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Posts Tagged ‘vagabond cookery’

Cherimoya?
I came across this weird looking fruit at the co-op earlier this week, and as always, I felt an obligation to try it.. I ran a quick Google search while shopping and came up with the following “The cherimoya is often considered one of the best-tasting fruits in the world“. well, now you see, I had NO choice but to get me one.

After a short research I found out that its a type of Anona, native to the Andes and that when ripe it should feel like one’s elbow.. hmm..
It has been resting on my kitchen counter for a few days and today I picked it up and WOW, it felt like an elbow!! well, not really, but it had a softness to it, while still maintaining it’s firmness. That’s good enough for me. let’s cut it open:

It has a fleshy white insides, with big brown seeds, it’s sweet and delicious, with a firm texture that can explain the nick name “custard apple”. Not sure that it stands up for the “best testing fruit” title earlier claimed, but its definitely tasty, and reminded me of a jack fruit both in texture and flavor.

buen provecho !

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Its Spring (!!!) and with it comes a lovely selection of fresh fruit, vegetable and herbs. Just like these beautiful ramps.

Ramps are wild leeks, they look a lot like a scallion with a strong garlic flavor and have a very short season, about 3-4 weeks a year. I had to get some, not really knowing what to make with it.
kumquats are delicious tiny citrus, that has a tangy and sweet flavor.
I have just bought both, without a plan on how to use them, along with a beautiful rack of lamb…
Perhaps a chimichurri style sauce to accompany the lamb?

I Started by coring the Kumquats and dicing them small, then chopping up the ramps the same way, including the white bottoms.

Add garlic, lemon and orange zest and a little of their juice, salt, pepper, chilli flakes and olive oil.

I then made a critical mistake, trying to get the mixture to be finely chopped, I put it in the blender, that wouldn’t be so bad if I was holding back on the olive oil but I didn’t, and once I turned on the blender the oil emulsified, resulting in a creamy sauce rather than a chimichurri… it was still delicious, but had a completely different look and texture from what I was going for.

It looked a lot like Guacamole.. but had a wonderful taste of a the green garlicky ramps, with a nice side kick from the kumquats.

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It’s been months that I have been planing on making these cookies. It all started after I had Thini cookies at Sugar-Daddy in Tel Aviv earlier this year. I was talking about making these cookies for so long that it seemed like it wasn’t going to happen.
After looking up recipes online and in my cookbook collection and not coming up with anything that seemed promising, I tried to improvise… The first batch of cookies was too hard, so I added some butter and replaced a 1/3 of the spelt flour with almond meal. And here you go, a winner recipe, the cookies came out tasty and crumbly, perfect served with tea or on their own. So good!
Thini is basically ground up sesame seeds and Silan is a date syrup, the combination of these two flavors is unreal.
First thing is making sure you are using high quality Thini paste, I prefer Thini that comes from the middle east, it just seems to be better than any local brand I tried. The Silan should be as natural as possible, and without preservatives.

1/2 cup raw Thini paste
1/2 cup date syrup
8 tablespoon of butter (1 stick)
1 1/2 cup flour, I used spelt and almond meal, 1 cup spelt and 1/2 almond.
1/4 cup chopped pistachio
cinnamon, cardamon, vanilla and a pinch of salt

Pre-heat the oven to 355 (180 Celsius)
Start by placing the thini and butter in a sauce pan over low heat, mix until well combined.
In a large bowl mix the thini-butter paste with the silan, chopped pistachios, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, a few drops of vanilla extract, 1/2-1 teaspoon of ground cardamon and the salt.
Slowly add the flour and mix by hand until a soft dough is formed.
Using your hands, form small balls and place on a baking pan, since the dough is soft the cookies will spread, so make sure they are spread out.


Bake for 10-12 minutes, just until slightly brown and take out. Let cool before trying to move the cookies or they will fall apart.
The cookies are extremely soft at first but they will harden as they cool down.

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Its Shavuot, the holiday that commemorates God giving the Torah to the Israelites, and we celebrate it by wearing all white and eating dairy. That might seem odd, but somewhere, someone, had an argument good enough to make others agree, and therefore I wear white (actually I wore purple) and eat cheese. And I can’t complain, as I LOVE dairy in most of its edible forms.

Earlier this week I visited Liat and was handed a bag full of passion-fruit, different from most fruit, the best passion-fruit are the dark and wrinkly looking ones. I love Passion fruit, and it’s Shavuot, what else was I to do?

Short side story, while visiting Hawaii last year I was introduced to the local version of Passion-fruit, Jamaican Lilikoi, a yellow-orange colored fruit, that looks very much like the familiar passion-fruit, but is much sweeter. During that trip I became slightly obsessed with the idea of topping a cheese cake with this wonderful, delicious, tropical fruit, but that never happened. With the combination of the fruit in my bag and the arriving holiday the outcome was inevitable.

Passion-Cheese cake it is.

The recipe is easy as can be, but it is made with an Israeli soft cheese that doesn’t have an American equivalent… You can buy it in Israeli/Jewish supermarkets if you really wanna give it a go or use kwark or fromage blanc instead.

For the dough base:
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
2 cups (280g) AP flour
3 egg yolks
200g cold butter, diced

mix all ingredients together until a uniform dough is formed, placed in a buttered baking dish and shape to make an even base.

Bake on medium heat (180°c, 350°f) for 30 minutes.
once the dough is baked scrape it with a fork to make crumbs, cool down and place in an air-tight box.

For the cheese cake, mix 500 ml heavy cream and 1/3 cup (70g) sugar whip to form a thick cream, then mix in 500g white cheese (Israeli soft, white cheese, should be drained in a cheese cloth over a bowl, in the fridge, for at least two hours prior to mixing in the cake), and some lemon zest.

once the base is completely cool, pour the cheese mixture over the dough and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours to set.

Before serving let stand in room temp for 15 minutes, then, either sprinkle with the crumbs or top with passion fruit, or berries.

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it’s been months since I updated this blog, not because I wasn’t eating but mostly because I haven’t been cooking at all, with an exception of one meal that led to a night of Tequila and booty shaking.
If you know me you know how rear it is for me to go more than a few days without cooking, it’s now getting closer to be two months… but I am still eating, and photographing it !

A recent day trip to Jerusalem will be a good place to start, we made two stops, first at Russel’s Bakery where I spent a few hours shaping loaves and learning a little about the process of bread making that I am so deeply interested in. Then, the Iraqi market where we had some delicious food before buying a ridiculous amount of vegetable, with a clear intention to cook. so far I made one salad consisting of a tomato, a cucumber and a radish…. but it’s only been 3 days so there is still hope.

Russel is a native South African that decide to learn the art of bread making and traveled the word to study recipes and techniques. He opened a small bakery and shop near the Shuke in Jerusalem, and everyday before 4am he starts cutting and shaping, baking and loving his bread. A true artist and an inspiration.

Shaping loaves.
* picture by Yossi Tabul

Russel is working a two hand rolling.

What a way to spend a day off! Thank you Russel for letting me get my hands dirty and play with some walnut dough.

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