Matzo Ball Soup


Often called Jewish Penicillin, Matzo Ball Soup is not only a Passover staple but also such a New York  City staple. This recipe was taught to me by my wonderful friend Rachel who swears the secret lies in the dill and the richness of the broth. We’ve made this recipe together for Seder meals and other holidays and it is just delicious and always makes me feel right at home.


The stock can be made in advance to save time. You can freeze your enriched chicken stock or simply make several days in advance and rewarm when ready to serve. Always store your matzo balls separately so they do not become engorged with water and break apart.


Matzo Ball Soup
1 whole chicken, giblets removed (about 4lbs)
1 yellow onion
1 bunch dill, stems removed then chopped
4 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup matzo meal (make sure it’s kosher for Passover)
1 (32 oz) carton chicken stock
4 large carrots, cut into bite size pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper


1. In a large stockpot, add whole chicken and cover with water. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for one hour.
2. Meanwhile, slice onion in half and dice one half. Set aside in a small bowl for the soup. Take 1/2 of the remaining onion and mince. Set aside for the matzo balls.
3. In a medium bowl, mix egg, vegetable oil and 1/4 cup water. Mix thoroughly then add in matzo meal and mix till smooth. Add in the minced onion, 1/3 of the chopped dill and season with salt and pepper. Mix well then set in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour.
4. Once chicken stock has simmered for an hour, remove chicken to cool into a large bowl. Take your stockpot and place In the freezer.
5. After the fat has chilled on the surface of the stock, skim it off with a spoon and return stock to the stovetop. Add in the carton of chicken stock.
6. Fill another large pot halfway with salted water. Be sure that you have a lid for the pot.
7. Now that chicken has cooled, remove fat and discard. Shred the meat and set aside for the soup. You can save the bones to make another stock later but be sure to at least save one leg bone for your Seder plate.
7. Your matzo balls are ready to be formed! Take a large spoon of batter and roll into a ball. Drop into the pot of boiling salted water. Repeat till you’ve used all your batter. You get extra points if you manage to make an even 18 balls (the number 18 for Jews is a spiritual number that symbolizes the word “chai” meaning life.)
8. Lower boiling water to a simmer and cover and cook matzo for 30 minutes.
9. As your matzo balls are cooking, return your chicken stock to a boil and add in chopped carrots. Cook till just soft (about 10 minutes). Reduce heat again to a simmer and add in chopped onion and remaining dill. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
10. You can move your cooked matzo balls to the soup and serve immediately or store them separately if you are making in advance.
11. Be sure when you serve to ask how many matzo balls your guests want and serve your broth piping hot. Enjoy!

Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tarts

I’ve been making these little beauties for so many years that I don’t remember where I first got the recipe. They are so simple to make that you barely need a recipe and you can make a large quantity very easily so they’re a perfect appetizer for a big Easter lunch. It’s all my favorite flavors in one mouthful; flaky pastry, sweet onions and cheese with a little kick. 


Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tarts

Serves 8 as an appetizer



2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 red onions, cut lengthwise and sliced thinly

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, plus extra sprigs to save as garnish


Frozen puff pastry, defrosted but still cold

1 (8 oz.) log of goat cheese, put in freezer for approximately 30 minutes



1. Heat oven to 425° F.

2. In a large frying pan, melt the butter and olive oil. Add the onions and thyme and season well.

3. Fry on low heat for 20 – 25 minutes until the onions are soft and caramelized. Then turn the heat off and allow to cool.

4. Cut the pastry into approximately 4″ squares and lay on a cookie tray lined with parchment paper. You will need 8 squares

5. Add a small spoonful of the onion mixture to the center of each square, leaving a small rim of pastry.

6. Slice the goat cheese into 8 slices and put one slice on top of each of the onion tarts.

7. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the pastry has risen and browned.

8. Serve warm with a bed of greens and top with fresh thyme.




Minestrone Soup


I left New York for London in the middle of a blizzard and returned to a completely different city. Away go the ubiquitous puffer jackets, away goes the blackened grimy snow that has been piled high for weeks. Out comes the sun and all the happiness that Spring brings after another brutal winter. Back to the farmers’ market I skipped and felt the need for copious vegetables after the excessive comfort foods enjoyed during hibernation. A fresh minestrone topped off with a dollop of pesto really hit the spot.


Minestrone Soup


3 tablespoon olive oil

2 white onions, peeled and chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 leek, washed and sliced

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 bunch of rainbow chard, washed and roughly chopped

2 zucchinis, halved lengthways and sliced thickly

1 handful of spinach, washed and roughly chopped

8 cups of good vegetable stock

1 medium potato, peeled

1 cup of cooked cannellini beans

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Fresh pesto

Parmesan cheese



1. Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan, then add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes.

2. Continue adding the vegetables one at a time, letting each one cook for a minute or 2 before adding the next.

3. When the spinach has been added, season well with salt and add the stock and the potato.

4. Bring the pan to the boil and reduce to a simmer and cook until the potato is quite soft (approximately 20 minutes).

5. Add the cooked beans and remove the potato with a slotted spoon. Smash the potato with a fork and return to the soup to add thickness.

6. Season with salt and pepper and serve topped with a dollop of pesto (or some peppery extra virgin olive oil) and some freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Steak and Guinness Pie


There’s something so comforting about taking a freshly baked pie out of the oven, breaking through the crust and watching the steam escape with all its delicious aromas. I’m a sucker for anything topped with puff pastry which is now so readily available and always in my freezer. Take any of your favorite stew recipes, add a layer of puff pastry, brush a little egg wash on top and you’ve got yourself a perfect savory pie to battle the cold away. I decided on a Steak and Guinness pie in honor of the upcoming St. Paddy’s Day. You can use this recipe as a guideline to create any basic beef stew. Don’t like guinness? Switch it out for another ale, wine or even beef stock. Add mushrooms, different herbs or other root vegetables. Just dream up your your favorite flavors and go for it! 


Steak and Guinness Pie

Serves 4



2 tablespoon all purpose flour

1 1/2 lb of stewing beef (cut into 1″ cubes)

2 tablespoon olive oil

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 medium onions, chopped

1 clove garlic, finely minced

2 carrots, chopped

1 (14 oz) can of chopped tomatoes 

2 cups of Guinness

3 sprigs of fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

Puff pastry (you can find in the freezer section of most grocery stores)

1 egg



1. Preheat oven to 400° F

2. Put the flour in a large ziplock bag. Season the meat with salt and pepper and add to the bag with flour. Close the bag and shake well so the meat is coated with flour.

3. In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil on medium high heat. Remove meat from flour, shaking off any excess and transfer to the Dutch oven. Brown the meat on all sides being careful not to overcrowd the meat so it doesn’t steam. You may need to do this in several batches. Once you finish your first batch, remove it to a plate.

4. When all the meat is browned and on a plate, add the celery, onions, garlic and carrots to the Dutch oven and cook over medium heat for approximately 5 minutes. 

5. Return the meat to the pan along with any juices from the plate.

6. Add the tomatoes, Guinness, fresh thyme and bay leaves. Stir and season well with salt and pepper.

7. Bring to a simmer, cover well and cook in the oven for about 3 hours. Remove the lid for the final half hour of cooking after giving the stew a good stir. 

8. Remove the thyme stalks or any other fresh herb you may have used and transfer into a baking dish. If the sauce is too thin, you can remove the meat and vegetables first with a slotted spoon and reduce the sauce on the stove over a high heat. 

9. Beat the egg in a bowl and brush the edges of the pie dish with the egg mixture.

10. Roll out the pastry so that it is larger than the pie dish and gently lay over the dish. Cut off the excess pastry and crimp the edges with your fingers.

11. Brush the top of the pastry with the egg wash, cut two little slits in the middle of the pastry with the tip of a knife to let some air escape and bake in the oven for about 30 – 40 minutes until golden brown and flaky.