Simone Pinkus, creator of Manchester-based Simply Cooking cookery courses and catering, shares her personal Chanukah experience.
…her favourite Chanukah dishes
I always make my family two things every Chanukah. The first is latkes that are fried and taste wonderful with my homemade apple sauce or just a sprinkling of sugar.
My latke recipe has been handed down to me by my mother’s mother, Edie Morris. Her family were the Abramsons and my grandfather was the kosher butcher in Manchester in his day, many, many years ago, so this recipe is very special to me and my kids. We always eat them with some type of meat dish. We are big meat eaters in our family and I am always adapting my cake recipes to be parev (dairy-free).
The second thing I make is doughnuts, but not fried doughnuts as that’s too much after the fried latkes. I make healthier baked doughnuts that are covered in icing and different toppings – my children love them.
I only make these recipes on the day that I want to serve them so that they’re fresh. I will invite some of my children’s friends round and we all tuck in after school.
…her top tips for creating perfect festive food
My main suggestion for creating the perfect Chanukah menu is to make sure you buy all your ingredients in advance and be prepared. Wash and peel your potatoes. Make sure you have everything ready to start cooking. Most importantly don’t forget to invite your friends and get some help with the clearing up at the end!
…a traditional Chanukah
A typical Chanukah for me is to go to my sister-in-law, Belinda Levene’s, house and be with her kids and all our family. We all get together to swap presents, usually on the first night of Chanukah, and eat yummy food that Belinda has homemade.
We then light the menorah and sing songs the children have learnt at school. We have quite a few menorahs in our house but always use the ones the children made when they were younger. It feels very special. The children also get lots of Chanukah gelt in the form of chocolate coins! Appropriately during Chanukah it is customary to give gelt to our children to teach them be charitable and do good deeds, as well as adding to the festive holiday spirit.
…her favourite thing about the festival
This is my favourite festival of all the Jewish festivals because the children love being together with their cousins and friends. Plus, we get to eat yummy treats, which I pretend contain no calories (I wish), and it is lovely coming together every night to light the candles, sing songs and open gifts. The children are very lucky as they get a small gift each every night of Chanukah that is wrapped up in lovely paper.
…the recipe she would like to share in time for this Chanukah
Because we feel we are so blessed, we always make homemade food gifts for people who are not so fortunate to receive anything or have no family. This is very important to me as a mother, and is something I want to instil in my three children.
5 large potatoes
1 large onion
⅓ cup (75g) plain flour
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
¾ cup (213ml) of oil for frying
Tools: 10 inch skillet. Serves: 4 to 6 servings
Grate the potatoes and onion then strain through a colander, pressing out excess water. Add the eggs, flour and seasoning, and mix well into a batter. Heat half the oil in the skillet, lower the flame and place 1 large tablespoon of batter in at a time. Fry until golden (approx. 5 minutes), turn over and fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and place on paper towels to remove excess oil. Repeat until all batter used. Serve with a side of apple sauce.
Please enjoy making these with your lovely family, but most importantly have a wonderful happy and healthy Chanukah.