I woke up this morning to the sound of thunder.
I love rainy Saturdays in Israel, I can curl back up under the covers and dream for an extra hour without feeling guilty. Sunny Saturdays I am up and out of bed by 7, puttering around, windows open and the whole day ahead of me to go wandering around the city, or to the beach, or just around the corner to Moti's for burekas and coffee. But a rainy Saturday is like a licence to laze about and do homey things, watch movies, have an afternoon nap and generally pamper yourself with lots of tea and no fixed agenda. And that is exactly what I did today.
When I finally did get up I inspected the new toy I bought at the flea market yesterday:
A Baker's Ware Cookie and Noodle Kit.
Very early 70's. I think my mom has the exact same thing, and she makes gorgeous looking butter cookies topped with tiny pieces of green and red marascino cherries and crystalized ginger (my favourite).
So I looked at this 10 shekel find, which also included the original instruction booklet with recipes, and seriously contemplated making cookies today. But then common sense took over. I had dinner to prepare for Cactus & Sass and better that I don't have cookies in the house...
So out came the tuna and the gelatine and I made a creditable mousse following the same basic idea as the cod's roe mousse I made a little bit ago, but this time I added a contrasting strip of broccoli/avocado (about 150gr broccoli & 1/2 an avocado. Next time I will add more onions and lemon to give it more bumph, but this way I can take it to work and won't suffer from onion breath...
Next up was a fennel soup with Arak.
I don't know whether the Arak is any good, but I bought it at the recommendation of on of the Hinawi's, so it can't be bad. The soup doesn't photograph well, but the bottle does...
- Fennel sliced thinly 5 bulbs
- Onion 1 medium
- Arak 100ml / 1/2 cup (more if you like)
- Olive oil 1-2 tbsps
- Flour 1 tbsp
- Water (or chicken stock) 440ml / 2 cups (more if necessary)
- Salt & white pepper to taste
- Whipping cream for garnish
- Fennel fronds chopped for garnish
Heat oil over medium heat, add onion and sweat 'til translucent.
Add flour and cook it, stirring for about 2 minutes
Add sliced fennel and stir to coat then add 1 cup of water/stock and cover. Stir occasionally and if pot starts to dry out add more liquid.
When fennel is soft, use stick blender and puree, then sieve the mixture, bring to a boil and add the arak. Adjust the consistency and seasonings. This can be as thick or as thin as you like, personally, I like the intensity of the thicker soup.
To serve, garnish with a swirl of cream, a sprinkling of fennel and a grind of black pepper.
Next up on the agenda was a mixed salad with organic baby greens, romaine and tomatoes from my CSA, hard boiled egg, and a simple vinaigrette. I also made a shaved fennel salad with oranges. Unfortunately I didn't have any pomegranate seeds - that would have made it perfect.
Chicken wings with soy, garlic, onions, chili powder, ketchup and silan, baked until they were gooey and sticky and crispy... At this point C had to take a nap, but that gave the crumble a chance to finish baking.
What makes this crumble different from all other crumbles. I used really ripe persimmons instead of sugar with the apples. I made it more unctuous and added a mysterious, almost musky flavour (according to Harold McGee they are in the same flavour category as pumpkin, but are sweeter to the nth degree.)