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Jerusalem, A Cookbook

Jerusalem, A Cookbook

I didn’t grow up with cookbooks; the women I watched cooking growing up did not use cookbooks or written-down recipes, they cooked from memory, having watched other women cook.

Most were wonderful and accomplished cooks, who could whip up tasty and intricate meals from the basic and makeshift ingredients they had at hand.

I wasn’t fortunate, I never learned to cook the ‘traditional’ way – I remember trying to make ‘light soup’ for my friend L’s mom, she took one look at my detailed carefully typed out recipe and asked, “Didn’t your mother ever teach you how to cook?”

I’ve never considered myself a ‘good cook’ for this reason; I learned to cook through cookbooks and food blogs –I basically turned this into a food blog just because I wanted to prove to myself that I too, could cook.

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This great thing about cooking from instruction is that, once you learn some basic and proper cooking techniques, you naturally start to cook instinctively and improvise more, and that, I think, makes you a better cook.

I’ve collected quite a few cookbooks over the years, but it’s not often that I find one that I can actually cook from over and over again, and confirms that cookbooks are important.

Jerusalem is one of those cookbooks, I got my copy last fall and I reach for it quite often; the recipes are inspiring and creative, using tasty wholesome ingredients and the freshest herbs.

It’s not surprising really that there was a lot of buzz around this award winning cookbook; It’s an unintentional voice of peace for the region, and inclusively celebrates culinary traditions inspired by Jerusalem.

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It’s the intriguing nourishing recipes that really make this cookbook standout; the food is pictured beautifully and the instructions are easy to follow. The ingredients are hearty and vibrant, and make you feel like you’re eating healthy. The use of extensive and exotic spices adds a certain depth to the dishes that is quite spectacular.

My copy sits displayed on my bookshelf, with sticky notes bookmarking some of my favourite recipes, the cover bright and softly padded.
Admittedly, this isn’t the first Ottolenghi cookbook I’ve fallen in love with; I’m pretty much enamoured with Plenty too and I’ve cooked exhaustively from it.

A few recipes I’ve tried and loved from Jerusalem are:

Roasted sweet potatoes & fresh figs (pg. 26)
Spiced chickpeas & fresh vegetable salad (pg. 56)
Charred okra with tomato, garlic & preserved lemon (pg. 74)
Basmati rice & orzo (pg. 102)
Basmati & wild rice with chickpeas (pg. 106)
Mejadra (pg. 120)


Tarallucci Cookies


You already know that I have a thing for these Italian cookies, there’s something curiously appealing about them; probably because they’re foreign and that makes them seem exotic.
I also feel I’m learning some Italian as I go along, unfortunately I doubt things like ‘zucchero’ and ‘farina di frumento’ will help in real life Italian situations.

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Now on to these Tarallucci cookies… I like them! They look a bit unusual for shortbread cookies but they make the best breakfast cookies.
Airy, puffy and delicate, the taste is mellow with a hint of honey.
The texture is slightly cakey, but firm enough for dunking, and marvellous with steaming cup of milky spiced tea.

If you believe this ad, Antonio Banderas bakes Tarallucci cookies in his enchanted factory on a field of golden wheat, and there’s a chicken named Rosita.

I got them from Eataly, which stocks rows and rows of shiny bags of cookies from Italian brands like Mulino Bianco.
According to the manufacturers, the cookies are made with wholesome ad natural ingredients using traditional Italian recipes

They do have a short shelf life, luckily that wasn’t an issue for us.


Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Bar – Toffee with Walnuts & Pecans


I probably should state now that Trader Joe’s doesn’t pay me to tout their stuff.
Maybe they should, because there are a lot of goodies from TJ’s that I absolutely adore.
Of course, I’m not alone in this; there are others like me, not that I have a blog dedicated to TJ’s or anything…

Lately I’ve noticed that I’m not the only one making the cross border treks to get to the TJ’s in Bellingham.
On weekends at the TJ’s on James Street, there are usually more BC plates on the choked parking lot than there are Washington State plates – the locals must hate us!

One Saturday morning a few months ago when I told the guard at the border that I was making my monthly trip to TJ’s, he grinned and said “you too, huh?”
And before he handed back our IDs he asked if we’d tried the ‘dark chocolate bar with toffee and salt’.
We shook our heads and he said “You should, it’s the one with the squirrel on the package, it’s really good”

And it is!

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Bar – Toffee with Walnuts & Pecans
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I’m surprised I hadn’t noticed the playful attractive packaging before; I grab two or three bars whenever I go now.
The bar is thin, glossy and deep brown in large sectioned squares, made with 70% cocoa it’s surprisingly not intense, it’s almost mild without a bitter aftertaste.

It’s crunchy with tiny pieces of salty toffee, pecans and walnuts, although the nuts aren’t as detectable.
The salt and sweet and nuttiness of the toffee and nuts shine through the smooth and mild chocolate base.
I think the salt is what makes this chocolate special; overall, it’s a yummy tasting bar, inexpensive ($1.99 for 3oz bar), and for a chocolate lover like me, handy to have around to satisfy those cravings.


My Other Chocolate Posts:

Milk and Bucaneve Cookies

225/365 Milk & Cookies #mostly365

Today I’m going to tell you about these adorable cookies I found at the Italian store, and my favourite way to snack on them.
My friend D. told me about these cookies years ago, along with charming stories of the summers he spent in Italy with his grandmother
I think I fell in love with his childhood a little, which made the cookies seem a bit more magical when I first saw them.

Snowdrop Cookie

Bucaneve or snowdrop is a flower shaped popular Italian cookie with frosting on top.
At teatime when he was a kid, D’s grandmother would toss of few of bucaneve cookies in a bowl of sweetened milk and leave a few out for dunking or tossing in later.
It’s simple cookie; dry, sweet and crumbly with a delicate vanilla flavor; and doesn’t fall apart when dipped in milk.

Milk & Bucaneve Cookies

This is exactly how I eat them too… milk and Bucaneve cookes, like cereal in sweetened almond milk; it tastes indulgent, like I’m having dessert.
With the holidays upon us, I see a lot of snacking in my future, and how fitting it will be… snacking on snowdrops.

Bucaneve Cookies & Milk

Wednesday Chocolate Break

Hazelnuts Wheels

I love these chocolate bars just for their retro automobile artwork – how cool are they?
It’s pretty good chocolate too, Belgian chocolate made with real cocoa butter.
It’s made by Starbrook Airlines (it’s an imaginary airline), with art illustrations by Jaak De Koninck.
Some of his oil and watercolour paintings can be see at the Brussels Airport.
According to the company’s website their chocolates are produced in a semi-artisan way.
And they’re adherents of the ‘Belgian Chocolate Code’ this could also be an imaginary code, but like I said, it’s good chocolate.


Don’t they seem like the perfect bar for a road trip?
With its nostalgic renderings of cars, planes and airline travel.
I got a few this afternoon for my mini road trip this weekend


Urban Fare on Alberni (next to the Shangri-La) carries these, the Dan-D Pak store on Broadway has them too.