The Monday Morning Cooking Club have generously shared a couple of their recipes from their latest book – Now for Something Sweet, which as Helen Goh so aptly sums up is “stunning recipes with heart and soul” So turn the page and get cooking.
How did it all begin?
We got together in 2006 with a seed of an idea to write a cookbook and raise money for charity. We wanted to create a book that could sit in any bookstore in the world, alongside the best of the best.
We all knew each other to some extent through Sydney’s (not so large!) Jewish community. Four out of the original six of us were born in Australia but come from diverse family backgrounds, reflective of our community’s melting pot: Hungary, Poland, Russia via China, South Africa, England.
We had no idea how to start but met every Monday morning (thus the name!) and the project slowly evolved into what it is today — a platform for collecting, curating, preserving and sharing the treasured recipes of our food obsessed community. Our unwavering mission is to preserve recipes from past generations for us, and from our generation for the future. We are immensely proud of having published four best-selling cookbooks which honour and celebrate the most treasured family recipes, alongside moving stories of warmth, family, friendship, community and survival.
The Monday Morning Cooking Club is a remarkable excursion into the realm of comfort food. You just want to eat everything.’ – Yotam Ottolenghi
Food styling and photography. How important is it to get this right? Who does yours?
They are such an important element in all our books. When we were in the early planning stages of the first book we would sit and (seriously!) ogle a pile of gorgeous cookbooks and the things they had in common were the beautiful photos and gorgeous design. Many of them were shot by Australian photographer Alan Benson and we were lucky enough to get him on board to shoot our first book. And he’s been with us ever since. We have used David Morgan, food stylist, on all our books except the first and we feel so grateful to have had such an amazing team. We pride ourselves on the fact that we actually cooked all the food for the shoot (except for a handful which were cooked by the person who shared the recipe with us) and that anyone who cooks from our books will be able to easily replicate what they see in the pictures. The styling and photography part of the book process is important although nothing is quite as important as the recipes themselves, and we take the recipe writing very seriously. Our recipes are tested and re-tested many times until we are certain that anyone who reads them can follow along and create exactly what we created.
Any all-time favourite recipes?
Merelyn: My mother gave her Custard Chiffon Cake recipe to us to use in the first book. It had been her secret recipe for almost 50 years and was well known at cake stalls and charity fêtes around Perth. I was thrilled when she decided to share her recipe with us, and it has proved to be legacy now that she is no longer with me. We hear from people all over the world about how much they love her cake. It truly is one of the best cakes in the world! We love it so much that we have reproduced it again in Now for Something Sweet.
Lisa: Mine is the Almond Butter Biscuits from Now for Something Sweet. The recipe comes from my late mother-in-law Talia. When I first met my husband more than 30 years ago, I remember the huge jar of almond butter biscuits in Talia’s kitchen. I used to sneak down to the kitchen when I thought no-one was looking and eat them by the handful. I don’t know till this day if anyone ever noticed how many were missing! Whenever I make them (and I make them often, although not too often as my husband now eats them by the handful!) I feel like Talia is standing beside me in the kitchen.
A bizarre fact about the ingredients stored in the Monday Morning Cooking Club fridge?
Our fridge has seen more butter go through it than most suburbs do in a lifetime.