Israel – the food! Including the incredible Israeli breakfast

I have just been on my summer holiday to Israel and it was a wonderful trip. I really enjoyed exploring the creative energy of Israel and arts scene particularly in Tel Aviv which is such a great city. It was also great to eat my way round the country, trying out different specialities. One unique Israeli eating tradition that you can’t miss out on is the incredible Israeli breakfast.

The classic Israeli breakfast consists of: eggs any way you like them, bread (often a few different types), a number of cheeses which in Israel will be white soft cheeses and a feta type one, an Israeli salad (chopped vegetables) and then extra little dishes which vary in each place you go to. For the different extras in various place I got: tuna salad (tuna with onion, pepper, pickle), sweet tomato jam, fruit berry jam, home-made pesto… Oh and tea/ coffee AND freshly squeezes juice are all included.  All of this is for about £7 per person. The Israeli breakfast is fresh, delicious, inventive, great value for money and will keep you going for most of the day!

Another option for your Israeli breakfast is shakshuka. This is an Israeli dish made up of fried eggs, in a hot spicy sauce of tomatoes, peppers and onions. This shakshuka also had a sausage in there. At this cafe in Tel Aviv called Benedict’s a shakshuka can be eaten at any time of day and night, as the establishment is known for serving breakfast 24/7!

Israeli breakfast breads

I was so impressed by the delicious breads at breakfast time in Israel. I have lived in Italy for a year and go back there a lot and I think that the bread in Israel rivals the Italian bread or even surpasses it!

the Israeli breakfast above even included little fried potatoes with the scrambled eggs and refreshing mint tea – ‘te nana’ which is just delicious.

So onto Israeli food, other than breakfasts. Above is an Israeli sandwich from a kiosk on a main boulevard that is open all day and night! Thin slices of beef, salad and as many mini hot peppers & olives as you like on the side.

There are some great fresh drinks to help you cool down during  the hot weather in Israel. On the left you can see a juice stand and there are lots of these everywhere in the city where you can get a juice for the equivalent of just a few pounds, with whatever is in season.

Above on the right  is a drink called limon nana or lemon-mint with crushed ice, a kind of granita or slush puppy using that lovely fresh mint again. It’s zingy and refreshing!

Of course I couldn’t talk about Israeli food without mentioning falafel which is basically the national snack! Falafel is a quick meal on the go – chickpea balls with as much of all the different types of salad as you can fit in the pita bread pocket, tahina (sauce made from sesame seeds), hummous and in some places I discovered amba which is a sweet but hot sauce made from mangoes…

Israelis love their sushi and there are many sushi restaurants with great Japanese chefs throughout Tel Aviv. Sushi can be a lighter meal to be enjoyed during the hot weather and it’s fun to eat at a sociable outdoor restaurant. You can see that the portion sizes are still large though especially if you go for the triangular shapes sushi sandwich!

Finally, here is the biggest piece of fish I have ever seen which was served with tens of different re fillable salads. This is pink trout cooked on the grill with a herb sauce. The fish is from the Dan River in the Golan Heights and the bubbling river actually runs right next to the restaurant itself which is build on wooden boards and has its own little bridge.

My next post will be about the cultural side of Israel and will feature my favourite small museums that I discovered in different areas of the country.

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Something Sweet

Last night I felt like something sweet so I baked these biscuits with raisins and little toffee pieces… hit the spot, but I need to give them away so I don’t eat more than a couple!

Biscuits


Food, Glorious Food!

I definitely feel closer to the side of living to eat rather than eating to live!

I’m Jewish and food is very important to me culturally. Jewish festivals follow the narrative of ‘They Tried to Kill Us, We Survived, Let’s Eat!’ and I always enjoy going to my family home and being well fed with traditional favourites. I’m a staunch believer that my mother’s Jewish penicillin (chicken soup) is the best in the world and can cure anything…

I have lived in Italy for a year and I go back very often as I am really in love with the country. Definitely one of the reasons for that is thanks to wonderful Italian food which varies so much between regions. Pizza, pasta, ice creams… so many of my favourites come from Italy. Another first choice of mine is that British staple – the curry. I love spicy food and enjoy the variety of Indian curries, as well as Thai massaman curry and Japanese katsu curry which I could eat far more often than I should. I’m also very fond of Israeli food and I am lucky to get frequent homecooked Israeli inspired dishes made for me, such as shakshuka, tahina with flamed grilled aubergine and more. One of my preferred quick meals is falafel in pita bread stuffed with pickled peppers and salads – yum.

I especially love baking as to me it’s just magic. I’m often a little nervous once I’ve prepared everything as one is never sure how it’ll turn out. Then the magic happens in the oven and when it comes out I feel proud of what I’ve made, even although it isn’t usually anything that complicated, it’s satisfying to do some creative science and then there’s something in the cake tin for my sweet tooth = perfect!

I like baking the best of British, what I call Women’s Institute cakes as they are simple, continue a heritage I want to celebrate and well, they’re just delicious!

I’m starting to make my own bread as well and am trying out different recipes to get it right.

Here are some examples of bakes and other food that I’ve made.

Gyoza - Japanese dumplings. I made these with chicken and vegetables inside

French Onion Soup

Date and Walnut Loaf Cake

Cheese Puffs

Red Velvet Cupcakes for St Valentine

 

Seeded Wholemeal Bread Loaf

 

Onion Dairy Tart

 

Onion Buns

 

Limoncello Lemon Cake

 

Christmas - Chanukah presentation plate with some homemade goodies

 

Florentines and Stollen