Anything but cheesecake!

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Anything but cheesecake!

17 May @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

Tuesday 17 May, 7:30 pm UK time.  The festival of Shavu’ot  begins on 4 June this year. It is customary for Jews to prepare dairy foods, and the festival is predominantly associated with the eating of cheesecake. But Sephardi and Mizrahi communities have their own distinct traditions. We will be joined by expert cooks Linda Dangoor from Iraq, Viviane Bowell  of Egypt and Soly Anidjar  from Morocco who will each prepare their favourite Shavuot dish and talk about how the festival is celebrated in their community. (The photo shows cheese sambousek, a popular dish among Iraqi Jews). Recording here.

Lamb and Raisin Mrouzia Tagine


2 lbs lamb shank

½ tsp salt

2 tbsp Ras el Hanout spice blend

1 pinch saffron

2 cups water

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

½ cup olive oil

2 tbsp honey

9 oz raisins

7 oz blanched almonds

Method: In a saucepan, quickly heat the salt, Ras El Hanout, saffron, cinnamon over low heat for a few seconds to bring out the fragrance.  Add the lamb and oil and cover with water and cook at low to medium heat for 30-40 minutes.

When the meat is tender, add the honey, raisins, and cook for 10 minutes until the raisins are plump. When ready to serve, display the meat on a serving platter, pour the sauce and raisins over it, and sprinkle with almonds.

Note: If you don’t own a tagine, you can always use a slow cooker, Dutch oven or pot.

Soly Anidjar has a Facebook recipe page. To join the group click here.


Sutlach (Fragrant rice pudding)
Sutlach is what Sephardic Jews from Turkey and Greece call this rice pudding. It’s different from the usual ones which use pudding rice or long grain rice – instead, ground rice or rice flour is used, which gives the pudding a smooth and creamy texture. It’s traditionally served after Saturday Shabbat morning services, as part of the meal breaking the Fast on Yom Kippur and for the festival  of Shavuot. My mother regularly made it for us when the weather was chilly.
4 heaped tablespoons ground rice or rice flour
1 litre whole milk
3 tablespoons caster sugar, or to taste
1 tablespoon rose water
Ground cinnamon for topping
Optional topping
Chopped pistachios
Flaked almonds, toasted
Desiccated coconut
Method: Blend the ground rice or rice flour with some of the milk until you have a smooth paste.
In a large saucepan, bring the milk and sugar to the boil over a medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat as soon as the milk has boiled.
Stir the rice flour mixture into the milk.  Return to the heat, stirring continuously for 2 minutes and then reduce to a medium heat.
Continue stirring in a clockwise direction for about 15 minutes or until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Be sure to stir constantly and scrape the bottom and sides of the pan as this prevents the pudding from forming lumps and catching the bottom of the pan.
Remove from the heat and stir in the rose water.
Pour into individual serving dishes and ramekins and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Top with any of the optional toppings.


Baked kahee with Qeimar

Kahee is an Iraqi pastry of very thin sheets of dough, buttered, folded like a small handkerchief. This is  then drizzled with sugar, date syrup or honey, and accompanied with Qeimar  (clotted cream).

What is typically Jewish, though,  is our tradition of eating Kahee once a year only,  on the occasion of Shavuot. In this recipe, I am using shop-bought filo pastry, instead of preparing the dough myself.


Filo sheets, thawed in fridge overnight if frozen

Unsalted butter, melted

Icing sugar or date syrup for sprinkling before serving

A pot of Qeimar or clotted cream


  Method:  Preheat oven to 190C.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Lay a filo sheet on top, brush the whole sheet with melted  butter, and fold in half. Brush again with the melted butter, and fold once more.  Brush the top and bottom with the melted butter. You can fold a third time, if you wish, to obtain a smaller-sized Kahee. Repeat this with the rest of the filo sheets. Bake for 20-30 mins, until the pastries are puffed up and golden . (You can also fry the pastries instead, which is the tradition in Iraq)

Serve hot  or warm, topped with a sprinkling of sugar or a drizzle of date syrup, and accompanied by generous lashings of clotted cream or Qeimar.

Fried Kahee

Linda Dangoor is the author of Flavours of Babylon.






















17 May
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm



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