from one generation to the next
It’s no secret that I’m a Claudia Roden fan. I use her encyclopaedic “New Book Of Middle Eastern Food” weekly, and her “Food of Italy” is the most food splattered book in my entire library. Recently with a cookbook gift certificate, I chose her book “Jewish Food.”
Roden, in her typical erudite style describes in depth the contrasting dietary differences between the Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jewish communities. Roden, who grew up in a Sephardic household has married into the Ashkenazi community. She has first hand experience of the cultural contrasts.
Treating a recipe book as bedtime reading is one of my life’s joys. “Jewish Food” not just a list of ingredients and methods, but a well researched modern history of the Jewish people at meal time. She links the evolution of various dishes to dietary law, geography, the availability of ingredients, celebrations, economic stresses, migration and the seasons.
Meat Stuffed Blinzes is the first recipe I have made from this book. The pancake batter made with soda water attracted my attention, and the lack of robust herbs and spices clinched it as a dish the grandkids would relish.
The list of ingredients and the three stage construction may look daunting, but be assured each was quick and simple. I’ve made only a few minor changes to the meat filling and sauce recipes so they comply with my diet. I followed the pancake recipe exactly.
It was a tasty and satisfying winter dinner served with a salad of leafy greens.
300g plain flour (I used spelt flour)
500ml soda water
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
Green tops of 4 spring onions, finely sliced
750g minced beef
3 tomatoes, chopped
Zest 1 lemon
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 vegetable stock cube
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons maize flour
Freshly ground black pepper
800g can peeled chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-2 teaspoons sugar
pancakes: makes 12X20cm blinzes
Whisk the eggs lightly then gradually add the flour.
Beat in the water and salt. Rest the batter while you make the filling.
Heat a small amount of neutral oil in a shallow 20cm pan. Cook each pancake on one side only until the centre is just set.
Fill immediately. Place 2 tablespoons of filling in the centre at one end, fold in the sides then roll the pancake into a parcel.
Lay the stuffed blinzes in single layer in the greased and sauced ovenproof dish.
the meat filling:
Heat the oil in a saute pan.
Add the meat, onions and garlic and saute until the meat is well caramelized.
Add the tomatoes and seasonings and reduce the heat and cook until the tomatoes have collapsed and the moisture has evaporated.
Mix the cornflour and water to a smooth slurry then add it to the meat stirring until the mixture thickens.
Simmer for a further 5 minutes.
Adjust the seasoning to taste and set aside.
the tomato sauce:
In a small pot combine the tomatoes, tomato paste, oil and water.
Bring the sauce to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer the pot uncovered for 15 minutes. Season to taste.
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Lightly oil a large shallow ovenproof dish, then spoon a generous layer of sauce over the base.
Cook and fill the pancakes then arrange them in a single layer in the dish.
Spoon the remaining sauce over.
Bake for 40 minutes.