Our Pesach “plant”

By Jo Freeman

So it is Pesach time again and once again my Grandma Dora is in my head watching my every move and despite my inner protestations as to  ‘Why do I do this’ Grandma I do it for you…..

My Grandma Dora with her beloved husband  Alec who was the best Grandpa ever, enjoying a paddle in Margate

My Grandma Dora with her beloved husband Alec who was the best Grandpa ever, enjoying a paddle in Margate

I was brought up in the 1950’s in the Medway towns, Chatham to be precise. In my memory Pesach preparations began early.

Knives were stuck in the earth and the glass wear was put in a baby bath and covered with water for several weeks before the festival to Kosher them.

As Pesach approached we made the trips down to the cellar where the ‘plant’ as my grandmother called it, rested from year to year. Out came the pan that was bought in Mence Smith’s, a hardware store  of the time. This particular pan (still in use in 2013) was bought in 1921 for sixpence  I think that was very expensive, and the fish service that was a wedding present in 1920 and so on….

Over the years my ’plant’ has hand-me-downs from my husband’s family too so our wine cups and matzo plates come from Granny Mona, along with a bone china tea set that was our wedding present from WIZO in the 1970’s. We only use cups and saucers at Pesach in our house now!!!!

So onto the recipe:

Halibut sweet & sour

(adapted from Florence Greenberg)

  • 1 ½ lbs halibut or other white fish
  • 2 onions
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 dessert-spoon potato flour
  • chopped parsley
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 lemons
  • 1½ pints water
  • Salt, pepper, powdered ginger to season

Cut the fish up into convenient-sized pieces for serving. Slice the onions and fry them in the oil in a pan until lightly browned. Then lay in the fish and season with salt, pepper and a pinch of ginger. Pour over 1½ pints of hot water, cover, and cook gently until the fish is done – about 15 minutes.

Remove the fish from the water, place on a serving dish, and reserve the cooking liquid. Pour the strained juice of the lemons on to the potato flour. Mix smoothly and add three quarters of a pint of fish stock. Stir until boiling and simmer for five minutes, then cool. Beat up the egg yolks lightly and gradually pour the sauce on to them. Return to the saucepan and stir until it thickens. Do not reboil, or it will curdle.

Pour the egg and lemon sauce over the fish and refrigerate. Serve cold, sprinkled with finely chopped parsley.

Other posts by Jo:

Grandma Dora’s Borscht

Aunt Molvyn’s gefilte fish


One thought on “Our Pesach “plant”

  1. Pingback: Passover blogging | Wimshul Cooks

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