Israel offers an eclectic variety of food, often fused together as a result of the diversity that envelopes this gastronomical state. Enjoy below a collage of both traditional and contemporary ideas to inspire and follow Pascal's link for full recipes and lots more.
Chef, baker, food journalist and author of recipe books. I write and photograph a food column on a regular basis for a number of publications, including the weekend and magazine editions of Ma'ariv, and the Jerusalem Post.
As a child, the smells of cooking and baking enticed me into our tiny kitchen, to the point where I drove my late mother, Esther z"l, mad. She tried to get rid of me but eventually gave up. I remember that at the age of 6, I had already baked my first cake, which came out lovely and poffy!
I grew up amongst the tastes, aromas and sounds that led me to the field of gastronomy. At first, I tried to reproduce the wonderful dishes that my mother prepared, and later I strived to copy similar and different dishes from my neighbors’ kitchens. More often than not it was a long and difficult journey until I reached the result I wanted and no-one was happier than I was when I reached my goal. Whoever bakes a lot understands that a winning recipe is not always enough, and it's the same with cooking. I returned time after time to my mother and she corrected me until I reached the required result in her opinion.
Today I'm recognized as being a specialist and anthropologist of different communities in Israel and I'm known as an interpreter of valued family recipes. I've been studying the cuisines of the various communities for over 3 decades in a quest to understand, through food, their cultures and customs.
A number of my books are dedicated to these communities where I try, as much as possible, to preserve the original flavors of the recipe while I respect the cultures and traditions of every community. With time, experience and culinary developments in Israel, I have expanded my activities into cooking and baking for families, with an emphasis on fast and accessible cooking in a healthy and nutritious way. In addition, I have explored new areas such as veganism, vegetarianism, gluten-and -sugar-free cooking and even Paleo. These, and more, have received attention in my books, articles and of course, my website.
The vast experience I have gained over the years of writing about food for articles in newspapers and magazines, together with T.V. and radio appearances, lectures and demonstrations about the various communities in Israel, especially quick, modern recipes, together with my writings, are all based in the Tunisian kitchen of my childhood, which has molded me into who I am today. In recent years, preparing delicacies for my food columns, I have been involved in styling and photographing them for my writings.
Over the years I have written for many food publications, newspapers and magazines, including 'Derech Haochel', 'Laisha', 'Gourmet (At)', 'Horim veyeladim', 'Mishpacah Tova', and 'Lihiyot Mishpacha', and I've also acted as a culinary advisor and editor for 'Rozmarin magazine.
I am the publisher of 'Pasqal Baregesh', lecture and present culinary presentations on T.V. and radio, including morning shows and guest appearances. I give demonstrations and speak about the connections between culture, customs and food. I also participate in Liat Regev's radio programme, 'Nearly Shabbat' on Channel B.
I advise food manufacturers in their development of new products and I lecture in school and private settings, as well as presenting courses in the various cooking schools. I am a graduate of the cooking and nutrition teacher's course at the David Yellin College in Jerusalem, and I taught nutrition and home economics for a number of years in various schools and in the youth village at Ben Shemen.
Special Thanks to Pascal Perez-Rubin, all content used with permission .
Pascal's range of best selling cookery books offers inspired recipes for every day living. No matter if you're looking for quick fix dishes or more intricate dining, there is a book to suit every occasion. Follow the link below to see the range of Hebrew language books available.
Meanwhile you can follow Pascal at any of the below social media links to see the vast range of dishes and ideas available online. Happy Cooking!
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herb infused salad with sweet tomatoes, chopped cucumbers, goats cheese & parsley in pita pocket fried on hot plate.
Whole cauliflower lightly boiled & placed into oven, drizzled with virgin olive oil, cracked sea salt, black pepper and some herbs and spices.
Grated potatoes fritters fried with onion, and fresh vegetables such as red pepper and courgettes, added herbs & served with a sour cream dip.
soft briochettes marinated in virgin olive oil with freshly chopped garlic, and herbs and baked in the over until a golden crispy top.
Hearty Spring casserole with meat balls, artichoke hearts and green beans, coated with a cinnamon seasoning.
Oven potatoes in jackets drizzled with olive oil, thyme, salt & cracked pepper. whipped inside to fluff, topped with a sprig of Thyme.
These tough little balls are formed from semolina flour and whilst mostly used for cous cous style dishes it can also be used and prepared in the same way as pasta too. Usually cooked and served in either a warm or cold salad mélange with roasted tomatoes, garlic, herbs and spices with a rich virgin olive oil. Try small peppers for a kick and freshly chopped corriander on top with lemon lightly drizzled for the perfect Ptitim salad. Look for these in your local delicatessen, they are so versatile and a healthy. You'll find these in all the markets, make sure you pick up a few packets.
This is a simple yet easy dish that is so flavoursome that if you've not had it before, you'll be wondering where it has been hiding all your life. Eaten as a side dish or a starter or even as part of grand platter! It consists of baked aubergines until soft and smoky, mixed and mashed together with freshly ground garlic, pepper and squeezed lemon juice. It is usually topped with fresh chopped parsley and drizzled with olive oil, served with warm pita bread, it is delicious and you'll find in most eateries around Israel but simple to make too.
One of the primary things that makes a genuine Israeli salad great is the fact that when enjoyed in Israel, you can be sure that most to all the ingredients are locally sourced and come no further than an Israeli farm. second is the fine art of chopping everything to small diced cubes that can easily absorb the dressing. ingredients consist of onions, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. These are then marinated in the in the fusion of extra virgin oil, minced parsely, lemon juice and ample salt and pepper. You'll find this salad a staple of Israeli street food.
A dish synonymous with Israeli classics. It is especially popular for breakfast time, but the reality is that these days it can be eaten at any time of the day. Do make sure you have plenty of bread to wipe up the flavoursome juices, thats part of the enjoyment. It consists of tomatoes & bell peppers fried in olive oil with fresh garlic. Some may add greens such as spinach. Infused usually with cumin or chilli & often zaatar, the key ingredient is the egg left gently to fry in holes created in the spicy juices. The colourful sizzling dish can be found in most eateries served before mid-day and your hotel will almost certainly offer a version. You can't come to Israel and not try it.
This classic street food dish is highly popular as a snack or a side dish in many eateries. The fillings can often be cheese based but also minced meat or spinach but in the main, potatoe filling is used as this helps to create a cost effective yet testy version which tends to be the most popular. the fluffy potatoe mash is laced with ample fried onions & seasoning to create the centre, wrapped in a fried filo pastry and then often topped with sesame seeds to add that final taste kick. The outsides are often brushed with egg, but these are so easy to find as a vegan option too! Just make sure you have these with some dips to really create a social experience with friends.
When in Israel, this is something that must certainly become part of your daily ritual. The Israeli breakfast has become as infamous as as the Continental breakfast or classic English 'Fry up'. The only difference is that this takes much longer to enjoy and is a far healthier option than a 'fry up'. With an Israeli breakfast you need to sit back and give yourself time! Bread is staple but not just fresh out of the oven pita, but bagels & probably wholegrain & even challah. Humus for dipping, there may be some Baba Ganoush & most definitely the white cheese spread 'Gvina Levana'. Israeli salad, Shakshuka, Labneh yoghurt dip and fresh olives. You may be served ruggellach & boiled eggs too, freshly squeezed juice & most certainly that essential cup of coffee.
Low fat and ever so tasty, this delicious yoghurt based cheese is gorgeous as a breakfast accompaniment or can be served as a meze often served with warm pita and other dips. Often it tends to be the case that it is milder at breakfast but the later in the day you go the more piquant it becomes. Its unique taste is developed by being strained through cheesecloth or strainer and then refrigerated once mixed with some quality kosher. It is best left for several hours, then before being plated it is drizzled with ample extra virgin olive oil and lots of fresh Israeli za'atar. Perfect for spreading and dip.
Humus in Israel is more than just a dish, in Israel it is a way of life. There are competitions, awards, even restaurants dedicated to the different kinds of humus dishes from garlic, pine nuts and even avocado infused. In fact it has become so popular, all kinds of new variations are popping up all the time. Humus is usually served with falafel and is perhaps the most popular street food also served as part of a meze plate with hot out of the oven pita. Humus is made with blended chick peas, tahine, olive oil, lemon juice and spices. It is usually seasoned with cumin, paprika and good quality kosher salt.
Considered to be one of Israel's national dishes, this simple yet delicious little fried ball is widely eaten in all parts of the Middle East but as with all dishes synonymous with the region, there are many ways to make it depending on where in the region you are from. Falafel is a good source of protein & great street food for vegans too. Made from ground chick peas (or fava beans) it is mixed with a little flour, onions & strong seasoning such as grounded cumin and coriander then deep fried until golden brown. They are often served in a pita similar to a kebab, or with humus or a garlic dip & the essential Israeli salad. Inexpensive eating with all the flavour!
This version is almost identical in style to that of the standard with the difference that the eggs have been replaced by "Easy Egg" or similar products to create the egg white whilst the yolk has been made using spicy sweet potatoe wedges. Some places are even offering the low fat variety now too meaning not only vegan but without the oil. Instead using water and soy sauce. It also consists of tomatoes & bell peppers with fresh garlic. Some may add greens such as spinach. Infused usually with cumin or chilli & often zaatar. The colourful sizzling dish can be found in most eateries served before mid-day and your hotel will almost certainly offer a version. You can't come to Israel and not try it.
This dish originally made its way over from the small hillside villages of Georgia courtesy of Georgia's then large Jewish community who made Aliyah and came to Israel during the early seventies. This is essentially a large gooey flat bread cheesy style pizza. Crispy, oily and stodgy it is the very essence of comfort food. The key ingredients are: flour, cheese, butter, eggs, milk and yeast, seasoned with a quality kosher salt. The cheeses used are usually 2-3 different varieties
that melt into each other during the baking process. An egg or two depending on size is thrown in to melt into the cheeses towards the end of the baking process. These days it is enjoyed at any time of the day.
Halva is a creamy, nutty, buttery treat made from one key ingredients: tahini (sometimes honey). It is usually infused with a range of flavours though most popular tend to be Chocolate and vanilla. In addition you can find Halva laced with pistachio nuts, almonds; glacé fruits coffee bean and even quirky experimental flavours. Halva is made by mixing together the soft sesame paste with whipped sugar and glucose. It is then all heated to an extremely high temperature until it turns into a toffee like texture. Once it starts to cool, added flavourings are left for a day or more to penetrate the mixture and the stirring process often creates lovely swirls in the mixture. This also makes the perfect take home gifts for people!
Zahav is a two-time James Beard Award winning cookbook for both the 2017 best "International" cookbook and the coveted "Book of The Year" award. The book showcases the melting-pot cooking of Israel, especially the influences of the Middle East, North Africa, the Mediterranean, and Eastern Europe. Solomonov's food includes little dishes called mezze, such as the restaurant's insanely popular fried cauliflower; a hummus so ethereal that it put Zahav on the culinary map; and a pink lentil soup with lamb meatballs that one critic called "Jerusalem in a bowl." It also includes a majestic dome of Persian wedding rice and a whole roasted lamb shoulder with pomegranate and chickpeas that's a celebration in itself.
An exciting debut cookbook that confirms the arrival of a new guru chef Alon Shaya. . . . A moving, deeply personal journey of survival and discovery that tells of the evolution of a cuisine and of the transformative power and magic of food and cooking. From the two-time James Beard Award-winning chef whose celebrated New Orleans restaurants have been hailed as the country’s most innovative and best by Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Saveur, GQ, and Esquire. The book is from Penguin Random House Publishing and available from all good bookstores and online portals.