What better way to mark the end of tumultuous year than by sitting round the table together at Rosh Hashanah.

In the spirit of unity and understanding, Denise Phillips has prepared a Middle Eastern menu that breaks with tradition, while presenting the hope that those who eat together, stay together.

Moroccan Roasted Beetroot with Pomegranate and Pistachio Salad

For many Sephardi Jews, beetroot and pomegranates are all part of the Rosh Hashanah seder.

This spiced side salad dish is perfect to enjoy after the special blessings for good omens.

Preparation Time: 25 minutes – Cooking Time: 1 hour – Serves 4-6

Moroccan roasted beetroot salad

Moroccan roasted beetroot salad

Ingredients

  • 600g beetroots – scrubbed and cut into wedges under 1cm
    2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper

Balsamic Glaze

  • 50ml balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Garnish

  • 1 pomegranate – seeds only
  • 50g roasted pistachios – crushed
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest and orange segments
  • 3 sprigs of fresh coriander

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200ºC/ 400ºF/ Gas mark 6.
  2. Toss beetroots with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, cumin, fennel, salt, pepper in a bowl
    and coat well.
  3. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and roast until fork tender, stirring every 15 minutes, for about
    45 minutes.
  4. To make the glaze, put the vinegar and maple syrup in a small saucepan on medium low heat, and reduce for about five minutes or until you have about 3 tablespoons’ worth.
  5.  When beetroots are done, place in a serving dish and toss with balsamic glaze, pomegranate seeds
    and pistachios.
  6. Garnish with orange zest, orange segments
    and sprigs of fresh coriander.

Syrian Carrot and Raisin Rice

The food of Syrian Jews contains many elements of cuisines from a wide geographic area, including Spanish and Italian influences, as well as the Far East, making rose water and lime important flavours. Cinnamon, turmeric, sweet paprika, cumin, allspice, saffron, olives and preserved lemons are often incorporated in their delicious cuisine.

This rice dish typically includes sweet additions to a savoury dish perfect to celebrate Rosh Hashanah.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes       Cooking Time: 45 minutes  Serves: 4-6people

Syrian carrot and raisin salad

Syrian carrot and raisin salad

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil/ rapeseed oil divided,
  • plus 1 teaspoon
  • 250g basmati rice
  • 500ml water
  • 2 medium-sized onions – peeled and roughly chopped
  • 200g carrots – peeled and coarsely grated
  • 75g dried apricots – quartered
  • 100g dried figs – stalk removed and quartered
  • 50g dried cherries
  • 50g pistachio nuts
  • Zest of 1 lemon

Garnish: Seeds from one pomegranate and sprigs of fresh mint

Method

  1. Combine salt, sweet paprika, turmeric, cumin and black pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a deep saucepan with a lid.
  3. Add rice and spices and stir well.
  4. Cook over medium heat for about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly and making sure the rice gets well coated with the oil and the spices.
  5. Add 500ml water. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes, remove from heat and let it sit for 15 minutes covered.
  6. In the meantime, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a non-stick frying pan.
  7. Add onions and carrots and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes stirring frequently, adding water, one tablespoon at a time if necessary, to prevent from burning.
  8. Transfer onions to a plate and in the same frying pan heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Add dried fruit and pistachios nuts and cook over medium low for two minutes, stirring frequently.
  9. Once the rice is ready, fluff it with a fork, add onions, dried fruit, pistachios and lemon zest
    and toss well.
  10. Garnish at the end with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds and sprigs of mint on the rice.