sharing recipes 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.
ladyredspecs ~ Like you, I find that Claudia Roden’s books are a tried and true source of inspiration and knowledge. Also, noting another post in which you fret over the lack of recipe testing for cookery books, I have never experienced failure or uncertainty when cooking from her recipes. As “The Book of Jewish Food” does not contain images of the dishes, Ms Roden’s words give the reader an impression of how the dish is going to work out, and it is really great when bloggers, like you, show the results. I have not yet tried this particular recipe, but it is earmarked. I recently bought the re-published and updated “The Food of Italy” and am working my way through it.
I have most of Roden’s books Shaun and they are like old friends. My copy of The Food of Italy is food splattered and dog eared, a testament to it’s use, the New Book of Middle Eastern Food also. Roden I consider a cook’s cook! Her books come from an era where the printed word came with a guarantee of integrity.
I love pouring over cookbooks too. I’m curious about the pancake batter too – I hope you are going to show us sweet blintzes next 🙂
The pancake batter was really good, though I don’t think they are the sort of pancakes that you’d enjoy for breakfast. Sweet blinzes? Something to work on..
Looks amazing. I never added soda water to my pancakes. Will start doing that 🙂
Okay! Thanks for visiting..
Beautiful savory blintzes! I’ve never heard of Claudia, so thank you for this post. I thought it was lovely!
Amazing looking things
Thanks, they were quite delicious!
I love this recipe and it goes without saying that I’m a Claudia Roden fan as well. I’m wondering how the soda water affected the dough – made it lighter? Is it similar to tempura batter which also uses a fizzy water? I guess I’ll just have to make it!
There’s no raising agent in the blinzes. They were tender but quite dense, in a nice sort of way, and robust enough to be able to fold them without fear of splitting. I’ll definitely make this dish again, though next time add some extra herbs to the meat filling.
Thank you for sharing this book with us! I am going to look out for it 🙂
It will be a worthwhile addition to your cookbook library Tandy, enjoy….
Sandra, The first time I visited your blog, I felt I found a treasure. I still feel the same. I was blessed to be introduced to varieties of cuisine from childhood. I want to learn so much, and I make so many foods. When I was young, I worked long hours as a single mom, and now I do not have the energy or hand strength of doing everything I want to. But when it comes to cooking, I like to do the best. Checking out blogs, especially like yours (with substance) gives me the same satisfaction you get going through your cookbooks at bedtime.
Aw thanks Fae! We are blessed in Australia to have a truly multicultural society, so we enjoy a vast range of different cuisines, very different to my Anglo Saxon upbringing. Food has made be culturally curious too, our world is such a diverse and interesting place, and the internet has made it easily accessible.
I fully agree that a recipe book as night time reading (or early morning with coffee) reading is one of life’s pleasures. With such high accolades, I might need to pick up a copy of one if her books myself,
Stacey, you cookbook library will be greatly enriched by Claudia Roden
You have piqued my interest with this book Sandra. I don’t know anything about Jewish culture or Jewish food but my husband and I have had conversations of our interest in knowing more. Sounds like this book might be just the one to pick up. I really like this recipe and after reading through it really doesn’t seem daunting at all. I’m making note right now (in my smart phone) of the title. Thank you!
Seana, I think you would find this book perfect. Rodin for me is the ultimate cultural anthropologist.
Those look delicious! I never knew they were so easy to make, always looked so intimidating. Need to give it a try….lovely!
Hi Lady8, enjoy ….
Beautiful, makes my mouth water. This is so like a dish that Mum used to make in the late 70’s. Her dish had silverbeet or spinach in with the mince filling but used pancakes and a tomato sauce. There may have been white sauce, hers was probably more like a kind of cannelloni. Thanks for the great reminder.
When you say it’s the first recipe you’ve made from this book, can we we expect more?
Quite likely Mary, though at the moment the recipes are of secondary interest to the cultural content.
Although not a meat eater, this recipe looks really good and adaptable. I like the sound of the batter. I’m like you- cookbooks make excellent bedtime reading.