If you haven’t heard of the Monday Morning Cooking Club, they’re a group of five Jewish women who have been meeting together in Sydney for more than 10 years to share recipes and cook their favourite foods. They’ve produced two hugely successful cookbooks, Monday Morning Cook Club and The Feast Goes On, and now they have a third one to grace the kitchen bench.
It’s Always About The Food, published by HarperCollins, is a collection of heirloom recipes and new classics gathered from the Jewish diaspora around the world. These five passionate home cooks embarked on an international search for the mot-loved dishes that have been delighting family and friends for years and that have nurtured communities from Cardiff to Nova Scotia to New York, and from Sydney to Johannesburg to Jerusalem.
Bringing people together
Among the recipes they came up with are treats such as Sumac crusted snapper with roasted chickpea salad, Olive and pistachio chicken, Zucchini fritters with green goddess dressing, and Olive oil chocolate mousse. In the process of testing the recipes and curating this volume, they discovered stories of immigration and survival, joy and sorrow, family and connection.
The power of food in bringing people together comes through loud and strong in It’s Always About The Food. So too does it in the fiercely strong sisterhood of these remarkable women, connected by a love of sharing food and recipes.
Buy your copy of It’s Always About The Food from Book Depository now, with free delivery worldwide
MANDARIN CAKE WITH MARMALADE SYRUP
Serves 10 to 12
4 thin-skinned mandarins (about 480 g/1 lb 1 oz in total)
300 g (1 1/3 cups/10½ oz) caster (superfine) sugar
300 g (3 cups/10½ oz) ground almonds (almond meal)
1 tablespoon baking powder
whipped cream, to serve
1.5 litres (6 cups) water
690 g (3 cups) caster (superfine) sugar
1 tablespoon brandy
Line a 22 cm (8½ inch) spring-form cake tin. Wash all the fruit very well; do not peel. To make the fruit purée for the cake, put the 4 mandarins and 1 lemon into a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer over low–medium heat for 1 hour or until the fruit is soft. Drain and allow to cool.
Cut the fruit in half and remove all the seeds. In a food processor or blender, purée the fruit (with the skin) and set aside. While the fruit is cooking, make the marmalade syrup. Thinly slice the mandarins and limes, remove and discard any seeds and place in a heavy based medium saucepan. Add the water and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, for 1 hour or until the fruit is soft. Add the sugar and simmer for at least 1 hour or until a rich syrup forms. The syrup should reduce to 2 cups. Strain off ½ cup of the syrup into a heatproof jug, add the brandy to the strained syrup and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). In an electric mixer, whisk the eggs until creamy and light. Add the sugar and continue to whisk for a few minutes. Add the ground almonds and baking powder and whisk for a minute or two to combine. Fold in the fruit purée and pour into the prepared tin. Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven and prick the top all over with a wooden skewer. Pour the strained syrup over the top of the cake. Decorate the cake with the peel from the marmalade syrup. Allow to cool in the tin. Serve warm or at room temperature with extra marmalade syrup on the side and whipped cream.
Recipe by Kathy Miller. Note from Jacqui in the Monday Morning Cooking Club: The marmalade syrup with this cake is like a gift with purchase. You get a superb, flourless citrus cake topped with shiny, sticky peel and a jar of the BEST mandarin marmalade to go with it. Don’t forget to use the leftovers on hot buttered toast.
Recipe and images from It’s Always About The Food, by the Monday Morning Cooking Club, published by HarperCollins and reproduced with the publisher’s permission.
This story originally appeared in PS News online.