Short Order: Upgraded ain't always good

The morning after I returned to Jerusalem from the UK, my daughter announced: "I'm taking you out for breakfast. It's your welcome home."

The morning after I returned to Jerusalem from the UK, my daughter announced: "I'm taking you out for breakfast. It's your welcome home." I was gratified. For why else do we put up with the diapers, the colic, the broken nights, the teething and teenage seething - if not to have our newly adult offspring take us out for a slap-up meal? Except that it wasn't; through no fault of Avital's. We went to a trendy cafe-restaurant near our home where, not long before, she and a friend had enjoyed an "upgraded breakfast" (aruhat boker meshudreget). We sat down anticipating great things to come... and sat, and sat, and sat some more until we were so hungry we could only smile weakly at each other. Finally a waitress materialized, and we ordered two breakfasts. Everything was carefully noted down, though we subsequently wondered why. Instead of English tea, I received mint tea. Instead of grapefruit juice, I got orange juice. The eggs were - if you want to be charitable - lukewarm; if you prefer to be honest, cold. The tuna salad, requested without mayonnaise, arrived swimming in it. Avital, a former hostess at a busy restaurant in town, nurtures a great tenderness for the overworked waiting profession. But as the minutes ticked by and she waded through her solitary breakfast (mine appearing only much later) she fought to retain her equanimity. A generous tipper, this time she left the minimum. One thing did evoke a belated chuckle, however - recalling the name of our mismanaged meal: "upgraded breakfast." ON THE second night of Hanukka, I found myself deep in tea and talk at the London home of my friend, writer and yoga teacher Sara BenIsaac. The candles lit and the songs sung, she presented me with a surprise Hanukka gift: the artfully produced Look Who's Cooking..., sales of which go to aid Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem. Mindful of my Scottish origins, as well as of the fact that January 25, a mere month away, is the date of the traditional supper celebrating national bard Robert Burns, I decided to share the following recipe, submitted by Michael Mail: VEGETARIAN HAGGIS 100 gr. onion, peeled and finely chopped 1 Tbsp. sunflower oil 50 gr. carrots, very finely chopped 35 gr. mushrooms, finely chopped 50 gr. red lentils 600 ml. vegetable stock 25 gr. canned red kidney beans, mashed 35 gr. ground peanuts 25 gr. ground hazelnuts 2 Tbsp. soy sauce 1 Tbsp. lemon juice 2 tsp. dried thyme 1 tsp. dried rosemary a generous pinch cayenne pepper 11⁄2 tsp. mixed spice 200 gr. fine oatmeal freshly ground black pepper Preheat the oven to 190º. Saute the onion in the oil for 5 minutes, then add the carrot and mushrooms and cook for five minutes more. Add the lentils and three quarters of the stock. Blend the mashed kidney beans with the remaining stock and add them to the pan with the nuts, soy sauce, lemon juice and seasonings. Cook everything, well mixed, for a further 10-15 minutes. Add the oatmeal, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes, adding a little extra liquid if necessary. Turn the mixture into a lightly-oiled loaf tin and bake for 30 minutes. THIS EASY dish by Fally Sharabani, from the same cookbook, is "great served with spaghetti." CHICKEN CACCIATORE 6 chicken thighs or drumsticks 1 onion, chopped 1 Tbsp. olive oil 1 clove garlic, chopped 600 gr.-800 gr. canned chopped tomatoes 11⁄2 Tbsp. tomato puree 1 red pepper, cut into small squares 1 green pepper, cut into small squares salt and pepper to taste oregano to taste 1⁄4 tsp. sugar Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and sauté the onion until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté. Add the tomato, tomato puree and peppers. Add the chicken, salt, pepper, oregano and sugar. Cover and cook over low heat for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. IN EILAT last week, I was pleased to come upon a quite impressive-looking kosher restaurant on the sea-front, though somewhat dismayed to see, posted on the menu, "marinated foul wings." Personally, I'd avoid them. [email protected]