Friends and colleagues are recipe goldmines

Sharing tastes from home and abroad can be a fulfilling experience.

curried carrots 88 (photo credit: )
curried carrots 88
(photo credit: )
All roads may lead to Rome, but for a Jew traveling abroad, they often lead to Jerusalem. As I sat down to Friday lunch with Sara BenIsaac in her charming and ingeniously renovated house in London's Temple Fortune, she drew my attention to a cookbook called Look Who's Cooking..., which she had just bought outside her local kosher bakery - to benefit Shaare Zedek hospital (it is being sold by Shaare Zedek UK). "The cover drew my attention. Isn't it beautiful?" she asked. Indeed it was, and I quickly jotted down a couple of recipes, trying them immediately upon returning home. Both were judged a success. I had raised an eyebrow over the name of the first dish, believing that the title "Easiest Chicken Recipe in the World" belonged to this column. But I was intrigued, and this is truly a very quick and simple way to obtain a rich look and flavor without heaviness - perfect for a Shabbat meal. (The recipe called for simmering the chicken on top of the stove for an hour; I preferred to bake it in the oven.) FASTEST & EASIEST CHICKEN EVER 4 Tbsp. oil 4 Tbsp. honey 4 Tbsp. lemon juice 4 Tbsp. soy sauce 1 chicken, portioned In a pan, bring the first four ingredients to a boil. Arrange the chicken in an oven dish, skin side up, and pour the sauce over it. Cover with foil and bake at 180 (moderate heat) for at least an hour, basting once or twice. Uncover and leave until the chicken is a rich brown. I WAS and am delighted with my second pick, since the only other soup I know that contains apples also calls for parsnips, which aren't available here during most of the year. The best way I can recommend this recipe is to confess that I regretted not having made double the quantity. CURRIED CARROT AND APPLE SOUP 2 tsp. oil 1 Tbsp. mild curry powder 6 medium carrots, sliced 1 large onion, chopped 1-2 large green apples, peeled and chopped 3 cups stock salt and pepper to taste Heat the oil, add the curry powder and saute for 2 minutes. Add the carrots, onion and apple and mix well. Add just a bit of water, cover and cook for 20-30 minutes until soft. Cool and spoon into a blender or food processor, add half the stock and process until smooth (I left some soup unblended to add interest.) Return to the pan and pour in the remaining stock. Reheat and adjust the seasoning. Garnish with chopped coriander, yogurt or a few curls of raw carrot. WHEN In Jerusalem managing editor Atira Winchester dropped by to praise this soup from Jamie Oliver's The Return of the Naked Chef, I asked her to e-mail me the recipe immediately. It is, she says, "remarkably easy, delicious and elegant enough for a dinner party. "Don't be tempted to improvise," she warns. "Keep the correct proportion of potato to Jerusalem artichoke, use fresh thyme, and don't skip or substitute for the hazelnuts - no other nut tastes so rich and altogether right." POTATO & JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE SOUP 2 knobs butter or 1-2 tbsp. oil 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 1 onion, finely chopped 450 gr. Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and chopped 225 gr. potatoes, peeled and chopped good handful of fresh thyme leaves (timin in Hebrew) 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste Garnish: 150 gr. mascarpone cheese (optional; sold by the Gad dairy in a dark blue-purple plastic box) 200 gr. hazelnuts, lightly toasted and crushed Melt the butter or oil and gently saute the garlic, onion, artichoke, potatoes and thyme for around five minutes. Add the stock, season, bring to a boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Cool and blend wholly or partially. Reheat gently, adding the mascarpone, if using. Correct the seasoning. Meanwhile, toast the hazelnuts lightly, crush them, and sprinkle over the soup just before serving. For 4-6. WORLDS MINGLED last Shabbat when my eldest niece, who lives in London and is studying at a Jerusalem seminary, met my daughter's three half-siblings for the first time over lunch at our place. All five, aged seven to 23, had a great time - enhanced by a chocolate mousse cake from a good bakery. Interestingly, the younger ones found it a bit too sweet. Moral: Sugar may not be the shortest way to a child's heart.