Friday, July 23, 2010

Today, I would like to introduce some recipes relating to my mothers side of the family tree. She is a Sephardic Jew – these are the Jews that originated from the Iberian Peninsula (now Spain and Portugal) and who lived there until their expulsion in the late 15th century. Sephardic Jews make up around 20% of the total Jewish population and have very rich and proud traditions unique to them. Unfortunately the numbers of Sephardic Jews are dwindling and with them, so are their traditions – specifically their cuisine. I feel therefore that my blog would not be complete without a section devoted to the foods that my mother, grandmother and great grandmother took pleasure in preparing. For my Nona, this section is dedicated in its entirety to you.

Quajado de Pazi (Spinach & Potato Bake)

This is one of my all time favorites. I don’t get to make it much because my mother does it best, so I leave it up to her! Spinach is always so difficult to serve to large numbers of people because of its deceiving nature. It takes so much space in the fridge but whittles down to nothing when cooked. This is a great way to make 3 bunches go far! You need:

3 bunches spinach
6 eggs, well beaten
6 potatoes – boiled and mashed
1 cup milk
1 cup Parmesan-type cheese, grated
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. oil

Wash spinach well, remove the stalks and shred the leaves finely. Lay out to dry on absorbent paper or a clean cloth. Place in a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients, except the oil.

Place the oil in ovenproof dish. Pour the spinach mixture into the dish and bake at 180°C/350°F for 30 minutes or until golden. Cut into squares and serve hot or cold.

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