Sunday, March 18, 2012

Cheese Potato Pie

(from Nicki Levy)

Mum used to make this for us and I remember Adam, Emma and I eating mountains of it. There was a period of our lives when we asked for it a lot.

When I made this for my boys recently, I spent the day building it up - I was so excited about eating it that I went a little overboard.  

By the time it came to serve up dinner, I was almost squealing with the memory of how much we used to love this.

I served it up, the boys took one bite and, in unison, a resounding "yuk". I was devastated and, as a result of having so much left over, I ate it all.

I think the main problem was that I hardly ever serve up or cook with cheese or butter anymore and I think it was just too rich and oily.

If you're considering making this, which I recommend you do even though I haven't made it sound too appetising, I would experiment with reducing the cheese and butter and maybe adding a spice or two. It could be delicious as a side dish to all sorts of meals and even made into potato pancakes.

1.  750 gm potato (cooked & mashed). 
2.  Chop 1 onion & brown in 50 gm butter.
3.  Stir in 3 tbsp flour, pinch salt & pepper.
4.  Cook 1-2 min while stirring.
5.  Gradually stir in 1.5 cups milk & cook till bubles & thickens.
6.  Remove from heat & add 1/2 tsp oregano & 1.5 cup grated cheese, stir till cheese melted.
7.  Add to mashed potato & mix till smooth. Bake in greased oven proof dish.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Pickled Vegetables and Caramel Pudding (not TOGETHER!!)

(from Paulette Robinson)

These recipes are another two from Paulette.  Her mother, Carole Charles, was also my Auntie Carole.  Though not an actual aunt, she was a part of my life and my family from the day I was born.  She and my father had grown up together in Wellington; they were like cousins, and Paulette and I are the same way.  When my mum died in 2004, Auntie Carole was one of the rocks in my life.  When she too was diagnosed with terminal cancer, only two years after mum, the sadness was indescribable.  The loss of Carole was the loss of another of the mums of the group of families I grew up with.  It was the end of an era of the friendship of that group of mothers, who supported each other, cooked together, and argued together too!  These recipes are part of the book that Paulette made when she decided to start collecting recipes from family and friends.  Carole wrote them out for her, and my favourite part is right at the bottom where she has written a note to Paulette.

Not necessarily to be eaten together, enjoy Carole's pickled vegetables and caramel pudding!

(I have deciphered Carole's handwriting - and that was not easy! - PLEASE check her copy and if anyone sees a mistake, let me know straight away!!).


Pickled Vegetables
Boil 2 pints white vinegar, 2 cups water, 2 cups sugar, 1tsp salt.
Chop peppers, carrots, celery, cucumber, cauliflower, zucchini, beans.
Fill jars loosely with the vegetables.
Add bay leaf, crushed garlic clove, a little more salt.
Pour over liquid.
Keep in fridge.
Leave four days, at least.

Caramel Pudding
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp flour
2 egg yolks
2 cups milk
A spot of vanilla

Bring to the boil stirring.
Add 1 Tbsp butter.
Boil for 2 hours.
When cold, add beaten egg whites.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Phil Levy - 30th July 1935-3rd March 1987

(from Emma Levy)

Today is 25 years since my dad died.  This weekend's blog is a special tribute him.  Although, 25 years later, my memories of him are not as strong as I wish they were, the essence of him still is.  He was a man who adored his family.  He loved his friends, and loved having them over and playing the host, particularly introducing them to a new wine or whisky that they MUST try.

His parents ran a clothing store on the main road of Lower Hutt, which he later ran.  That meant he was pretty available during the day - he dropped me off at school some days, came to school events, and the shop was a place we frequented.  As a kid I remember playing there, running through clothes and getting told off.  He had a store in Lower Hutt and one in Wainuiomata, which we would go to less frequently, but it was in a mall that had a sweets shop that sold meringues in the shapes of animals, and we were allowed to choose one each time we were there.  (And he had a shop assistant called Judy who, according to dad, wore her pyjamas under her floor length skirt on very cold days).  There were many stories that dad told that didn't sound likely, but we never knew for sure.

Everyone in Lower Hutt seemed to know him.  We'd walk down High St and people would call out "Hi Phil, how's the family?".  They'd stop and have a chat for what seemed like an eternity, and when they finally finished and walked away, I'd say "Who was that?" and he'd say "I don't know."  Every time I would shriek and ask how he could talk to someone for THAT long about their lives and not know who they were.  But he could.

Dad was a great food lover - yes it could be said that he over-indulged at times - and particularly loved all the foods that came out only once a year for Jewish festivals.  A special love was his mother's Maztah Balls - these are balls made out of the "large square crackers" called Matzah, that Jews eat at Passover (Pesach).  They are VERY yummy in a bowl of chicken soup.  As his mother was ageing, she called up my mother (not her own son) to learn how to cook them in case she died sometime soon.  Although she frequently considered dying very soon, she was as tough as nails and was a strong presence in our lives.  It was the death of my dad, her only son, that proved too much for her, and she passed away four weeks after he did.  This recipe, therefore, is a salute to them both - the mother who made the maztah balls, and her son who loved to eat them.

Today, 3rd March, I remember my dad, Phil, with love.

Matzah Balls
4 sheets Matzah
1 good-sized onion, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 teacup Matzah Meal
1 egg
1/2 tsp nutmeg

1.    Soak matzah, then drain in sieve.
2.    Press water out with back of spoon.
3.    Leave to dry while frying onion.
4.    Take off heat.
5.    Add egg, salt & pepper, and ½ tsp nutmeg.
6.    Mix well.
7.    Add matzah meal until it's the right consistency for rolling.
8.    Roll into balls with wet hands and roll balls into matzah meal.
9.    Put on flat dish and refrigerate.
10.  Later, drop the balls into boiling, salted water until they rise to the top.
11.  Do a few (3-4) at a times as to keep the water boiling.
12.  As soon as they rise, remove with spoon.

The fabulous photo above was sent in by Raoul Ketko, a lifelong friend of my dad.  Raoul said that naturally they had to sample the wine to ensure it would complement the meal properly.   Read the comments section below for Raoul's memories of Phil and their friendship.