Kitchen spy: the Monday Morning Cooking Club

For seven years, the six women who make up the Monday Morning Cooking Club have come to Lisa Goldberg's gorgeous kitchen to cook, united in their mission to document old recipes from Jewish families. Substituting handfuls and pinches for proper measurements, they transform these threatened historical documents into recipes anyone can cook from, ensuring the traditions continue. Good Food met Merelyn Frank Chalmers, Natanya Eskin and Lisa Goldberg for a lively discussion of their kitchen secrets. All profits from their cookbooks go to charity, including their second publication, The Feast Goes On, which was released in April (for recipes from this book, see

The staples

Our pantry We use Cobram Estate Classic Flavour olive oil all the time. Nearly every dish starts with that. Belcolade 55 per cent, Belgian couverture chocolate buttons are great, delicious and easy to work with. Azalea grapeseed oil is for everyday frying. Lal Qilla basmati rice has lovely long grains that stay separate. Povidl prune jam is very high in pectin so when you're baking with it, it tends not to ooze out. Israeli couscous is great to have on hand to make something delicious, quite quickly. We also do a spiced tomato soup with it. Pri Vayerek dill pickles taste salty rather than vinegary and we all love them.

Our fridge We're all mad about Egganic eggs - the taste, the colour. We eat Meredith sheep milk yoghurt plain or with fruit and seeds for breakfast. It makes a good sauce for fish mixed with tahini and lemon juice too. Also, we go through jars of the Meredith goat cheese in extra virgin olive oil, putting it on and in everything. We like Western Star Chef's Choice cultured unsalted butter for baking and there's always sour cream, of any kind, for baking and pastry.

The freezer Chicken soup, vegetable soup, homemade pastry and pasta sauce.


Our handwritten cookbooks filled with old recipes.


Our mothers and grandmothers are the greatest inspiration of all. Of course, there are loads of cookbooks as well. Neil Perry, Stephanie Alexander and Yotam Ottolenghi are favourites.

I'm cooking

Last dinner at home
Last night I made chicken Everest for the family. Charmaine Solomon's late husband, Reuben, designed this roast chicken dish ''schmeared'' with an interesting spice paste - great for dinner and then for sandwiches or salads today.

Food discovery

Frysafe organic coconut oil is great to roast vegetables in. It gives them a wonderful flavour with just a bit of salt. Pic's peanut butter from New Zealand is also delicious.

We're drinking

We rotate through a range of three: Dilmah tea, strong with milk; Nerada Organics peppermint or hot water with lemon. When we're out, it's piccolo lattes for all three of us. For wine, a Provencal-style rose` makes us all happy. Alan Benson, the photographer who shot our books, introduced us to Licor 43 last year. In the morning he would make us coffee and in the afternoon he would pour us each a glass of that. It's beautiful.


Secret vice

Iggy's bread and Pepe Saya butter. It might not be a vice for most people but when you spend your days eating cake for recipe testing, you really shouldn't be eating bread and butter on top of all that.
Natanya: Haigh's Chocolates Milk Speckles are my big temptation.

Saturday-night tipple

Aperol Spritz
To celebrate French champagne, any kind.

Kitchen highlight

Lisa: The slightly lower than normal benchtops on the island, because I'm short. It's not so great for the taller girls in the club, though, so they use the higher areas.

My toolkit

The Breville Kitchen Wizz Pro has the best slicing blade in the world. The mandolin has been shown the door because this blade is adjustable and goes down to 0.1 millimetres. We're not sponsored by Breville but we should be. We all love Samantha Robinson handmade porcelain, especially the watermelon bowl, and we use her tea cups all the time. The old chiffon cake tin is used constantly. We made four chiffon cakes in a row yesterday, so we wish we had more bowls for the KitchenAid mixer so we weren't always washing up. The old nutmeg grinder works brilliantly.

Most memorable meal

The time the six Monday Morning Cooking Club girls cooked dinner for our husbands and children - 29 of us in total. It was photographed for our first book and was the only time it's happened in eight years.