norene nostalgia

Good Shabbos, Shabbat Shalom! I’ve chosen an interesting selection of recipes this week, contributed by Jewish celebrities from around the globe.

One Egg is a Fortune: Memories and Recipes to Share, which was compiled by two Australian women, Pnina Jacobson and Judy Kempler, is much more than a recipe collection. This award-winning cookbook is “an anthology of cultural vignettes with food as the central motif, showing that food is a great equalizer.” Fifty internationally known Jewish luminaries from around the world shared treasured recipes and anecdotes showcasing the diversity of contemporary Jewish life.

In this book, the importance of our Jewish culinary heritage is shared through a delicious collection of 100 nostalgic family recipes plus mouthwatering colour photos. Each of the contributors shares how their enjoyment of food is the common generational thread that binds them to the past.


Pnina Jacobson immigrated from South Africa to Sydney, Australia in 1987 and Judy Kempler is from Sydney, Australia. They met at the school bus stop as they sent their children off to school and discovered they had a shared interest both in food and a good story. Kempler and Jacobson have donated a portion of the proceeds of this charming multicultural cookbook to support Jewish eldercare all over the world.

The Jewish Book Council wrote: “While readers might initially get excited to peruse recipes from famous Jews such as chocolatier Max Brenner, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, and Marlee Matlin, the recipes from some of the lesser-knowns are just as satisfying, including Sam Lipski’s Aromatic Roast Brisket and Alan Gold’s Hungarian Scalloped Potatoes. One Egg is a Fortune will take you on a Jewish culinary journey to inspire you in the kitchen and connect you to a whole new set of food and family memories.”


Note: Many of the book’s recipes are based on the metric system but the authors included a handy chart with conversions to Imperial measurements and I’ve included conversions in the recipes included in my blog.

Many of the stories in One Egg is a Fortune illustrate how family memories are attached to food memories. The book’s title comes from a story by Dudu Fisher, a talented and versatile Israeli cantor and stage performer. His grandmother Frieda, a survivor of the Holocaust, would pay Dudu to eat all his food to fatten him up.

Fisher recalled: “Each item of food had its own value and price-tag. For example, a piece of bread thickly spread with pure butter was worth ten aggarot, our smallest coin then, now about 1/2 shekel or ten cents; a large chunk of yellow cheese was an extra fifteen cents; sour cream was a further 25 cents and for her, ‘one egg is a fortune.’”


Sing for your Supper!

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large white onion, thinly sliced

1 kg (2.2 lb) freshwater fish fillets, such as carp, barramundi or perch

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

2 large red or yellow capsicums (bell peppers), thinly sliced

3 tomatoes, sliced

1 cup bottled Napoletana pasta sauce

3/4 cup red wine

Chives, finely chopped, for garnish

Caperberries, for garnish (optional)


Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F). Heat olive oil in a non-stick fry pan and sauté onions until golden.

Place onions in an oiled baking dish and top with fish fillets. Season with salt and pepper. Cover fish with capsicums and tomatoes.

Combine pasta sauce and red wine and pour over the fish. Cover with foil and bake for 35-40 minutes until fish and capsicums are cooked.

Serve, garnished with chives and caperberries.

Note: This recipe also works well in a covered BBQ.

Serves 4 to 6.



Sam Lipski, an Australian journalist and former editor-in-chief of the Australian Jewish News, is a great food lover and the cook in his family. Lipski’s late father, Ezra, was a talented and former professional cook. On Sam’s father’s side, going back many hundreds of years, their family members were wine and specialty food merchants.

Sam Lipski reminisced: “All the Jewish festivals evoke childhood food memories. The moment these holidays begin I recall the smells and tastes of the challahs my father prepared at home and baked in Mr. Berland’s bakery’s ovens, as well as his wonderful honey cakes for Rosh Hashanah and cheesecakes for Shavuot.”

Lipski is still searching for the perfect cheesecake. “Not one, anywhere – in Israel, the United States or in Australia – could compare to my father’s. Sadly I don’t have his recipe.” Instead, Lipski shared his recipe for Aromatic Roast Brisket, which is perfect for Shabbat or anytime. You can even cook it on your BBQ!


Not for the Faint-Hearted!

Fear not the 36-40 cloves of garlic! When roasted, garlic becomes sweet, nutty and delicious while losing much, though not quite all, of its pungency. This brisket is truly mouth-watering!  

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 kg (4.4 lb) lean piece beef brisket

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

3 tablespoons sweet paprika

36 cloves garlic (3 – 4 heads)

2 large onions, thinly sliced into rings

1/4 cup red table wine

3 cups chicken/vegetable stock

1/4 cup fresh coriander, chopped

1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped


Note: The brisket can be cooked in a conventional oven or on a BBQ with a hood. This recipe requires a large heavy baking dish with a baking rack and tightly fitting lid. Alternatively, a large disposable aluminum-foil baking dish covered with foil can be used.

Preheat oven to 180 C, or preheat a BBQ, hood closed.

Heat the baking dish. Add olive oil and sear both sides of brisket until golden. Remove to a plate and season brisket liberally on both sides with salt, pepper and paprika.


Add garlic and onion to the same unwashed baking dish and fry in the oil until garlic begins to turn golden and onion is soft. Add wine and stir until the ‘browned bits’ from frying are mixed through. Add stock, coriander and parsley and bring to the boil. Pour into a bowl and set aside.

Insert the baking rack into the middle of the baking dish and place the brisket on top. Spoon garlic and onion mixture over the brisket, cover tightly, and place in the oven or on BBQ with hood closed. Roast brisket for 30 minutes, and baste with juices. Return to the oven for a further 30 minutes and baste again. When the meat is soft, remove from oven and allow it to rest for 5-10 minutes.

Slice carefully across the meat’s grain using a sharp knife and serve with the sauce.

Serves 8 to 10.


Academy Award-winning American movie and television actress, Marlee Matlin, was determined to be a great cook for her husband. However, when they had they’re first child, Sarah, everything changed.

Marlee shared: “Kids will eat just about everything when they’re young but as they get older, they seem to demand creativity on mom and dad’s part…You try to come up with creative ways to liven up the menu just to get them to eat something other than French Fries.”

Marlee continued: “One day I happened upon my oatmeal cookie recipe that the kids loved, and without even a blink, I improvised and added something new, just as I was doing with every recipe. I simply put in chocolate chips. I noticed that the batch I’d just baked was gone within two hours. The chocolate chips became my secret! And not only were the kids snatching them up, my friends and neighbours were demanding ‘Marlee’s secret chocolate oatmeal cookies.’ Demand got so high that my cookies had to appear at every occasion and every special holiday, otherwise pandemonium would ensue.”

PS: As you can see I call them “secret.” Kids love anything to do with a secret and the name of the recipe made kids (and adults) want them more!”


Always a treat!

Marlee Matlin’s husband and kids like to eat these while they’re still warm.

1 cup (220 g) butter or margarine (butter makes a better cookie)

1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

1/2 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

3 cups uncooked oatmeal (such as Quaker Oats)

1 cup chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F). Blend butter and sugars until creamy. Add vanilla and eggs and beat well. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a bowl and stir into the butter mixture. Add oatmeal and chocolate chips. Mix well.

Drop rounded teaspoonfuls on to ungreased baking tray. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for one minute before placing on a wire rack.

Makes 48 cookies.

Norene Gilletz is the leading author of kosher cookbooks in Canada. She is the author of twelve cookbooks and divides her time between work as a food writer, food manufacturer, consultant, spokesperson, cooking instructor, lecturer, and cookbook editor. Norene lives in Toronto, Canada and her motto is “Food that’s good for you should taste good!” For more information, visit her website at www.gourmania.com or email her at goodfood@gourmania.com.



Norene Gilletz
Norene Gilletz is the leading author of kosher cookbooks in Canada. She is a food writer, food manufacturer, consultant, spokesperson, cooking instructor, lecturer, cookbook editor and now a podcaster. Norene lives in Toronto and her motto is “Food that’s good for you should taste good!” For more information, visit her website at gourmania.com..