Joyful Jewish

Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Last Tu Bishvat, I organised a snack activity to tie in with the theme of the Seven Species, “shivat haMinim”.  These are the grains and fruits listed in the Torah as being special products of Eretz Yisrael, the land of Israel: “a land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig-trees and pomegranates; a land of olive-trees and (date) honey”.

Seven species biscuit

It’s not so easy to combine all these species into one child-friendly snack, so I cheated slightly by replacing olives with almonds (as almond trees blossom in Israel around the time of Tu Bishvat) and gluing the lot together with chocolate icing.  It was delicious!!   (We also offered the kids bread with olive oil for dipping, so no species was missed out.)

All you need is a packet of Malt biscuits (which contain both wheat and barley)

Malt biscuit

and some chopped up fruit (specifically: dates, dried figs, pomegranate seeds and sultanas) and slivered almonds

Date, fig, pomegranate, sultana & almonds

and a quantity of home-made chocolate icing (or something similar) to hold the fruit and nuts in place.

Spread the biscuit with chocolate icing, load up with date, fig, pomegranate, sultanas and almonds – some of the kids even made little pictures out of their toppings – and eat!  This was so quick and easy to organise, and so popular, I can guarantee we’ll be doing it again.

I can’t claim any credit for this recipe – it came from Kveller and you can find it here.  But it is fantastic. I made it last week and not only did I feel like some sort of kitchen goddess for producing something so awesome, but also everyone who ate it loved it.  I am sure you will get lots of compliments too!

I doubled the recommended amounts of cinnamon and cardamom and it was still quite subtle, so if you like that kind of flavour, don’t be afraid to add a bit more.

B’tei avon!


Last Chanukah I had a go at inventing my own mixed vegetable latkes, and they were not bad.  But this year I decided to try someone else’s tried and tested recipe instead, and I’m glad I did.  Kveller’s contemporary latkes include the extremely delicious Sweet Potato Latkes (with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves) and the equally more-ish Gingered Sweet Potato Latkes with fresh ginger, soy sauce, spring onions and cloves.  So good that my daughter did me the honour of saying, at an oneg featuring many different latkes, “Mum, your latkes are the best!” (And she’s not even old enough to be saying that in the hope of getting more gelt!)


Our family loves to take a tradition and tweak it a bit.  🙂

Plain potato latkes are a bit ho-hum, so we make a colourful version which is delicious and about as healthy as you can get for a fried food!  My husband really dislikes fried potato (unlike me!) which is a bit of a handicap at Hanukkah.  However, I’m happy to say that he comes back for more of these.

How to make mixed vegetable latkes:

Grate 2 small potatoes, half a large sweet potato, half a large zucchini and half a large carrot (or equivalent amounts).  Put them in a sieve or colander and squeeze out as much excess liquid as you can (especially from the potato and the zucchini).
Use a V-slicer if you have one to finely chop half a large onion.  (You can grate it if you want, but make sure you have the tissues handy!)
Open and drain a very small tin of sweet corn kernels.

In a large bowl, use a fork to beat together 2 eggs, about 6 tablespoons of self-raising flour, and a good shaking of dried Italian herbs (or whatever takes your fancy and adds a bit of flavour).

Add the grated/chopped/drained vegetables and stir.  At this point it looks like coleslaw with way too much mayonaise on it.

Heat a heavy based frying pan with about 1cm of canola oil.   It’s hot enough when a little bit of vege thrown in starts sizzling in a satisfying way.  Place spoonfuls of latke mixture in the oil, flatten a little and allow to cook for 3 minutes.  Turn over and cook for another 3 minutes on the other side.

Take latkes out and immediately place onto kitchen paper – cover with more kitchen paper and press gently to absorb excess oil.  Keep warm as you cook the remaining latke mixture, especially if you want to serve them all at the same temperature.

Delicious served hot, cold or anywhere in between.   I love them with a slightly spicy fruit chutney, but you could use sweet chili sauce, BBQ sauce, or even (heaven forbid!) something traditional such as apple sauce/sour cream.

B’tei avon!


This is a very easy recipe for shaped biscuits.  My three year old daughter enjoyed helping punch out the shapes and decorating them almost as much as she enjoyed eating them afterwards!


55g softened butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 cup self-raising flour

(optional) Some of those little metallic balls used for cake decorating.  My packet  says they are called  “cachous”.


Preheat oven to 180C.

Cream butter and sugar, then beat in the egg.
Add the flours (sift if necessary) and mix well.
Tip out the dough onto a flat surface and roll out to about 0.5cm thick.
Cut into shapes – I recently found a set of different sized Magen David star shaped cookie cutters at Spotlight.
Place on a prepared tray (I am a big fan of baking paper rather than greasing) and decorate with a cachou if you are using them.
Bake for about 10 minutes.


Fun crafts and activities for Jewish families with young children

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