I know it is sort of expected of me to say/write something about the tragedy in Pittsburgh but I honestly don't have anything to say at the moment. I am envious of all those people who are able to eloquently compose their thoughts and provide solace and support, as for me, all I can think about at the moment are the close family and friends of the victims, as well as the local Pittsburgh Jewish community who are experiencing so much pain at the moment, their lives will be changed forever.

Ever since the terrorist attack on the Chabad House in Mumbai, my life has never really been the same, it changed everything. The terror, fear, questions and doubt are not something that can be easily overcome. It takes time. So my only thought is that this is a major long term event that doesn't require a quick response and a hot take. I will be taking the advice in Kohelet (7:2)

טוֹב לָלֶכֶת אֶל בֵּית אֵבֶל מִלֶּכֶת אֶל בֵּית מִשְׁתֶּה בַּאֲשֶׁר הוּא סוֹף כָּל הָאָדָם וְהַחַי יִתֵּן אֶל לִבּוֹ. It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for that is the end of every man, and the living shall take it to their heart.


Hopefully, in the coming weeks we will be able to talk, reflect and respond. But in the meantime, we who are living, must take it to heart.

Before I moved to Cambridge in 2003 I lived near 770 in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Most days I would be up early, and on my way to 770 to learn and daven I would pick up a freshly baked muffin and a coffee from Albany Bakery.

Sadly, we do not have a kosher bakery in Cambridge and in any case, none of the kosher bakeries in England seem to know how to make a really good muffin.

Over the years I have tried to fill the gap but have never been able to recreate the nostalgic experience.

Then recently, when I was making a cake (Earl Grey Loaf from Jamie's Great Britain) and had some left over batter. I baked it in a muffin tin and voila! I discovered a comparably good muffin.


Ingredients:

Earl Grey teabags x 4

Dried Fruit (raisins, cranberries, cherries etc.) x 400g

Orange x 1

Egg x 1

Golden Caster Sugar x 200g

Self-Raising Flour x 400g

Nutmeg x 1tsp

Sugar for sprinkling


Method:

Pour 300ml of boiling water over the four teabags and leave to brew for a few minutes then pour the liquid over the dried fruit and add the zest of the orange. Give it a good stir and leave for a few hours until the fruit rehydrates.

Add the whisked egg, caster sugar, flour, nutmeg and the juice of the orange and mix until you have a dough-like consistency.

Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases until they are three quarters full, sprinkle the top with some sugar, and put in your pre-heated oven at 180/350 degrees for approx. 20 minutes or until crispy on top.

There is a Tosfot (ד״ה וכדברי) in the Talmud, Tractate Avodah Zara, 5b which recommends eating more easily digestible foods before the fast on Yom Kippur such as poultry and fish rather than meat. See also Shulchan Aruch ha-Rav, Orach Chaim, 608:8.


Therefore, this erev Yom Kippur the menu will be as follows:


Round Challah with Honey

Celeriac & Apple Soup

Thai Salmon

Roast Potatoes

Buckwheat Salad

Herby Salad

Honey Cake


Here is the recipe for the salmon which I adapted from Jamie Oliver's 30 Minute Meals (p.188).


Ingredients:

Fresh Ginger - 4cm piece

Garlic - 4 cloves

Red Onion - x 2

Fresh Red Chilli - x 1

Soy Sauce - 2 tbsps

Limes - x 4

Side of Salmon - x 1


Method:

Turn the oven on to 250℃/480℉


Peel the ginger, garlic and onion, and deseed the chilli. Chop them up roughly and put into a liquidiser. Pour in the soy sauce and squeeze in the juice of the limes and blitz.


Put the mixture into a dish that will snugly fit the salmon and put the salmon, skin side up, in the dish.


Put in the oven on the top shelf for 18 minutes.


Enjoy!!!!


PS After the fast we will be serving minestrone soup followed by burgers, chips and beer.