food for thought

by michelle

chrismukkah 2014

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This year, in keeping with Chrismukkah, we celebrated Christmas day with a Jewish feast.

The first course was chopped liver. This fantastic recipe comes from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem. We ate it on rye bread while sipping champagne.


Melt 70g (2½ oz) of duck or goose fat in a fry pan and fry 2 large sliced onions until dark brown. Remove to a plate, leaving as much of the fat as possible in the pan. In the same pan fry 400g (14 oz) of trimmed and sliced chicken livers until they are cooked through. In a food processor pulse the livers and onions in batches to achieve a paste which is still a little lumpy. Remove to a bowl and pulse 4 hard-boiled eggs until you have some smaller and larger pieces and add to the liver mix along with another 30g (1 oz) of duck or goose fat, 12 teaspoons of dessert wine, 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Fold together gently and transfer to a non-metallic serving dish. Cover and chill before serving. To serve, top with another finely chopped hard-boiled egg and a mixture of chopped spring onions and chives.

Our second course was a palate-cleansing cold Borscht. This recipe comes from Please to the Table: The Russian Cookbook by Anya von Bremzen and John Welchman.


Cook 450g (1 lb) of beetroots in 6 cups of water until tender then remove them and retain the cooking liquid. When they are cool enough, peel and then grate them back into the liquid. Add ¼ of a cup of lemon juice, 1½ tablespoons of cider vinegar, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and 1½ tablespoons of sugar. Simmer for 15 minutes more and adjust the sugar and seasoning to taste. Chill for at least 2 hours. Meanwhile finely dice ¾ of a cup of radishes, ¾ of a cup of cucumber, 2 hard-boiled eggs and ¾ of a cup of mixed spring onions, parsley and dill and combine into a serving dish. To serve, ladle the cold soup into bowls and serve with the vegetable and egg mix and a bowl of sour cream at the table.

For our third course we had potato latkes (also from Please to the Table) with hot-smoked salmon and cucumbers in sour cream.


To make latkes grate 900g (2 lbs) of new potatoes and squeeze them in a cotton or linen tea towel to remove as much liquid as possible. Now rinse them in several changes of water and squeeze dry again. Combine them in a bowl with 1 grated onion and 1 grated carrot. Sprinkle with ⅓ of a cup of flour and mix well. Add ¼ of a cup of milk, 1 egg and ¼ of a teaspoon of baking powder. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and mix thoroughly. Heat 1½cm (½”) of oil in a heavy fry pan and drop spoonfuls of the mixture into the oil. Flatten gently with a spatula and fry until golden brown on both sides. Transfer to drain on paper towels and keep warm in a 100ºC (200ºF) oven until ready to serve.

hot-smoked-salmon-with-dill  cucumber-salad

For the cucumbers in sour cream, thinly slice cucumbers and toss with some salt. Let them stand for 1 hour then remove as much liquid as possible and pat dry with paper towels. In a bowl combine ¾ of a cup of sour cream with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar, 2 tablespoons of drained capers, 3 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh dill and ¼ of a teaspoon of sugar. Add the cucumbers and mix well. Chill before serving.

Finally, for dessert we had blintzes (thin crepes) with a filling made of sweetened farmer’s cheese and sour cream with the addition of some sour cherries.

blintzes   Blintzes-cut

Wishing you all a delicious and happy 2015.


Written by michelle picker

December 31, 2014 at 5:45 am

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