Tonight is the Erev of Rosh HaShana, which, translated from the Hebrew, means ‘New Years Eve’. Unlike the organised ‘People of the Book’, those that inhabit The Mother-in-Law’s house are entangled in the annual maelstrom of preparing for a festival: last minute baking, shopping, cleaning, gardening, and inviting of the renegade West Country Jews.
The last minute cooking falls to me, whilst The Mother-in-Law sorts out the airing cupboard. (Why enter a new year with crumpled pillow cases?) This morning I made a honey cake – the traditional lekach eaten by Ashkenazi Jews to welcome a sweet new year – without any honey. I’ve boiled the hell out of some dried kabuki peas, which, even after an overnight soak and 4 hours of boiling, still seem to be dried. The kale knish (basically Yiddish ravioli) and keftes de prasa (Syrian leek fritters) look good. And should it all be a disaster, the raw and deliciously addictive heat of my homemade zhoug (a spicy Yemenite sauce) should shroud a multitude of culinary disasters.
In the Ashkenazi tradition, Jewish folk eat slices of apple dipped in honey on Rosh HaShana with the intention that the marriage between the new season’s fruit and Mother Nature’s liquid gold will evoke a sweet new year. So, late yesterday afternoon, we plucked apples from the trees of The Secret Garden to create a twist on this tradition and a spin on our usual morning porridge.
The thing I love about overnight oats is that it’s a delicious, lazy alternative to old-fashioned porridge that takes virtually no time at all to prepare. I couldn’t give a monkey’s that it’s a trendy raw eat, when all you need to do is open the fridge door in the morning. Now that’s my kind of morning.
300ml water (ideally filtered)
200g grated apple (equivalent of 2-3 apples, depending on size)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Handful of dates, pitted and chopped
Pinch of sea salt
Fresh seasonal fruit
Milk (almond, cow’s etc)
Place all the ingredients in a bowl and give it a stir. Refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, simply serve straight from the fridge with toppings of your choice.