Yoghurt Scones

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Ingredients for 8 scones:

– 250 g plain flour (or 1/2 white, 1/2 whole meal)
– 1 tbsp butter, softened
– 1 tbsp sugar
– 1 egg
– 1 pkt baking powder
– 125 g pot yogurt
– 1 pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Add the other ingredients and mix them until the dough forms a ball. Handle the dough as lightly as you can. Avoid overmixing, or the scones won’t be as tender.

Pat the dough into a flattish round, about 3 cm (a little over an inch) in thickness, and cut into eight wedges with a knife or a pastry cutter.

Place the scones on the prepared baking sheet and glaze them with milk. Bake for 15 minutes, until the top of the scones is set and lightly golden.

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Weekly Review with Victoria Peak

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On My Blog

More About Kosher Meals on Cathay Pacific

Fish Stew with Couscous

Snowbound – a book review

Elsewhere in the JBlogosphere

Leora has a question: Help Select Rice Salad Photo

Lorri reviews Who By Fire

Frozenchallah is back to blogging, and with a new layout

Stratagem, a story by Freya

The Stranger Within Your Gates: Answering Questions about Bais Abraham’s Recent Eshel Shabbat by Rabbi Hyim Shafner

Emor – a pictorial interlude – Zivah ponders on this week’s parashah

Web articles

My Spiritual Fitness Regimen – a Tablet Magazine article by Michelle Brafman

In the NYT: Danes Rethink a Welfare State Ample to a Fault

Shabbat Shalom!

Snowbound

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Whether it is the author’s exceptional writing talent, the fact that we have had an uncommonly snowy winter, or a combination of both, but when I started reading Snowbound by Cari Hunter I was immediately drawn into the atmosphere and the plot.

Snowbound is set in the fictional English village of Birchenlow, in the Peak District during a heavy snow storm. Police Officer Sam Lucas and her partner Mac are called on the scene of a robbery. The burglary turns sour, Sam is injured and taken hostage in the middle of nowhere.

When one of the criminals calls and asks for help lest his younger brother might die, Dr. Kate Myles volunteers to go and assist him as well as Sam in the cold and isolated barn where the latter is held captive by the increasingly desperate and dangerous pair.

I do not want to spoil the story for you; suffice is to say that the two women connect in a way they had not anticipated. Sam is still bruised by her former relationship while Kate never seemed to have envisaged that there was more to life than her job and her cat.

I thoroughly enjoyed Snowbound. The novel is fast-paced and well-written. The characters feel real and true-to-life, the kind of women we might actually run into.

Fish Stew with Couscous

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1 onion
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp ras el hanout
2 small to medium courgettes, thinly sliced
15oz / 425g tin of chickpeas, drained
400g white fish
cilantro

Sauté the onion in olive oil. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Stir in the spices. Add the sliced courgettes and sauté until they begin to cook. Add the chickpeas and barely cover with water or vegetable broth.

Simmer until the courgettes are almost tender, about 15 minutes. Add the fish and season to taste. Simmer until the fish is just done. Add fresh cilantro and serve with fine or medium grain couscous.

More About Kosher Meals on Cathay Pacific

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This is the second time I have travelled with Cathay Pacific and so eaten the kosher meals they provide for the economy class, with a three-year interval in between the two experiences.

The caterer for the return flight – from Hong Kong to Paris – had apparently changed and was now Hermolis, an English caterer based in Wembley. One I had tried six years ago while travelling with Swissair.

About half an hour after takeoff, I was shown the three sealed trays for each of the meal I was entitled to, i.e. dinner, snacks and breakfast. Like the first time, there was a certificate on the tray which indicated that the meat was glatt kosher and the roll mezonot.

Dinner, which was served at 2 am due to an 90 minute delay, consisted of: chicken liver pâté (yes, you’ve read correctly), stir fried chicken with vegetables and rice, streusel pie and fruit salad. There was also a bread roll. Apart from the liver pâté, the food was decent – even if the chicken tasted more like a curry than a stir fry. The fruit salad was really good.

I was spoiled for the snacks, compared to other passengers who had the choice between peanuts, biscuits and/or cup noodles since I had three small sandwiches made filled with turkey and pastrami as well as another but different fruit salad.

Breakfast included an omelette with potatoes and baked beans, a Danish Pastry, a challah-like roll, a portion of cheese with crackers, orange juice and a third kind of fruit salad.

For each meal there were a parve coffee creamer, parve ‘butter’ and a sealed cup of mineral water. I have no idea whether there was kosher wine on board since I don’t drink alcohol when I fly.

While the meals on Cathay three years ago had been a bit too light, this was certainly not the case this year. There certainly was ample food but it could have been healthier. Honestly who wants chicken liver pâté in the middle of the night or baked beans for breakfast? A kosher vegetarian option would be a most welcome option to the long list of special meals Cathay Pacific offers.

Another problem was the fact that dinner and the snacks were basari (meat), which means that the travelers who wait for six hours after eating meat could not have breakfast unless they requested to eat the snacks quite early into the flight.

Over all I’d say that the meal was decent but not terrific; obviously the gourmet chefs mentioned on the flyers that were inside the tray had all been on holiday when these meals were made.

My previous posts on the topic:

Kosher meals on Swissair and Air France in 2007

Kosher meals on Cathay Pacific in 2010

Still not Quite a Weekly Review

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This week I have written two blog posts: a recipe for Vegetable Cakes and one about a Chinese dish: Classic Combo

Leora shares information and photos about Philadelphia Zoo and Bird Migration

Lorri reviews Gabby: A Story of Courage, Love and Resilience

Freya has started a writing blog.

You might also want to check Zivah’s thoughts on the weekly parashah

Clare Ashton, who was interviewed on this blog, has been nominated for a Goldie Award

I came across a post that was written a few weeks ago and which I found very interesting – Analyzing Myths of Female Beauty: An Alternative Approach To Teaching Tzniut – If you are a Jew, a feminist, a mother of girls or a combination of the three you will probably enjoy it too.

You might also enjoy 50 Shades of Orthodox Grey by Rabbi Fink

I am no abomination: rewritten bar mitzvah speech, 30 years later – a blog post by Amichai Lau-Lavie

Our Lost Warsaw Ghetto Diary – a Tablet Magazine article

Shabbat Shalom!

Classic Combo

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I was a little optimistic last week when I thought I would manage to write blog posts during my trip. Still one thing that I can easily write about is food.

The food in Hong Kong is quite similar to Cantonese food, with tastes that are more alien to the Western palate than that of Beijing.

One staple element of Chinese food however is soup. At lunch time, people flock to small restaurants and eat all sorts of noodles in broth. Numerous places offer this on their menus for a nominal sum; the only problem being to find one where the menu is in English.

Here is an idea of the kind of combination you can have:
– vegetable broth, sweet and sour broth (mild, medium, hot or very hot) or spicy hot broth – the last two being meat broths
– rice noodles (round), rice vermicelli or udon
– two choices among the following list: vegetables, pickled vegetables, Chinese chive, bean sprouts, mushrooms, fish slices, duck slices, beef slices, pork slices, tofu, soy puffs, bean curd crisp slice, pork intestine (!!)

Vegetable Cakes

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Being away from home is a good opportunity to eat new dishes. Here is a lovely and healthy recipe for vegetable cakes we ate last night.

500g courgettes
2 red peppers
4 tomatoes
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 eggs
100g grated cheese
4 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chives
salt and pepper

Dice the courgettes and the peppers. Peel, seed and dice the tomatoes.

Sauté all the vegetables in a frying pan in the olive oil for 20 minutes. Season to taste. Drain if necessary.

Beat the eggs, add the milk and grated cheese. Season too. Add the vegetable mixture.

Pour into a muffin tray and bake at 200C for 20 minutes.

Not a Weekly Review

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Those who have been following this blog for a while know that I have relatives in Hong Kong and that I sometimes go and visit. This is such a time! So there I am again, glad that I have left the cold and rain behind.

The flight was smooth but I never shut my eyes for very long. Who wants to sleep when you fly over mythical places such Mongolia or the Gobi desert? The blinds were down but I managed to steal a few glances and take some photos.

I watched Dustin Hoffman’s recent Quartet which was perfect for the trip: nice music, great acting and a generous plot. If you want to go and see a feel-good movie, don’t miss it!

Obviously the previous days have been filled with work, running around to get a few gifts and the French products my brother and his family miss in Hong Kong and packing. As a result there will be no weekly review this week but you can visit Leora’s, Lorri’s as well as Zivah’s blogs since all three have put up several blog posts this week.

Come back to this spot in a few days as I am sure I’ll have more to share. Meanwhile: Shabbat Shalom!

NY Style Italian Cheesecake

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I had planned to write about bullying, tax fraud and Margaret Thatcher but in the end all I have managed to do was to take a photo of a cheesecake and post a recipe. At least it ought to be more digestible than the posts that are still in limbo form in my mind!

Marc Grossman is an American expat from Manhattan; his recipe for Italian Cheesecake can be found Un goûter à New-York – a book filled with lovely recipes for cheesecake, carrot cake, pancakes… Here is a slightly adapted recipe of the Italian Cheesecake featured in the book.

Ingredients for the crust:
125gr plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
50gr ricotta
50gr butter, softened
10gr icing sugar

For the filling:
450gr ricotta
100gr caster sugar
25gr plain flour
2 eggs
1 pinch of salt
6cl lemon juice
zest of one lemon
1 pkt vanilla sugar

Preheat oven to 200°C.

Put all the ingredients for the crust in a mixing bowl and knead into a ball with your hands, place back in the bowl and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Then press the dough into a greased baking dish.

Whisk together the ingredients for the filling. Pour ricotta filling into the prepared dish.

Place cheesecake on a lower middle rack of your pre-heated oven and bake for 23 minutes. Leave to cool for at least one hour.

Serve with cherry sauce.