Sukkot and Simchat Torah in South Africa falls at a beautiful time of the year. A time when, blossoms appear on trees, days get longer and warmer and whales can be seen in the waters off our coastline.
Sukkah competitions are held by many shuls and the various themes created are quite exciting. A few years back, we placed 'Free Gilad Shalit' posters, flags, and yellow ribbons on the walls of our sukkah which served as a stark reminder of our commitment to his release. You can imagine our absolute joy when he was released a year later almost to the day!
We've also had themes on a lighter note such as 'Pretty in Pink' and 'Lanterns', 'Lemons and Lulavs' as pictured in my latest book 'Celebrating with the Kosher Butcher's Wife'. On that note, for meals, I try to have a different theme for each night of Sukkot - 'Around the world in eight days', so to speak! Whether we're in India having Bollywood Beef and Samosasm in China with Kung Pao Chicken and rice or right at home with Bunny Chow, Breedie and Boerewors it's creative cooking at it's best where the cuisines of different countries makes for a fun Sukkot or Simchat Torah.
When I asked my children what Simchas Torah meant to them they responded in unison "Flags, chocolates and our 'first L' Chaim". Well I asked for it, I suppose. Somehow in an ideal world I would have hoped for "our never-ending dedication to the study of Torah" or just some sort of deeper recognition of this festival. Oh, well, it is a fun holiday. Most Shuls in South Africa have Simchas Torah Dinners which everybody goes to, so here are some around the world recipes you can try during Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret or even Simchat Torah.
There is nothing like a hot bowl of tomato soup to keep you going anytime.
This healthy looking meal in a bag is one of those tasty, loyal, never-let-you-down kind of recipes. Although the meat and vegetables are in a bag, the bag doesn't act as a 'sunblock'. The transparency of it allows the meat and vegetables to 'tan' to a perfect shade of dark brown. They say there's nothing quite like a bronze-tanned piece of oiled beef!
Because of their water content, nectarines cook quickly, which helps when you're in a hurry!