Back when I was in Italy in November, I took some photos for the home-delivery services of Snubar, a very good kosher catering business that offers Kosher Middle Eastern/Lebanese cuisine in Milan and surroundings. One of Snubar’s specialties is arayes, a simple but ingenious Lebanese dish that is a major hit in Israeli restaurants. What are arayes, you ask? imagine a pita cut in half, stuffed with well-spiced minced meat, cooked on the grill: the crumb absorbs the juices of the meat, while the crust gets crunchy and a little charred. Isn’t your mouth watering already?


As this week we celebrated Yom Ha’azmaut, Israel’s independence day, I thought I’d dust off my favorite arayes recipe, which is found in the book “Shuk” by Einat Admony and Janna Gur, published by Artisan (the same publishing house that will soon publish my book on Italian Jewish cuisine!).
If you are a fan of Ottolenghi, and you like the multi-ethnic cuisine of Israel, you can’t miss this book: it contains not only a lot of delicious recipes, but also a lot of useful tips if one day – when traveling will be safe again – you’ll visit Israel. Einat’s passion for the markets (shuk) of Israel really shines through every page!

Do yourself a favor and try making arayes, maybe this coming weekend: you won’t regret it. If you have time, make your own pita, too: it will be the best lunch or dinner ever! Read more Arayes  

Challattone: a challah that wanted to be a panettone

I would have liked to post a savory recipe one of these days, to avoid boring you with sweets too often, but I got this absurd and – if I can modestly say it myself – really genius inspiration to transform my challah dough into a an Italian panettone recently and… well, I couldn’t wait: the recipe is too good not to be shared immediately. In addition, many of you asked me out loud on Facebook to post it as soon as you saw the picture, so I decided to deliver.


When you are Jewish, so you prepare challah every week, but you are in Italy and Christmas is approaching, so you crave panettone… then you create challattone, the challah that wanted to be a panettone!
Imagine a brioche bread with the fruity aroma and ingredients of panettone (raisins, candied fruit… minus the butter!), that is also easy to whip up, not as scary as panettone: that’s the challattone, and I know you will love it!
Read more Challattone: a challah that wanted to be a panettone  

Chocolate shortcrust cookies

These chocolate shortcrust cookies have been my afternoon snack for many days over the last year, when I was bent over the computer working on the book and needed to treat myself with something sweet. Baked goods here in America are very unhealthy on average, so I try to avoid them, but I can’t do without a cookie or two (or three …) every now and then, so I started baking these cookies at home.

chocolate shortcrust cookies

The advantage of these chocolate shortcrust cookies is that they are quick and easy, certainly healthier than the packaged ones, and not too sweet, but they satisfy my craving for chocolate very efficiently. The flaw, of course, is that you can’t eat just a single cookie, and before you notice, you finish the whole batch!
Read more Chocolate shortcrust cookies