This and That

Random bits of my life

Posts Tagged ‘Food’

More Shops in Venice

Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 12, 2017

As a follow-up to my earlier posting, unusual shops in Venice, I’m posting some more shop windows and displays.

In a glass shop in the sestiere of San Marco, I found this chess set showing Ashkenazi vs. Sephardi Jews. I’m not sure this set would be very functional because the pawns are different designs and you would need to agree, in advance, on whether a Jew holding a palm branch or a Torah scroll is a bishop or a knight. Some stores have lights in their display windows that interfere with cellphone photography (the lighting turns bright pink or purple), but DSLRs are not affected.


I bought this vase in a small glass shop in the San Polo sestiere. It’s probably a knock-off because it’s so cheap (25 euros = 100 NIS); the clerk said it was the last one in that design. Although I looked in lots of glass stores, I saw very few asymmetric teardrop vases, and the ones I did see were half the size, twice as expensive, and not as beautiful. The design is similar to the work of Vetreria Artistica Oball in the sommerso (“submerged”) technique. It’s 10 inches high and weighs about a kilo. The seller packed it in bubble-wrap and newspaper and sealed it in a sturdy, sealed carton. I shlepped it around Italy in my suitcase and hand-carried it on the flight back. The photo was taken when I got home. I love the clean, elegant lines and jewel colors of this piece.

Vase from Venice

All Saints’ Day is a public holiday in Italy, but who knew that they celebrated Hallowe’en with Jack o’lantern and bat cookies? Bakery in San Polo, Venice.

2016-10-28 12.12.47.jpg

These dishes with three-dimensional sculpted mice and pigs are adorable. I’m sure they’re decorations. If you were to eat off them, you’d have a tough time getting the food out of the crevices and you’d probably chip an ear or a snout.


Everyone needs a gondola kit. Gondolier and velvet upholstery not included. They got the shape right–a gondola is asymmetrical. Because the oar is plied from one side of the gondola, that side is less curved, so that it will glide in a straight line.

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I would have loved a cheerful ceramic spoon rest for my kitchen counter, but there was a limit to how many breakable objects I was willing to carry.


Torrone morbido (soft nougat) is a traditional Italian Christmas confection made from honey/glucose, beaten egg whites and lots of nuts. Here’s a recipe for a large quantity, with a video, Jamie Oliver’s version (requires you to wave a blowtorch around the metal mixing bowl during whisking), a beautifully photographed recipe that makes smaller quantities, and an extremely simple Sardinian torrone that requires only three ingredients: nuts, honey, and a couple egg whites. The commercial torrone have food coloring added. The homemade versions are extremely pale or white.


Posted in Italy, photography, travel | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Food in the Muslim Quarter

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 22, 2015


Close-up of sweets piled in a cylinder shape.


Jaffar’s Sweets shop again:



Hand-painted sign at a butcher’s shop. I should have asked the price of pigeons per kilo.


Posted in Israel, photography | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Jerusalem Kosher Wine Festival, 2013

Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 31, 2013

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

Last night I attended the third and final night of the 2nd Annual Jerusalem Kosher Wine Festival in Binyanei haUma. For 80 NIS, you get you a glass to take home and all the wine tasting you can handle. Fortunately, the hall is close to the Central Bus Station. The festival was sponsored by A. A. Pyup, a large kosher wine store in Sanhedria. The store is close to Har Hotzvim, where my husband and I work, and we have been shopping there for years. From the outside it looks like a cinder block shack but it has two large rooms inside and a covered area outside. Some 40 wineries provided tastings and sold individual bottles and a “3+1” (i.e., 4 bottles for the price of 3) offer.

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

Cooking workshop. I think he was brandishing a piece of chicken.

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

Food blogger Miriam Kresh (Israeli Kitchen) , who is working on an article for the Green Prophet, invited me to come along.

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

The food vendors were stationed in the lobby. Miriam and I bought a cheese platter, which I’m not posting the photo because it was probably more cheese than I eat in two weeks. 🙂 But oh so good — Camembert, red cheese (sheeps’ milk), Gouda, basil cheese (like eating pesto in solid form! That’s the green one below) and another that I’m not sure of. Other vendors sold sushi, pastries, chocolates, cakes, spreads, olive oil, and bread. There was plenty of food to soak up the alcohol.

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

I hadn’t planned to buy anything but ended up taking home a bottle of Adom Cabernet Sauvignon from Saslove Winery, Kibbutz Eyal, near Kfar Saba. It was rich and spicy. The description sounds like someone dumped the contents of a supermarket bakery aisle into this wine, but the result was delicious! The Adom Cabernet Sauvignon has received one commendation, three silver medals, a bronze medal, and a trophy.

100% Cabernet Sauvignon rich with cherry, raspberry, plum and blueberry aromas. Ageing for 20 months in French and American oak barrels spiced with mint, nutmeg, cinnamon, mocha, chocolate, vanilla and slightly smoky maple syrup.

The Saslove “Pink” rosé was semi-dry, rich, not at all cloying, with a floral perfume. It was an exceptionally good wine, and if I had had the strength to carry 3+1 by bus to Maale Adumim (Miriam did shlep 3+1 to Petach Tikvah by bus!) I would have included that wine. We tried the Reserved Cabernet Sauvignon as well, but Miriam and I agreed that it was less exceptional than the rosé and the Adom Cabernet Sauvignon.

Roni Saslove (below), an Israeli-Canadian second-generation winemaker (her father is an engineer turned winemaker), told us about how she uses different yeasts for different grape varieties and some she freezes in order to stop fermentation abruptly and retain the flavours. She makes excellent wines, very complex and almost textured.

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

When I left at 8:30, crowds were still arriving. Not too surprisingly, the attendees were mostly religious and young.

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

Posted in Israel, photography | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Recipe: Apple Pecan Cake

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 7, 2012

Apple Pecan Cake

This is the tried-and-true, much loved apple pecan cake that graces my table during the High Holidays. I would make it more often if someone would invent a self-peeling, coreless apple that dices itself. Since I find the apple-chopping tedious, even with a corer, I only bake it once a year.

I use Granny Smith apples because they’re tart, firm, and somewhat drier than the yellow and red apples at my local store. Because apples vary significantly in water content, you may find that your cake is extremely moist. If so, bake it for an extra 10 minutes to dry it out.

Try to find genuine vanilla extract and fresh pecans. I don’t mean that you have to pick and shell them yourself! Treat yourself to a new bag from the health food store instead of using the package at the back of your baking supplies.

This is a dense, moist cake that freezes well. If you wish to substitute different sugars or whole wheat flour, it will still be delicious. It’s a very flexible recipe.

Apple Pecan Cake
Yield: Two 9×4″ loaves (or two 8×5″ loaves or one 9″ round)

600 gm (= 4) Granny Smith apples; peeled, cored, 1/4″ dice
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
150 gm (3/4 cup) margarine or butter
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup pecans; coarsely chopped

Combine the diced apples, cinnamon, and sugar (this can be done in advance if necessary) in a bowl and stir well. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F). Grease the pans.

In a large bowl, cream the margarine (or butter) with sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla extract. Gently stir in the flour and baking powder, until just combined (it’s OK if there are a few dry specks of flour showing but you don’t want big dry patches).

Stir in the apples and sugar, scraping all the juices into the batter. Stir in the pecans. The batter will be very sticky and stiff, so you will need a wooden spoon and a rubber scraper to wrestle it into the pans: pick up a large glob of batter with the wooden spoon and scrape it into a pan. Repeat until both pans are a little over half full. Smooth the tops.

Bake in the middle of the preheated oven for about 40 minutes or until a knife stuck in the center comes out moist but without streaks of raw batter and the center of the cake springs back when pressed gently. If your cake is very moist, bake it for a few minutes longer, covering with foil if the top is getting too brown.

Let the cake sit in the pan for a few minutes. Loosen the edges with a knife and turn out carefully onto a cake rack to finish cooling.


I normally serve the cake plain but if you need something with more pizzazz, bake the cake in a 9″ springform pan. Peel, core, and thinly slice an additional two apples and arrange in concentric circles. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of melted margarine or butter over the top, sprinkle 7 tablespoons of brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Bake for an hour (larger pan), checking for doneness around 50 minutes. The apples on top should be tender. It looks like you slaved for hours in the kitchen, which isn’t far from the truth…. 🙂

If you don’t want to go that far, dust the top of the cooled cake with sifted icing sugar or serve with a scoop of very good vanilla ice cream.

Posted in Food, recipes | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Baking, Baking, Baking…

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 2, 2011

Round challahs, ready for freezing

Can someone please unchain me from the oven? This is what I did on Wednesday, in preparation for Rosh Hashanah and Shabbat. Above are four small challot, wrapped and ready for freezing. These photos aren’t my best, by the way. They were all taken with a point & shoot camera, no time to style the food or light it properly.

Apple Pcan cakes:

Apple Pecan Cakes

Mushroom Leek Quiche:

Mushroom Leek Quiche

Two rolls of knishes, one with salmon and the other with sauteed cabbage. I really thought I’d ruined these for sure. New recipe. It was going okay until I noticed that the pastry was much too wet. I stopped adding liquid immediately. After chilling for several hours it was still goopy. I rolled it out very carefully with extra flour on a silicone mat and used the mat to roll the dough around the filling, like making makisushi. To my surprise, the dough held together and was light and tender.

Rolls for Salmon and Cabbage Knishes

Two butternut squash pies, also a first-time recipe. By this time I was sick of cutting in fat and rolling out pastry, so I cheated with a crumbly whole wheat flour and oil crust. Not as good as the real thing, but I was getting tired. I also cut back quantity of honey because I don’t like really sweet dishes.

Squash Pies

Now I have so much food in the fridge I probably won’t have to cook until Yom Kippur…. I also made pot roast, potatoes, Persian rice, and the usual salads. Oh, the Persian rice! If you haven’t made Persian rice before, it’s quite a process — soak overnight, boil briefly until almost tender, drain, then steam with a towel wrapped around the lid (I chose to do the optional step of putting oil and a thin layer of potatoes on the bottom to make a crust). I was talking to the plumber, who’d come to take a look at a pipe that will need replacing at some point, while trying to make the rice. As soon as I finished steaming it I suddenly remembered that I’d forgotten the boiling step. Yes, I steamed uncooked, soaked rice. I dumped some water in, boiled it briefly, and resigned myself to serving it to my family. To my relief, it was tender and delicious. The potato crust was firmly glued to the bottom of the pot, but I didn’t mind sacrificing it.

Posted in Food | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

Liliyot Restaurant, Tel Aviv

Posted by Avital Pinnick on July 19, 2011

Liliyot restaurant, Tel Aviv

I don’t often eat at upscale restaurants but it was my husband’s (belated) birthday dinner. He wanted to dine in Tel Aviv, as long as I chose the restaurant. I had recently received a token bonus (dinner for two) at work and this seemed like a good opportunity to use it. I chose Liliyot, a kosher meat restaurant located on Daphna and Weitzman street, in Beit Asia. Liliyot works with ELEM, an Israeli organization for youth at risk, training and employing fifteen youths every year for careers in the restaurant industry. The menu must change fairly often, because I did not see the dishes described by eLuna (Jan. 2011), Frommer’s (no date), Tel Aviv Guide (no date), Anthony Silverbrow (Jul. 2010), or Daniel Rogov (2009). I would say that the quality of the dishes is uneven but not bad if you order carefully.

The first thing I did at Liliyot was smash a wine glass. That gets you noticed every time. Seriously, it’s the first time I’ve ever broken anything in a restaurant. Look at the photo below. The ambiance is warm and informal. The wine glasses are over-sized, top-heavy, and perched at the edge of the tiny tables for two. I flipped over the menu and knocked my glass off the edge.

Liliyot restaurant, Tel Aviv

This isn’t a review because I didn’t sample enough food to draw general conclusions. I was very happy with what I ordered. The salmon sashimi starter, photographed above, was excellent — very fresh slices of raw salmon garnished with thickened soy sauce, a drop of herb sauce, and a salsa of diced cucumbers, green onions, canteloupe, and a few slices of red onion. The salad was refreshing and did not overpower the salmon. I ordered prime rib, medium rare, for the main course. It was seared on the outside and bloody at the center, a very good piece of meat accompanied by some mashed potatoes and zucchini/spinach. I guess prime rib is considered an unadventurous choice, but it was good! My husband began with a green salad, which turned out to be a handful of romaine lettuce drowning in balsamic vinegar. I don’t recommend it. (I tried to get him to order something else…) His main course was lamb shoulder garnished with strips of red pepper leather (like apricot leather, but made with red peppers) and wheat berries. I didn’t try enough of the lamb to form much of an opinion other than it was tender.

Liliyot restaurant, Tel Aviv

Liliyot also has a bakery (photo below). The statement on the wall is about the Liliyot/ELEM project.

Liliyot Bakery, Tel Aviv

The bakery has a cool ceiling….

Liliyot Bakery, Tel Aviv

Menu, in Hebrew. Not cheap. Liliyot is in the Asia Building, 4 Weizmann St. (corner of Weizmann and Daphna, across the street from the hospital), Tel Aviv, Israel. 03-609-1331

Liliyot menu (Hebrew)

Liliyot menu (Hebrew)

We were too full to order dessert but here’s the menu, in English. Sorry about the angle. I was tired.

Liliyot dessert menu (English)

Posted in Food, Israel, photography | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

Alexandre Dubosc: Alimation

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 6, 2011

Alexandre Dubosc, a young French director and photographer, created this clever animation from food for the Annecy Festival, 2011. His Flickr site has a photo set that illustrates the making of “Alimation”. If you want to see more of his work, go to his site; the site is a bit tricky to navigate if you don’t read French. You can use Google Chrome to translate it but the layout makes it difficult to see the menus.

Posted in videos | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

World’s Most Delicate Lemon Squares

Posted by Avital Pinnick on December 12, 2010

World's Most Delicate Lemon Squares

You can’t tell from the photograph but these lemon squares are still warm. They are so delicate, they make other lemon squares look like soggy bits of lemon meringue pie without the meringue. They literally dissolve in your mouth. They freeze well and are incredibly easy to make. What could be better?

Lemon Squares
Yield: 40 squares

3/4 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup powdered sugar (icing or confectioners sugar)
1 1/2 cups flour

3 eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tbs flour
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Powdered sugar for sprinkling on top of filling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use a heavy 9″x13″ baking pan (I use a heavy, non-stick, metal Farberware pan, which doesn’t need greasing).

In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, pulse the butter/margarine, powdered sugar, and flour until crumbly. Press evenly into baking pan. Bake 20 minutes or until light golden brown. It should look like a huge shortbread cookie.

While the base is baking, mix filling ingredients in food processor until well blended. Take the base out of the oven and pour the filling onto the hot crust immediately. Return pan to oven and bake 15 minutes, just until set.

Cool for 10 minutes. Sprinkle powered sugar evenly over filling, using a fine-mesh sieve (if you buy icing sugar in 100 gm bags, you will only need 1 bag and you will have plenty to sprinkle on top). Loosen around the edges of the pan with a thin knife and cut into squares (5×8) while still warm.

Update from Jan. 10, 2011: They also freeze well. Arrange them in single layers with parchment paper or plastic wrap between. Wrap in foil or a freezer bag. Then hide them very well because some people actually prefer eating frozen lemon squares. 🙂


Posted in Food, photography, recipes | Tagged: , , , , | 8 Comments »

Zucchini and Tomato Tian

Posted by Avital Pinnick on December 9, 2010

Vegetable Tian

Cold stormy weather is expected to move into our area tomorrow, so this recipe may represent the last gasp of summer! I associate tians with summer because they’re so light and easy to prepare with summer vegetables. I’m still hobbling around with a surgical shoe on my foot, so I’m not spending a lot of time in the kitchen. My husband was starting to chafe under the steady diet of leftovers, rice, chickpeas, and other pulses. He doesn’t like meat all that much, so my mid-week cooking tends to be vegetarian. Yesterday I made a sweet potato and zucchini soup, a walnut and raisin quick bread, and this zucchini and tomato tian.

A tian is really more of a method than a follow-the-recipe dish. If you have other vegetables that need to be used up, toss them in. If you’re watching your weight, substitute toasted breadcrumbs for the grated cheese (there’s only 2 ounces of cheese on top, just for colour and flavour). But please don’t try to leave out the olive oil!

You may be wondering why I put egg in the rice. The rice is there to add substance, absorb the juices of the vegetables, and I happened to have a couple cups of cooked rice left over. The egg turns the rice into a lovely, delicate, creamy crust under the vegetables, so if the combo seems odd to you, try it just this once.

Zucchini and Tomato Tian au Gratin

1 large onion, sliced into half moons
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbs olive oil (plus a little extra for drizzling)
1 large red pepper, thinly sliced
2 large zucchini, very thinly sliced
2 large tomatoes, cored and very thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
2 eggs
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 oz. hard cheese, grated (whatever you have will work but Gruyere would be wonderful)

Sauté sliced onion in olive oil until starting to brown. Add red pepper slices and cook until tender. Add garlic and cook until aromatic.

Put the cooked rice in a bowl. Add the sauted vegetable mixture and mix thoroughly. Lightly beat 2 eggs and stir into the rice mixture. Season lavishly with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Oil a 1.5 liter gratin dish. If you don’t have a gratin dish, any shallow casserole will do. Smooth the rice mixture on the bottom of the dish. Add alternating layers of zucchini and tomato slices. Season with oregano, salt and pepper, and drizzle olive oil over the vegetables. Sprinkle grated cheese on top.

Bake in a preheated 400° oven for 45 minutes or until the zucchini is tender when you prod it with a knife.

Posted in Food, recipes | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

New Page on My Blog: Recipes

Posted by Avital Pinnick on July 23, 2010


I haven’t disappeared off the face of the earth! I’ve been busy with other things. I added a page to this blog to organize my recipes: Recipes page. I had hoped to add a tutorials page but I see that my tutorials are a bit sparse. (I’ll have to do something about that!)

I spent last Shabbat in Efrat with some of my husband’s oldest friends. This photo of grapes was taken in their garden.

Posted in Food, recipes | Tagged: , | 5 Comments »