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Food is woven through the narrative of every religious festival across the world. As encountering faith & belief is an integral part of what we do here at F&BF, Scriptural Seasoning is an opportunity to discover each others’ traditions, through a food lover’s eyes. This recipe has been shared by F&BF’s Fundraising & development Manager, Josh Cass
Autumn’s arrival has a habit of catching me out. I am not sure why that is, the signs are all there: the evenings getting darker, the shadows lengthening, signs that the trees are on the turn, and, for me at least, the subconscious pull of the rhythms of the Jewish month of Tishrei: the month of Sukkot, Yom Kippur, and Rosh Hashanah.
Growing up this time of year was for me an exciting time. We were together as a family a great deal, with grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. There was the annual breaking of the Yom Kippur Fast which we always did with a particular group of neighbours. And, of course, there was food.
The Jewish New Year is synonymous (more or less) with honey; the symbolism is not particularly complex – it is eaten to signify the hope for a sweet new year. But is pops up everywhere. In my family, we would enjoy it in cakes, with carrots in a dish called tzimmes, and spread over challah or poured over apples which we were lucky enough to get from the tree in our garden. It became an unofficial custom in my home that over the summer, we would keep our eyes open for different honeys to enjoy at Rosh Hashanah, and it was not unusual for us to have three or four ready to try by the time the new year arrived. It’s something which I have tried to keep doing as I have got older: this year we have a jar of blackberry honey which we picked up in Ludlow on our way home from Wales this summer, but in previous years there has been orange blossom honey from Valencia, honey bought from a honey merchant in the souks of Fez, even honey from local hives in Barnet.
The New Year is for many Jews a time for introspection and taking stock. The last year has not been the year which any of us would have imagined or wished for, and as much as this time year is a time for introspection, it is also a time for new beginnings. For me, my hope is that in the year ahead I can become a better ally for those seeking to find a way forward that is better for us all than the one we have been on until now.
Lekach is a honey-sweetened cake made especially for the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. Lekach is one of the symbolically significant foods traditionally eaten by Ashkenazi Jews, in hopes of ensuring a ‘sweet New Year’. Best kept a few days before serving, as it becomes more flavoursome with time.
You will need: Bowl, tin measuring 25x20x05 cm, baking paper, pre-heated oven at 170C, baking time of 1+ hours, waiting time of 3-5 days before eating.
200g plain flour
150g caster sugar
2tsp mixed spice
250g clear honey
100ml cooking oil
1tsp baking powder
100ml orange juice
50g chopped walnuts
Pre-heat oven to 170C. line tin with baking paper.
Mix together flour, sugar and spices. Make a well in the centre, add in honey, oil and eggs. Beat well together until smooth. Dissolve baking powder in orange juice, stir into mix. Add nuts if using, stir in well.
Pour into lined baking tin, and bake at 170C fro 1hr 15 mins, or until firm to touch.
Wait 3-5 days before eating, store in air tight container.
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