Sephardi Feast

The following is a story of the 'Shalom' family, whose origins began in Spain before their expulsion in the late 15th century . These people are known as Sephardi Jews. The term essentially means "Spanish" coming from the word Sepharad. Traveling from Spain, through Portugal and Turkey, hundreds of thousands of Jewish families continued to flee and find peace in (Palestine, at the time) Israel and USA. Noga and Nilly's ancestors fled from Spain to Turkey and later Israel where Nilly and Noga were born. In 1969 the Shalom family arrived in Australia.

These recipes we share today, have traveled many miles, with incredible flavours from Spain, influences from Turkey and spices from the Middle East. We were honoured to enjoy the company of Noga and Nilly's mother Rachel, who so very kindly shared her family recipes and stories with us.

The highlight of the day for me were making Boyos. Spanish word for bun, 'Bollo' in the Sephardic cuisine has a broad meaning of either sweet or savoury, being a doughy small ball, soft and creamy on the inside with a crusty crisp shell.


Traditionally made from the left over challah from Shabbat, when produce was scarce, and meals were made on the simplest of ingredients and stretched to feed the family and guests. Nothing was ever wasted and this recipe can be seen in many cultures, using stale bread, creating further meals, like the English 'Bread and Butter Pudding', or the Italian 'Panzanella' with stale bread and tomatoes.

1 loaf Day old bread, broken into small pieces

200gm feta cheese, grated

200gm cottage cheese, grated

200gm cheddar cheese, grated

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Oil for frying Soak bread for 30 minutes in warm water. Squeeze the water from the bread, then place in bowl. Add grated cheeses and season well. Shape into balls, and place a dent in the middle to create an even cooking surface throughout the ball. Heat oil in pan and cook 2 mins each side. Serve hot.

Spinach Lemon Soup

500gm fresh spinach, washed, drained and roughly chopped

1 carrot julienned

1 celery stalk w leaves julienned

2Tbsp butter

2T flour

3 egg yolks

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tspn chopped parsley

2tspn chopped dill

4 cups stock or cubes dissolved in hot water

Bring stock to the boil and drop carrots and celery in for 2-3 mins. When al dente add spinach and simmer 5 minutes longer.

In the meantime make a roux – melt flour, add butter and stir over low heat for a few minutes- be careful not to let it colour.

Add a ladleful of the stock and stir till combined. Pour the mixture back into the soup and keep stirring

Simmer over low heat for about 10 mins

In a separate bowl mix egg yolks and lemon well.

Add a ladleful of the soup and stir well.

Pour the lemon mix into the soup stirring constantly until it thickens . Dont let it boil.

Sprinkle with parsley and dill and serve

Keftes De Prassa - Leek Patties

4-6 medium fresh leeks

2 medium boiled and mashed potatoes

2 eggs, beaten

1 tablespoon of salt

Pepper to taste

Oil to fry

Wash, cut and parboil leeks for approximately 10 minutes until tender.

Drain off all water (reserve liquid for soup or other cooking), squeeze and chop very finely.

Mix leeks with remaining ingredients.

Shape into small patties and fry. (Serves 6)

Minced meat can be used instead of the potato in a non vegetarian meal

Gomo De Berenjena - Eggplant Borekas

2 roasted eggplants, on gas cook top or oven

½ cup of grated Romano cheese

½ cup of grated feta cheese

1 egg yolk beaten

2 tablespoons matzo meal

1 tablespoon salt Filo pastry sheets 1 egg, beaten Sesame seeds, sprinkling on top

Remove skin from roasted eggplant, and mash. Mix with cheeses, egg yolk and matzo meal and season well. If not thick enough, add more matzo meal. cut the filo pastry in half, with the short side parallel with the bench, and then each half is folded in thirds lengthhways. Cover pastry with damp cloth until ready to use. Lightly brushed the folded sheet of filo pastry with beaten egg. Place a small spoonful of filling at the top of filo strip. Fold pastry over filling to form a triangle, keep folding over the triangle until complete. Repeat process with remaining filling. Place on greased baking tray. Brush tops of borekas with egg, sprinkle with sesame seeds, bake 180'C for 8 minutes or until golden.

Cheese and Potato Pie

Puff Pastry sheets

2-3 Potatoes, cooked,mashed and cooled

¼ cup Fetta cheese, crumbled

1 cup Cottage Cheese

½ cup Grated tasty cheese

2 Eggs, beaten

Sesame seeds

Salt and Pepper

Egg wash

Lay puff pastry on baking dish or tray lined with baking paper

In a bowl mix potato mash, eggs, all the cheeses and salt and pepper

Spread the mix over the pastry and cover with another layer of pastry

Brush with egg wash and sprinkle generously with sesame seeds

Bake in 180 degree oven till golden brown and puffy

Allow to rest few minutes before slicing.

Apio - Celeriac in lemony sauce

2 carrots peeled and sliced slightly on the diagonal

1 large or 2 small celeriac

4 tablespoons grape seed oil

2 lemons (40-50 ml) juiced

375 mls cups cold water

11/2tsp salt

1/2 tsp sugar

Slice carrots on a slight angle – medium thickness

Heat oil in a pan and add lemon, 1 cup of water and carrots

Prepare celeriac by peeling , cutting in half then slicing in to slices approx 1” thickness so you end up with semi circles. Don’t discard leaves

When carrot half cooked add celeriac and ½ cup of water

Add celeriac leaves

Add 1 ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp sugar

Stir , bring to the boil and cover.

Cook until tender( approx 20-25 mins) but check for lemon and salt half way through the cooking. It should be a nice balance of the two.

Place celeriac and carrots in serving dish and top with the sauce and leaves.

Serve at room temperature

Cold Set Cheesecake

¼ cup sugar ¼ cup brown sugar

400 grams cold butter

600 grams plain flour

400 grams ground walnuts 750 grams cream cheese (room temperature)

500 grams fresh cream

150 grams castor sugar

1 packet of Osem vanilla pudding

To make the crumble, combine flour and sugar for a minute to aerate and whisk for a minute. Add cubed butter and diced walnuts, whisk for another minute until it resembles a crumble. If using a food processor put all the ingredients together and whisk until it resembles a crumble.

To make filling, cream the cream cheese with sugar until fluffy and soft. Beat the fresh cream separately until hard peaks form. Mix the two together and add juice of half a lemon being careful that it doesn’t split. Spread half of the crumble on the bottom of the pan and cook it for 10 minutes. Bake other half of crumble and set aside. When cool pour the cream cheese mixture over the crumble in the cake pan and put in the freezer for two hours. Remove and cover with the rest of the crumble before serving.

Flourless Orange Cake

400 gm butter

400 gm sugar

9 eggs

400 gm almond meal

100 gm polenta

100 gm rice flour

180 ml orange juice

Preheat oven to 180'C. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add eggs one by one, slowly. Mix the almond meal, polenta and flour in a bowl and add to the mix in 1/3 at a time. Add the orange juice and mix

Set aside.

Slice 4 small oranges thinly ,cover with water and bring to the boil. Drain.

In a saucepan bring 1 cup sugar and 2 cups water to the boil. Add drained oranges and cook for another 3 minutes. Overlap the orange slices neatly on the bottom of a 10inch cake pan and pour mixture on top. Bake for 50-60 minutes.

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2026 NSW Australia

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