Author: Ruth Nieman

The Galilean Kitchen … a cookbook with a difference

This time last year, the groves of the Galilee began their annual production of organic olive oil and I started writing this beautiful cookbook, The Galilean Kitchen. It has been a year in the making (involving lots of writing and LOTS of tasting) and it is with great excitement, I am proud to announce, that it is nearly ready to bring you the best of this lush region’s dishes, full of cultural flavours. A cookbook with a difference, The Galilean Kitchen is full of recipes for family meals, using Middle Eastern staples, vegetables and spices, with each page containing tips and easy to find ingredients to cook these dishes in your own kitchen. It tells the stories of the women who have parted with their family recipes, as well as the regions seasonal produce. It is not too early to start ticking presents off your Chanukah/Christmas list so order your first edition copy now and look forward to cooking from an untapped cuisine that is waiting to be unleashed into every kitchen. To Order The Galilean Kitchen Cookbook Cookbook inc UK …

The Galilean Kitchen…..a cookbook in the making

Within the rural region of the Galilee, home to a diverse ethnic population, culture and flavours mingle together in the local kitchens where traditional dishes are cooked. Through the eyes and palates of home cooks, The Galilean Kitchen will immerse you in authentic cooking from a social, cultural and culinary perspective, allowing you to re-create the delicious flavours in your own kitchens. Inspired by my love of Middle Eastern food and the beautiful Galilee of Northern Israel, I am writing a book that enters into the untapped area of Druze villages, surrounded by olive and citrus groves and where with local seasonal produce alone, Sinye, Hubeza & F’tir are prepared from recipes that have been passed through the generations. Coupled with the stories of the local home cooks, their heritage and passion for food, The Galilean Kitchen will be a cookbook with a difference and one to look out for, when it reaches the shelves at the end of the year…. As part of the social element of this project, a crowdfunding campaign has been set up to raise funds for producing, publishing …

Israel’s good cheese guide….

With the emphasis on Israel’s cuisine being heavily placed upon dairy, it is not surprising that there is an increase across the country in boutique dairies, providing innovative alternatives to traditional cheeses. Until recently the larger companies and supermarkets were the main suppliers of Israel’s dairy staples such as cottage cheese, cream cheese and labneh, the Middle Eastern cheese made with cow, goats or sheep milk. Throughout Tel Aviv, Israel’s culinary capital, quaint little delicatessens and Fromageries have been selling delicious cheeses and all forms of dairy products to chefs, restaurants and cheese lovers alike, produced both in the country and imported from France, Italy and Holland. In my latest article for The Culture Trip, A Cheese Lover’s Guide To Tel Aviv, discover where artisan cheese and dairy products are being sourced, to create new and exciting dishes, both sweet and savoury. recipe: labneh 500g natural yoghurt 1/2 teaspoon salt olive oil, zaatar, black pepper, fresh oregano leaves & pistachios, to serve take a large square of muslin/cheesecloth rinse in cold water & wring dry line a colander with …

any excuse for cheesecake….

Every Jewish festival has a culinary significance and Shavout makes no exception. Also known as the spring harvest, this festival of weeks, directly translated from the Hebrew, makes two references to the connotations of food, the end of the spring barley and the start of the summer wheat harvest, as well as the dietary laws laid down in the Torah, when given to Moses on Mount Sinai. Shavout is by far my favourite festival, in so much as it is customary to only eat dairy products during the holiday and therefore a cheesecake fest takes place in Israel. The laws of keeping kosher does not allow milk to be eaten after meat and it is said that as the  laws of the Torah were handed down to Moses on Shabbat, there was not enough time to slaughter the animals, so only dairy was eaten and therefore the tradition has been maintained. Israel is also the “land flowing with milk and honey” and it is from that Biblical saying that we eat the dairy products of the land. The food of Israel has always been …

Mulberries…the ‘super’ spring berry

Although June is now upon us, the Galilee still bears the beauty of spring, with the lush green hills, the wild flowers still in bloom and trees laden with the new seasons crop. The spring harvest has begun in the Golan, Northern Israel and fruit picking is a family outing,  picking the berries and cherries that laden the trees in these lovely late spring early summer months, before the real heat hits hard. Mulberries, a superfood in its own right through its high Vitamin C content and antioxidant properties, deck the trees with their ripe red fruit with a deep purple hue, ready for turning into jam, chutney or dark red sorbet. recipe: mulberry sorbet 750g washed, fresh mulberries 200g caster sugar 250mls water 1/2 juice of lemon 2 tablespoons of cassis (blackcurrant liqueur) or elderflower cordial mint or edible flowers for garnish put the caster sugar, water & lemon juice in a pan bring to the boil & simmer for a few minutes until all the sugar has dissolved remove from the hob to cool completely place the mulberries in food …

dedicated to the humble chickpea….

May 13th is marked on the calendar as International Hummous Day,  a whole day dedicated to the humble chickpea. A popular dip throughout Israel and the Middle East, hummous has recently been elevated to becoming one of Israel’s ‘national foods’, appearing on menus in restaurants and cafe’s throughout the country. Chickpeas are legumes and rich in nutrients. They are considered to be a popular source of vitamins and minerals in the diet of both vegetarians and vegans. It popularity follows the dietary laws of Kashrut and therefore hummous can be eaten with both meat and milk meals. Hummous is directly translated from the Arabic meaning ‘chickpeas’ a staple ingredient in Middle Eastern cuisine dating back to ancient times, although widely used in stews and tagines, rather than as a cold dip. Hummous in it’s simplest form is made from cooked, mashed chickpeas and combined with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, crushed garlic and salt,  however, many combinations of spices can be added for extra flavour with cumin, coriander or smoked paprika being the most popular and garnishes including whole chickpeas, pinenuts, flat leaf parsley or paprika.  Other versions include using …

‘foodography’ the genre of food art…..

From a highly competitive market, the judges of the Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year Awards sifted through 7000 images and films entered this year. Andy Macdonald, director of Pink Lady® in the UK said “the competition was intensely fierce and the standard was phenomenal” as he announced this years overall winner Mark Benham, who captured the immense fun and art of baking, with ‘flour frenzy’. At a culinary star studded reception in the Mall Galleries, London, on Tuesday 28th April 2016, journalist and food critic, Jay Rayner took to the stage to compere and announce the winners of the Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year Awards. The Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year, now in its fifth year, is recognised as the world’s leading celebration of the art of food photography, attracting fierce competition worldwide. The winner of Best Food for Celebration category was won by Shoeb Faruquee from Bangladesh, with his stunning image of The Grand Kitchen, portraying a frenetic scene of chefs in a hot, steamy kitchen preparing for a wedding feast. …

the green gems of spring….

With Spring in full bloom, the Galilee is a place of beauty with wild flowers cascading through the lush green hills, the smell of the citrus in the air and the white blossoms have fallen to the ground, to make way for the first fruits. May heralds the beginning of the elusive fresh, green almond, a misunderstood nut that is grown in Northern Israel and throughout the Middle East. South of Nazareth in the Lower Galilee is the Arab village of Iksal, famous for their almond groves and the abundant harvests of a special strain of almond called Um al-Fahem. unique not only in it’s size and taste but also for it’s extra soft skin. These almonds are sold as fair trade and known to be amogst the best in Israel. Delicate in both flavour and texture, the young, unripe nuts are picked whilst the outer skin remains light green and furry, well before the hard brown shell of the almond has had the chance to form. Inside the light olive green casing is a smooth, soft, white almond with a subtle, grassy flavour. They …

it’s a wonderful, culinary world out there…..

I have two passions in life….food and Israel….but not necessarily in that order… Israel Good Food Guide is my way of combining my enthusiasm for both and giving you a taste of the eclectic cuisine of Israel, through news, reviews and delicious pictures of plates of art. With tips on where to buy and eat wonderful produce, both on and off the beaten track, great recipes to try and recommendations for experiencing the coffee culture, culinary tours and workshops, you will see for yourself how exciting the food of Israel really is. I will introduce you to great restaurants as well as the inspirational chefs and creators of  exquisite food, so join me in meeting the ‘foodies’ of this wonderful, diverse culinary world.