Review – Die Jüdische Küche by Annabelle Schachmes


If you know me, you’ll know that I love food and cooking. I also love collecting cookbooks, something I must have inherited from my dad. Luckily enough, I recently got my hands on a copy of Annabelle Schachmes’ Jewish cookbook “Die Jüdische Küche”. It was originally published in 2015 by Gründ cuisine under the title “La Cuisine juive“.

Die Jüdische Küche
Image provided by südwest¹

With “Die Jüdische Küche”, Annabelle Schachmes tried to create a collection of Jewish dishes from all over the world. To find the recipes, she traveled to different continents and brought back gems from Russia, Tunisia, Israel, the USA and various other countries.

The book is divided into eight sections: “spices, pickle & condiments”; “appetizers”; “main courses”; “sides”; “soups”; “street food & New York delis”; “breads & pastries” and “desserts”. Usually these chapters are there to help you find recipes, in this book they only confuse. Everything is okay up until we reach the “soups” section which is not where I would look for it at all. It’s in the middle of the book while it should be somewhere near the beginning. I also don’t get why “street food & New York delis” is so far away from the main dishes. The placing of “breads & pastries” as well as “desserts” is perfect but what I don’t get is why “desserts” is full of pastries again with some lemonade recipes sprinkled in between. The whole thing is quite chaotic.

Cinnamon ChallahAmong over 160 recipes you will find favorites like falafel, hummus or challah as well as lots of dishes you’ve never heard before. Many recipes are accompanied by a description or even a photo but some aren’t and it is really hard to guess what cholent or loubia are supposed to be if all you’ve got is a recipe. “Die Jüdische Küche” is a beautifully illustrated cookbook full of photographs of markets and people in the streets but wouldn’t it be better to cut back on those photos and accompany every recipe by a picture instead?

While all this sounds harsh, you can’t judge a cookbook without doing some cooking. For Valentine’s Day, I chose to cook falafel and bake challah.
Falafal with Cucumber SaladI didn’t make a falafel sandwich as it is suggested in the book, but chose to serve the falafel with cucumber salad and sour cream. The recipe lets you choose between frying or baking the falafel, so I did the latter. I was a bit confused because the ingredients didn’t specify if the weight for the canned chickpeas meant the drained weight or not. In another recipe that was stated and here it wasn’t. Anyways, the falafel turned out great, maybe a bit on the dry side, but they tasted heavenly and they were assembled in no time. This will become a go-to recipe in my home for sure.

Heart-shaped ChallahI chose to pimp the challah recipe by making cinnamon challah. I did the dough just like the recipe stated and before I braided it, I brushed it with melted butter and dusted it with cinnamon and sugar. The challah was just as yummy as the falafel. So recipe-wise, “Die Jüdische Küche” is a great book.

Annabelle Schachmes collected Jewish recipes from all over the world. She took the recipes and her photos and had them bound into a book. What she forgot is that there are people who will want to use this book as a cookbook. There isn’t an introductory chapter telling us about the ingredients and the measurements used, or about possible substitutions – something you’ll find in every good cookbook. I also miss the possibility to see the geographical origin of a recipe at a glance. This would have been so easy to accomplish. And then there is the big question that hasn’t been asked or answered: What is Jewish cuisine? Why are all these recipes considered Jewish and not German, Eastern European, or Tunisian? We’ll never know.
If you are an experienced cook who wants an extensive collection of good Jewish recipes and lots of beautiful pictures of people and markets, then go for this book, but remember: “Die Jüdische Küche” is just a collection of recipes and not much more.

3 Star Rating: Recommended

A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Happy New Year

Hi everyone,

Happy New Year 2014!

NewYearThank you for staying with me through these first nine months that I’ve been writing All That Magic! You are the people who keep me reading and reading is what makes me happy. I really hope that I made you buy one or two books (or 20, or 30,… I know how it is. You enter a book store, online or real, because you want to buy a book and you come out with four additional books.). Maybe you also read one of my reviews and thought “Nah, I don’t like this one.” and bought three other books instead. (Or a box of really expensive chocolates, or you just saved the money.) That’s also great 😀 What I’m trying to say is, I hope you are enjoying yourself on here. Most people do by having a look at that book stack cake I made for my late grandpa.

In 2014, I could do a few more food posts. My time is limited, but from time to time, I do take pictures of the things I cook and bake. I will, of course, continue to read and write reviews about the books I read. My TBR pile isn’t that small, so don’t be afraid. And I’ll definitely do something crafty. There might be a bit of an interruption in spring when I’m supposed to do my university finals, but I’ll warn you in time 😉 I think that’s all for now.

Thank You! And Happy New Year!

Recipes for Hot Hot Weather

Happy Sunday everyone.

I gotta tell you right at the start: It’s too darn hot here. Way too hot for me to think. So I spend my time working (yep, gotta do that on weekends too), reading and looking for something to share with you. And this is what I came up with:

I hope you all know that I looove food. And even though it’s really hot right now, people got to eat. I’m not terribly hungry, but there are a few things that will make my mouth water. So, while browsing the world-wide web, I came across some great recipes for days like these. And I’d like to share these recipes with you.

I’ll start with a starter that reminded me of a trip to Lucerne. WATERMELON SOUP WITH MINT. I had it in a restaurant in Lucerne and I have to admit, there are lots of versions of it on the internet. Here are two recipes that I think look great:

A more classy version: Minty Chilled Watermelon Soup

A version for those who like it hot when it’s hot: Watermelon, Cucumber & Mint Soup

Now on to the entrée. So I found this awesome recipe for SPINACH AND ORANGE YOGURT SALAD RAITA. I have to admit it’s more of a dip. But hey, you can easily alter it. Just take some more spinach (If it’s fresh, take a LOT of it. Like a gallon or more [that’s about 4 liters]) and it’s a salad. If you’d like to add some meat, you could add grilled chicken or beef. Just experiment. Don’t be afraid. (And yes, you can also have bread with it). I had all sorts of spinach yogurt salads and I’ve always loved them. I’m looking forward to trying this one.

Here’s the original recipe: Spinach and Orange Yogurt Salad Raita

For dessert, I’d suggest HONEY YOGURT BERRY POPS. I think they look delicious. And I bet they also taste great. 🙂 When I was a child, we used to make yogurt pops, but we never put berries in them. This seems to be the adult version 😀

To bring back childhood memories, or to simply chill with a dessert, click here: Honey Yogurt Berry Pops

Bon Appetit

Recipe – Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hi there,

For the past week, I’ve been munching away more than 20 Chocolate Chip Cookies. When a friend of mine told me she’ll make some, I felt instantly inspired and had to make some too. I knew that my dad wouldn’t want to eat them, so I only made half the recipe. But still… I had 20+ cookies to eat and I only gave away about three I think. You think that’s selfish? Nah… There aren’t that many people around me to feed. So it took me about a week to finish them all. And they were yummy.

Here you can see pictures of the last cookie vanishing:



While you watch, I’ll tell you something about the recipe. Because you’ll probably get hungry on the way down…

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe is the one from my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. You can find the recipe here.

This time however, I wanted to have an even more crisper cookie (I love them crispy) and so I decided to alter the original recipe a little bit. I made no changes to the process, only to the ingredients (and I only made half of the recipe). So here are the ingredients exactly as I used them:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate pieces
  • 1 cup chopped almonds

For instructions, follow the link to the original recipe.

What’s your favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe? Please share it with me. I love baking! Thanks 🙂

Incoming ARC – Provence, 1970

I am thrilled to announce that Clarkson Potter provided me with an advance reading copy (ARC) of Provence, 1970 by Luke Barr. The book will be out in October 2013. I will read it as soon as I can and then I’ll get back to you with a review.

Image provided by Random House¹


Summary quoted from Random House¹:
Provence, 1970 is about a singular historic moment. In the winter of that year, more or less coincidentally, the iconic culinary figures James Beard, M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, Richard Olney, Simone Beck, and Judith Jones found themselves together in the South of France. They cooked and ate, talked and argued, about the future of food in America, the meaning of taste, and the limits of snobbery. Without quite realizing it, they were shaping today’s tastes and culture, the way we eat now. The conversations among this group were chronicled by M.F.K. Fisher in journals and letters—some of which were later discovered by Luke Barr, her great-nephew. In Provence, 1970, he captures this seminal season, set against a stunning backdrop in cinematic scope—complete with gossip, drama, and contemporary relevance.