Life Food & Drink

Wednesday 21 August 2019

Come round for dinner... recipes from Tel Aviv

Lamb with figs
Lamb with figs
Tel Aviv Food People Stories

Long, lazy weekends call out for a memorable meal, full of unusual flavours, so Weekend dived into a new book by Haya Molcho that captures Tel Aviv’s rich culinary tapestry.

Lamb with Figs & Grapes

Savoury meets sweet in this Middle Eastern combination that's a treat for the taste buds. Irish lamb combines with caramelised fruits and is slowly roasted to leave you plenty of time to entertain your  bank holiday visitors.

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Serves 6 people as a main dish


250g sea salt

180g sugar

1.8kg shoulder of lamb (with bones)

250ml chicken broth (see below)

400g sweet red grapes, such as Muscat

8 fresh figs

2 apples

For the chicken broth (makes about 3 litres)

2 large onions

1 leek

2 carrots

½ celeriac

5 celery stalks

2 parsley roots

2 chicken legs or 750g chicken bones


1. To make the chicken broth: peel vegetables as needed and cut into 1cm dice. Cut chicken legs along the bone and pull the meat apart slightly. Place everything in a large saucepan along with 4 litres of water, bring to the boil and simmer for about 1 hour over medium heat.

2. Strain the broth into large jars while still warm, and then seal tightly. The broth will keep in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. It can also be frozen.

3. Start the lamb dish by mixing together the salt and sugar. Rub the shoulder of lamb all over with the mixture, place in a large ovenproof casserole and scatter the rest of the salt and sugar over the top. Cover and leave in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.

4. Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F). Wash the lamb and blot dry. Place in a large deep roasting tin and pour the chicken broth over the top. Gently crush half the grapes with your hand and sprinkle over the lamb. Cover with foil and bake for 3½ hours. Occasionally scrape the roast drippings from the bottom of the tin and baste the lamb with the broth.

Add a bit more water as needed.

5. Halve the figs, cut the apples into wedges and add to the meat with the remaining grapes. Bake for 1 more hour, uncovered; the lamb should be properly browned. Remove from the oven and lift the meat out of the roasting tin. 6. Skim the fat from the cooking juices and serve the juices with the lamb and caramelised fruit.




Makes 1 large loaf or 6 small loaves of bread


500g plain flour, plus extra for the work surface

20g sugar

10g sea salt

5g dry yeast

25ml olive oil, plus oil for the baking sheet

340ml water

Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling the dough


1. Mix the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a bowl. Add the olive oil and water, and knead by hand or using a stand mixer with a dough hook until you have a sticky dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, puncture twice with a fork and let the dough rise for 12-24 hours in the refrigerator.

2. Use the risen dough for 1 large loaf of bread or divide into 6 portions. For a large focaccia, dust the dough in the bowl with flour and then turn onto your work surface with the floured side down. Fold the edges of the dough to the middle all the way around and press firmly, always rotating the ball of dough a bit. Then turn so that the smooth side is up.

3. For small loaves, roll the bits of dough with your cupped hand on an unfloured surface to shape into balls. Cover the dough and let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.

4. Preheat oven to 260°C (500°F). Brush a baking tray with olive oil. With oiled hands, carefully stretch the large ball of dough over the entire baking tray and press flat; shape the small balls into round flatbreads. With spread fingers, make indentations in the surface of the dough and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

5. Bake until the focaccia is golden brown (10-12 minutes). Bake the small portions for 5-6 minutes, in two batches if they don't all fit on a baking tray. Let cool a bit before serving.

Haya's tip

Since most ovens are not large enough to bake four flatbreads at once, simply put the toppings on the first finished flatbread, cut into quarters and enjoy it while the next one bakes in the oven.



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