Claudia Roden's The Book of Jewish Food has served me well over the 13 years I've spent living with my Jewish blokes: she has put festivals into context, provided recipes that are anything but simple despite their seeming simplicity. There's a tried-and-true thing going on with her writing that I feel really drawn to, tried-and-true 'cause Roden recorded recipes from (mostly) women in communities that cook a lot. Many reviews on Amazon criticise the book for being light-on for Ashkenazi recipes, for being too heavy on the Sephardic food, but this is a plus, especially for someone who has vegetarians to feed. Sephardic food is very sexy - think Ottolenghi - and Ashkenazi food is...well, kinda dull. It's never cold enough in Australia to eat cholent.
Of course the word salad here is used in the context that we not of the Levant find difficult to accept. It's like a North African mash made with equal quantities potato and carrot that are boiled then mashed before being dressed with some fairly punchy flavours. This is gorgeous, something I made often during the just-passed Pesach.
claudia roden's boiled carrot and potato salad
Peel equal quantities (350g or 12 oz) of potatoes and carrots. Cut into large pieces and pop into a pot of cold water. As the pot comes to the boil add salt and continue boiling (at a simmer is better) for about 20 mins, 'til they are very tender. Drain then mash - you may like to leave it a little chunky (I do). Whisk together the juice of 1 lemon, 4 tbsp of olive oil, 1/2 tsp of ground cumin, 1 tsp of paprika, a pinch of cayenne and 3 crushed cloves of garlic and some salt to taste. Mix well with mashed vegetables and serve hot.
Very, very good.