Author: Ruth Nieman

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.

food culture in the galilee…..

Israel has an eclectic population with diverse cultures; however food is a culture that can be experienced by all. Israel’s northern region is a beautiful mountainous range, separated and known as the upper and lower Galilee. A lush land full of food that has matured from small beginnings into the fruit bearing trees, vines, wild herbs and edible flowers synonymous with the area and grown, foraged and picked by the locals for its freshness, taste and nutritional value. A world apart from the culinary capital of Tel Aviv where highly acclaimed chefs produce gourmet food as works of art on the plate, the food from the north is rustic, homely and cooked straight from the ground. Galileat, the brainchild of an Australian chef, Paul Nirens, who moved to the north of Israel over 30 years ago. Paul trained in one of Israel’s leading culinary schools before managing commercial kitchens in a competitive profession. Whilst selling locally crafted gourmet foods, he found an opportunity in the untapped market of intercultural activities in the Galilee, through food. …

About Ruth….

I am a passionate foodie, I spend my time between Israel and London, writing, photographing and eating great Middle Eastern food. Inspired from working in the kitchens of Kibbutz Amiad, in northern Israel over 30 years ago, I returned to London to complete a Diploma in Food and Wine at Leiths Cookery School, with the sole aim of setting up a catering company, providing fresh, exciting food for all occasions and baking delicious cakes!! I set up Israel Good Food Guide to showcase the very best of Israel’s cuisine, through write-ups of restaurants and innovative young chef, cafes, food tours and markets as well all the latest food news from Tel Aviv to the Galilee, accompanied by beautiful photographs taken on my travels. I am a foodie with a distinction, having gained a diploma in food journalism in 2016, and have embarked on writing a cookbook, The Galilean Kitchen, showcasing the food of the region. My food meanderings in both Israel and London are never far away from Twitter, so follow my culinary expeditions or get in touch …

the ethos is simply….ice cream

Ice cream, common throughout all cultures, is being heralded as the new language, with the sound of a lick… “Buza” a luxurious ice cream parlour in the Western Galil is the venture of Adam Ziv, a Jewish kibbutznik from Sasa and Alaa Sawitat, an Arab Muslim from Ma’alot Tarshiha. Taken from the Arabic word ‘meaning ice cream, this new shop opened in Tarshiha shuk last July and although attracts a mixed clientele, they are all only interested in the homemade new flavours of ice cream on sale that day. During a gap year in Europe and Africa, Ziv apprenticed at gelaterias in Italy, with the aim of returning to Israel to set up his own store. Seeking the advice of his old family friend Sawitat, an experienced restauranteur in Tarshiha, they decided to join forces and open Buza, a partnership that allows Ziv to create the ice cream and leaves Sawitat to run the business. They currently have four ice cream outlets, as well as running a workshop on Kibbutz Sasa, teaching the art of making this sublime creamy dessert. …