspberries over the batter. Dollop the remaining batter on top and spread with a pallet knife. Sprinkle the top with the sliced almonds and bake for approximately 50 minutes or until golden brown on the top.

Two Variations of Roasted Spring Lamb with Orange and Herbs


Spring has sprung all over Israel and after a rather sad period in my life, I am basking in the beauty of nature’s bounty. Over the past few weeks, Mr BT and  I have travelled to the north and south of the country visiting dairies, wineries, open markets, flower shows and renewed my spirits and zest for life. I think my father would be a bit annoyed with me for taking so long to post, but I just wasn’t ready until now.

Before Pesach, I bought two 1/4 lambs (shoulder and ribs) which I didn’t have a chance to cook during the holiday, but I found two great opportunities to roast them: the Shabbat after Pesach and Yom Ha’atzmaut (Independence Day). Over the years, I have made some very interesting lamb dishes: some of them from recipes I found and some inventions of my own. These recipes are a collaborative effort between Mr BT and me. Oranges go beautifully with lamb, because they cut the fattiness of the meat, so the first lamb shoulder was marinated in wild and farmed oranges, rosemary, garlic and mustard and the second one was marinated in za’atar, rosemary, garlic, anchovy, and mustard.

I used wild oranges for the first recipe that we collected from trees near where we live. These trees are a natural hybrid that grow wild by the side of the road leading to our village and are sourer than regular oranges, in fact too sour to eat as they are or to drink the juice.

Lamb Shoulder with Oranges, Rosemary and Garlic

Slow Roasted Lamb with Wild Oranges, Rosemary and Garlic

Serving Size: 6

1 quarter lamb (shoulder and ribs), approximately 6-7 kilos (13 - 15 lbs)

2 medium farmed oranges, quartered

3 medium wild oranges or 3 large lemons, quartered

1 head of fresh garlic (if available) or regular garlic

2 heaping tablespoons seedless Dijon mustard

2 large sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves only

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1/4 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is still slightly chunky. Do not puree.

Place the lamb in a roasting pan and marinate it for 2 hours, turning it over after one hour.

Cover the lamb with aluminum foil and put in a preheated 150C (300F) oven for approximately 6 hours or until the meat is fork-tender.

On Yom Hatzmaut, we brought the second lamb dish to our friends Cassia and Massimo’s house. Massimo is a Florentine who is also an avid cook and wine lover in true Italian and Florentine fashion. He makes delicious jams, the best limoncello I have every had, and his pasta dishes would make all Italians cry with joy. I will post more about this dinner in my next post. Mr BT and I always enjoy travelling around Israel with them looking for interesting food places to visit and just hanging out.

Slow-Roasted Lamb with Wild Oranges, Za'aatar and Anchovies

Slow-Roasted Lamb with Orange, Za'aatar and Anchovies

1 quarter lamb (shoulder and ribs), approximately 6-7 kilos (13 - 15 lbs)

1-/12 heads of fresh garlic (if available) or regular garlic

3 tablespoons of fresh za'atar or fresh oregano

1 small jar anchovy fillets in olive oil

1/2 cup olive oil

3 heaping tablespoons seedless Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

3 large sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves only

Juice of 3 medium oranges

Juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup pomegranate molasses

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is still slightly chunky. Do not puree.

Place the lamb in a roasting pan and marinate it for 4hours, turning it over after 2 hours.

Cover the lamb with aluminum foil and put in a preheated 150C (300F) oven for approximately 1-1/2 hours and then 120C for 6 hours (I cooked it overnight) or until the meat is fork-tender.

Low Cooking Flame

Losing a loved one is something that no one wishes on themselves or at least hopes that the person one has lost had a very long and fruitful life, but when the loss is a parent whose time on earth could have lasted a little longer, the pain is somehow deeper. My much beloved father died at the age of 73 after an 11 year battle with Alzheimer’s; an evil disease that removes one’s essence. He was so full of life, had so many more things he wanted to explore, meals he wanted to make, life events he wanted to experience.

He was my father, my mentor, my biggest fan, my professor of art, music and history, a lover of all things Apple, a thinker, a tinker, a gourmet cook, and the nicest, gentlest man you could ever meet. I will miss him terribly, but no one should have to suffer the cruel effects of Alzheimer’s.

So my absence for the last month was not because I haven’t been cooking, it is just that my cooking flame was set to very low for the past few weeks.


My wonderful father, Fred Kemp z”l  (1939-2012) died on 24 February. May he rest in peace and may his memory be for a blessing.

Eccles Cakes for Tu Bishvat

Eccles Cakes


I don’t know why, but I have always had a fascination with mincemeat. I don’t even remember the first time I ate this boozy filling in a pie, but I must have been a child and for some strange reason this little girl, who was quite a picky eater, when it came to new foods and food with strange names, never questioned whether there really was meat in this rather sweet and spicy dessert. I just thought it tasted good. Flash forward to 1982 and my first trip to the island across the pond: I remember having an Eccles Cake at a picnic at Windsor Great Park watching Prince Charles miss the wooden ball during the Queen’s Cup polo match. I don’t think it was the best Eccles Cake I have ever had, but it was the beginning of my love affair with them.

Eccles Cakes were first sold in 1793 in a shop in the village of Eccles, which is now part of Greater Manchester, but the original recipe may have been adapted from a cookbook from 1769 called The Experienced English House-Keeper by Mrs. Elizabeth Raffald, who was from Cheshire. The author called them “Sweet Patties” and the filling contained the meat of a boiled calf’s foot (gelatine), apples, oranges, nutmeg, egg yolk, currants and French brandy.

Nowadays, you will find all types of additions to the “traditional” Eccles Cake filling, but the traditional filling is the same as the recipe I adapted from Dan Lepard: currants, lemon zest and brandy. I added candied peel, which might horrify traditionalists, but I like the added flavour. You might even find recipes with spices such as nutmeg or cinnamon, but I think this takes away from the lovely naked fruity taste of the currants , and you should never, ever, use puff pastry, because then you would not be able to call them Eccles Cakes any more; they would have to be called Chorley cakes.

I think they are nice to eat any time, but this year they were a tasty treat for our Tu Bishvat table. Dan Lepard’s recipe is easy to make and the dough is a dream to work with; yes, it is a little time-consuming, but well worth it. These make rather large cakes, which you could easily make into 24 smaller cakes for a more reasonable portion.

Note: I found the currants at Eden Teva Market in Netanya.


Eccles Cakes

Yield: 12 large or 24 small

Adapted recipe from Dan Lepard

Note: I have tried to convert the measurements as precisely as I can for the American readers, but it is better to use the precise metric measurements if you have a scale.

For the pastry

400 grams (4 cups) strong white flour (I used '00')

1 tsp salt

25 grams (2 tablespoons) caster (granulated) sugar

175g (1-1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter or margarine, cut into small cubes

50g (3-1/2 tablespoons) butter or margarine, cut into small cubes

1 medium egg yolk (keep the egg white for later)

100ml (a little less than 1/2 cup) cold water

75ml (1/3 cup) cold milk or cold water

For the filling

500g (18 oz) Zante currants

Finely grated zest of 2 lemons

1 tablespoon candied orange peel, finely chopped

1 tablespoon candied lemon peel, finely chopped

100g (7 tablespoons) unsalted butter

2 tablespoons brandy (optional)

Demerara sugar

Place the flour, salt and sugar in a bowl and add the butter or margarine. Whisk the egg yolk with the water and milk or just water, and mix with the flour to a firm dough. Wrap, chill for 30-60 minutes, then, dusting the work surface with a little flour, roll into a 2cm (3/4-inch) thick rectangle. Fold the dough into thirds, then re-roll it to the same size and fold again. Wrap and chill for 30-60 minutes. Repeat the double roll, fold and chill twice more.

Eccles Cakes Filling

Place the currants in a bowl, pour 500ml (2 cups) of boiling water and set aside for five minutes. Drain thoroughly, then mix the currants with the lemon zest, candied lemon and orange, butter or margarine and brandy, and put in the refrigerator while finishing preparing the dough.

Eccles Cakes Dough

Roll the pastry to 2cm (3/4-inch) thick, cut in half and keep one half chilled while you roll the other half into a 0.25cm (1/15-inch) thick rectangle. Cut the dough into six (12 for the smaller version) equal squares.

Eccles Cakes Filled

Place a 50-60g (3-1/2 to 4 tablespoons) ball of currants (or half that if you are making the smaller cakes) in the centre of each one, dampen the edges with water and pinch them together to form a tight seal so the filling will not spill out.

Eccles Cakes Ready for Egg Wash

Flip it over, round the shape with your fingers, roll out slightly to flatten and place them seam down on a baking tray lined with a silpat or nonstick paper. Repeat with the other pastry and filling.

Eccles Cakes Ready for Oven

Brush with beaten egg white, sprinkle with sugar, slash the tops and bake at 200C (180C fan-assisted)/390F for about 30 minutes.


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