Tooting Family Kitchen

Tooting Family Kitchen

Fun Family Cooking

44. Israel: A Kosher Deli Treat

Week 44 and we are incredibly excited to head to Israel and turn our kitchen into a traditional Kosher style deli to cook up one of our favourite treats – a towering sandwich of Salt Beef on Rye!

Kosher style food is something I have always really enjoyed despite not being Jewish. Some of my favourite childhood food memories are hitting some of London’s best salt beef joints with my Dad and brother and having mounds of thickly sliced salt beef or pastrami with pickles and mustard, sandwiched between slices of rye. Notably, the legendary ‘Brass Rail’ at Selfridges (when it was more basic and did not even have chairs…back in the day)! Or as I got older hitting Brick Lane and queuing up with the cabbies for a salt beef bagel and a brew!

Although I have visited Israel, it was a very short trip to check out Jerusalem, but my love of New York starts with the Kosher style delis which sprung up first as take-out services for Jewish immigrants and are very likely to have influenced the likes of Selfridges’ Brass Rail and others. Ironically, what people are likely to recognise as the most iconic Kosher style sandwich, ‘the Reuben’ (even given a boy’s name of Hebrew origin) is in fact not Kosher. It has a layer of swiss cheese on top of the salt beef and sauerkraut and mixing dairy and meat does not comply with the strict dietary standards of traditional Jewish law.

The State of Israel defines itself in part as the nation state of the Jewish people. It was proclaimed on May 14th, 1948 and was the first established Jewish state in 2,000 years. The other momentous event that truly defines Jewish history of the 20th century is of course the Holocaust, the murder of approximately two thirds of Europe’s Jewish population during WWII, an unprecedented crime that is unparalleled in its wickedness and barbarity the scale of which is difficult to fathom. Throughout their history Jews have faced incredible hardships, suffering and catastrophe, but have survived as individuals and collectively as a civilization…and not just survived, but thrived too. To me their collective resilience is un-paralleled. Israel does court controversy, especially around the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian struggles, but even the most ardent critic would (one hopes) understand where their strong sense of self-protection would come from. 

Israel is well known for looking out for its country and its people. It is the only country in the world which has more trees today than it did 50 years ago and it recycles 90% of the wastewater it creates, making it the world’s leading nation for water recycling (in the US only approx. 1% is recycled). Further trend setting and in line with mental/physical health, Israel was the first country in the world to ban the use of underweight models in fashion shows and advertisers are required to identify those pictures where people have been phot-shopped. Israel is the location of the world’s only theatre which is made up of only deaf and blind actors and on that topic, Israeli banknotes also have Braille markings on them. It grants citizenship to any Jews who migrate to Israel, known as “The Law of Return” and despite the hardships and hostilities they faced, and in many ways continue to face, Israelis are often ranked amongst the happiest people in Western nations, with one of the highest life expectancies in the world at 82 years. Even the pets are looked after with the first ever cable channel for dogs created to keep them entertained when at home alone!

Israel is the worlds most developed country in-conflict. It has the highest standard of living in the Middle East and ranks amongst the top countries in the world for its education, research and development (as a proportion of GDP), women’s safety, innovativeness and as previously mentioned life expectancy and happiness. Per capita it has the world’s highest rate of university degrees, largest production of scientific papers and even the largest number of chess grandmasters in Beersheba in the Negev desert…and before you replace your old diesel 4×4 with the latest Tesla, be aware that Israeli inventor and CEO of Urban Aeronautics, Rafi Yoeli, believes his prototype of a flying car could hit the market soon…watch this space!

Of course, there is more to Israeli food then a salt beef sandwich and it will comprise of both local dishes and those dishes brought to Israel from various countries that Jews have migrated from incorporating all manner of cooking styles from the Middle East, North Africa, the Mediterranean and beyond. Although approximately 80% of the population is Jewish a significant 20% are not and consists mostly of Arabs and there are many similarities with what is largely considered Arab cuisine, in particular grilled meats, rice dishes, salads, and pitta breads. Coffee is apparently so good in Israel that it is one of the only places that Starbucks have failed to break into, but this has not stopped McDonalds who have opened 180 restaurants approximately 50 of which are Kosher!

We hope our salt beef on rye is fit for the finest kosher deli!

Masel Tov

Tooting Family Kitchen cooks Salt Beef on Rye

Nice piece of brisket

Getting brining for 7 days

Head baker on the rye


Ready to stack up!

The TFK!

What’s in it...

The brine

300 g sea salt

300 g soft light brown sugar

1 heaped tbps of black peppercorns

1 heaped tbsp of juniper berries

1 tablespoon mustard seeds

2 sprigs of thyme

2 bay leaves

3 bay leaves

Enough water to cover the beef

 The beef

3kg piece of brisket

2 celery sticks, chopped into large pieces

2 onions, peeled and quartered

2 carrots, chopped into large pieces

6 garlic cloves

2 bay leaves

What to do with it...
  1. In large pan add all the brining ingredients to the boil, simmer for 2 mins and allow to cool.
  2. Pierce the beef all over and place in a large plastic tub (big enough to completely submerge in the brine). Cover with the cooled brining mixture and ensure tightly covered and leave in the fridge for 7 days ensuring that you are turning every 2 days to make sure it cures evenly.
  3. After 7 days remove the brisket and place in a deep pan (large enough to submerge the meat) and cover with cold water. When the water starts to boil change the water and add the carrots, celery, onions, garlic and bay leaves and bring to the boil before simmering for 3 hours or until the meat is beautifully tender.
Rye Bread
What’s in it...

2 cups bread flour

1 cup  light rye flour

2 tsps caraway seeds

2 tsps sea salt

5 grams active dry yeast

1 tsp honey

2 tsp canola oil

What to do with it...
  1. Combine the bread and rye flour with the salt, yeast and caraway seeds and in a separate bowl mix 1 cup of warm water with the honey and oil, Start slowly pouring this into the flour and mixing together until you have a dough like consistency that does not stick to the fingers. Add more water or more flour to achieve the right consistency – cover with a damp cloth and allow to rest for 30 mins.
  2. Kneed the dough for approximately 10 mins until it is smooth and stretchy and does not stick but is not too dry.. Again you can use a little more flour or water. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a large lightly oiled bowl and again cover and leave for a good 1 hour – 1 hour 30 or until it has doubled in size.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly dusted surface and push out into a square fold the corners into to the centre and then fold the top 1/3rd  to the centre and then do the same with the bottom 1/3rd and turn over and use your hands to finish shaping onto an oval loaf. Again cover and allow to rise for 30 mins.
  4. Pre-heat oven to 220C and when ready to bake slash the loaf a few times across the top about 1/3rd of the way into the dough. Place in the oven and reduce to 180 C and bake for approx. 35 min or until golden brown.

Our Kosher Deli Treats!

Lets get stuck in!


Thank you Israel!

Thank you Israel, that was epic! Can’t wait to explore more of your cuisine.

Next week we are excited to head to Thailandl!!! Please don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE (scroll to bottom) & SHARE and if you have any International Food ideas or recipes from around the world you wish to share please do drop us a line 👍


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See you next week!
Tooting Family Kitchen


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