Friday, January 2, 2015

Winter Warmth a Nostalgic Meal

When ,this morning I read on Facebook  a post from my son  saying, 
"Telling Eitan how my great-grandmother used to lift me up to look out the window when the train was passing. Crazy thing is that I was his age back then and the memory is crystal clear. Warms my heart."

It warmed the cockles of my heart too,  because  over 55 years ago,   my maternal grandmother use to  lift my cousins and I  on to her draining board to look out of her kitchen window at the trains that went past. Grandma knew all the times, "That's the  London, Portsmouth, or Brighton train." she would tell us.

Sometimes,if we were very lucky   we would walk over the bridge  from her home to Hove station and get the train for a seven minute trip to Brighton station or Portslade station, go shopping and return to her home. Maybe my  grandma instilled in me my love of train travel, or  maybe my love of her created the love, either way to this day I still find trains magical

One of the other things I remember fondly  from my childhood is winter warming food, stick to your ribs beef stew with dumplings, mashed potatoes, apple pie or crumble with custard, were favorites of my paternal grandmother. 

On a cold winters day after returning from a walk along the seafront, or from school  this kind of meal would warm you up from inside to outside.

Yesterday it was freezing cold, we are expecting snow flurry's this week, and  two of my Shabbat guests prefer plain simple food, so tonight we are traveling back in time to almost "school dinners" revisited ,in a somewhat updated form.  

We have 
Rich Beef in Beer stew , with vegan gluten free fluffy dumplings,
Mashed Potatoes  
Steamed cauliflower 
Minted peas
Gluten free apple pie with cinnamon
Dairy free vanilla custard . 

 Rich Beef in Beer  Stew  serve 6 
1 kilo good quality cubed beef preferably lean,
1 leek  washed and sliced 
6 carrots washed peeled and sliced
I small punnet mushrooms sliced
4 cloves garlic crushed
1 bottle brown beer, Guinness or stout is best
1 large teaspoon marmite
1 table spoon tomato puree
4 stalks celery waged and sliced
1/2 cup fresh parsley and celery leaves chopped finely 
1 teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 inch fresh ginger minced
3 bay leaves
1/2 a cinnamon stick
1 desert spoon coconut oil 
1/2 cup red lentils soaked over night 
1/2 teaspoon black pepper ground
1/2 teaspoon fresh dried thyme 

In a plastic bag put 
2 table spoons gluten free flour or rice flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic granules
1/2 teaspoon sea salt.

Rinse the meat under very cold water, shake  off any excess water put the meat in the bag with the seasoned flour and shake well till all the meat is coated.

Heat the oil in a heaver bottom pan that has a tight fitting lid, 
Add the leeks, garlic, and ginger to the pan saute till the leeks are clear,

Add the beef to the pan and stir so it dose not stick, when it sealed on each side add the beer, carrot's celery, marmite, tomato paste, stir well

Drain the lentils and add along with one cup cold water.
add the cocoa powder, thyme, cinnamon stick  and fresh herbs  and leave to simmer on a low light for  90 minutes .  
Remember to stir occasionally so the gravy won't  stick , the gravy should be thick but not too thick, taste, add seasoning and more water if necessary.

Vegan Dumplings

1 cup gluten free flour
1 table spoon fresh parsley finely chopped
a pinch of  nutmeg 
1/2 tea spoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup coconut oil solid.

Put the flour, seasonings in to a bowl, 
Add the coconut oil and rub together like making pastry till you have a mixture like fine breadcrumbs.
Add the chopped parsley
Add the coconut milk and mix. 
Drop in balls on to the top of the cooking meat,making sure they adsorb the gravy.
 Cook for 15 minutes.

Serve on its own with dumplings or on a bed of mashed potatoes  for the real indulgence...and childhood heart warming nostalgia. 



Monday, September 29, 2014

Use Your Loaf..... ( how to use left over and almost stale bread!)

There is nothing quite like the smell of freshly baked bread, even non bread eaters find the smell of a bakery hard to resist; also there nothing quite as sad as the amount of bread that gets wasted, left to rot or thrown away when bread can be turned into so many things. We all know this but from time to time have to be reminded all the ways to use up bread, here are just a few of my family favorites.

Today while visiting the Midreshet* (  senior school for young women to undertake  religious study) , next door to me, I spied a box on the floor filled with challah rolls  *
 (a sweetened white Jewish bread)   that someone had donated, the rolls were hard but not spoiled, 
"What are you going to do with these?" I inquired,
" Leave them in the box till they go bad and them chuck them out " was the reply.
I checked them over, and scooped them into a bag and told them "I'll deal with them" 
Deal with them, for me meant turning the bread into useful commodities and mouth watering food stuffs and returning it to the young women to eat. 

British Bread Pudding  serve hot or cold ( better hot ) on its own with an orange sauce or with custard ) 

A traditional British recipe  that uses stale or left over bread,this  is not low calorie, low sugar or low anything, it is however quite amazingly yummy specifically when served warm. 

3 cups white or whole meal  bread or a mixture of both 
2 cups   mixed dried fruit
4 eggs beaten
1/2 cup almond soya or   rice flour
1 tea spoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon allspice
Zest of one orange
1 table spoon honey, maple syrup, or golden syrup slightly warm
1/4 cup nondairy spread   
2 tbsp.  Demerara sugar
1 teaspoon good vanilla essence.

Take the bread and tear it apart  put in a large bowl and cover with cold water and leave soaking for around 15 -20 minutes, drain it well in a colander and squeeze out any excess water.
Preheat an oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4
Place the bread in a bowl, add the honey, milk, eggs, spices, orange zest, vanilla, dried fruit .mix well so everything is combined
Line a baking dish   with baking parchment   spray it lightly with  "pam" or other oil spray. 
Add the mixture to the pan.
Dot the top with the non- dairy spread, sprinkle with the sugar and place in the center of the oven for 1½ hour until firm and golden, covering with foil if it starts to brown too much. Turn out of the tin and strip off the paper. Cut into squares and serve warm.

French Toast - a classic breakfast dish one can eat at any time.
(AKA Eggie Bread! )

You can make savory or sweet french toast. ( I prefer savory !) here are both recipes.

Savory French toast   serve 3-4
6- 8 slices of old bread, great for Challah,  brioche, or thick whole meal or spelt bread
1 table spoon organic sunflower oil.
2 teaspoons marmite, Vegemite  or other such yeast spread
Black pepper
4-5 large eggs
¼ cup almond soya or coconut milk.
Sliced tomatoes (optional)

Beat the eggs, and non-dairy milk add the pepper.
Spread the marmite on one side of the bread, them place the egg mixture let them adsorb the eggs for at least 5 minutes.
Meanwhile  put a large pan on the heat, and the heat  oil, place the bread in the oil,fry on a medium heat ( too high will turn the French toast to rubber !) about 3-4 minutes on one side then using a spatula flip the toast over and cook the other side.  
Serve warm with sliced tomatoes.

For a sweet version
Use the same quantities, leave out the marmite.
Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and ½ teaspoon cinnamon to the egg mixture, cook as above. Serve with maple syrup, fresh fruit, and apple compote.  

Bread Sauce
Quintessentially British, and served with Roast Turkey or Roast Chicken  , this recipe takes  me back  to Sunday lunch at the Hotel Metropole,  on Brighton sea front,  in the mid 1950’s, when ladies still wore hats to dine out and children,( like myself) were required to be dressed up and  be seen but  not heard. I would silently squirrel away   the bread sauce from the fellow diners and delight in this simple but delectable delicately seasoned sauce.
This is my dairy free version

You need 
1 at least  day-old loaf unsliced white bread
1 liter almond soya, rice or oat milk
1 medium large   onion, peeled
8 cloves
2 fresh bay leaves
1 tsp white peppercorns
¼ tsp ground mace
2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp coconut cream, or nondairy natural yogurt. (optional)
1 fresh nutmeg, for grating

Cut the crusts of the loaf of bread and cut the bread into small cubes you should end up with 7-8 ounces of cubed  bread.
Take the onion and stick cloves in the onion all over evenly.
Pour the milk into a saucepan. Then add the onion, with the cloves, bay leaves, peppercorns sprinkle the ground mace into the pan along with the salt and bring to the mixture almost to its boiling point.
Remove the pan from the heat. Cover the pan with a lid and let the ingredients infuse for at least half an hour I normally at this stage let it cool and leave it in the fridge overnight.
After the mixture has infused, place the pan back on a very low heat. Using a slotted spoon, remove the onions, peppercorns, cloves, bay leaves
Add the cubed bread to the milk, and let it adsorb, cooking it over a very low heat for 15 minutes, stirring from time to time. The mixture should be thick and warm.
At this stage add the coconut cream, if using to add a creamy texture.
Grate nutmeg into the sauce, transfer into a sauce boat and serve with your roast chicken!

 Seasoned Bread Crumbs.

Cut the bread into chunks, throw into a food processor and make into bread crumbs. season with paprika, salt, garlic crystal, place into a zip lock bag shake well and freeze take out to coat fish or snitzles. Mark the bag seasoned.

Plain Bread Crumbs,  do the same as above but do not season them freeze in a zip lock bag, use in meatballs,  meat loaf or to top quiches  macaroni cheese or gratin dishes. 

Garlic Bread 

If the bread is hard  take it slice it three quarter the way down, sprinkle with a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil , good quality sea salt, and fresh garlic. you can put into a medium hot oven for 10-15 minutes and serve with salad, or at this stage wrap it tightly in baking paper and silver foil and freeze and take out as needed, allow to semi defrost then heat as above for 15-20 minutes.

Home made soup or salad croutons. (Known as Futons by my close friends children who always ask me to make them!)

Home made croutons are so much better than shop bought ones, and so easy to make.
you need 

1 loaf of any bread
3 teaspoons garlic powder
3 teaspoons paprika
1 teas spoon freshly ground sea salt
1 table spoon dried parsley 
1 tea spoon dried zatar  
2-3  table spoons extra virgin olive oil

Preheat your oven to Gas mark 6, 400 F, 
200 C, moderately hot. 
Cut your bread into squares  place into a plastic bag, add all the garlic powder, paprika, parsley, salt, zatar.  close sand shake well together so everything is coated.
line a baking tray with parchment paper 
place the croutons on the baking tray spread them out evenly  sprinkle  liberally with the oil and bake for 15 -20 minutes till golden brown.  let cool .
Place in an air tight container and they will keep in the fridge up to 8 days.
Add to soups, salads be warned your family might take to snacking on them. 

Bread has been a daily food almost since time began, there are so many varieties from so many countries  cultures and almost as many ways to use up every single crumb! 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sugar Sugar (Dealing with Diabetes )

Many of my friends have diabetes, and my father was a diabetic, so having been asked advice on this subject I have put pen to paper. It is very important that a diabetic seeks medical advice and sees a dietitian when first diagnosed, this is just a guide line to help you along.

People with diabetes can eat the same foods the rest of their family   but reduced portion size of carbohydrates. Choices from each food group provide the highest quality nutrients you can find. In other words, pick foods rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber. 

A Diabetic eating plan includes eating a wide variety of foods including:
  • Vegetables, 
  • Salad vegetables, but restrict parsnips, beets, potatoes sweet potatoes because of the sugar content.
  • Switch to whole grains – brown rice and pasta to increase your fiber.
  • You can eat fruits but restrict you intake   check with your doctor as they contain natural sugar
  • Lean meat,
  • Poultry,
  • Fish
  • Dairy products. Limit due to the high fat content
  • Beans, lentils, pulses.

Carbohydrate counting
One had to reduce the carbohydrates, cut down on bread, potatoes, and as I said earlier switch to  using  whole grain rice and pasta.

Start with allowing about 45-60 grams of carbohydrate at a meal.

Foods that contain carbohydrate or “carbs” are: grains like rice, oatmeal, and barley grain-based foods like bread, cereal, pasta, and crackers starchy vegetables like potatoes, peas and corn fruit and juice milk and yogurt dried beans like pinto beans and soy products like veggie burgers sweets and snack foods like sodas, juice drinks, cake, cookies, candy, and chips .

Vegetarian option
A good friend of mine greatly reduced her sugar levels recently by cutting out all processed foods, and sticking to a dairy and wheat free Vegetarian diet within six weeks there was a vast improvement to her health.
Research supports that following this type of diet can help prevent and manage diabetes. In fact, research on vegan diets has found that Vegan diets are naturally higher in fiber, much lower in saturated fat, carbohydrates and cholesterol than the average diet.

Start your day the correct way
Eating breakfast is imperative for diabetics. Besides providing you with energy, a well-rounded breakfast also helps balance blood glucose levels. Starting out with a solid blood glucose reading makes it easier to maintain good levels throughout the day. The best breakfast foods for diabetics are those that are high in lean protein and whole grains, as these types of foods are the most filling and generally have a low glycemic index.

  • Breakfast shakes, 
  • Eggs on multi- grain toast,  
  • whole grain cereal , 
  • or almonds limited fruit and natural unsweetened yogurt are excellent  ways to start your day.

Don’t skip meals
Eat little and often rather than fasting and eating a large meal , its important to eat regularly ever 3.5- 4 hours.

Main meal ideas
·            Whole meal pasta with a homemade tomato and vegetable sauce.
     Homemade lentil soup, one slice whole meal bread with a fresh salad sprinkled with almond slithers
       Oven baked fish parcels with vegetables, served vegetable noodles
       Oven roasted ratatouille vegetables served on brown rice.
       Lightly sautéed chicken breast with a red pepper   and zucchini salsa
        Red turkey meat, cooked with mushrooms leeks and fresh herbs with polenta.

          Dal with brown rice   and green salad    

         leek carrot , and spinach baked fritters 

This is   just a few ideas , email me for more recipes

Being diagnosed as a diabetic can be scary  

however , if you take charge and not let the disease take charge of you. You will get into an easy routine and be able to deal with meal time with ease.
Good luck 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Something Fishy Part 1…( A guide to choosing your and preparing fish)

Coming from the UK, which of course is an Island surrounded by water I am accustomed to good fresh fish.
One of my closest school friends grandfather owned a fishmongers, we would often drop in on the way home from school, dressed  in our green school uniform, where this jolly man who’s white coat, butchers striped apron and wellington boots served to protect him from surroundings , would bend down to us, and point out the different fish; “Do you know what that is” “Can you tell how a fish is fresh” “This is a fresh water fish, this is a sea fish” he would whisper in our ears. We would watch the skilled filleting in awe.

So by the age of seven, I knew my cod from haddock, how to souse a herring, and how to pick the freshest of fish.

Choosing your fish.

Firstly when possible find a good fishmonger, build up a relationship with them. In Brighton we would often go down to buy the fish fresh from the boats.

Whole Fish

Look for bright, clear eyes. The eyes are indication to a truly fresh fish, as they fade quickly into gray dullness, although it is safe to eat fish with dull grey eyes it’s not pleasant its past its best.
Look at the fish. Does it shine? Does its skin look metallic and clean? Then it is fresh if it is going dull and has patches so is its flavor dull!
Look at the gills. They should be a rich red. If the fish is old, they will turn the color of faded brick.
Smell the Fish
A fresh fish should smell like clean water, or a touch like the sea. If a fish smells bad, it is bad!
It’s always best to buy whole fish and have it filled if needed. However if this is not an option

Fish Fillets 
Look for vibrant flesh. All fish fade as they age.

Smell it. The smell test as above is especially important with fillets. They should have no strong smells

Is there liquid on the fish if so, that liquid should be clear, not milky. Milky color liquid on a fillet is the first stage of the fish rotting.

Frozen fish.

Personally, I am not that fond of frozen fish, unless I am making fish balls, fish pie or soup, especially in Israel where the majority of frozen fish is pumped with water then frozen.
However when frozen fish is the only option follow the steps below.
Buy good quality frozen fish cheap fish is not good quality.
Totally Defrost the fish before cooking
Wash off all the ice under cold water.
For the last 10-15 minutes of defrosting  sprinkle on salt and the juice of half a lemon to remove the “freezer” flavor.
Rinse off
Dry the fish with paper towel before preparation.

Cooking Fish
Fish is delicate, good fresh fish needs very little cooking, we all have a tendency to overcook fish then it becomes that horrendous rubbery texture that would give plastic a bad name.

Quick cooking of fillets.
The perfect fast food !
Wash the fillets in cold water and pat dry.
Season  with salt, pepper, a little garlic, and paprika.
And rub a teaspoon of good quality oil on to the fish .
Heat a pan on the fire,
Add a teaspoon of oil to the pan no more
Place the fish fillet skin side down into the hot pan pressing it down slightly  with your fingers to get the skin crisp.
Cook for 1-2 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillet
Flip the fillet over and repeat.
Turn off the pan.
Serve the fish with a green salad, baby new potatoes and a glass off crisp white wine.
There you have   a perfect summer meal.

Cooking a Whole Fish in the oven

 Firstly ask your fishmonger to gut your fish,
If not it’s a simple process.

You will need a pair of latex gloves, a board preferably not wooden as the smell stays. A sharp knife, running water!
   Place the fish on a clean surface on its side
2.   Insert your knife near the tail of the fish and cut towards the head.
3.   Spread the fish's abdominal cavity open with your fingers, gently cut away at the insides.
4.   Scrape the insides out and rinse the fish under cold running water. 
   Now the fish is ready to be cooked.

Preheat the oven to between 350°F and 450°F depending on the size of the fish( smaller fish lower temperature)
After rinsing the fish pat dry with kitchen towel.
You need
1 lemon sliced
1-2 bunches fresh herbs, like parsley, coriander  dill. Take your pick
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves peeled and sliced.
1 spoon extra virgin olive oil
3 carrots peeled and sliced
2 onion’s peeled and sliced
2 bay leaves
2 table spoons white wine or water
Place the carrots and one of the onions half the lemon  and bay leaves and the liquid in the bottom of a baking tray.
Season the cavity of the fish, add the garlic lemon slices, slices of onion and as many of the herbs that you can stuff into the fish.
Rub the oil into the fish, then lay it on top of the carrots and onions in the baking tray.
Season the top of the fish.
Place any leftover herbs on the top of the fish.
Cover the fish with parchment paper.
Bake between 15-30 minutes   depending on the size of the fish 1-2 pounds takes 15-20 minutes 3 to 5 pounds for approximately 30 minutes and over 5 pounds takes between 35-40 minutes.
Remove from the oven.
Serve straight away.

I cannot stress enough that
  • The fresher the fish the better the flavor, 
  • Never be tempted to overcook fish....less is more
  • Do not overcomplicate the flavors, let the fish talk for its self
  • Eat fish as near to cooking as possible.

Watch this blog for some more summer fish recipes of Classic British Fish and Chips,  Stuffed place a classic 1960 dish, Fish curry, and Fish soup coming next week!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Catering for the masses...( in a healthy nutritious way).

Tomorrow 35  people are arriving for a meditation & relaxation silent seminar in our yeshuve.( village)   Although they will be silent therefore can not complain, while the facilitators will nourish their souls ,their  bodies will need nourishing by my friend and I.
Too often mass catering is done on the cheap with no regard for the health and well-being of the guests with cost being the first concern.
I feel strongly that although the occasional fast food meal is OK if people are coming to cleanse their minds it would be so wrong to add chemicals into their bodies.Being healthy is a holistic thing and catering for the masses can be healthy.

My friend and I have created a vegetarian  menu that is  hopefully delicious nutritious and not too complex to prepare by two people using two domestic ovens and not highly equipped kitchens.

The brief  we were given was 

  • Keep it simple, filling, tasty, healthy and cheap. 
  • They required Bread , salad and vegetables at every meal 
  • The only meal with dairy would be breakfast 
  • There should be healthy snacks available all day long  

Buffet Breakfasts 

Home made Granola,
Fruit baskets
Cottage Cheese, ordinary cheese.
Tahini, hard boiled eggs
Vegetable plate
Bread, Rice cakes, Crackers
Teas , Coffee, Herbal tea, milk, soya and almond milk, honey .

Snacks  home made cookies
Unsweetened Date Cookies
Rice crisps
Oat apple and Cranberry "Eitan " Cookies.

Fresh fruit baskets.

Day One Lunch 

Roasted red peppers with garlic.
Roasted Zucchini on a bed of red onion with fresh picked garden herbs 
Roasted Eggplant  in a Tahini sauce
Roasted Sweet and regular potatoes with Rosemary and black pepper
All served on Brown rice
With a baby leaf and seed salad in  a garlic honey and mustard dressing.
Pita bread for those who want to wash.

Fresh water melon

Teas , Coffee, Herbal tea, milk, soya and almond milk, honey .

Day One Evening 
 Aromatic Organic Orange soup, 
Home made spelt bread,
Home made Olive Dip, Humas, Tahini. Pesto
Cole slaw in a vinaigrette dressing 
Vegetable plate
Fruit basket 

Teas , Coffee, Herbal tea, milk, soya and almond milk, honey 

Day Two Lunch time

Sweet potato, lentil and zucchini Coconut  Curry 
Brown Rice
Mixed green salad in a lemon herb dressing

                                  Pita bread for those who want to wash.

Fruit basket 

Teas , Coffee, Herbal tea, milk, soya and almond milk, honey 

Day two evening

Mixed vegetable & Rice  soup 

Home made spelt bread,
Home made Olive Dip, Humas, Tahini. Egg salad Pesto 
Mixed  Israeli salad in a mint infused dressing 
Vegetable plate
Fruit basket 

Teas , Coffee, Herbal tea, milk, soya and almond milk, honey 

Here are three  recipes from the event

"Eitan Cookies"  (invented in  my grandson’s honor)  Almost Healthy  Spelt, Oat, Cranberry & Chocolate Cookies!  

Makes   26 cookies. Oven 375°F = 190.6°C   gas mark 5

These cookies are  wheat , dairy, sugar, and egg free yet are really yummy, when I made a trial batch tonight to take with me for Shabbat someone popped in, and declared them delectable ! they are crumbly light melt in the mouth and have that wonderful combination of Cranberries and dark chocolate.  
100 grams /4 oz/ 1 cup porridge oats
150 grams/6 oz / 1 cup spelt flour, plus a little extra
½ tsp fine sea salt
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp non-aluminum baking powder
142 g/5 fluid oz/  ½ cup.   Good vegetable cooking oil, I used organic extra virgin sunflower,
100 g/4 oz/ ½ cup apple puree/ sauce
1 tea spoon real vanilla extract,
½ cup unsweetened dried cranberries
½ cup non dairy  good chocolate chips

  1. Line two baking trays with cooking paper and oil them a bit. Preheat the oven to 190
  2. In a large bowl put the oats , flour, baking powder, baking soda salt  put a well in the middle
  3. In a separate bowl mix the oil, apple puree/sauce, vanilla, mix well and pour into the dry Ingredients mix well and add the cranberries and chocolate chips. mix well
  4. Wet your hands under cold water make little balls (walnut size) evenly space them on the baking tray, push them down with a damp fork.
  5. Put in oven and bake for 12-15 minutes until brown, allow cooling and them hide if you want to keep them for longer than 30 minutes.

Sweet Potato,Red lentil  Zucchini & Coconut  Curry  Serves   6

3-4 medium sweet potatoes peeled and chopped into large chunks
4 large carrots peeled chopped into chunks
4-5 zucchini washed and chopped into chunks
2-3 red skinned potatoes peeled and chopped  into chunks & put into cold water.
½ inch fresh ginger peeled and grated
½ cup red lentils, picked washed and drained
4 garlic cloves crushed
2 white onions   finely chopped
1 tea spoon sea salt
1 tea spoon  ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried  cumin
1 teaspoon dried  coriander
½ tea spoon cayenne pepper or chili flakes
½ tea spoon cinnamon
¼ tea spoon ground cloves.
1.5 teaspoon good quality curry powder.
2 bay leaves
½ cup fresh chopped coriander
I tablespoon  coconut oil
1 can of coconut milk
2 cups water.

Heat the coconut oil in a heavy bottom pan, add the ginger and garlic, and onions, stir and cook till the onions are transparent.
Add the dry spices, ( everything but the salt)  mix together, turn the heat down low and cook off the spices, stirring  take off the heat  add the potato, carrots, and Sweet potato, the salt, and the lentils.  
Add the lentils, and then the water the water should just come ¾ the way up the vegetables. Cover the pan &   cook for 10 minutes on a medium heat before adding the zucchini, and fresh coriander.
Cook for 12 more minutes add in the coconut milk, turn to a low heat, and adjust the salt and pepper.
Serve on rice, with Indian pickles.
This keeps well in the fridge  for 2-3 days but heat very slowly because of the coconut milk.

Green Tahini makes 12-14 portions

1 tub or container of raw tahini
Juice of one lemon
3 -4 cloves garlic depending on size
1-2 cups fresh chopped parsley
1 cup water
1 tea spoon date syrup
1 teaspoon sea salt.

Put all the ingredients together in a food processor, and blend. The greener you want it the more parsley you add. 
the date syrup takes away the bitterness of the  tahini and the parsley.
Put into an airtight container in the fridge will last up to one week.
can be used as a dip, or over jacket potatoes,  pour it over warm roasted eggplant and serve with rice, or add more lemon juice and water and use as a salad dressing.

Catering for large numbers is challenging for some, I enjoy it if I have the time, energy , help with preparation and large pots! actually I have none of the  above this week so this could be more than interesting wish me luck!

Dip Dip Dip…My little Home Made Dip …(Ten in fact to keep you dipping!!!)

Dips ready for the fridge 
 I really enjoy making dips, (salatim in Israel!)  They are quick and easy, can be served as starter for Shabbat, also mid-week are very satisfying with homemade bread, flat bread, soup and salad.
Sharing dips, and bread wine good olives and stories is a ideal way to spend a lazy summer evening . Finish off the meal with water melon and grapes, all picky and friendly foods. 
Here are 10   of my favorite dips in no particular order!

Yes, ideally you need a food processor, but I have used a hand blender for some of these most of  these dips can be stored in a fridge in an air tight container for 3-5 days.  Quantities for 4-5 people as a starter.

1. Olive Dip literally a 5 minute store cupboard dip and so good for those last minute guests 
1 can of green olives without pips
½   cup ground walnuts
¼ cup fresh chopped parsnips
3 table spoons extra virgin olive oil.
1 clove garlic
1 spoon good quality organic mayonnaise (optional but makes the dip smother and stretch!)
Open the can of olives and rinse them in a sieve in cold water for 2-3 minutes to remove the salt leave to drain.
In a food processor, grind the walnuts, add the parsley garlic and process, add the olives, olive oil and mayo if you are using it.
Blend for 1-2 minutes.
Place in a container and chill before serving… could not be easier!

2. Red Bean Dip. I am always asked for this recipe so here we go again! It’s spicy and deep flavored wonderful on warmed bread, lasts up to 10 days in the fridge.
2 tins red kidney beans or ½ lb. of dried beans cooked and cooled.
4 cloves garlic 
1 teaspoon lemon juice
 I table spoon extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ tea spoon cayenne pepper
1 table spoon tahini
1 tea spoon date syrup
1 medium red onion chopped
1 tea spoon full ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Water to bind (around 1 desert spoon full it should be a paste so not too much.)
 ½ cup fresh coriander a few sprigs washed checked and chopped
Open drain and rinse the beans if using cans.
Place everything apart from the salt in the food processor   together
Blend till smooth but   not runny, taste and add salt to taste.
This is meant to be garlicky and have a punch
leave at least 4 hours in the fridge then serve it’s a great addition to your salatim ad once you have put everything in the blender it takes a couple of minutes.

3. Roasted Red Pepper Dip very very simple, you can use a hand blender for this!
4 large red peppers
2 cloves garlic
½ cup ground almonds
1 table spoon extra virgin olive oil
½ tea spoon ground sea salt.

Preheat an oven too gas 6   400 F 200C
Wash the red peppers and leave them whole place them on baking paper in an oven proof dish place the garlic with them and bake for 45 minutes -1 hour.
Take the  peppers out the oven , let them cool slightly,  then remove the stalk , place a save over a bowl, and let the liquid run out with it will come the pips. Discard the pips.
Blend the peppers, the roasted garlic  add some of the liquid, add the olive oil, ground almonds and then season with the salt.
Place in an air tight container and chill before serving.

4. Smoked Eggplant Dip.  If you are already roasting the peppers you can do eggplant dip too! I have used a hand blender for this dip but a food processor is best.
2-3 Medium eggplants
¾ cup tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
3-4 cloves garlic
½ tea spoon ground black pepper
½ tea spoon sea salt
¼ spoon smoked paprika (optional)
¾ cup fresh parsley chopped
½ table spoon extra virgin olive oil
Preheat an oven too gas 6   400 F 200 C
Wash the eggplant  and leave them whole place them on baking paper in an oven proof dish and bake for 1-1 ½ hours they should be done and have a slightly smoky smell, to achieve this finish the eggplants off under the grill.
When they are cooked, let the eggplants cool a bit removes the stalk.
Place in a food processor with the parsley, garlic, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice and blend, add the seasonings, and if it is a bit stiff add a few drops of water. 
Again stores very well, I make this once a week for the students next door and they say it lasts well from one batch till the next!

5.Guacamole  there almost are as many ways to make this spicy Mexican dip as there are avocados however this is my version that has a 100% success rate and people keep coming back for more. This is not a long stay dip, make it before the meal, and so ensure you keep it in an airtight container to stop it going brown.  It is great as a dip or to eat with Chili either con carne or vegan! In wraps, or on jacket potatoes.  This amount serves 6 as a starter with corn tacos.
If you like it hotter bump up the Caine pepper, the honey takes the acid from the tomato.
3 ripe avocados.
I small red onion finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 medium tomato chopped
½ tea spoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon sea salt
¾ tea spoon dried coriander
¾ tea spoon dried cumin
1 teaspoon runny honey (optional)
Juice of half a lemon
½ cup fresh coriander chopped finely

Peel and mash the avocados place in a bowl add all the other ingredients apart from the chopped coriander mix well then add the coriander. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
Serve straight away!

6. Classic Humus
You need chick peas either 1 lb. of dried chick peas, soaked overnight .in cold water then cooked.
Or 2 x 16 oz. cans of chick peas.
4-5 cloves garlic
2 table spoons tahini paste
1 table spoon ice cold water
2 table spoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tea spoon good quality sea salt
The juice of one lemon
Paprika and zatar, and extra virgin olive oil for serving.

If you are using dried Chick peas   soak them over night in cold water, you will hear popping noises as they expand, don’t worry this is normal.
Change water, and bring to the boil in fresh water and then simmer for around an hour till the chick peas are soft.
Strain and rinse under cold water then you are set to go.
Hint, soak and cook double quantities of chick peas and then freeze them in batches so you can use them as needed. They defrost in around an hour.
Take you chick peas, either cooked or canned, drain them and place them in a food processor, (I sometimes when using canned chick peas and making a small quantity use a hand blender)
Add the tahini, olive oil, water, lemon juice, garlic and salt. Blend till smooth. (How smooth is personal taste I like mine to have a medium smooth texture, some like it like paste)

Serve drizzled with olive oil add zatar.

cooked and seasoned waiting for the onion.

7. Russian Egg & Onion salad 4-6 people originally made with Smaltz (Chicken fat) olive oil adds to the flavor and texture
5 large free range  eggs freshly   hard boiled
1/2 table spoon extra virgin olive oil

2 large Spanish onions peeled and chopped finely.
1 desert spoon of good quality mayonnaise of your choice, one without sugar is best.
½ tea spoon sea salt
½ tea spoon black pepper.

Heat the oil in a frying pan; add the onions and cook gently till lightly brown.
When the eggs are slightly warm peel them & mash them with a fork or potato masher, do not use a food processor it spoils the texture and flavor.
Add the fried onions with any oil from the pan, mayonnaise and seasoning. Mix well.

Put in the fridge till 20 minutes   before you serve. Its better served at room temperature.

8. Roasted Zucchini Dip serves 4-6
There are a multitude of zucchini dip recipes out there in cyber land some are “so so “some are really bland, some incorporate cheese, or cream , I wanted a zucchini dip that tastes good and had the texture of store bought zucchini dip but without all the JUNK.
The secret is roasting the zucchini, using good fresh organic ingredients, and   not being scared to season the zucchini & the dip.
4 organic zucchini’s washed peeled and cut into 8”s
1 whole garlic   washed & left whole
2 large onions peeled washed cut into 8’s
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper.
1/2 teaspoon   fine organic sea salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 large free range eggs hard boiled and peeled
3 sliced large flat mushrooms portabella (optional) for a woody flavor
You can choose one of the following
1/4 cup chopped & ground cashew nuts, mixed nuts or ground almonds.
1/4 cup homemade organic bread crumbs made from good quality whole wheat or spelt bread
Preheat the oven to 170 c
Place the zucchini, the onion and the whole garlic mushrooms in an ovenproof dish sprinkle liberally with sea salt and black pepper and 1/2 the olive oil  
Place uncovered in the oven and bake for 20 30 -minutes, set aside and let cool a little,
 Place the zucchini the onions, egg, the binder of your choice (I prefer the nut binder) the thyme, parsley, the remaining, olive, oil salt cayenne pepper and lemon juice into the food processor
Remove the soft roasted garlic from the skin by pressing down on the skin and taking it out with a teaspoon add to the food processor
Process everything together you might need to add a tea spoon of water if the zucchini are not so juicy
Season to taste, chill; serve with vegetable crudités, or warm flat   bread, along with other salads and dips as a starter.  This will last 3-4 days in the fridge.

9 Basil Tofu “Cheese” a great substitute for my vegan friends , if you are having a cheese evening.  However if you have a soya  intolerance or any thyroid imbalance tofu is not so good for you. their is great on top of Jacket potatoes.
I  block organic   tofu   drained and diced
3 cloves garlic
1 table spoon   extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch organic basil washed and drained taken off the stalk
1 tea spoon sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
¼ cup soy, coconut or almond milk
1 small red onion finely chopped
¼ teaspoon hot paprika
Put the basil and garlic into the food processor and blend, then add the tofu and onion, blend again add all the seasoning   soy, almond or coconut milk, blend together.
You want it smooth but you want to see flecks of the red onion and basil in the mixture. Chill before serving; this lasts up to 10 days in the fridge.
Variations   add 4 sun dried tomatoes too.
Make with coriander and olives instead of Basil 

10.  Greek Tzatziki dip. You can make the regular version or if you want it, I make it dairy free dairy free using  natural vegan yogurt and leaving  out the honey. I first had this dip when I was 11, fell hopelessly in love with it, it is a cousin of Indian Raita ( without the dill and with more mint) use to eat with curry.
1 large pot Greek natural yogurt or two small vanilla vegan yogurt
3-4   Israeli small or 1 large cucumbers washed and grated
3 gloves garlic crushed
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
¼ cup chopped fresh dill
1 tea spoon organic runny honey
½ tea spoon sea salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground  pepper.
1 table spoon extra virgin olive oil.
In a bowl mix the yogurt, oil, seasoning the herbs, and honey, when it’s mixed add  the grated cucumber mix again. Chill before serving this dip is best made the day of the meal will last up to 24 hours. Any longer then the garlic overpowers it and it splits because of the cucumbers natural juices.

Enjoy your dips.... they an essential part of summer living.