The Food Lovers' Cookbook Collection

Jewish Cookery by Leah Leonard

Jewish Cookery by Leah Leonard is a fascinating tour through the foods of a number of countries where food is cooked in accordance with Jewish dietary laws. The book was first published in London in 1949 and remained popular well into the 1970s.

There are many fascinating recipes in this book which seem to be ageless. For example there is one recipe for a Vinegar Cake where the title really caught our attention. This is a relatively conventional cake that starts with creaming butter and sugar together in the time-honoured way, followed by the addition of eggs, flour and vanilla - not much excitement so far. Then comes melted bitter chocolate, some sour milk and then a tablespoon of vinegar before the baking soda is finally added. The addition of these ingredients changes the flavour profile in a very interesting way.

This recipe is followed by an equally left field offering of a soybean gingerbread which sees one and a half cups of mashed cooked soybeans added to the ingredients which include molasses and a range of spices.

Following through on the same theme there is also an interesting (and simple) recipe for Lebkuchen that calls for shredded citron to be added.

In the savoury recipes there are many that are simple, others that are more complex and interesting. One that is simple but requires a few steps is a dish that refines the traditional mashed potato by adding to it eggs beaten with grated or cottage cheese along with grated onion and herbs before folding in stiff egg whites and melted butter. This rich concoction is then placed on a baking tray in walnut-sized mounds and baked until golden to be served as a delicious accompaniment to a range of meats or grilled fish.

There is also a very interesting recipe for ginger beets where a light roux is prepared and then beetroot juice is added to make the roux a vivid red before adding chopped, cooked beetroot, lemon juice, ground ginger and dry mustard and bringing the flavours together by cooking the roux for another five minutes.

There are dozens more recipes in addition to the ones mentioned here making this book a treasure-trove of interesting and different recipes that do not take very long to master.

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