Check out what’s on for the MMCC girls in 2014
A simple weeknight dinner showcases a lovely Italian offering from our new book
At last our baby has arrived. Mazal Tov to all!!
Win tickets for the (Sydney) Jewish International Film Festival 30 Oct – 17 Nov 2013
The Everlasting Search For An Easy Fast.
Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) is nearly here. So what are we cooking?
Yep. we’re headed to the U.S.A. And SO excited!
A Plumb Cake from the Old World
A brown box is on your doorstep. Something smells good. You peek inside. You see a crumble-topped cake bursting with red plums. Four words are on a small card. I love you Mum.
I can’t think of a better way to show love than to bake. To cream butter and sugar. To sift flour. To whisk eggs. To roll dough.
It’s not about what you are making, it is about showing someone that you are grateful. You can write a heartfelt note or pick up a bunch of flowers. You can also take a few minutes to choose a recipe and to buy the ingredients. And use your most precious resource – time – to produce a cellophaned and ribboned bag of home baked goodness.
In our kitchen,we would choose something from the Monday Morning Cooking Club book. An airy chocolate chiffon cake, a slab of pumpkin seed brittle or a jar of nana’s nuts, almonds roasted golden with sugar. But at this time of year we love making use of the last of the season’s plums. What better way to use them than in a delicious cake for mother’s day?
This plumb cake has a heartfelt story. It comes from my good friend Lyndi, who got the recipe from her mother, who brought the recipe with her to Australia from her mother and home country, Czechoslovakia. For Lyndi, It was always written as ‘plumb’ cake, and it wasn’t until she was well into her teenage years that she realised her mother had spelled it incorrectly. It is now fondly remembered by all of us as ‘plumb’ cake.
Hop Into This Chocolate Easter Indulgence
It’s that time of year when our minds wander, over and over, to chocolate. Some of us buy and devour blocks of it, some of us indulge in our favourite Easter eggs, and some of us think, “yay, another chocolate cake to bake!”
So here’s our favourite chocolate cake recipe, primped and preened to majestically entertain at Easter time.
You will need two cakes, and a double batch of chocolate buttercream or ganache (recipes below) plus a bag of pastel candy coated Easter eggs. We found our eggs at Sydney’s Perfection chocolate shop. Once the cakes have been baked and cooled, slice each one crossways in half. Stack the cake halves together using the buttercream or ganache. Coat the stacked cake in buttercream or ganache. Decorate with the easter eggs. Beautiful!
1 cup pouring cream
350 g good quality dark chocolate, chopped
Heat the cream until it comes to the boil. Remove immediately from heat. Pour cream over chopped chocolate and butter and stir until mixture is combined and smooth. Place ganache in the refrigerator for around 45 min to thicken and then spread over cake.
BUTTERCREAM ICING: (Thanks to Savoury Sweet Life for the recipe)
250 g unsalted butter, softened
480 g icing (confectioners) sugar
60 g (½ cup) cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
80 ml (4 tablespoons) milk
Cream butter for a few minutes in a mixer with the K beater attachment on medium speed. Turn off the mixer. Sift 400 g of the sugar and the cocoa into the mixing bowl. Turn your mixer on the lowest speed until the sugar and cocoa are absorbed by the butter. Increase to medium and add vanilla, salt, and milk and beat for 3 minutes. If your icing to be stiffer, add a little more sugar. If it needs to be thinned out, add additional milk 1 tablespoon at a time.
Menu Ideas for the Festive Passover Season. Part 2.
Are you full yet? Sick of matzo? Here are some new ideas to help you through the eight days of Pesach. We hope you enjoyed our recipes from Part 1, and if you had a Seder, it was a huge success. We would love to hear all about it from you! Here are some ideas from our book that will help get you through the week, as well as a couple of great ‘essential Pesach’ recipes.
Weeknight dinner ideas for Pesach:
Carole’s Roast Beef (page 229)
Gaz’s Baby Peri Peri Chickens (page 130)
Marny’s Roasted Baby Potato Salad with capers (page 217) (substitute regular for white balsamic if you can’t find it)
Barbara’s Blood Orange Compote (page 239)
Felicia’s Chocolate Almond Florentines (page 140)
Zina’s Nana’s Nuts (page 164)
Lunch menu for Pesach
Manya’s Booby’s Traditional Cold Borscht (page 24)
Lisa’s Egg and Onion (page 78) (SEE RECIPE BELOW)
Judy’s Gravalax (page 176)
Sharon’s Buba’s Eggplant (page 71)
Gretta Anna’s Baked Custard with Crushed Strawberries (page 246)
Talia’s Buche de Chocolat (page 255) (RECIPE BELOW)
RECIPE FOR EGG AND ONION
- 4 brown onions, chopped
- 185 ml (3/4 cup) vegetable oil
- 12 eggs
Put the onions and oil in a large frying pan and fry for about 20 minutes on a medium to high heat, until golden brown and very soft. Meanwhile, boil the eggs for 8 minutes until hard-boiled. Remove the pan from the heat, drain and then cover the eggs with cold water. When just cool enough to handle, peel the eggs and grate into a large bowl using the coarse side of a grater.
Spoon the onions onto the egg, leaving most of the oil in the pan. You may need this oil so don’t discard yet. Season generously with salt and pepper, and combine the onions and egg with your hands or a wooden spoon, tasting as you go. If too dry, add a little oil from the pan. The mixture should stick together if pressed with your hand, but should not be overly oily.
Until ready to serve, cover with plastic wrap, pressing it onto the surface of the egg and onion so it doesn’t dry out.[recipe]
It’s hamantashen time at our place.
The Jewish Festival of Purim falls on Sunday 23rd Feb this year. Hamantashen is the name for the sweet three-cornered filled pastry served at Purim, representing the ears of Haman, the villain of this festival.
Here is our wonderful recipe for fail proof hamantshen. Fill them with chocolate, jam, povidl (buy at gourmet produce stores or make your own), walnuts and sugar, poppyseed (my favourite filling is in Elisabeth’s beigli in our book), nutella and sultanas…whatever takes your fancy! We are sharing Merelyn’s mum Yolan’s fabulous hamantashen filling below – dried fruit with a hint of chocolate.
Our dough recipe appears in “Monday Morning Cooking Club – the food, the stories, the sisterhood”. The new softcover edition of the book will be available on our website and in all good book stores across Australia from 26th Feb.
Evy’s Hamantashen (from page 221 )
225 g (1 ½ cups) plain flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
100 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
60 g (1/4 cup) sugar
75 g sour cream
To make the dough, combine all the dough ingredients either in a food processor or by hand. Form the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and rest in the fridge for 1 hour.
Line a baking sheet with baking paper.
Roll the dough out to a 3 mm thickness. With an 8–9 cm diameter cookie cutter or glass, cut out circles from the dough. Place a teaspoon of your filling on each circle. Bring the three sides of the circle up into the centre (leaving a small opening at the top if you wish) to form a triangular pastry, pinching the three ‘joined edges’ to seal.
Place on the prepared baking sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes while you preheat the oven to 180°C.
Bake for 20 minutes until golden.
Makes about 20
(All photos here by Alan Benson)
I am going to attempt a Bombe Alaska. one of those ‘feared’ dishes. Here goes…
And this week’s favourite recipe is…
Coconut Cream Cupcakes Anyone?
Living with a lactose intolerant husband has opened up a new world in the kitchen for me.
I have always been such a huge fan of cooking with full fat butter and cheese that finding an alternative was a bit of a challenge. I have never been liked to substitute margarine or soy for dairy and up to now I have steered away from coconut milk and cream, believing they were too high in bad saturated fats.
After a little research, though, I am now beginning to understand that coconut products are not necessarily as bad for you as it was once so widely believed.
One thing is for sure, it is a very complicated issue with a lot of conflicting evidence and I definitely need to continue my reading on the subject.
In the meantime, I am happily discovering curries, spicy soups and lots of sweet treats using coconut milk and cream.
To carry on my newfound love of coconut, here’s a recipe for dairy free cupcakes using coconut cream that I have adapted from Glory’s (Glorious Treats) Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes recipe.
Comfort me with Rice Paprikash
Over here in Monday Morning Cooking Club land four of our kids are currently sitting their final high school exams – the HSC. That means we’re on high demand motherhood duties.
Even if our kids are coping admirably, swatting through their study days and cruising through their exams, that doesn’t mean their Mums are coping! We’re watching our kids pull out all stops, and there’s really not that much we can do to help, is there?
So in today’s Monday Morning Cooking Corner – what’s your favourite comfort food?
Stress does weird things to digestion, for some it takes away appetite, for others it brings on cravings. For some it’s “I keep telling you Mum, I’m NOT hungry”, until (five minutes later) “Whaaaa, I’m starving and I want food right NOW!”
It all makes me think back to way-back-when, and reminisce about my childhood comfort foods, one of which was Rice Paprikash.
My Hungarian mother often made this dish when I was feeling unwell. It was considered terribly unglamorous, until risotto became a trendy dish you ordered in an upmarket trattoria. (The only problem is, it isn’t my daughter’s favourite comfort food….but that’s another post.)
Here’s the recipe:
So friends, what’s your comfort food? What settles the butterflies in your tummy, or what do you rush to serve your family when the going gets tough and you need to get them going? Is it something simple like cheese on toast, or something sweet and soothing?
What’s your favourite way to use yoghurt in recipes?
Mine’s a simple dressing that can go so many places!
Please share yours in the comments section below.
Through our brief (but SO exciting) appearance on Food Safari a couple of years ago we fell in love with many things, one of which was this delightful dressing for salmon from Greg Malouf. There is quite a story linking the MMCC girls and this dressing, with a wonderful salmon recipe to go along with it.
But today we are talking short cuts for quick and easy meals. In my house over the last few weeks (or is it months), the kids have been madly studying for their major school exams. One of the things I can do to assist (actually the only thing) is to provide the best meals I can. And sometimes in the shortest possible time. This has been voted their favourite, and it is the simplest!
I bought a Rotisserie chicken, a tub of tabbouleh, a packet of fresh Lebanese bread (pita), a tub of Israeli salad made by my local fruit shop (cucumber, tomato, parsley, shallot), and an avocado (which I mashed with some lemon juice).
I whipped up a quick dressing with yoghurt – there are many good Greek style ones which really do make a creamier dressing. Try the Jalna Greek Style (full or low-fat) or the new Chobani Greek yoghurt which everyone is talking about. This week I had Jalna low fat (green lid) in my fridge, which worked perfectly. To your yoghurt, add tahini (that’s pure sesame paste in a jar – often made in the Middle East), lemon juice and salt. And there you will have the most delicious thing to dollop on top of fish, chicken, lamb or on any salad at all.
I lined everything up along the kitchen counter, added a pile of plates and we had a bunch of very happy kids!