85 years ago (20/4/1928) my mum Aviva Sarnat, was born in Tel-Aviv, Palestine, to my Grandparents Esther and Meir Zagel, fresh new immigrants from Zamość, Poland, who had the sense to leave Poland (1924 or 1927) long before WW2 started. They did not leave in fear they left following their beliefs, arriving to a desert land with mainly sand (some camels to a city evolving in the dunes), no country of their own (just a “homeland” as promised by Lord Balfour).
Zamość is a town in southeastern Poland in the south-western part of county Lublin. Zamość is a unique example of a Renaissance town in Central Europe, consistently designed and built in accordance with the Italian theories of the “ideal town” on the basis of a plan which was the result of perfect cooperation between the open-minded founder, Jan Zamoyski, and the outstanding architect, Bernardo Morando. The utopian concept of an Ideal City as described in Sir Thomas More book: Utopia, (as described in a previous post:https://wine4soul.com/2012/05/27/utopia-the-wines-of-isole-e-olena/ ) . Indeed they say Zamość is an outstanding example of an innovative approach to town planning, combining the functions of an urban ensemble, a residence, and a fortress in accordance with a consistently implemented Renaissance concept. The result of this is a stylistically homogeneous urban composition with a high level of architectural and landscape values. A real asset of this great construction was its creative enhancement with local artistic architectural achievements. (From http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/564 ).
My mum and I, we go along together for 60 years now, amongst other qualities, she is a great cook and most of what I know food/cooking wise is derived from her approach to food and cooking, though we have different styles. I know I have learned a lot from her, now…for her 80th birthday we printed a cookbook from her dishes favoured by each and every member of the family (endorded by Chef Yonathan Roshfeld from one great chef to a great cook, and today, Saturday April 20th is her 85th Birthday.
The 1st Viscount Herbert Samuel a British Diplomat and a Zionist Jew, was appointed to the position of High Commissioner of Palestine in 1920 and served until 1925. He received the post from Sir Louis Bols of the “Occupied Enemy Territory Administration”. Who handed over Palestine to the First Civil High Commissioner, Herbert Samuel. In return, Samuel signed a “receipt” stating he had received “one Palestine, complete.”
Chef Jonathan Roshfeld (Jon), cooked for us at our house several times once 9 years ago for my Father’s Arye Sarnat 80th Birthday, than about 6 years ago, just a few months before Herbert Samuel was opened with all the staff, chef, sous chef and all… eager to cook and no kitchen to cook in, they came to our house, (for Abi’s 22 Birthday but really, just a cause for celebration, we have a semi professional kitchen, and above average large ovens and powerful gas hobs, and they cooked the entire planned first menu of the restaurant, since than our family revisited the restaurant for special occasions and just ordinary everyday meal many a times, never disappointed may I add.
as a very young sous-chef at the “Golden Apple” (In the 80’s the only proper, food worthy restaurant, in Tel-Aviv). Our family connection with Herbert Samuel restaurant is, you can say from the “womb” (the days even before the restaurant was born), I guess you should take part in the photographic highlights of that pre Herbert meal, it seems such a long long time ago:
For our present celebration, Jon surprised us all by actually coming on a Saturday to cook a special dish, not in the menu yet again, “JUST FOR US” (a touching gesture that did not pass by, unappreciated, by all present)
Everyone came fully prepared, some with some written words, some with wines: Moët & Chandon Rosé Champagne, Laurent Perrier Rosé Champagne and several bottles of my new find the 2010 – Simon Bize Bourgogne Blanc Les Champlains, we even had a present courtesy of my young sister Dana.
My I say that all dishes were prepared and presented to perfection, a right balance between traditional French taste and local products, For first course we had:
A Perfect balance between the meat and the cream, without the garlic “raising its head “too strongly”, and a nice light chilly touch on the finish, roasted Artichoke hearts and shaved parmesan cheese on top refreshing “twist” on the traditional recipe.
Fresh shrimps a la plancha, lying on a base of ringed “Avocado salad”. soaked in light lassi cream (yoghurt lightly spiced with curry and chili powder, chillies and lemon grass sugar syrup), domed by juliennes of beetroot giving it a Raja feel and look, but mainly tasty and alluring (for the next bite).
Nice fresh chunks of Ultra fresh raw Tuna and another white flesh fish (maybe Intiass- greater amberjack) on a bed of thick base of ground roasted eggplants and well spiced “Labaneh” cheese, (a sour middle eastern thick yoghurt fresh white cheese).
And the legendary HS Tomatoes Salad (the one “all town is trying to imitate”), grilled and fresh various types of tomatoes of all colours and types, Kalamata olives, green chillies, Basil and quality Tulum cheese, Very refreshing almost a mouth cleanser…
Needless to say all first course dishes were devoured by all present including as many extra helpings as requested and there were more than some exstras.
The menu main courses came before the main course specially prepared for the occasion, these were:
Seafood (shrimp and Calamari) fresh artichokes Lesbos Noodles , these noodles remind me more of Strangozzi or the hand rolled, hard, south Toscan Pici. Stringozzi is an Italian wheat pasta, from the border between the region of Umbria and Toscana, These are slightly harder in touch when cooked, they are as you see long, rectangular cross-section uneven, handmade noodles. The name of the pasta is drawn from its resemblance to shoelaces – stringhe in Italian, in a wonderfully perfumed sauce I wonder if some red and orange bell peppers were “thrown in” while making the sauce (that’s how I make it). Although according to the menu the noodles owe their “claim to fame” to the Island of Lesbos Greece this is a 100% Italian dish…
This is a perfect Cannelloni, in fact, my favorites. The dough is more like a crepe leaf, with a perfectly cooked milk veal hot pot diced adding some of the juices,mixed with Chard, to lighten the weight of the pot roast. Chard; (Beta vulgaris) is a leafy green vegetable often used in Mediterranean cooking. This rolled crepe (cannelloni) with the slightly (onion sweet brown sauce is a delight, (I ordered an extra helping, could not resist the temptation).
The King oyster mushroom is not the tastiest of mushrooms simply because it has little taste (looking almost like elongated cep or porchini The Boletus edulis) and tasting or smelling none like them, but they are so absorbent they take any flavour you give them, which in many cases is an advantage when cooking…) This dish would not feel a stranger in any restaurant of Umbria or Toscana and would be admired even by the most experienced Roman connoisseur, Italians like home style cooking and this is a very “comforting dish”, a “reminiscence of childhood “
Roasted Leg of Lamb root vegetables and tomatoes and green chillies, Roast Rata Potatoes.
The lunch’s “special” a personal dish cooked ONLY for our table was unfortunately served only after we were beginning to fill up… with it cane the fish dish:
Meager or drum fish (Musar around our shores) in spiced tomatoes fish stock (Jungle curry) and white rice. The sauce was divine, fried fish fillets “swimming in this red tropical sea, freshened up with cucumber Juliennes.
Coffees and deserts
Cheese Cake Luis 14th style
Chocolate Nemesis in seasalt caramel / toffee and Ice cream
The House of Pistachio (Fistook) with pistachio Kulfi
And we were so pleased and FULL!
Laurent Perrier Rose Champagne is a salmon colored rosé Champagne crisp and fruity. with aromas of strawberries, raspberries, the Laurent Perrier Rosé Champagne is made using maceration technique, giving it richness without losing its elegance . A fresh, delightful rosé, excellent fit for the occasion.
Moët & Chandon Rosé Champagne,This over 10 year old NV is a Moët & Chandon’s excellent non-vintage pink champagne retained its fresh pink colour. It has all the usual approachable unsophisticated Moët touch yet it comes with a twist of emphasis on red berry scent with light red summer fruit flavours.
2010 – Simon Bize Bourgogne Blanc Les Champlains, as it went with the BBQ see; https://wine4soul.com/2013/04/19/bbq-for-independence-day/ everyone enjoyed the wine immensely, so much so that I miss calculated the number of bottles required, never mind sometimes less is more…
Thanks Jonathan Roshfeld for your special gesture, coming to cook for us on you free day, for arranging such a perfect Lunch, a lunch to remember and leave good memories of yet another special BIRTHDAY PARTY with Jon, and special thanks to all the restaurant stuff for the effort, the wonderful and caring service making us yet again feel at home. I know this is not our last family celebration with Yonathan and his highly able crew.
Herbert Samuel , 6 Koifman Street (Gaon House), Tel-Aviv Tel: 03-5166516
No one really knows when or why a tradition of celebrating Independence day around charcoal grills started. If you ask me it is a “borrowing” of the American modern 4th of July tradition (also) of unknown origin.
BBQ was not invented in America and no one knows who invented the barbecue. The word ‘Barbecue’ might come from the Taino Indian word ‘barbacoa’ meaning meat-smoking apparatus. ‘Barbecue‘ could have also originated from the French word “Barbe a queue” which means “whiskers-to-tail.” When all parts of an animal where used for preparing meat dishes on fire or smoke. (wiki)
Ancient man song by Daphne Sarnat from: http://daphodil-music.co.uk/the-ancient-man-song-number-8/
We have to go way back to prehistoric times to dig out the origin of slow cooking on fire Barbecue. Fire’s general use, according to paleontological and archaeolgical records, began only about 40,000 to 50,000 years ago. But after cooking, many undesirable substances present in plants and vegetables are deactivated and starch and other nutrients in the plants become absorbable by the digestive tract. All of the major domesticated plant foods, such as wheat, barley, rice, millet, rye, and potatoes, require cooking before they are suitable for human consumption.
From: Cambridge World History of Food, Kenneth F. Kiple and Kriemhild Conee Ornelas [Cambridge University Press:Cambridge] 2000 (p. 1571)
It is possible that men first ate meat that had been charred or cooked by virtue of being caught in a natural forest fire (a positive accident). They might have otherwise eaten raw meat, if necessary, but we can also imagine that our earliest digestive systems rebelled against eating raw meat.
Nowadays, to barbecue means to slow-cook meat at a low temperature for a long time over wood or charcoal. In America, barbecue (or BBQ) originated in the late 1800’s during Western cattle drives. The cowboys were not allowed “perfect cuts” of meat, mainly brisket that required many hours of cooking to tenderize. As they sat after sunset around wood fires, meat and other foods were prepared on charcoals.
There is a romantic notion regarding “Cowboys and Indians” the open plains and the wild prairie, an Indian tribe cooking meat over fire after the hunt (smoking and drying the rest for future use), town folks eating huge steaks at the local restaurant as portrayed in the John Ford 1962 movie The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, including a fight over meat, with Ranse (James Stewart) waiting table, Liberty (Lee Marvin) making trouble, and Tom (John Wayne) booting Strother Martin, in an outrageous confrontation over a steak. I was always amazed by the sheer size of the “wild west” huge steak cuts.
My old Weber grill has long lost its legs but still performs miracles for BBQ grilling all you need is a good bunch of red hot charcoal wood or charcoal briquettes and your prepared or marinated meat, fish, seafood, vegetables etc.
We had :
* pork spare ribs prepped in advance finished on the grill
some Basmati rice for the south Asian fare, and grill roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes with salad as side dishes
2010 – Simon Bize Bourgogne Blanc Les Champlains
The 2010 les Champlains turned to be a great bottle of wine worth every penny of its relatively low cost. The great nose soars from the glass in a blaze of green apples, with some peaches and citrus blossoms, with a floral note of acacia blossoms. On the palate the wine is substantial and elegant, pure and full of fruit, good length keeping fresh all the time. Wait 10 minutes for the wine to settle down than a gush of green apple peel on the Nose with apple, pear, some tropical fruit. This is not a great wine by definition or pedigree although it comes from a single lot above Savigny les Beaune in Côte de Beaune, Bourgogne. It is an (AOC) with slightly less than 15 per cent chardonnay grapes with no Grand Cru vineyards within the appellation. Great value for money.
Simon Bize is a terrific producer continueing a family tradition since 1880 and making wines in a more meticulous manner around 60 years (early 1970’s)
Dugat Py, Gevrey Chambertin, Coeur du Roi 2003
Dugat Py claim for fame comes from the American wine import industry as a true modern day Burgundian superstar. I know this is not my favorite wine making style in the Burgundy area, too much effort on colour, fruit and tannin concentration, Usually I personally prefer the less purple more light reddish translucent traditional elegant wines with a “true” Bourgognian touch, we had the Dugat Py, Gevrey Chambertin Coeur du Roi 2006 a few weeks ago and the wine was still too firm even too tight and failed to open to its full potential even after a long time (the rest of the case will have to wait in my cellar for at least another 5 years I am patient), Yet Dugat Py wine complement juict fatty BBQ meats more than extremely delicate and elegant Gevrey, and so it was chosen; A Dugat Py, Gevrey Chambertin, Coeur du Roi 2003, now at its 10th year (an enigma that has to be solved I also have a case of these…) On the first sniff I was relieved, the wine had some other undertones of the soul and soil of Bourgogne that overcame the strength and power the wine was intended to reflect. Great smell of cherries more than strawberries with lovely wet soil and mushroom scent, on the palate flavour is luscious fruit with pleasant fresh compost/hay or cabbage (on the pleasant side) traces, seasoned with thyme and mint overtone evolving so well. Full to medium body with a full feel and a very long palate, tannins still not round enough for my taste but I was impressed and content with the choice.
We thought we would not celebrate this year with a BBQ, as it happened we did, in a company of three, a grilled holiday lunch, cooked on charcoal with the moon smiling at us up in the afternoon sky, great wines and company, and my very own tarte Tatin to end the meal.