Have I urged you to keep an eye on what is being sold in the housewares section of the supermarket? Faithful readers will recall that I have, more than once, pointing out that there are amazing bargains to be had.
A few weeks ago, I was trundling down the central aisle of my local store, making for the checkout, when I saw a man pick a box of Hanukka candles off a shelf.
Good idea, I thought, not to wait until the last moment, and followed suit. Which was when I saw, amid the uninspiring collection of hanukkiot supermarkets seem to excel in, a ceramic model, simple yet lovely, available in a number of colors. I turned one around to see the price: NIS 12.99.
Without hesitation I bought two - one for myself, the other as a gift.
THIS PAST weekend, asked to "please make something different," I lugged the hefty but beautiful Mary Berry's Complete Cookbook off the shelf and hunted for something that called for a marinade - preferably using the juicy oranges and two plump turkey thighs I had just bought.
I give the following (chicken) recipe as it appears in the book, although I simplified it, one might say, almost beyond recognition, omitting the flour and the garnish and, in fact, all the stages after the actual baking.
I simply left the turkey thighs, covered, in the marinade overnight, then baked them, covered with foil, basting occasionally, for as long as it took - and turkey thighs can take a few hours - uncovering the pan for a bit at the end.
The taste: marvelous.
CHICKEN WITH SAGE & ORANGE
6 boneless chicken breasts, with the skin
1 tbsp. plain flour
orange segments and fresh sage leaves to garnish
300 ml. orange juice
1 tbsp. light soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp. chopped fresh sage (or 4-6 dried leaves)
1-cm. piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped (or 1â„2 tsp. powdered)
salt and black pepper to taste
Mix the marinade. Toss the chicken in it, and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Reserve the marinade and arrange the chicken breasts, skin-side up, in a large roasting tin. Bake the chicken in a preheated oven at 190 for about 20 minutes. Pour the reserved marinade over the chicken and return to the oven for 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon to a warmed platter; cover and keep warm. Pour all but two tablespoons of the marinade into a jug, and reserve. Add the flour to the marinade remaining in the roasting tin and mix to a smooth paste.
Put the tin on top of the stove and cook, stirring, for one minute. Gradually stir in the reserved marinade. Bring to a boil, simmer for two minutes and taste for seasoning. Strain, pour a little around the chicken breasts and garnish with the orange segments and fresh sage. Serve the remaining sauce separately.
FLOWER SILLIMAN, who in the 1980s owned Jerusalem's beloved Maharajah restaurant, has brought out a cookbook called Around the World with a Skillet. Many of its recipes were on her menu, and this is among the simplest:
225 gr. seedless dates
1 cup boiling water
11â„2 tsp. baking soda
2 cups flour
3â„4 cup sugar
1â„2 cup chopped nuts
2 tbsp. oil
Mix the dates and water, and allow to soften. When they are mushy, add the baking soda, flour, sugar, oil, eggs and nuts. Mix well and bake in a greased loaf tin at 180 for 45 minutes, or until done. Optional: Add half a cup of chocolate chips to the batter.
AT CERTAIN times of the year - Independence Day, for example - people come out with lists of "Reasons to Love Israel." These are generally worthy, but there's one I've never seen: the fact that most stores will gift-wrap your purchases - for free and often very attractively - if you ask.
In the UK, such a request would be treated with incredulity. Gift-wrap an item for you? You'd be directed to the nearest H.W. Smith, where wrapping paper is sold in packs.
Not so in the Promised Land, where wrap-for-you is routine. What's more, my supermarket has a huge roll of colorful paper there for the taking, plus scissors for cutting, tape for sticking - and three different colors of ribbon!
I knew I was right to make aliya.