Brisket and Potato Cake – Our Seder

Our Traditional Passover Meal:  Paula’s Calf Brisket and Ulnyik

One of the most important parts of the Monday Morning Cooking Club project is the preservation of recipes. To preserve those recipes from the older generation for ours. And to preserve ours for the next. And so on.

I grew up in Melbourne, a Jewish Australian with pure Polish ancestry. My father was born in Poland, and came to Melbourne with his family in 1938 when he was only 7.  My mother was born in Melbourne, her parents arriving in 1927 from Bialystok, also in Poland. She married my father in 1954, the same year that her mother, so sadly, passed away.

My mother did cook at home but my inspiration for cooking came from within, or perhaps from my genes.  I sometimes imagine that perhaps I am living in the wrong century and in the wrong place. I dream of stories of my late grandmother on my Father’s side, Bubba Sheindel. My father describes her cellar, a treasure trove of culinary delights and tantalizing aromas, bursting with barrels of her freshly pickled cucumbers, vats of pickled cabbage, apples and tomatoes, of schmaltz and pickled herrings, and preserved fruits and jams.  Strands of dried mushrooms and garlic, and hessian bags of potatoes and onions waiting to be made into the lightest latkes.

paula's calf brisket with ulnyik-1

I never met my mother’s mother Esther, but every single year at Passover my mum makes her ‘Calf Brisket’ and an ulnyik, a spectacular crisp, crunchy, oily and generally FANTASTIC potato cake that she learnt from her mother when she was a teenager.

No recipes were written down.

Once I left home, and wanted to make my own brisket and ulnyik, I would call Mum on the phone so she could remind me how many potatoes, how many onions and how long to cook it for. Every year I asked the same questions!

So you can imagine my joy when the MMCC book provided me with an opportunity to actually write them down. And write them down properly…so that they would always work out perfectly. Well, most of the time anyway! Just like Mum’s, my ulnyik is sometimes a little overcooked, sometimes a little under – but we do love it all the same! It’s a way to have Bubba Esther sit at the table with us every single time we make it.

Both recipes are now in Monday Morning Cooking Club – the food the stories the sisterhood.

Below is a video of how to make the unyik and brisket. Enjoy!

 

For more Passover inspiration, click here.

 

 
Ulnyik
Votes: 3
Rating: 4.67
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
A Polish potato cake
Servings Prep Time
12 15 minutes
Cook Time
75 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 15 minutes
Cook Time
75 minutes
Ulnyik
Votes: 3
Rating: 4.67
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
A Polish potato cake
Servings Prep Time
12 15 minutes
Cook Time
75 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 15 minutes
Cook Time
75 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Units:
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C (400F). You will need a large deep baking dish/oven tray, about 40 cm x 30 cm (16 x 12"). Put the oil into the baking dish and place in the oven to heat.
  2. Squeeze the grated potatoes with your hands until dry. Place in a bowl with the eggs, onions and matzo meal and mix together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Carefully remove the hot baking dish from the oven and spoon the mixture into the oil, spreading it out to cover the base without pressing down too firmly.
  4. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes until golden. You can eat immediately, but it is easier to cut if you allow it to cool, and then cut into large squares. Reheat in a very hot oven until piping hot, brown and sizzling.

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5 Comments

  1. Christine Champion

    Hi Lisa,
    Do you know if this would work with a gluten free flour? I’m coeliac. Thank you!

    1. Lisa Goldberg

      Hi Christine, Merelyn has made the ulnyik gluten free many times. She normally uses potato flour, but plain GF flour also works. She has even made it omitting the flour completely – it’s just a bit more fragile. Hope this helps!

  2. Asher

    Hi Lisa, we want to try making your brisket on the bone. What temperature do you cook the meat at and for how long? How much water should be in the tray. My mum and I are very excited about trying this. Thank you

  3. Joan E Krapf

    I can’t wait to try this!!!

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Happy not-quite-a-long-weekend-but-with-long-weekend-feels everyone! And what a blessing that the sun is shining. We hope to see lots of pics of BBQs and lamingtons. When inspiration grabs you and you find yourself in a baking mood, here is our delicious lamington recipe, there's still time to whip up a batch. What's cooking at your place this weekend? (And we are indebted to Railea Don for this wonderful iconic recipe ❤️}

Ingredients
Cake
125 grams butter (unsalted)
185 grams Caster (Superfine) Sugar
2 eggs
250 grams Self-Raising (Self-Rising) flour (1 2/3 cups)
1/2 cup milk or fresh orange juice
Icing
500 grams icing (confectioners) sugar
3 tablespoons best quality cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1 tablespoon butter (unsalted)
1 cup hot water
250 grams shredded or desiccated coconut

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 28 x 19 x 4 cm lamington tin.

To make the cake, cream the butter and sugar until the sugar is dissolved.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.

Gradually add the flour, alternating with the milk or orange juice.

Mix together well, then pour the mixture evenly into the prepared tin.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely.
Cut the cake into 4 cm squares, trimming the edges if necessary.

Mix the icing sugar and cocoa together in a bowl.

Put the butter into the hot water to melt, and mix into the icing sugar mixture until thick and smooth.

Drop the cake squares into the chocolate, ensuring the cake is fully covered, then remove very quickly. Drain the cake on a wire rack for a few seconds. Using a large cooking fork, roll in the coconut.
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You can now pre order our beautiful organic cotton aprons via our website for dispatch mid Feb. We sold out of our first run in December and we'd love to order some more for all of you who missed out.

They are comfortable, durable and highly functional (so many pockets!), the ultimate kitchen accessory which will allow you to be as messy as you want - in style! Manufactured ethically in Australia by @creamcollection_pro we can offer you 2 sizes - small (Merelyn, Natty wear) or regular (Lisa, Jaks wear) - so head to our website and order yours today! Just click the link in our bio.
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