This week in SBS Food’s Blog Appétit – our round up of food blogs worth bookmarking – we bring you Matkonation.
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10 Mar 2014 - 10:07 AM  UPDATED 2 Sep 2014 - 2:21 PM

We can thank Yotam Ottolenghi for bringing the rich, fresh and varied flavours of Israeli food to the world, first through his London restaurants and later through his popular cookbooks. Food blog Matkonation (matkon meaning recipe in Hebrew) continues in the chef’s footsteps. Produced by two friends, Danya Weiner and Deanna Linder, with a shared love of the region’s food, this captivating blog shares insights into everyday life in Tel Aviv, where they live, along with must-make recipes. The duo are industry professionals, too – Danya a food photographer and Deanna a food stylist – so expect magazine-style images and dishes. These ladies know their stuff. Matkonation also comes in two versions: one for Hebrew speakers, another for English, lending authenticity and accessibility to an already very appealing blog.

“These dishes (along with most of the recipes on our blog) are created with two things in mind. As bloggers living in the Middle East (Tel Aviv, Israel to be exact), we are extremely influenced by local produce and traditional Israeli recipes, as well as the way food looks. Like the country itself, Israeli food is a mix of many different cultures, from Moroccan and Lebanese to Eastern and Western European cuisines. Our recipes reflect the wonderful mishmash of those cultures.

“We are also mothers (of five boys in total!), so the food we make has to fit into our working lifestyle; this means fresh ingredients that can be easily found and recipes that are not too time consuming. And, of course, food that is really tasty.” Deanna and Danya

 

We started our blog to...

“Express our creativity without having the needs of a client come first.”

 

The must-cook recipe on our website is...

The softest bread rolls ever. While they sound like something really simple – and they are – there’s something about the sweet taste and soft texture that makes you to eat a dozen at a time. They are also great for kids to eat plain or to use as bread for sandwiches.”

 

I can’t wait to go back to...

“Los Angeles and eat really good sushi.” Deanna

 

My current food obsession is...

“Fleur de sel. I’m not so into food trends and, for me, a good salt is all I need to make any savoury food taste perfect. Oh, and good anchovies. So I guess you could say I’m just a salty kind of girl.” Deanna

“Anchovies as well – the good, Spanish kind.” Danya

 

The food that takes me back to my childhood is... 

“Peanut butter and jelly [jam] sandwiches in the US. I ate one every day from the age of five to 17. Peanut butter is not very popular here in Israel – especially served with jelly – so when I do make one, I feel like a little girl again.” Deanna

 

Nugget of cooking wisdom...

“For me, every positive cooking experience starts with a good knife. Without one, I feel lost in the kitchen. It doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive; you can find a good knife even at Ikea.” Deanna

 

I learnt to cook from...

“When I finished college and moved to Israel, [that] was the first time I started cooking for myself. I bought myself some cookbooks and started following recipes, which made me realise that I loved cooking and, even more, hosting (which meant styling the food and the table). Then I took it to the next level and went to culinary school.” Deanna

“I’m a self-taught cook, but I learn a lot from talking to chefs during photo shoots, asking a tonne of questions and then trying things at home.” Danya

 

When I go back to my hometown...

“Los Angeles, the first thing I eat is a breakfast of eggs, hash browns and salt-cured fish. I go with my dad to the local deli and we share it. However, I’m always so confused by the time difference (10 hours between LA and Tel Aviv) that I always feel like I need to have more than breakfast, so I order a side of lima [butter] bean soup to eat as well. This is the first time I’m making this strange tradition public!” Deanna

 

The one thing I can’t cook is...

“Liver. I hate cooking it, but I’m a big fan of pate.” Deanna

“Salmon. I can’t stand the smell.” Danya

 

If I ever met...

“Jamie Oliver, I would ask him: ‘Will you marry me?’ (I know he is happily married, but hey, so am I, so we’re even).” Deanna

 

We always have... 

“Dark chocolate and '00' flour (for making pizza) in our pantry; tomatoes and cucumbers in our fridge; and homemade pizza dough in our freezer.” Deanna

 

My favourite biscuit to dunk in a cup of tea is...

“Our granola cookie.” Deanna

“Biscotti.” Danya

 

Our most sauce-splattered cookbook is... 

“The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters.”

 

The most difficult food to shoot/style and make look tasty is...

Stuffed capsicums. But once you see the recipe and photo, you’ll see that I got over my fear.”

 

Beyond your own blog, what are some of your favourites reads?

Smitten Kitchen, What Katie Ate, Spoon Fork Bacon, Bakers Royale, Top with Cinnamon, DesignLoveFest, SFgirlbybay, Love and Lemons.”

 

Check out Matkonation.