Thursday, September 18, 2014

Menu Plan Week 4: Rosh Hashanah Approaches!

Rosh Hashanah starts next Wednesday evening and I have only just clocked precisely how much needs to be done before then. As usual, we'll be hosting the lovely cantor from Berlin who is coming to take the High Holy Days services here, which means that upstairs needs to be made reasonably civilised, and we are following DH's family's tradition of having family round on Erev Rosh Hashanah for a big meal. The dining room usually functions as an office for the two of us, which makes it a fairly big job to turn it back into a space where 10 people can eat in relative comfort. 

I'm definitely a list person, and having spent some time today with a paper and pen I'm feeling less overwhelmed by the jobs to be done. I've come up with a menu that should be manageable because a lot of it is done in advance. 

Menu for the week, first of all. The goal for this week is to clear stuff out of the freezer to make room for some things I have planned. 

By the way, if you've noticed (probably not!) that Thursday is always missing, that's because we get individual pies or quiche or similar from a stall at the Farmers' Market every week and reheat them to go with salad or veg. It's not that exciting, so doesn't go onto the menu.

Spaghetti bolognaise using beef mince from the freezer.

Homemade chicken schnitzel, chips, green beans or similar.

My parents' as usual but I'm making a chocolate beetroot cake to take for my uncle's birthday.

Cottage pie and assorted veg (pie from the freezer)

Baked beetroot, fried halloumi, couscous, salad. 

Because DH's familiy are Sephardi, the Erev Rosh Hashanah meal has traditionally been a full-blown seder. Last year my father-in-law was visiting from Israel and was keen for us to do the whole thing, so he translated his service sheet for us from Persian and we did some internet research, and we came up with a seder of our own that everyone was really happy with. 

This year, Daniel is that much older and less patient, and the guest list is slightly different. We (DH, Daniel and I) are going to be the only practising Jews there, so it seems silly do the whole thing. Instead, we'll do the basics of the prayers to start with, including lighting candles, and then the traditional foods (specifically dates, pomegranate, apple and honey) are incorporated into the menu. DH says that as long as pomegranates are involved, he'll be happy! I hope we can bring back the seder in the future when we have older kids, but it seems more sensible to park it for now.

We'll be having:

Round challah, possibly with apple and raisins in it

Slow-roasted Persian lamb (uses pomegranate molasses)
Adas polow (rice dish involving dates)
Pomegranate salad
Salad-e shirazi (finely chopped salad of onion, tomato, cucumber, mint and lemon juice)

Apple cake and honey cake, served with tea.

This feels fairly manageable. The cakes are best made a couple of days in advance and left to mature, so I can do them on Monday. I'll start the challah on Tuesday evening and finish it early Wednesday morning, when I'll also do the salads. The lamb will go into the oven at around 3.30pm and the rice will need around an hour and twenty minutes, which gives me plenty of time to lay the table and talk to people as they arrive, rather than being stuck in the kitchen the entire time. 

Our nice cantor lady is vegetarian, so when she comes back from shul (or before she goes, if she prefers) she'll have pumpkin curry from the freezer with some couscous and salad - also nice and easy on the night.

The cleaning and tidying is a bit more daunting, but I'm trying to prioritise so that if I find I'm getting too tired or achey to do it all, some things can just be left. I'd like to get as much as possible done because it will be easier to maintain from then on as I get more pregnant and would rather not be doing deep cleaning or major sorting out. However, I'm trying to remain realistic. 

We shall see how it all goes! 


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