Yes, I did!

Apr 17, 2009

After I had decided that the most important family tradition associated with Passover for me was the food and with 7 people to feed I set about planning the menu.

What makes Passover really feel like Passover in my family who back in Sydney celebrate it every year is, noise, chaos, seeing 25 loud and crazy family members but most of all it is my mother and grandmother spending two days lovingly (I think they love it, they keep doing it) cooking. The cook in excess of 10 dishes but the favorite crowd pleasers include:

Matzo Ball Soup
Matzo Balls are a spongy dumpling made from matzo meal (ground matzo)served in a chicken broth, which of course has to be home made to taste just right.

Gefilte Fish
I must say I do not actually enjoy this dish, but it is a Passover classic which is a highly cherished and coveted item on the menu. There are usually no leftovers.

Big Roo calls its Frankenstein's fish because of the long (and strange) preparation and cooking process. Most people do a neat little gefilte fish ball made from minced fish but my grandmother has a traditional recipe from Eastern Europe that includes purchasing a whole fish. The fish is deboned, and ground together with eggs, onions and matzah meal and then stuffed into the skin of the deboned fish (how in the world she stuffs it back in to the skin is beyond me). The whole stuffed fish is then poached with carrots , onions and beetroots. This process takes an entire day and my grandmother frets and fusses until somebody has the first bite and declares it the best gefilte fish yet!

Matzo Babka
Matzo babka is a savory over the top spongy layered pancake dish eaten in lieu of bread. I love this stuff .

With my grandmother's instructions received over Skype , I attempted to cook the classic's. I knew there would be anyway I could attempt stuffing a ground fish back into it's skin so I made a modern (read: easy to prepare) interpretation that I now call Gefilte Fish Fillets. With a few more Skype calls to my granny (that is after I had woken her up at 6am in the morning her time..sorry) during the cooking process and my first attempt at a Passover meal was finished

Aesthetically it all looked more or less how it was suppose to look. Granted the matzah balls looked more like matzo blobs but nobody seemed to mind. My matzo babka rocked and the house smelled like gefilte fish. Now it felt and smelt like Passover. Mission completion!

So how did I do it?
Note my granny is not big on measuring ingredients she eyeballs everything, so I had to guesstimate a lot of the quantities required.

Gefilte Fish Fillets
White fish fillets
Cut up Onion rings
Salt and pepper
Cut up raw beetroot
Cut up carrots
Onion peel
Salt and pepper
Place half the vegetables (including onion peel) into a pan
Place fish fillets on top
Top the fillets with the remaining vegetables
Add salt, pepper and water just to cover
Cook on high for 45 – 50 minutes.
Switch off and leave lid on

Matzo balls
Matzo meal
2-3 eggs beaten
Cold water
Mix above together
Make into balls with cold hands
Cook in boiling salted water – not the soup.
Cook for 10 mins
Remove with colander and put into hot premade chicken soup

Matzo Babka
½ packet of matzo
Break matzo
Put matzah in colander
Pour hot water over matzo
Let water pour out
Transfer wet matzo into bowl
Put in 2-3 beaten eggs
Try your mixture (My grandmother told me about this step repeatedly, you want to make sure it is seasoned well)
Heat pan with lots of butter
Put in the whole mixture
Cover on low heat
Cook one side and flip (15 min per side)