FEATURED RECIPE

 

Simply Israel, A collection Of Recipes From The People Of Israel is the first book of T. Gila Levine who immigrated to Israel in 1990. Teresa, who along with being a writer, also runs a guest house which is aptly named the Quiet Place.

Paradoxically, Teresa explains that there is no such thing as 'typical' Israeli food but it is the manifestation of the colourful tapestry of nations and their rich cultures. Because of its geographic location, the cuisine of the Middle East tempers a strong influence but co-exists in harmony with the strong Jewish traditions of Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean.


Teresa began cooking at the tender age of 12 years and even then enjoyed experimenting with and appreciating multi-cultural cooking. She has remained a passionate connoisseur ever since, so it was only to be expected that when Teresa immigrated to Israel 18 years ago, she would master the Israeli style.

Over the years many visitors have asked Teresa for recipes, either from dishes she herself has prepared or those which were sampled in restaurants. This is the impetus for Simply Israel; a collection of authentic Israeli dishes designed to inspire everyone from the novice cook to the experienced chef.


 

In Teresa’s own words: “Writing a cookbook was a friends idea which I didn't like at first, but began working on it and got really dedicated to the project during the second Lebanon war. There were no tourists and I realized that I needed to have another way to make an income other than relying on tourism. I had also looked for a good cookbook for years of the modern Israeli foods in English and couldn't find one where the recipes turned out like they taste today in Israel. After writing up instructions for my own recipes, I made a list of recipes that I had always wanted and began collecting them from some of the best cooks around. My friend’s favorite part was the time when I was trying out the recipes with at least 5 new ones a week. I had many volunteer taste testers. Most recipes were very good and I only had to throw out a few. The most challenging part was the photography as it was my first experience with a new digital camera and my first time at food photography. The look I was aiming at was, "Wow, that makes me hungry." and by the reactions I get when showing the book, I think I succeeded.”

 

 


I echo these sentiments of success. Simply Israel is delightful to cook from; Teresa’s recipes and dishes being a colourful sojourn to distant shores. Wander along sun dappled streets where arabesque aromas dance, entwining their exotic fragrances and you too can share in this gratifying odyssey of cuisine.

Published in English, this collection of recipes is now  available in Spanish and Italian, and soon to be in Russian, such is its popularity.

Dishes cater for every occasion – breads, soups and salads, side dishes, eggs and cheese, poultry and fish, beef and lamb, cakes and pies and finally desserts and preserves.



 

And no book from this region would be complete without an array of cooling, refreshing salads such as Kibbutz Cabbage Salad, Celery and Fennel Salad, chilled Moroccan Carrots and a selection of spiced and smoky aubergine and potato salads. Likewise a mouthwatering array of easily prepared chicken and fish dishes, my favourite being Chicken Pie; chicken and mushrooms in a creamy white wine sauce, topped with crisp, flaky puff pastry, with Schnitzel a close second. Cheesecakes abound as do cakes – Chocolate Cake(s), Walnut Cake, Poppy Seed Pie and a tantalising Nut Pie made with a selection of pecans, hazelnuts and walnuts; though my piece de la resistance is, without doubt…falafel.

 



Falafel is irresistible. Crisply fried patties of a feather light batter made with ground chickpeas, parsley and sultry cumin and coriander with a hint of garlic. It’s crunchy outer shell encasing a soft, piquant center. Served in pita with a selection of pickles and salads, this is my ideal.

 

 

 

Unquestionably, Simply Israel is a comprehensive cookery collection in which Teresa shares her true warmth and affection for this regional fare and it is with grateful thanks that I am able to share a selection of recipes from her book and do hope that you enjoy them as much as I.

 


Simply Israel, A collection of Recipes from The People of Israel is available for purchase directly from T. Gila Levine: www.simplyisrael.co.il and for comments or questions, do mail Teresa directly at – where she will be delighted to hear from you.

 

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