Sweet and Tart Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars

I confess that I have a disproportionately large number of lemon desserts on my blog. I just love a lemony dessert – the tartness of the lemon cuts through the sweetness of the sugar and I love that in a dessert. I also have a lemon tree in my garden that yields ridiculous amounts of lemons in season, so I am always looking to use them as there is nothing better than a fresh lemon off the tree for that potent, zingy lemon flavor.

What I love about these lemon bars is that they are the simplest and quickest bars I have come across. In less than a half an hour you will have a batch of these zesty bars baking away. And there are no special ingredients required, so, beware, you can whip them up on a whim.



1½ cups flour

½ cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons corn starch

Pinch of salt

¾ cup butter or non-dairy butter

4 beaten eggs

1½ cups sugar

3 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)

¾ cup fresh lemon juice

¼ cup milk or non-dairy milk

How to do it

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (350°F)
  2. Line a 33x22x5cm (13x9x2-inch) baking pan with baking paper and grease the paper
  3. In a bowl, mix together the 1½ cups flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch and salt. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter into the dry mixture until it resembles course crumbs. Press the mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom of the pan – it is quite a dry mixture. Bake for 18-20 minutes until the edges start to get golden brown.
  4. While the base is baking, in a bowl combine the eggs, sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, lemon zest, lemon juice, and milk. Mix well so all the sugar is dissolved.
  5. When the base is baked, immediately pour the lemon mixture over the base and return to the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the center is set and the top starts getting a little golden in color.
  6. Cool completely before cutting into bars. Just before serving, dust with powdered sugar put through a sieve. Don’t add the powdered sugar too early or the bars will absorb them.

Makes 24 bars. If there are any left over, store them in the fridge.


A Hearty Hungarian Quinoa Salad

Quinoa and spinach salad

I was in a snooty restaurant in Budapest last week, and I ordered a quinoa salad. The fact that they were snooty doesn’t have much to do with the salad, but nevertheless, they were, for no discernible reason, snooty. In spite of the attitude, the salad was so good that I had to recreate it when I got home. My very kind husband said mine tasted better (so if you trust his objectivity, I’m delighted).

Such a simple yet hearty salad and one you will want to add to your repertoire. Don’t let the post heading confuse you – there’s nothing heavy about this salad, and there is no paprika involved. I just happened to eat it in Hungary, so hence the reference.

I love quinoa because it can work as a side salad or a main course for non-meat eaters. I could happily eat this as a main course. Once the quinoa is cooked and cooled, the rest of the salad takes about 10 minutes to put together, so it’s great for when you’re cooking a large meal.



1 cup of raw quinoa

100g (4 oz) baby spinach leaves (if you can’t get baby spinach, I recommend using arugula instead – I think that regular spinach leaves will be too tough for this salad)

2 medium sized ripe avocados cut into small cubes

About 20 cherry tomatoes halved

For the dressing:

The juice of one small lemon

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

½ teaspoon smooth Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper

1 teaspoon sugar

How to do it

  1. In a medium sized saucepan add the quinoa and pour in two cups of boiling water and a pinch or two of salt. Bring to the boil and reduce the heat to medium low. Let the quinoa simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Then turn the heat off, cover with a lid and let the quinoa sit for another 5-10 minutes to steam. This will allow the quinoa grains to “blossom”. Fluff with a fork  and allow to cool completely. (You can cook the quinoa the day before as well)
  2. Whisk the dressing ingredients together as set aside.
  3. Add the vegetables to the quinoa and mix together. Toss with the dressing just before serving. (If you want to get this ready ahead of time, don’t add the avocados till close to serving time so they don’t discolor).

Serves 8 as a side salad.

What’s the deal with coffee cakes?

Plum and apple coffee cake

There’s this thing called a coffee cake (for all you non-Americans out there). If you’d never heard of it before you would not be off base to think that it’s a cake flavored with coffee. But it’s not. It’s a cake you SERVE with coffee. Personally I am of the opinion that you can serve any cake with coffee, but I’ll run with it. A certain English dictionary defines coffee cake as North American – “A cake or sweet bread flavoured with cinnamon or topped or filled with cinnamon sugar, eaten usually with coffee.” (I’m leaving the “u” in there for old time’s sake.)

So here’s a recipe I recently tweaked so that it works. It’s a Fruit Coffee Cake…with no coffee, and no cinnamon either. Go figure. But it is a great way to use up some of that fruit that’s been sitting around in the fridge for a little too long to eat fresh. Fruit you’re going to cook or bake doesn’t have to magnificent – just not rotten. I made this cake with apples and plums, and it was wonderful – I love tart fruit in cakes. But you can just use one fruit or you can substitute with strawberries, nectarines or peaches. I always combine any fruits I’m using with half green apples to keep the tartness in the fruit.

And even though this cake is best eaten warm and out of the oven, it stays fresh in a sealed container for 2-3 days afterwards.



For the fruit mixture:

2½ cups peeled and thinly sliced plums and green apples – half half – this is about 2 medium sized apples and 2-3 plums. (You can also use strawberries, nectarines, peaches instead of the plums)

¼ cup water

¼ cup sugar

2 tablespoons corn flour

For the cake mixture:

1½ cups flour

¾ cup sugar

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

¼ cup butter

1 beaten egg

2/3 cups buttermilk

½ teaspoon vanilla

For the crumbs:

¼ cup flour

¼ cup sugar

3 tablespoons butter

How to do it

  1. Combine the fruit and water in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes until the fruit is soft (3-5 minutes). Mix the ¼ cup sugar and 2 tablespoons cornstarch in a small bowl and stir it into the fruit over medium heat, stirring well to make sure it’s well combined and smooth. Stir until the mixture thickens and starts bubbling – this happens very quickly. Cook over low heat while stirring for another 2 minutes. Set aside while you prepare the cake mix.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF).
  3. In a bowl. combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda. Cut the ¼ cup butter into the dry mixture until you have a crumbly dry mixture (butter pieces should be about the size of peas). Mix the beaten egg, butter milk and vanilla in a separate small bowl and add it to the flour mixture and stir till just combined – the batter should be quite lumpy but with no dry ingredients visible.
  4. Line a small baking dish – 24cm (10 inch) spring form pan or 8 x 8 inch (20 x 20 cm) pan – with baking paper, no need to grease the paper. Spread about two thirds of the mixture in the bottom of the pan (it’s not runny). Mix the fruit mixture a little to get it moving again and evenly spread it over the batter. Then spread the rest of the batter on top of the fruit in dollops. Don’t worry that it doesn’t cover all the fruit – it will spread in the baking.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the flour and sugar for the crumb mixture. Cut the 3 tablespoons of butter into the dry mixture and sprinkle across the top of the cake.
  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the cake is starting to get golden brown on top.
  7. Serve warm with a generous serving of good vanilla ice cream if you’re feeling decadent, or just with…a cup of coffee!

Serves about 10. Keeps for about 3 days in an airtight container.


Ginger Biscuits for Zach’s Fanny Pack

Ginger biscuits

I’ll start by explaining the headline.

Zach is a fantastic baseball player who plays for Team Israel (and going to the 2020 Olympic Games). He’s a talented ball player, an ambassador for Lululemon, a motivator, the most positive human being, a chilled guy, a follower of the Kosher Blogger…and an ardent wearer and advocate of fanny packs.

A few days ago, Zach he posted a short piece of fanny pack wisdom on his Instagram stories. I responded positively, and he sent me a note saying he’d better see a blog post about fanny packs. I’ve had challenges to post recipes with specific ingredients, for various diets, but no-one has ever asked for a post to include a fanny pack. This was a challenge.

Zach of Fanny Pack Fame

But I thought on my feet. Fanny packs, if you follow Zach’s wisdom, need a large pocket for larger items. So as a Jewish mother, my first thought is that if you have room, you should always take a snack with you. But with no place for a protective Tupperware, a snack for the pack much be sturdy.

Fortunately, I recently made a batch of ginger biscuits, and they are indeed sturdy and would fit well into a fanny pack. Americans, (yes, you Zach), don’t get confused. In countries like Great Britain and South Africa biscuits are what you across the pond refer to as cookies. They’re not something made in the southern USA that you serve with gravy. I grew up in South Africa with ginger biscuits, the best confectionery to dip into a nice cup of tea. They’re spicy and are just right for the wintry months ahead.

They’re so easy to make – just throw everything into the mixer, mix and roll out little balls onto your baking trays. But do NOT freeze these. They will lose their snap and become chewy, which isn’t the point. They need to stay firm. And when they’re baked, take some, wrap them up, and…
Be like Zach
Put them in your fanny pack
For a cozy on-the-go snack
You’ll never look back
(I’ll stop now)



225 grams (5 oz) / 1¼ cups of softened butter or margarine

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

3 teaspoons ground ginger

2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons mixed spice (if you can’t get, then increase the quantity of the other spices)

½ cup Golden Syrup (you can get this in any store that has British products) or corn syrup

2 teaspoon baking soda

4¼-4½ cups flour

A pinch of salt

How to do it

  1. Add all the ingredients into the bowl of a mixer and mix together till all combined.
  2. Line baking trays with baking paper (ungreased)
  3. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F)
  4. Drop heaped 1 teaspoon quantities of dough onto the pan – roll the dough into a ball and then press it down a little so it lays flat on the tray
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the biscuits are light brown, remove and allow them to cool on the tray and transfer them to a drying rack to cool completely.Makes about 80-100 biscuits

Never Fail Challah


I always used to insist that there’s no reason to make your own challah in Israel when there are so many delicious challahs available to buy. My mind was quickly changed when a good friend who I had invited to Shabbat dinner, delivered two fresh out of the oven challahs to my house one Friday afternoon. They were melt in the mouth, sweet, soft and everything you’d want out of a home-baked challah. She happily gave me the recipe and every since I make them as often as I can. There’s is no bought substitute anywhere. I get dirty looks from my family when Shabbat dinner comes around and I haven’t baked them.

What I love about this recipe is that the proofing is very forgiving – I have left the dough to rise for an hour or so longer than the recipe requires, and all was well with the challahs in the end. So this will work well with your cooking or other schedules.

Shabbat Shalom!



12g (½ ounce) (1 heaped tablespoon) dry yeast (grains)

1 cup warm water

1 teaspoon + ½ cup sugar

½ cup tap water

½ tablespoon salt

¾ cup oil

1 beaten egg

5 cups (or more) flour

For the glaze

1 beaten egg

1 teaspoon oil

1 teaspoon sugar

How to do it

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast, warm water and 1 teaspoon sugar and let stand for 5 minutes
  2. Add the half cup of water, half cup of sugar, oil, egg, salt and lightly whisk together till combined
  3. Add the flour and mix in until you have a kneading consistency (add more flour if needed so you can easily knead it (up to half a cup even, but keep the dough a little sticky)
  4. Knead the dough for about 3-4 minutes and form a ball. Place in a lightly greased large clean bowl and cover with a clean tea towel. Place the bowl in a warm area and let it rise for 2 hours (I put the dough in the oven – switched off – and I put a pan of boiling water on the bottom level, especially in the winter when it’s cooler. This helps the dough rise nicely.)
  5. After 2 hours, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a couple of minutes. (Do Hafrashat Challah at this stage)
  6. Place a piece of baking paper on a large baking tray
  7. Braid the challah. Divide the dough into 2, and set one ball aside. Divide the one ball into four equal balls (I use my kitchen scale to keep it even). Roll out four long sausages of dough about 2½ centimeters (1 inch) thick, no thinner. Pinch them together on the top and start braiding. See below for how to braid the four pieces, and pinch it closed at the end. (For a round challah, do a three piece braid and then just form it into a circle and pinch it closed at the end) Repeat for the second batch of dough. Place them length-ways on the baking tray, keeping some space between them. They may come together when they rise, but it’s not a problem. They will come apart easily after baking.
  8. Cover with a piece of baking paper and a tea towel, and allow to rise for an hour or so.
  9. Heat your over to 150°C (300°F)
  10. Whisk the glaze mix together and lightly brush over the challahs, sprinkle some sesame seeds if desired.
  11. Bake for 30 minutes or until the challas are evenly golden on top.

Makes 2 challahs

How to braid a 4-strand challah

There are tons of methods you can find on the internet. This one is very simple and works for me.

With your 4 strands in front of you, from left to right they are strands 1, 2, 3 and 4 (1 is the far left, 4 is the far right at any given time)

  1. 4 over 2
  2. 1 over 3
  3. 2 over 3
  4. Repeat

Make sure to keep them as tight as possible without pulling on the strands. You can do this by keeping the spaces between the strands wide by rearranging the strands between each stage. Practice makes perfect!


Light and Easy Summer Pasta with Zucchini

Zucchini Pasta

I love making simple tasty pasta dishes, especially now that it’s summer. This recipe is so simple that I almost didn’t post it. But seeing as The New York Times prides itself on publishing the simplest pasta dishes, I decided, why shouldn’t I!

What I love about this is the the “liquidy” part of the sauce is basically the pasta water, which makes the whole process so very easy. And don’t leave out the lemon – it gives it that fresh zing that’s perfect for summer meals, elevating this dish from hum-drum to yum-yum.



500g (1 lb) pasta (you can use whatever you like, from spaghetti to penne to any pasta shape you enjoy)

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

2 large zucchinis quartered lengthwise and sliced thinly

1 medium-large onion cut in quarters and thinly sliced

At least 10 cloves of garlic peeled and thinly sliced (don’t crush – slicing makes them so much tastier and the garlic won’t burn either.)

Juice of half a medium-sized lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Grated Parmesan cheese to taste (leave out if you want to serve as a vegan or Parev dish)

How to do it

  1. Boil your pasta in lots of salted water
  2. In a large pan, add the olive oil, and over medium-high heat, saute the zucchini and onions for about 5 minutes and then add the garlic. Continue to saute until the zucchini and onions start to brown a little (don’t let it burn).
  3. When your vegetables are a nice brown color, add about half a cup of the pasta water to the pan and the lemon juice. Stir and allow the vegetables to simmer a little. If you feel like there isn’t enough liquid (there should be liquid covering the full bottom of the pan to no more than half a centimeter (less than a quarter of an inch). Don’t add too much liquid. As soon as you see the pasta water has taken on some of the color of the vegetables (no more than 2-3 minutes of simmering) turn the heat off.
  4. Drain the pasta and combine with the sauce immediately.
  5. Serve with Parmesan cheese and fresh cracked black pepper.

Serves about 4

My new favorite salmon

Citrus Infused Salmon

The real trick to cooking a perfect salmon fillet is not drying it out. It’s so easy to go down the wrong path and end up with a piece of salmon that will stick in your throat. This is why I love this method of cooking salmon. While it uses a fair amount of oil, it doesn’t come out oily and really just uses use oil to keep the flesh moist and delicious. The advantage is that you can make this ahead of time, and serve it one or two days later, and the fish will still be delicious and moist. The citrus flavor is beautifully infused into the flesh for a wonderful zingy taste nuance. The best part is that this will take you about 5 minutes to prepare for cooking, and not more than 25 minutes to cook. So it’s great for when you need to throw together a meal in a hurry.
This is now up there as my favorite fish to cook.



1 large salmon fillet (whole side) cut in two equal pieces

½ cup olive oil (you can add more to taste)

One large lemon thinly sliced, seeds removed

One orange thinly sliced, seeds removed (if you can get a blood orange, even better)

2-3 sprigs of rosemary

Ground salt and pepper

How to do it

  1. Heat the oven to 150ºC (300ºF)
  2. Cover a baking tray with foil and drizzle some of the oil over the bottom
  3. Sprinkle salt and pepper over both sides of the fish and lay each piece on the tray, skin side down
  4. Place the citrus slices over the top of each piece of salmon, covering as much of the surface area as possible. Place the rosemary sprigs on top of the fish
  5. Drizzle some of the oil over each piece of salmon and pour the rest around the edges of the fish. You should have a puddle of oil around each piece of salmon of about 4-3mm. (This doesn’t make the fish oily)
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes. To check the fish, take a fork and carefully ease it between the segments of the flesh in the thickest part. If the fish is mostly cooked but just a little translucent deep in the middle, remove the fish from the oven. It will continue to cook a little more on the hot tray.
  7. Serve room at temperature leaving the citrus and rosemary as decoration.

This keeps in the fridge for up to 3 days. Remove from the fridge 1-2 hours before serving.

A Miracle Bar for Pesach

When you hear the words gluten free, vegan, parev, raw and kosher for Pesach to describe one dessert, your first thought is likely – must be tasteless. Well, have I got a pre-Pesach surprise for you! I’m calling these “Miracle Bars” because while they are all of the above, they are also miraculously and inexplicably very very delicious, even though they lack just about everything that usually goes into making a sweet treat taste good.

These 3-layer raw bars (no baking required) are made from cashews, almonds, coconut, dates, peanut butter, dark chocolate, among other ingredients. And they’re not too unhealthy either.

A pretty essential piece of equipment for this recipe is an excellent food processor. When I tested this recipe the first time, I used my Magimix, and the first two layers of these bars were a breeze to blend together. When I made them again for Pesach, using a cheapie food processor that is part of my KFP kit, there was a lot of cursing (from me), some wheezing and smoke (from the food processor), and a quick switch to a very small but stronger food blitzer that also almost cracked under the pressure. So do as I say, don’t do as I do and you will impress your guests and family this Pesach!


Base Layer
1 cup raw cashews
½ cup shredded coconut
2½ tablespoons finely ground almonds
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons silan (date honey) or regular honey

Second layer
12 large dates pitted and cut into 4 (Medjool dates are the best)
¼ cup silan (date honey) or regular honey
1/3 cup peanut butter (preferably unsweetened)
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt

Third Layer 
100g (3½ oz) dark chocolate melted over a double boiler

How to do it

1. Place all the ingredients for the base layer in your food processor process until well combined and until the cashew are quite fine. If you feel it’s too crumbly, add a little more honey. But don’t overdo it because the mixture comes together well when you press it down. (Wash the food processor bowl and blade)

2. Line a 15x20cm (8×6 inch) baking pan with baking paper and press the cashew mixture firmly and evenly into the pan (wet your hands to make this easier). Put it in the freezer for 30 minutes at least.

3. Place all the ingredients for the second layer in the food processor and blend till completely smooth. Remove the pan from the freezer and spread the date layer evenly over the base. Return the pan to the freezer and leave it there until it’s completely frozen.

4. Cut the bars into even-sized pieces to your own taste. They are quite sweet, so I keep them quite small. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (you can just use a very small pot inside a larger pot with boiler water at the bottom – do not allow the smaller pot to touch the water and do not allow any water to splash into the chocolate or it will be ruined).

5. Pick up each bar from the bottom, holding onto the nutty base, and dip just the surface of the date layer into the chocolate. This way you will see all 3 layers clearly from the side. Place them on a piece of baking paper laid out on the countertop, and allow the chocolate to harden.

6. Put them on a flat tray or baking dish on a piece of baking paper, and freeze in one layer. When they are completely frozen,  transfer them to an airtight container to store. You can then layer them with baking paper between the layers.

Keep them frozen until you serve them. They soften very quickly. You can keep them in the freezer for a few weeks.

Problematic Cookies

Pistachio, Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookies

There’s a huge problem with these cookies…you won’t be able to stop eating them! Other than that, they’re perfect. What a combination of flavors!

Credit for this recipe goes to my cousin Anne in San Diego who is a voracious baker. I am only just starting to delve into a list of recipes she recently sent me. This one’s definitely a keeper. I’m going to make another batch today. I can’t wait to try the rest of her recipes. Thank you, Anne!

The combination of white chocolate, pistachios and dried cranberries is a winner. The cookies are dense and hearty. This recipe makes about 30 cookies, so I recommend you double it before you regret it!



175g (7 oz) butter

¾ cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Zest of 1 orange, finely grated

1¾ cups flour

¼ cup corn flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup roasted pistachios, coarsely chopped with a knife – do not put them into a blender.

150g (6 oz) white chocolate chips – I used larger, high quality white chocolate chips, which you can get in any specialty food store or baking shop. They are great!

How to do it

  1. Cream the butter and sugar until pale brown and fluffy.
  2. Beat in the egg, vanilla and orange zest until well combined.
  3. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the flour, corn flour, baking powder and salt until just combined. Add the cranberries, pistachios and white chocolate chips and mix slowly till just combined.
  4. Preheat oven to 170°C (340°F) and line baking sheets with baking paper.
  5. Scoop about a tablespoon of dough onto the sheet, with about 5 cm (2”) between them.  Flatten the balls to about 1.5cm (0.6”) thick. Make sure cookie sheets are completely cold before reusing or additional batches will spread.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until they’re starting to color around the edges. Cool on sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Pop in the freezer when you are done. This will make them less crumbly when you serve them. They can be stored in the freezer for up to a month.


A Most Yummy Vegan Carrot Cake

vegan carrot cake

With no diary and no eggs, baking vegan can be a challenge. Here’s a recipe that you’ll want to bake over and over.

One of my closest friends is a vegan and when she came over for dinner a few weeks ago, I wanted to make sure she was also treated well at dessert time. This cake is so moist, tasty (and healthy) that we all piled into it and enjoyed it – vegan or not. I barely had any left to photograph!

The raisins are what keep the cake extremely moist, and give it an almost Christmas cake feeling. I haven’t tried it, but I suppose that if you soak the raisins in brandy instead of water, you would really inject that festive season flavor into this cake. (Let me know) This is a nice dense cake and works well in the winter when you don’t mind that extra padding at the end of a hearty meal.

I made this with a luscious lemon glaze, but you can just as easily serve it without. Just make sure you don’t overbake it.



1½ cups finely grated carrot

½ cup maple syrup

¾ cup non-dairy almond milk

1/3 cup light extra virgin olive oil or other oil

1½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

1½ cups whole grain spelt flour or whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup raisins, soaked for 10 minutes in warm water and drained

¼ cup chopped walnuts

Lemon Glaze Ingredients

½ cup Tofutti cream cheese

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Icing sugar to reach a thick pouring consistency (about 1 cup)

How to do it

1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) and line a small loaf pan (20cm x11cm x 6cm) with baking paper and spray with non-stick spray.

2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the carrot, maple syrup, milk, oil, vanilla, vinegar, and lemon zest.

3. Add the dry ingredients – flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir until just combined. Fold in the raisins and chopped walnuts – do not overmix.

4. Pour into the loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

5. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, and then transfer the loaf to a wire rack to cool completely.

6. For the glaze, mix the Tofutti cream cheese and the lemon juice in a small bowl till combined well. Add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth, and a thick pouring consistency. Drizzle over the cake by pouring it across teh top and letting it pour over the sides.

Serves 10.