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Archive for the ‘Biscuits’ Category

 Ninja doesn’t believe in seasonal foods. He doesn’t really believe in seasonal anything. Sometimes I tell him that I can’t serve a particular dish or wear a particular colour because it is too wintry or too summery and he looks at me with a confused expression on his face. Perhaps it is a consequence of growing up in Israel where there are no clear seasons apart from hot, very hot, disgustingly boiling, and cold, with brief flirtations in between which one might call spring or autumn.

Oatmeal, however, is decidedly wintry. No one wakes up on a hot summer’s day and makes themselves a steaming bowl of oatmeal (or what we English call porridge), do they? So in my head, oatmeal cookies retain that same association and are very fitting for a blustery, stormy, or even a sunny winter’s day. Today the skies are depressingly, determinedly grey – quite unusual for Israel – and I have comforted myself by munching on oatmeal cookies and sipping mug after mug of fruit tea. (more…)

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Orange Crisps

Ah, the trials and tribulations of baking and cooking are plentiful. Ninja says I am never happy with what I create in the kitchen. I always think it hasn’t come out well: I’ve burned it, I’ve ruined it, I am disappointed with the way it looks, or the way it sank in the middle.

“I can’t serve this, I am not serving this,” I declare frequently, when preparing for a meal with friends. Ninja rolls his eyes and reassures me that it is delicious (or so he says) or that it looks fine, and I should stop being so silly. Nine times out of ten I do serve it, whatever it may be that week, everyone likes it, and I forget about my earlier crisis of confidence.

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parmesan and poppy biscuits

Last week was a baking blitz. I spent hours upon hours in the kitchen, preparing for a small family goodbye party. My only brother, his wife and three adorable children  are going back to England for a few years. They are going to do important community work there and I am very proud of them, but they will leave a big hole behind them.
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White Chocolate and Cranberry Biscuits

There is nothing like curling up with a good book, a glass of milk and a few biscuits. It makes me smile…

Bored with my favourite big chocolate chip chewy cookies (apparently sometimes there can be too much of a good thing), I decided to look for a new  recipe. I didn’t want anything too American (big, fat, crammed full of surprises) but I also didn’t want anything too English (dry, crumbly, subtlety flavoured but good with tea). I found the perfect recipe to try when flicking through my new Ottolenghi cookbook, which my friend Gila gave me for my birthday. I like the idea of a Londoner in Jerusalem (me) enjoying a cookbook written by London-based, Jerusalem-born chefs Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. I love the idea that these men, who grew up just a few kilometers away from each other but in two separate societies, have put together this book of wonderful recipes, many of which are steeped in the strong culinary influence of their birthplace.

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Peanut butter swirl bars

A short but important observation, currently highly relevant to my life: There is a LOT more to aerobics than meets the eye. To those who  mock, know that behind the chirpy exterior of  every good aerobics instructor lies an able choreographer; a supremely talented multi-tasker; and a master of  coordination who can yell one instruction while thinking ahead to the next, and keep in time with the music, smiling all the way.

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The Ultimate Comfort Food
The Ultimate Comfort Food

A week or so before I got married my mother-in-law (who is renowned for her baking) handed me a pretty little blue box adorned with cheerful sunflowers and bright red apples. Inside, I was delighted to find index cards with recipes for some of her well-loved dishes, painstakingly written out by hand. She had made sure to include some of Ninja’s favourites including Pecan pie, sweet and sour meatballs and potato kugel; useful recipes for challah, soups and marinades; and banana coffee cake with chocolate chip streusel for me.

As this special and thoughtful gift might indicate, the Cohens are big on food (without being big from food). They joke that their family motto is: ” We meet, we eat” and they really do share some quality family time around the dining room table. For someone with a sweet tooth like me, being set loose in the Cohen household is a serious liability.

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