DENISE PHILLIPS’S FIG AND ROCKET SALAD

The Jewish Chronicle - - Life/food - www.jew­ish­cook­ery.com

NEXT Mon­day, Au­gust 15, co­in­cides with Av 15 and its fes­ti­val, Tu B’Av. It is an un­usual cel­e­bra­tion with an in­ter­est­ing his­tory. In Tem­ple times, un­mar­ried girls of Jerusalem would put on white dresses and dance in vine­yards. The city’s sin­gle men watched them with a view to se­lect­ing a wife.

The hol­i­day has more re­cently be­come akin to a Jewish Valen­tine’s Day. It is cus­tom­ary to send red roses to your love in­ter­est, ro­man­tic songs are played on the ra­dio and love is in the air.

If you are plan­ning to cook a ro­man­tic Tu B’Av din­ner for your date, here are some tips to help it run smoothly:

Test­ing new cre­ations on a date night might be dis­as­trous. Take time to pre­pare, and make some­thing fa­mil­iar.

Find out what your date likes to eat or drink, and check whether they have any food al­ler­gies so your meal is not in­ter­rupted by a visit to A&E.

Avoid messy foods and ones that stick in your teeth, like spinach, spaghetti or corn on the cob.

This quick but im­pres­sive salad is the per­fect en­tree for an in­ti­mate din­ner for two. Figs are just start­ing to come into sea­son — choose plump, heavy fruits for the sweet­est flavour. Prepa­ra­tion: 10 min­utes. Serves 2.

IN­GRE­DI­ENTS

100g rocket leaves 4 figs, cut into eighths (or quar­ters if small) 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice 2 tsp honey 3 tbsp fruity ex­tra vir­gin olive oil Sea salt and freshly ground black pep­per 50g flaked al­monds

METHOD

Com­bine the ex­tra vir­gin olive oil, lemon juice and honey, and sea­son. Add honey or lemon to taste.

Wash the rocket leaves and spin or pat them dry, tear into rough pieces.

Ar­range the figs and the leaves on two plates.

Driz­zle over the dress­ing just be­fore serv­ing and sprin­kle with the al­monds.

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