Once upon a Cookbook! Vegan and other ways to end Yom Kippur

Once upon a Cookbook! Vegan and other ways to end Yom Kippur

Alex Galbinski gets culinary inspiration from the (mostly) latest cookbook releases and discovers ways of reinterpreting traditional Jewish food with a vegan twist

Alex Galbinski is a Jewish News journalist

Baked goat's cheese wrapped in walnut pastry with fig relish. Honey & Co
Baked goat's cheese wrapped in walnut pastry with fig relish. Honey & Co

Honey & Co: At Home: Middle Eastern Recipes from Our Kitchen by Sarit Packer & Itamar Srulovich (Pavilion Books, £26)

Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich – affectionately known as The Honeys – the award-winning chefs behind the beloved Honey & Co. brand, recently published their third book, At Home, allowing readers to pull up a chair at their kitchen table and get a glimpse of their culinary lives at home.

Organised into chapters For Us Two, For Friends, For the Weekend, For a Crowd and The Kitchen, recipes include some of the couple’s favourites from their weekly FT column, some of their genuine home staples and a few of their most requested dishes.

These include barbecued aubergine with jewelled rice salad, Royal Mansaf – slow-cooked lamb with saffron rice, almonds and golden raisins – and cherry and pistachio bakewell. I’m personally looking forward to making their chicken with plums, crisp salad with saffron-poached pears with walnut tahini, and the
fig and feta pide.

Masala Mamas, edited by Dr Elana Sztokman (Lioness, £24.99)

Masala Mamas

If ever there was a cookbook that is good for the soul as well as the body, Masala Mamas is it, providing  authentic Indian meals that are kosher vegetarian, while supporting vulnerable people in Mumbai.

The Masala Mamas consist of 16 women who moved from villages to the Kalwa slum in Mumbai, India, where clean water and electricity are scarce and children as young as five are sometimes sent to work. The women – whose stories are told in the book, along with recipes for condiments, breads, drinks and main meals – come together each day in a tiny kitchen to feed hundreds of students of the Gabriel Project Mumbai (GPM) Love2Learn school, understanding that children who have full bellies
will learn.

Editor and anthropologist Dr. Elana Sztokman, whose husband Jacob founded GPM, a non-governmental organisation that is helped by Jewish volunteers from around the world, including the UK, writes: “This is a story about women who use their deep love of cooking as an instrument for social change.” A good read indeed.

Divine Food: Israeli and Palestinian Food Culture and Recipes by David Haliva (Gestalten, £30)

Divine Food: Israeli and Palestinian Food Culture and Recipes by David Haliva

Not a new release, but a stunning book worthy of inclusion nonetheless, Divine Food is compiled by cookbook author, art director and publicist David Haliva, who teamed up with a group of chefs, restaurateurs, and photographers.

Religion and politics aside, Israelis and Palestinians share a land and, often, culinary flavours that are becoming increasingly  popular around the world.

Divided by region, Divine Food is a food lover’s guide to Israel, with information on the history of the immigrants from around the world who made the country their home and contributed to making its cuisine eclectic.

Alongside the 103 recipes – which include Sephardic stuffed pastries, slow-roasted beef shoulder with onions, leek confit and fig and mascarpone tart as well as the more familiar ones – the book contains striking photographs of the food and culture.



Ottolenghi SIMPLE, by Yotam Ottolenghi with Tara Wigley and Esme Howarth (Ebury Press, £25)

Ottolenghi SIMPLE

Those who love Ottolenghi do so for his inventive dishes that are chock-full of riotous flavours that dance on your tongue and use numerous ingredients. Now, understanding that not everyone can slave over a hot stove, or has the inclination to
hunt down these ingredients,
SIMPLE offers “standout recipes that will suit whatever type of cooking you find easy”.

The 130 new recipes are categorised by the SIMPLE key: S – short on time: less than 30 minutes, I – 10 ingredients or less, M – make ahead, P – pantry, L – lazy and E – easier than you think.

The spiced apple cake will no doubt be made for Rosh Hashanah and to break the Yom Kippur fast, and the spring roast chicken will grace many a Friday night dinner table.

Tahini and Turmeric: 101 Middle Eastern Classics – Made Irresistibly Vegan by Vicky Cohen and Ruth Fox (Da Capo Lifelong Books, £20)

Tahini and Turmeric: 101 Middle Eastern Classics – Made Irresistibly Vegan

Inspired by the food they ate growing up – food from Spain, Lebanon and Israel – sisters Vicky Cohen and Ruth Fox have modernised Middle Eastern cuisine with dishes that celebrate their plant-based lifestyle.

The duo, co-founders of MayIHaveThatRecipe.com, were born in Beirut (Vicky) and Barcelona (Ruth) to Lebanese Jewish parents – but now live near Philadelphia – and their backgrounds inform their recipes.

Wanting to show that vegan food can be exciting, they share mouth-watering recipes, including stuffed grape leaves with figs and blood orange, quinoa and black bean tabbouleh, chickpea and pepper shakshuka, lentil fattoush with mint and sumac, and pistachio ‘nicecream’ with halvah sauce.

Oy Vey Vegan: Vegan Cuisine with a Mediterranean Flair by Estee Raviv (R-Group, LLC, £22.50)

Oy Vey Vegan: Vegan Cuisine with a Mediterranean Flair

With vegan eating on the rise, this book by Estee Raviv will surely do well among the millennial generation – as well as those of any age who want to reduce their meat intake.

Estee Raviv, who was born in Israel to a Romanian mother (whom she describes as an incredible cook and hostess), and a Polish father, takes the Oy Vey Vegan reader into a journey into the world of plant-based foods.

Now living in Portland, Oregon, she provides a fresh take on recipes of old, such as chulent, challah and matzah ball soup, and creates new ones full of flavours. She offers up options for breakfasts, starters, snacks, salads, veggie burgers, soups, side dishes and desserts, all taste-tested by her kids. Most of the recipes are gluten free or can be adapted to be.

Shaya: An Odyssey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel by Alon Shaya (Alfred A. Knopf, £22.50)

Shaya: An Odyssey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel by Alon Shaya

When Ottolenghi describes a cookbook as having “lovely stories, terrific food”, you know you must be onto a winner. Award-winning restaurateur Alon Shaya was born in Israel, raised in Philadelphia, and calls New Orleans his home but his path to culinary stardom has not been easy.

In his eponymous debut, which is part cookbook, part memoir, he details the loneliness he felt after moving to the US, his teenage flirtation with drugs, theft and fights, but also of how he inherited the love of food from his beloved Israeli-Bulgarian grandmother, and the way his life changed after taking home economics in school.

His hummus recipe is legendary, as is his signature pita bread, and he advocates bringing charoset into the mainstream as a dip (but he doesn’t eat kosher and the recipes reflect this), offers up his grandmother’s recipe for Lutenitsa (roasted peppers, aubergine, garlic and tomato), za’atar fried chicken, and yogurt pound cake with cardamom-lemon syrup. Mmmm. A book for keeps.

“This is not a typical cookbook,” he writes. “It’s a collection of stories of place, of people, and of the food that connects them. It’s the autobiography of my culinary sensibility, which began in Israel and has returned there.”

London’s Afternoon Teas: A Guide to the Most Exquisite Tea Venues in London by Susan Cohen (IMM Lifestyle Books, £9.99)

London’s Afternoon Teas: A Guide to the Most Exquisite Tea Venues in London by Susan Cohen

What better way to enjoy London than by taking afternoon tea in one of its sumptuous hotels or cafés? In this revised and expanded edition, academic historian Susan Cohen takes us into 50 of the best places
to enjoy the famous 
British tradition in the capital.

The pretty coffee-table book, which contains 38 new venues added to this new hardback edition, includes classics such as Claridge’s and The Wolseley as well as unexpected venues such as Balthazar and Cadogan Gardens. Happily, Susan advises that there’s a tea to suit all budgets.

And the bakers among us can recreate some of the famous recipes at home – why not try the classic buttermilk scones from the Intercontinental on Park Lane, or The Lanesborough’s Rocher praline?

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