- a new take on Jewish cooking

Long ago I visited Israel, and loved the vibe and the energy (and, yes, even the occasional pushiness) wishing I could have stayed longer. As yet I have never returned, but the other day I did feel as if I had, with a delightful new book that promises 'a new take on Jewish cooking'.

Anyone who has a gefilte fish or matzo ball filter with their impressions of Jewish cuisine should see this book.

The author, Amanda Ruben, is the founder and owner of Miss Ruben, a New York-inspired deli abd cafe in Ripponlea, the heart of Melbourne's Jewish community.

She obviously knows traditional Jewish cookery well, but she has opted to bring modern Jews and non-Jews into this century with recipes for dishes such as carrot salad with miso tahini, or Middle Eastern fruit salad with cashew cream. 

From these examples, you will have picked up that the recipes span the globe in their origins and re-fusion. Amanda has also clicked with today's grazing style of eating, as of course so many Jewish recipes fit this brief perfectly.

My personal way of rating a cookbook is to note how many paper tags are poking out after I have browsed through it.

This book is bristling with them, so here are my choice of dishes that I plan to try, knowing I will enjoy them: salted choc chip tahini cookies (yes!), orange and cinnamon kugelhpf - see my priorities are good: sweets first! Then there is a chickpea pancake with mache, asparagus and manchego that I cannot wait to try, as well as sticky beef rib fried rice, and potato and carrot latke with herby quark and salmon eggs. 

Actually I could almost simply quote the index, as the recipes accompanied with excellent fullpage photographs just make me want to head straight to the kitchen.

Keeping up with the times too, many dishes either suit (or can easily be made to fit) various allergies and sensitivities.

You will never roll your eyes again when someone mentions Jewish food once you have tried these recipes. 

PS: Oh, and do try the pomegranate and honey-glazed poussin!

- reviewed by Sally Hammond


Feasting - a new take on Jewish cooking, by Amanda Ruben, published by Hardie Grant, March 2018, hardcover, rrp A$49.99.


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