Challah with Fresh Yeast


I have several recipes for challah: Claudia Roden’s, Quick Challah and Ima’s Challah. But recently I have switched to a recipe with fresh yeast, less sugar and a mixture of flours. The taste is lovely so I thought I’d share it with you.

1 kg plain flour (I often use half white and half spelt
1 block of fresh yeast (42g)
20 cl sunflower oil
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt

1 egg yolk
poppy or sesame seeds (optional)

Dissolve the yeast in 10cl of warm water. Whisk well and set aside.

In a large bowl, put the flour, sugar and salt. Add the yeast, the oil and 25cl of warm water. Mix well and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave to rise for 90 minutes.

Once the dough has doubled in size, knead again very lightly and let the dough rise for another 1 hour.

Divide then the dough into four pieces to make 4 loaves and place on prepared baking sheet. Brush gently with the beaten egg yolk, making sure you brush the whole loaf so as not to get a contrast in colours. Sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds if using.

Bake in a preheated 400° F (200°C) oven for 25 minutes or until the loaves are beautifully golden-brown.

I often half the quantity and get two middle-sized loaves.

Bulgur Chili


4 servings
This nutritious dish – otherwise known as chili sin carne – can be served plain or topped with grated mozzarella or cheddar. It is a fine vegetarian alternative to chulent.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 green peppers, seeded and diced
1 pound white mushrooms, fresh or in a can
1 can (15.5 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 ounces) tomatoes with juices (squeeze tomatoes by
1/2 cup whole grain bulgur (cracked wheat)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme petals
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan and cover. Add
garlic, onion and green pepper. Simmer over low heat until
onion is tender.
Wipe mushrooms with a damp paper towel, trim ends
as needed and slice. Add to saucepan with remaining ingredients,
plus 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil. Cook very slowly,
covered, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
Season to taste.

The Coffee Dilemmas


I love coffee and usually drink four to five cups a day. I use a traditional drip coffeemaker with a programmable digital clock which I set in the evening. My favorite blends include one from Kenya and another one which combines Kenyan and Indian beans. I buy them at the local stores.

My routine only differs on Fridays when I make a big pot and pour it into a vaccuum flask which enables me to drink hot coffee on Shabbat mornings.

As I have mentioned elsewhere I am spending a couple of weeks in a friends’ flat and the problem is that they do not have a regular coffemaker. Only the husband drinks coffee and he uses one of these new coffee brewing systems., the Senseo coffee machine.

To the non-coffee drinker this might look like a detail but it isn’t so simple.

– First I had to learn to use the machine properly so as to make a big bowl in the morning – as opposed to an espresso kind of cup, the type which is made after lunch.

– I also needed to identify which pods to use for morning coffees and which ones to use for the post-lunch beverage since the sizes are different.

– Then there is the flavor issue. Most of these pods are manufactured by Douwe Egberts®, by no means my favorite brand. Alternative pods exist but apparently the blends are not necessarily the same as for the drip coffeemakers.

– Lastly, there is the Shabbat issue; one which I need to have solved by tomorrow. I have the feeling that this espresso type of coffee isn’t meant to sit in a vaccuum flask for hours before it is drunk.

Quick Shabbat Dishes with Asian Touch



As a further development to Mom in Israel’s post on tips for a quicker preparation of Shabbat meals during the winter months, I have made a compilation of the different recipes on my blog that do not take too long to prepare and to cook. Most of them, I would recommend for the Friday evening meal.

All the following dishes are parve:
Salmon in Curry Sauce
Cauliflower and Green Pea Curry
Asian Salmon
Fish Yellow Curry
Red Lentil Curry
Egg Curry

I intend to post a Swedish recipe soon. It will be quick and easy too but with no curry.

Marinated Roasted Peppers


Marinated Peppers (serves 4-6 people)

3-5 red and yellow peppers
2-3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Olive oil
Coarse salt
Oregano (or thyme)
Freshly ground black pepper

Arrange peppers on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake under the grill until blackened and soft, 25-30 minutes, turning once or twice. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand 10 minutes (this makes skin removal easier). Slip off the skin and scrape out seeds; remove stems and slice the peppers.
Arrange one layer of sliced peppers, cover with olive oil, add some garlic, sprinkle oregano, salt and black pepper. Add one more layer and repeat operation until you have run out of peppers. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

– Add a little balsamic vinegar to the marinade.
– Garnish with olives and goat cheese when you serve.

When Women Read the Bible

200px-V03p128a01_Ketubah.jpgI mentioned this book a couple of weeks ago and since I read part two over Shabbat, I thought I would share my reading. The essays in that part deal with issues facing Jewish women today. Most essays were written by Modern Orthodox women (even if the concept is alien to French Judaism it is not alien to some French Jews). Here is a summary of the ones I liked best.

– Two deal with the problem of the Agunah. One from a more historical point of view; it shows how some rabbis have tried to solve this problem over the years and how their decisions was often criticized by fellow rabbis. The other one explains how this issue could be avoided altogether, both before marriage (mainly with a prenuptial agreement in the ketubah) or after the marriage has taken place.

– Three essays describe how women’s issues have affected Modern Orthodox Judaism in the States and Israel since women started to reach higher education en masse in the 70s. One is sociological, one more historical while the last one focuses on the consequences of the increasing number of female Torah scholars for the Jewish world.

– Another essay discusses the development of the Bat-Mitzvah ceremony. The author is the mother of two girls who had special ceremonies when they turned 12. Apparently the celebrations were prepared with great care so as to both honor the girls and stress the importance of that day while respecting Halakhah. It seems that the mother did a bit of research about the story of this new ritual. Apparently the first to emphasize the significance of that day for Jewish girls were Israeli Sephardic rabbis. However they did not envisage a public ceremony; this developed later, particularly in the United States.

– One paper written by a German Jew who lives in France describes the Modern Orthodox women of her community. She explains how they manage to live a Jewish life while leading that of a modern woman. The author focuses on their headcovering and how their attitude to this item of clothing varies from one woman to the next. Her tour de force is to discuss a serious topic while infusing it with humor.

Eggplant Dishes

images-1.jpegEggplant is one of my favourite vegetables. It is versatile, healthy and can be used in summer as well as winter dishes.

Eggplant Salad (serves 4 people)

2 eggplants

400 gr of peeled canned tomatoes

3 crushed cloves garlic

fresh coriander/cilantro

1 tsp ground cumin

olive oil

salt and pepper

Grill or microwave the eggplants. Wait until they have cooled. Cut in half and scoop out the pulp.

Heat the olive oil in a pan and gently fry the garlic, make sure it does not burn. Add the tomatoes and cook uncovered for about 10 minutes.

Add the eggplant pulp, the coriander, salt and pepper. Cook uncovered for approximately 20 minutes, stirring from time to time.

When the dish is cooked, add the ground cumin. Chill at least 3 hours.

Eggplant Quiche (dairy)

Ready-made flaky pastry

1 packet of frozen grilled or fried slices of eggplant

150 gr of soft goat cheese

1 small jar of tapenade

olive oil

a few black pitted olives

Press the pastry into a pie plate. Smear it with the tapenade, not too heavily though. Arrange the slices of eggplants on top. Add the sliced cheese. Sprinkle with herbs and drizzle a little olive oil. Put a few olives in the middle to decorate.

Cook 25 minutes at 450°F.

Quick Shabbat Treats

eggplant.jpgRecipes for those in a hurry.

Tunisian Salad (serves 4 people)

3 onions

400 gr of peeled canned tomatoes

a jar of grilled red peppers

61/2 oz. can tuna in olive oil.

olive oil

black or green olives (optional)


Heat the olive oil in a pan and gently fry the chopped onions until they become translucent. Meanwhile drain the peppers and chop them. Add the tomatoes and roasted peppers to the pan. Cook for about 30 minutes.

When the salad is cooked, add the drained tuna, a tsp of harissa and the pitted olives. Season to taste.

Eggplant Caviar (dairy) (serves 3 to 4 people)

2 eggplants

1 tomato or 1 tbsp of tomato ketchup

1 garlic clove

4 tbsp olive oil

1 plain yoghurt

the juice of 1/2 lemon

salt and pepper

Microwave the eggplants. This tip is provided by Norene Gilletz in Healthy Helpings. Wash them and dry well. Pierce skin in several places with fork. Microwave uncovered on high, allowing 5 to 6 minutes per pound. Halfway through cooking, turn eggplants over. Remove from microwave and let stand for 10 minutes. Cut in half and scoop out the pulp.

Mash eggplants and mix with garlic and tomato.

Add salt, pepper, lemon juice and olive oil. Mix well. Add the yoghurt and mix again.

Chill at least 3 hours.


images.jpegThis is a simple but gorgeous version of the famous Tunisian dish. It is also a nice recipe to eat as part of one of the Shabbat meals or any evening now that spring seems to be round the corner.

Shakshouka (serves 4 people)

2 red peppers

2 green peppers
4 tomatoes or 400 gr of peeled canned tomatoes (much tastier in winter or until tomatoes are really nice in shops)

4 garlic cloves

olive oil

salt and pepper

Roast the peppers under the grill until the skin is dark and the flesh is cooked. Forget about the pepers for a while and get back to them when they have cooled, this takes at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile skin the tomatoes and roughly chop them. Heat the oil in a pan and add the garlic.

Now skin and slice the peppers. Add the tomatoes and peppers to the pan.

Cook covered for about 45 minutes or until the shakshouka has a jammy consistence and a deep red color. Serve cold.