When I chose this book it was mainly because of how the chapters were laid out. They follow a dated order that reflect the festival seasons of the Jewish calendar. This appealed to me because it wasn't just put together to celebrate seasons of food produce availability, though that would've been nice. It was arranged to inform you about the festivals and the significance they have in Jewish lives. It's not only a celebration of their history but their future as they strive to pass on their traditions celebrated at festival tables.
The book itself is divided into chapters starting with Rosh Hashanah - New year Sept/Oct and finishing with Shavuot - Pentecost or Feast of Weeks May/June 6 Sivan. The book information is here. Browsing through the book I decided to cook my recipes within the Jewish festival calendar too. At the time of cooking this was Pesach Passover March/April 15 Nissan. Below is a clip with the correct pronunciation according to youtube.
My first recipe was Baked Breasts of Chicken in a Crunchy Coating. I wish I could tell you that we all ate round the table as a family thinking about the message within this chapter but alas we did not. M was working and home late, so I ate with both teens and teen 1 girlfriend. It did feel like a pleasant meal together though so I hope that counts for something. It was a while ago now and I can vaguely remember serving this meal with a horderve dish filled with coleslaw, carrot and pepper sticks. Teen 1 opted to bring some cool salsa to the table too - not sure if that was instead or as well as the ketchup. In it's simplest form this is a kind of KFC but without the dairy. Normally this type of food would be marinated in some form of butter milk, but I don't think the Jews mix meat and dairy, or at least not within this particular festival time.
Baked Breasts of Chicken in a Crunchy Crumb
The timings were all a bit of a disaster too as I just wasn't very organised. The chicken needed marinading in the juice of 4 lemons for at least an hour and preferably 4 hours. Ours had about an hour. The recipe called for Matzah meal fine and course but I was unable to source these locally so I improvised. Which is what many good cooks do. I used both fine and course Polenta which worked equally as well. You need to mix the polenta together and spread it over a baking tray to heat for 15 minutes in the oven. Then have 2 bowls ready for coating, one with whisked egg, oil and herbs and in the other bowl the cooked meal, lemon rind, salt and pepper. You then brush the chicken breasts with one and roll them in the other and place the chicken breasts on an oiled tray.
If I made this again I would make extra marinade mixture and spread over the top of the meal covered chicken breasts. Just in the hope I could brown up both sides without turning the chicken as this is how it lost its crumbs. The book doesn't give serving suggestions but it would definitely be nice with chips, coleslaw and some salad. It was very tasty.
My next meal was Lemon Lamb which though everyone else liked it, I found the flavours too overpowering. Like the recipe above, better preparation would've been helpful, not least because for both recipes, I used the stated ingredients but only with enough meat to feed 4 or 5 people. Both recipes were for 6-8 people. Maybe in the case of the second meal it if I make it again it'll be more palatable next time.
I've never cooked a lamb casserole without tomatoes before but I soldiered on, hoping it'd be nice. Starting with marinading the lamb for 2 hours (not 50 minutes) in oil, garlic cloves, lemons, black pepper (always seems to be 10 or 20 grinds), cumin, coriander, ginger and fresh ginger.
Then lightly fry the lamb to brown, add onions, and add flour, then stock. Cover with water and place in the oven for 1 1/2 hr. It said you can add more lemon juice later and add the mushrooms but I put everything all in at once and cleaned up in the kitchen.
Then came the tricky part - the recipe wanted the meal to go in the fridge overnight once it was cool. Well, that didn't happen, we ate it with buttered new potatoes but could've had some vegetables with it too. The recipe suggested a garnish of almonds and herbs with new potatoes.
I did enjoy making both dishes but (er umm) would
For next time I thought I'd try Peter Sidwell's book Simply Good Family Food. I never saw him on TV but it says on the cover he was on Channel 4's Lakes on a Plate. I've cooked two things from his book before, some oat cookies and mocha wheels which are a brioche dough. You basically roll the dough flat, scatter with dark chocolate pieces and roll it up like a Swiss roll and slice. Bake, cool and then drizzle mixed coffee and icing sugar over the tops of each swirl. Delicious!
Thank you for reading my adventures as I've joined with the Cookery Calendar Challenge. Do click on the button below to read how others have got on.