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Cook Republic: Great Recipe Ideas for Busy People


One of our favourite and most talented food bloggers (as well as graphic designer and creative supremo) is Cook Republic. Her work is superb. She has her first book out just this month (it had same launch date as ours!) - Tasty Express - and we’ve already read our copy cover to cover. It is delicious!

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We are all looking for quick weeknight dinners, particularly after the feasting of Passover and Easter.

It’s just so easy to just pick up a BBQ chicken from the local chicken shop/supermarket/shopping centre (and many are now using organic chooks!) and here is Cook Republic‘s great idea to transform it into a really great simple meal. Use this recipe as a starting point and then go ahead and play with different vegetables, noodles and protein.


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‘Kindness Soup’: A Delicious Healthy Soup

A Soup For All Seasons

Many of us have been cooking, eating, eating and cooking over the past week or so, whether we have been celebrating Passover, Easter or simply the long weekend. We all overindulge from time to time, some of us more than others (pick me, pick me!)

And there are times when we need to give the strudels, kugels, chiffon cakes and baklava a break and nurture our bodies with something warm, delicious and simply good for us.

Since I’ve been following a healthier eating plan to lose a few of the KGs I gained from 8 years of SUPER DELICIOUS AND UNABLE TO RESIST recipe testing, this soup has been a godsend. The soup comes from the amazing Saimaa Miller from Aussie Body Diet and she has given me permission to share the soup love around. Her gorgeous book has so many wonderful, simple and always healthy food ideas.

It makes an excellent meal if you add some shredded grilled chicken and brown rice, or a lovely, filling snack in the afternoon. Enjoy!

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Buche de Chocolat

Menu Ideas for the Festive Passover Season. Part 2.

Are you full yet? Sick of matzo? Here are some new ideas to help you through the eight days of Pesach. We hope you enjoyed our recipes from The Feast Goes On’, and if you had a Seder, it was a huge success. We would love to hear all about it from you! Here are some ideas from our first book ‘Monday Morning Cooking Club – The Food The Stories The Sisterhood‘ that will help get you through the week, as well as a wonderful ‘essential Pesach’ cake/dessert.

Weeknight dinner ideas for Pesach:

Carole’s Roast Beef (page 229)

Gaz’s Baby Peri Peri Chickens (page 130)


Marny’s Roasted Baby Potato Salad with capers (page 217)  (substitute regular for white balsamic if you can’t find it)

Barbara’s Blood Orange Compote (page 239)

Felicia’s Chocolate Almond Florentines  (page 140)

Zina’s Nana’s Nuts  (page 164)

nanas nuts


Lunch menu for Pesach

Manya’s Booby’s Traditional Cold Borscht  (page 24)

Lisa’s Egg and Onion (page 78) (RECIPE HERE)

Judy’s Gravalax   (page 176)

Sharon’s Buba’s Eggplant  (page 71)

Gretta Anna’s Baked Custard with Crushed Strawberries (page 246)

baked custard-2

Talia’s Buche de Chocolat  (page 255) (RECIPE BELOW)

And a short video to go with it:

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Chicken and Fennel Casserole: A Recipe from Anna Gare

A Slow Cooked Favourite for the Cooler Months

In the process of collecting recipes, we are given many that come from grandmothers and aunties and just as many that come from other cookbooks, restaurants, chefs, magazines and so on. We need to research thoroughly to ensure that we give credit where credit is due!

This warming casserole was given to us by Kaye Edelman which she had found online from the kitchen of the talented Anna Gare. Kaye serves it with her absolutely brilliant (and dairy-free!) potato gratin (pictured below), the recipe for which appears in The Feast Goes On.

Potato gratin

Potato gratin

We have changed Anna’s recipe only slightly – it’s a keeper! Enjoy.

(Thanks to Alan Benson/David Morgan for the amazing pics)



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Turkish Sesame Sweet

A Recipe with 3 Ingredients?  Easy!

We are so excited to have just released our new book ‘The Feast Goes On’ in Australia and we are enjoying the feedback of what everyone is cooking from the book.

We love it!! It will be released in the U.S.A and the U.K in a few months’ time.

This month’s #letslunch is all about recipes with THREE ingredients, and we’ve chosen a lovely simple sweet which dates back many generations.

This recipe comes from the late Jack Sages. Jack was the sixth generation of his family to be born in Turkey, after his ancestors were driven out of Spain during the Spanish Inquisition. He loved to cook, having learnt from his mother and sister who were both great cooks. Jack lived in Sydney with his wife and companion of 55 years, artist Jenny Sages, until he passed away in 2010.

Jack’s memory lives on in the recipes and stories he left behind.

Thanks Alan Benson for the gorgeous photo of the sesame sweet (on the right) and the basboussa (a sweet semolina cake, recipe in the book!) on the left.

Let’s Lunch (#LetsLunch) is a twitter-based virtual lunch club where anyone interested can join this monthly ‘lunch date’. A topic is posted at the beginning of the month, everyone now takes it in turns, and all posts are made on the same day by this random but lovely group of food bloggers, writers and people who just love cooking from all around the world. Anyone can join at any time – just join us on twitter by searching and adding the hashtag #LetsLunch. Check out the others’ posts right here over the next few days – they are always so wonderful!


Lemon Chocolate Bonbons at Free Range Cookies

Mac and Cheese and Peanut Butter Cookies at Tea and Scones.

Filipino Sticky Rice Logs at Asian in America.

Easier Chicken and Dumplings at A Cook and Her Books.

Turkish Sesame Sweet at Monday Morning Cooking Club.

Trinidadian Mango Chow at Spicebox Travels.

Mango Coconut Chia Pudding at HapaMama.

Peanut Butter Cookies at Hot Curries & Cold Beer.

Gluten Free Almond Cookies at The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook

Roasted Asparagus at Glass of Fancy

3 Ingredient Broccolini at Be a Wok Star

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A Traditional Seder … At My Place!

Our Traditional Passover Meal:  Paula’s Calf Brisket and Ulnyik

One of the most important parts of the Monday Morning Cooking Club project is the preservation of recipes. To preserve those recipes from the older generation for ours. And to preserve ours for the next. And so on.

I grew up in Melbourne as an Australian Jew with pure Polish ancestry. My father was born in Poland, and came to Melbourne with his family in 1938 when he was only 7.  My mother was born in Melbourne, her parents arriving in 1927 from Bialystok, also in Poland. She married my father in 1954, the same year that her mother, so sadly, passed away.

My mother did cook at home but my inspiration for cooking came from within, or perhaps from my genes.  I sometimes imagine that perhaps I am living in the wrong century and in the wrong place. I dream of stories of my late grandmother on my Father’s side, Bubba Sheindel. My father describes her cellar, a treasure trove of culinary delights and tantalizing aromas, bursting with barrels of her freshly pickled cucumbers, vats of pickled cabbage, apples and tomatoes, of schmaltz and pickled herrings, and preserved fruits and jams.  Strands of dried mushrooms and garlic, and hessian bags of potatoes and onions waiting to be made into the lightest latkes.

I never met my mother’s mother Esther, but every single year at Passover my mum makes her ‘Calf Brisket’ and an ulnyik, a spectacular crisp, crunchy, oily and generally FANTASTIC potato cake that she learnt from her mother when she was a teenager.

No recipes were written down.

Once I left home, and wanted to make my own brisket and ulnyik, I would call Mum on the phone so she could remind me how many potatoes, how many onions and how long to cook it for. Every year I asked the same questions!

So you can imagine my joy when the MMCC book provided me with an opportunity to actually write them down. And write them down properly…so that they would always work out perfectly. Well, most of the time anyway! Just like Mum’s, my ulnyik is sometimes a little overcooked, sometimes a little under – but we do love it all the same! It’s a way to have Bubba Esther sit at the table with us every single time we make it.

Both recipes are now in Monday Morning Cooking Club – the food the stories the sisterhood.

Below is a video of how to make the unyik and brisket. Enjoy!


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Chocoholics Rejoice!

Hop Into This Chocolate Easter Indulgence

chocolate easter cake 1

It’s that time of year when our minds wander, over and over, to chocolate. Some of us buy and devour blocks of it, some of us indulge in our favourite Easter eggs, and some of us think, “yay, another chocolate cake to bake!”

So here’s our favourite chocolate cake recipe, primped and preened to majestically entertain at Easter time.

You will need two cakes, and a double batch of chocolate buttercream or ganache (recipes below) plus a bag of pastel candy coated Easter eggs. We found our eggs at Sydney’s Perfection chocolate shop. Once the cakes have been baked and cooled, slice each one crossways in half. Stack the cake halves together using the buttercream or ganache. Coat the stacked cake in buttercream or ganache. Decorate with the easter eggs. Beautiful!


Thanks to David Morgan for styling our cake so beautifully, and to Alan Benson for the fabulous shots.


1 cup pouring cream

350 g good quality dark chocolate, chopped

20g butter

Heat the cream until it comes to the boil. Remove immediately from heat. Pour cream over chopped chocolate and butter and stir until mixture is combined and smooth. Place ganache in the refrigerator for around 45 min to thicken and then spread over cake.

BUTTERCREAM ICING: (Thanks to Savoury Sweet Life for the recipe)

250 g  unsalted butter, softened

480 g  icing (confectioners) sugar

60 g (½ cup) cocoa powder

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

80 ml (4 tablespoons) milk

Cream butter for a few minutes in a mixer with the K beater attachment on medium speed. Turn off the mixer. Sift 400 g of the sugar and the cocoa into the mixing bowl. Turn your mixer on the lowest speed  until the sugar and cocoa are absorbed by the butter. Increase to medium and add vanilla, salt, and milk and beat for 3 minutes. If your icing to be stiffer, add a little more sugar. If it needs to be thinned out, add additional milk 1 tablespoon at a time.

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‘Egg and Onion’

Egg and Onion: A Monday Morning Cooking Club essential

It’s hard to believe it is already this time of the year! I quite like it when both Easter and Passover occur simultaneously – doesn’t happen that often but when it does it really highlights the cultural diversity in Australia.

As the entire nation is feasting on Easter eggs (in every shape, size, composition and quality) as well as hot cross buns from the (ordinary) now-choc-chip-filled supermarket varieties in neat half-dozen plastic bags to the irresistible spice-scented glazed sourdough version at the local organic baker – it is hard to resist. At the same time, members of the Jewish community are buying up boxes of matzo (unleavened bread), matzo meal, matzo flour, matzo cakes (I could go on) and many many MANY dozens of eggs. Everyone links Easter with the egg, but really Passover should be called the FESTIVAL OF THE EGG.

I think for my mum’s Passover Seder (the traditional meal on the eve of Passover), she must go through at least 10 dozen. Eggs are the main ingredient in matzo balls and flourless egg ‘noodles’ for soup, boiled eggs with salt water are served as part of the Seder to represent the hardened hearts and salty sweat and tears of the Jewish slaves. Eggs are essential in most Passover cakes which, containing no flour or rising agents, require stiffly whisked egg whites to give them volume and substance. Macaroons are made with egg whites and nuts to give a luscious chewy Passover biscuit. A favourite Passover breakfast is ‘Matzo-brai’, a dish somewhere between French toast (using matzo instead of bread) and scrambled eggs.
So at least we know why we are all talking about the egg!

Without a doubt, my favourite egg recipe is the simplest one I have, and probably the oldest one I know. It’s known as ‘Egg and Onion’, or ‘E & O’ if you have been eating it for over 40 years, as I have!

Egg and Onion has been part of my parents’ Shabbat (Friday night) dinner for as long as I can remember and it is now part of mine. I serve it in bowls on the table so everyone can help themselves. It makes me smile to think of my mum who always serves each person at the table one whole scoop of egg and onion (using an ice-cream scoop!) on a piece of lettuce on each individual plate. The recipe originated from my Buba (grandmother) Shendel in Poland in the 1920s. She taught it to her daughters, but not to her son (my father), who in turn taught it to their wonderful Greek housekeeper, Pat. When Pat started helping my mother in the kitchen on Friday afternoons, she passed it on (or rather, back) to my mother and eventually to me. It won’t be long before my kids will be making it. One of my best food memories from my years at school was walking in on a Friday afternoon to the aroma of frying onions and being allowed to help Pat season (and of course taste!!) this wonderful dish.

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Passover Recipes: The Feast Goes On

Monday Morning Cooking Club to the Rescue for Pesach


Here are some ideas from The Feast Goes On that will help you plan and prepare your special Seder night. Yes, that’s right. The whole menu from just one book!

We’re so excited to share one of the recipes from the book, right here – Yvonne Engelman’s amazing nut cake.

For the rest of the menu, we give references to the page number in the book.

You can buy the book here, if you don’t yet have it.

Seder night menu

Sephardi Charoset, from Dinah Danon p. 252

Gefilte Fish (omit challah), from Ruth Eskin, page 257

Simple chicken soup with matzo balls, from Balaclava Deli   p. 248

Chicken with Olives and Capers, from Lisa Manoy p. 83

Potato and Onion Gratin, from Kaye Edelman, p. 175

Beetroot and Herb Salad, from Vivienne Polak, p. 98

Middle Eastern Kompot, from Ali Sulan, p137

Flourless nutcake, from Yvonne Engelman, p. 281, or see below

Coconut Macaroons, from Jacqui Israel, p. 285

So how can you buy ‘The Feast Goes On’ ?

The book will be in stores across Australia from 24 March 2014, and will be released in the USA and UK later in the year.

You can also order from our online store and we will ship the next day. The cost of the book is $50.

TFGO front cover screen shot


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Ruby’s Eggplant and Israeli Couscous Salad

Introducing ‘The Feast Goes On’ from the Monday Morning Cooking Club

From today, you can find Monday Morning Cooking Club – the feast goes on in book stores across Australia. WOOHOO!! You can also buy it online right here!

We are SO SO excited that we can now share all the wonderful recipes we have been testing for the past 2 years, as well as the amazing stories of our wonderful cooks from Australia’s Jewish community.

We are sharing one of our favourite recipes from the book, Ruby’s eggplant and Israeli couscous salad. The salad comes from the kitchen of Yaron Finkelstein, who tells us that his ‘salad originated from a time-honoured tradition: my wife, Ruby, made me do it! We both love Israeli couscous and one year, as her annual birthday lunch approached, she suggested I use it together with the bountiful thatch of mint and parsley we had bought to create a salad that could be served in large quantities, banquet style. The eggplant, slow roasted and then tinged with lemon, is the perfect nod to its Israeli origins.’

Ruby's Eggplant and Israeli Couscous salad. Photo: Alan Benson
Ruby’s Eggplant and Israeli Couscous salad. Photo: Alan Benson




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A Perfect Persian Lunch: Kukuye Sabsi

An Old Favourite from Monday Morning Cooking Club

If you’re looking for a simple lunch for friends, here it is. This recipe comes from the kitchen of Judy Wilkenfeld and appears in Monday Morning Cooking Club – the food, the stories, the sisterhood.

Kukuye sabsi is a Persian-style omelette, similar to a frittata, and is often served on New Year’s Day in Iran. The secret of the texture is to chop the parsley coarsely, not finely.


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Folk of the Faraway Tree…and Pop Cakes

Pop Cakes? We Need Heston!

Without a doubt, my favourite book of all time is The Folk of the Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton. And this month on #LetsLunch we are talking literary inspirations for food. Easy!

I absolutely LOVE the story of the three children – Jo, Bessie and Fanny – who live near a forest that they came to call the Enchanted Wood. A magical place indeed! In the middle of the forest is the huge and very very special Faraway Tree — a giant tree inhabited by fabulous creatures and all sorts of fairy-folk. Is topmost branches lead to ever-changing magical lands above the swirling clouds.Some delightful and some frightening.

The three children make friends with Moon-Face, Silky, and the Saucepan Man (my favourite – in fact I still call my husband ‘Mr Saucepan Man’ when he misunderstands a word I have said), feasting with them on all manner of treats and sliding down the slippery-slip which spirals down inside the trunk. Climbing the tree involves dodging the dirty washing-water which Dame Washalot pours down the trunk and avoiding peeping in at the Angry Pixie, who throws things at those who do.

The most exciting part for me is all the magical and delicious-sounding treats they enjoy. The Toffee Shocks that grow in your mouth so that you can no longer speak and then suddenly they disappear to nothing. Hot Cold Sweets that become colder the more you suck and then suddenly become hot, and then, just before they become unbearable, cool down again. Pop cakes/biscuits always thrilled me – imagine a cake/biscuit/cookie that you can bite into and discover a hidden pool of smooth sweet honey. I am, and have always been, mesmerised by all these delicacies.

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“Silky was pleased. She sat there brushing her beautiful, golden hair and ate sandwiches with them. She brought out a tin of Pop Cakes, which were lovely. As soon as you bit into them they went pop! and you suddenly found your mouth filled with new honey from the middle of the little cakes. Frannie took seven, one after the other, for she was rather greedy.

We thought it would be a bit of fun to try and recreate our own pop cakes, in the form of pop biscuits. We decided to sandwich a piece of honeycomb in between 2 layers of German sugar cookie dough. As we imagined, the honeycomb melted and most of it ended up on the baking sheet. There was however a lovely residue of honey and the biscuits did taste delicious.

Mission accomplished? No, not really. We think we need Heston to help us!

But did we enjoy the honey biscuits? YES!!

Thanks to the Enid Blyton Society and bananamondaes for helping with the finer details and the quote.

Let’s Lunch (#LetsLunch) is a twitter-based virtual lunch club where anyone interested can join this monthly ‘lunch date’. A topic is posted at the beginning of the month, everyone now takes it in turns, and all posts are made on the same day by this random but lovely group of food bloggers, writers and people who just love cooking from all around the world. Anyone can join at any time – just join us on twitter by searching and adding the hashtag #LetsLunch. Check out the others’ posts right here over the next few days – they are always so wonderful!

Lisa’s Pop Cakes from Monday Morning Cooking Club

Lucy’s Old Fashioned from A Cook and Her Books

Jill’s Orange Tarts at Eating My Words

Linda’s Homemade Tagalongs from Free Range Cookies

Annabelle’s Eggs for Bren at Glass of Fancy

Linda’s Oaxacan Mole Rojo at Spicebox Travels

Cheryl’s Hemingway Hamburger at A Tiger in the Kitchen

Betty’s Leche Flan from Asian in America

Grace’s Chinese Fried Eggs from Hapa Mama

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