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
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
Salt and Pepper
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
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
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
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.