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.
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.
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.