Baked Salmon

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Serves four people

150 gr salmon fillet per person
1 leek
1 organic lime
fresh tarragon
olive oil
salt and pepper

tarragon sauce:
1.5 dl organic yoghurt
1 dl creme fraiche
1/4 cup minced tarragon
1 tbsp lime
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper

Slice leek lengthwise and cut in halves. Thinly slice lime. Line a baking dish with parchment paper. Place the salmon on the paper and drizzle with olive oil. Lay leek, tarragon sprigs and lime slices on the fish. Season with salt and pepper.

Bake the salmon for about 30 minutes at 200°C.

Mix all the ingredients for the cream sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Serve in a bowl with the baked fish.

Serve with steamed potatoes or/and French beans.

Adapted from a Danish recipe found in Trine Hahnemann’s Køkken Morgen – Middag – Aften

Last Weekly Review of 2012

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On My Blog

Curried Winter Squash Soup with Red Lentil and Coconut Milk

Favourite Apps

Elsewhere in the JBlogosphere

Lorri reviews: Saving Monticello

Leora interviews Artist Debra Walk, check this post for beautiful and inspiring challah covers and other artwork

Ten Books I Loved in 2012, a post by Hannah

Mrs. S. proudly writes a bout An incredible Kiddush Hashem

Zivah writes about this week’s parashah

Web articles

Top 10 Posts of 2012: Deep, Meaningful and Creative Learning, a collection on MindShift

As modern Orthodoxy dies in Israel, it thrives in New York, an Haaretz article

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz writes about The Lost Art of Small Talk

Vegetarianism Can Save the Middle East, a Green Prophet article by Joseph Mayton

Shabbat Shalom!

Favourite Apps

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Here is my very partial take on a few iPhone apps you might find useful and enjoy. Most are either free or quite cheap.

Media:
iRadio UK (free and cheap prelium versions):
A fun little app that allows you to listen to any radio station in the UK. It has a few interesting features such as a Car Mode and a Sleep Timer which will close the application after a predefined time. Exists also for France, Australia, Germany, Italy and Greece.

Le Monde.fr: (free)
Enables you to read the famous French paper online and for free. No need to subscribe to read it.

Judaism:
Kosher OR Not:
Allows you to check whether a fish is kosher. Quite useful when in a country where you do not know the names of all fish. You ca write in English, Hebrew, German, Spanish and French.

Bedtime Shema (free):
Fun and interactive learning aid for Jewish children.

Dictionaries:
Merriam-Webster (free):
Very convenient app to check a meaning, spelling or a synonym. Can even be used without an Internet connection. I advised my older pupils to download it and am amazed to see how naturally they use it in the classroom. The premium version (which I have not tried) is cheap.

Urban Dictionary Definitions (free and very cheap premium versions):
Fun app to keep up with the latest swears, slang, and abbreves.

Miscellanae:
Pages:
User-friendly word processor. Works with iCloud, so your documents stay up to date on all your devices — automatically.

The Sonnets (for the iPad):
Offers an experience of over 150 of Shakespeare’s Sonnets read by the likes of Stephen Fry, David Tennant, Patrick Stewart and many performers from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre Company. Allows access to the Arden Shakespeare’s complete notes and discussion on each sonnet. Beautiful!

I still have to find a calendar/diary I like and even though Google Maps is back for iPhone users I don’t like the idea of signing in as a Google user to enjoy the full capacities of the app.

What are your favourite apps?

Curried Winter Squash Soup with Red Lentil and Coconut Milk

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1 lb 2 oz red kuri squash, seeded and diced
4 carrots, peeled and diced (5 oz)
1 leek, white part only, chopped – other vegetables work too (parsley root, turnip…)
1 celery branch, chopped
1 zucchini (7 oz), cut in pieces
3 cups water
1/2 cup (3.5 oz) red lentils
1 shallot, chopped
1 tsp ground curry
1/2 tsp ground cumin
200ml coconut milk
Chopped parsley or coriander
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

In a large pot, heat 2 tbsp olive oil. Add the shallot, leek and celery. Sweat for 2 minutes, until soft, making sure that the vegetables never brown. Then add the ground cumin and curry, and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.

Add the rest of the vegetables and continue to cook for 5 minutes.

Add the lentils, water, salt and pepper and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, until all the vegetables are soft.

Mix the soup. Check the seasoning, and add the coconut milk. Keep warm.

Ladle the soup in a bowl and add the parsley/coriander

Weekly Review with Books

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On My Blog

Swedish Saffron Buns

Asarah BeTevet – the Other Tragedy

Elsewhere in the JBlogosphere

Double Delight – looking backwards and forwards, Zivah shares a very special day and writes about this week’s parashah

Jews in Gotham, a book review by Leora

Lorri reviews The Septembers of Shiraz

We’re Different, Frozen Challah writes about being Canadian

Web articles

Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis to be next UK chief rabbi, a JC article

Addressing Famine: Ancient Egypt and Today, Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz writes about this week’s parashah

Who Is to Blame? God, Society or Me?, a piece by Rabbi Wolpe

Who needs shechita anyway?, a thought-provoking article on eating meat and vegetarianism

Shabbat Shalom!

Asarah BeTevet – the Other Tragedy

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The fast day of the 10th of Tevet symbolises the first of a series of events which led to the destruction of the First Temple; that day marks the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem by the Persian King Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BCE.

‘Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. And in the ninth year of his reign, on the 10th day of the 10th month Nebuchadnezzar moved against Jerusalem with his whole army. He besieged it; and they built towers against it all around. The city continued in a state of siege until the 11th year of King Zedekiah.’ (Kings II, 25:1-2)

The prophet Yeheskel [Ezekiel] was instructed by God to turn this day into a day of memory:

‘O mortal, record this date, this exact day; for this very day the king of Babylon has laid siege to Jerusalem.’ (Yeheskel 24: 2)

Yet the date also marks an event for which the people of Israel fasted not one day but in fact three, namely the completion of the Torah’s translation into Greek, ordered by Ptolemy.

The resulting translation was considered a tragedy. If you are familiar with a foreign language and enjoy watching films or TV series in the original version, you will know that things get lost in translation. In addition Ptolemy wanted to Hellenise the Torah. He wanted it in his library along with the other classics of his time. Not a catastrophe you might object.

But by moving the Torah from the House of Study to the Greek Library, the whole process of reading and studying Torah the Jewish way was threatened. Reading Torah is not merely about perusing an ancient text. Reading Torah involves a confrontation with what others have written and still write about it and how it has shaped their lives, not just their intellect. It connects us to the Jews of the past and the Jews of today, to their lore, wisdom but also difficulties and struggles. When Torah study is carried out the Jewish way, the learner is challenged and might be led to change in the process.

In Pirkei Avot (1:6), the sages do not tell us to ‘find a teacher’ but urge us to ‘Make for yourself a teacher’. They incite us to connect actively to a tradition that began at Mount Sinai and is still vibrant today in the Houses of Study as well as in its more modern versions. They encourage us to seek relationship, not independence and intellectual neutrality.

Swedish Saffron Buns

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I made these buns last nigh for a last celebration of Chanukah; butter is oil, isn’t it?

In Sweden they are called Lussekatt and are associated with the celebration of Lucia – a Scandinavian festival which has roots in indigenous Germanic pagan, pre-Christian midwinter mythology and marks the observance of the winter solstice and the rebirth of the sun. It was commonly believed in Scandinavia, as late as the end of the 19th century, that this was the longest night of the year, coinciding with the winter Solstice. A belief that is also found in the poem A Nocturnal upon St. Lucy’s Day, Being the Shortest Day by English poet John Donne.

Ingredients for a dozen buns:

3/4 ounce yeast / 21 grams
1 cup lukewarm milk
a pinch of saffron or tumeric
Scant 1/2 cup butter, melted
1 pounds all-purpose flour / 1 cup – I used 3/4 plain white flour and 1/4 spelt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup raisins

24 raisins
1 egg, beaten

Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a mixing bowl, then add the saffron and keep stirring until the mixture turns yellow. Add the melted butter. In a separate mixing bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then stir in the sugar and raisins.

Pour the yeast mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until the dough comes cleanly from the edge of the bowl. Knead the dough on a floured counter for 10 minutes, until it is shiny but not sticky. Put the dough back in the bowl and let rise for 1 1/2 hours at room temperature.

Lightly knead the dough again on a floured counter. Divide into 22 equal pieces. Roll them into sausages then curl the ends so that each piece is shaped like the number eight. Put one raisin in the middle of each circle. Place the breads on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, cover with dish towels, and let rise again for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush the risen breads with beaten egg. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown all over. Let cool on a wire rack. Eat them as they are, or spread with cold butter.

Slightly adapted from a recipe found in The Scandinavian Cook Book – A Year in the Nordic Cuisine

Weekly Review with Candles

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On My Blog

Spicy Lentil & Tomato Soup

Chanukah: Light the Candles!

Anniversary and Gratitude

Elsewhere in the JBlogosphere

The Chanukah Story: A Cautionary Tale of Extremism Gone Wrong, a post by Rabbi Eliyahu Fink

Review – Every Day Lasts a Year, a compelling review by Jewaicious

Zaidy z”l – Mrs. S. writes about her maternal grandfather

Leora shows Verbena and Cardinals

Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance (JOFA) to launch in the UK

Mikketz – News just in… Former criminal given top job by King! – Zivah writes about this week’s parashah

Web articles

Kindling the lights of diversity, an article by William Kolbrener and Elie Jesner

Matisyahu: I rap, I rock, but religion is still in my soul – a JC article

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz asks What Is Fair Taxation?

Shabbat Shalom!