Tuesday, July 26, 2011


A little while ago I was lingering in a book shop and stumbled upon a very special cook book in English. It was published by Al Haschulchan in 2007 and is called "The Book of New Israeli Food". Browsing through it still at the shop I immediately fell in love with it. It was written and compiled by Janna Gur and is truly a masterpiece! It is more than just another cook book - it is a book to enjoy just as a book as well!

It contains stories, some of them contributed by four other writers. And it shows absolutely marvelous and remarkable photos. Such beautiful pictures are revealed in this book - it is a great pleasure to turn page after page. My absolute favorite is the double page with a photograph taken at a pomegranate plantation - it is unbelievably delightful!  Eilon Paz is the skillful photographer with the exquisite eye! And there are eight more photographers sharing very pretty pictures. The photos are of course of all the recipes - many great cooks shared their secrets - and they make your mouth water.
And then there are wonderful images of everything here in Israel related to regional food: Olives and oil, wine and grapes and vineyards, the sea, and fish and seafood, the great fruit and vegetables grown here, sheep and goats and locally produced cheese, lamb, poultry and beef, figs, dates and honey, spices, oranges and citrus groves, bakeries with very special Jewish and Arab delicacies, coffee and coffee houses, humus and shwarma stalls, and colorful markets with splendid produce. 

Delicious and tasteful recipes are given for Shabatt. And for the holidays, for Passover and Hanuka, Rosh Ha'Shana and Tu'biShvat, Shavuot and Ramadan. And there are many recipes from the different cultures of the land, Moroccan, Yemenite, Sephardic, Arabic and more.

The recipes are easy to follow and I tried out already a small variety - one of them is majadra. This dish is simple but delicious, I love it and so does about every one I know. The cumin gives it its very distinctive taste. You want to try it? I asked for permission to use the recipe and the accompanying photo by Eilon Paz in a blog post and was kindly given it by Janna Gur - thank you so much Janna - I might ask you again :-)...

Mejadra - Rice with Lentils

Ingredients (serves 6-8)
1 cup brown lentils
2 cups rice
Olive oil for frying                             
3 onions, chopped 
1 tablespoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground pepper

To serve (optional)
2 onions, sliced into thin rings
Oil for frying

1. Cook the lentils in water until they soften, about 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and fry the onions until golden. Add the lentils and season with cumin, salt and pepper. Add the rice and stir-fry for a minute or two until the rice grains turn opaque.
3. Add three cups boiling water, bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat, fluff with a fork, cover and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
4. Before serving fry the onion rings in oil until brown and crisp and arrange over the mejadra.

Bon appetit, Be TeAvon, Guten Appetit!



zsazsazsu said...

mouthwatering blogpost ... and a dish I will certainly try, as so my daughter will :-)

Eva said...

Sounds great! So simple and certainly very tasty. This is much the method I use for cooking. Very practical -- and no loss. I like dishes where nothing is poured away, but each component is kept until the end.

Clare said...

mmm this looks delicious - I'm going to try it out as we love lentils. I remember from some of your other photos the lovely food you have in Israel, it makes me jealous. I like to cook but often get bored with the lack of variety in vegetables in our shops and everything always looks like its seen better days.

Dawn of LaTouchables said...

Yael, I love that recipe--and make it too! I so appreciate the tip for a good cookbook--the stories make it all the better! Thank you!

glazedOver Pottery said...

You bring so much of what is delicious about this planet to life for us, Yael. I will definitely try this recipe. It looks scrUMPtious!

Irmi said...

Liebe Yael,
das ist sicherlich ein wunderschönes Kochbuch.
Das Essen sieht lecker aus. Das Rezept habe ich mir kopiert.
Einen lieben Abendgruß schickt Dir