Author: Lee-Ann Lipman

This Week’s Shabbos Menu

It’s nearing the end of the work day, and the hours are inching closer to Shabbat. It’s been a long and difficult week and I’m really looking forward to the compulsory break and connection to something other than work and routine.

Here’s what was cooking in my kitchen last night and what’s going to get guzzled this evening 🙂

  • Challah (perhaps Zaatar & Paprike, and a Sugar Crystals ones)
  • Butternut and Red Lentil Soup
  • Sushi salad (my very first time making this!)
  • Coconut crumbed chicken (don’t know it til you try it!)
  • Green beans
  • Corn tart/kugel
  • Meat pizza (another first, we had extra pastry and meat left over so had a small one for dinner last night. YUM!)
  • Apple cake (my favourite)
  • Vanilla ice-cream (it goes best with apple cake!)

I never managed to take any pictures. The shabbos cooking chaos took over.

Only the beginning of all the cooking...

Only the beginning of all the cooking…

What’s on your menu for tonight? Are there any of these recipes you’d like me to share?

Me and 6 guys for shabbat tonight. It’s going to be a good one! Shabbat Shalom!

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Chocolate Tuffles and Lemon Meringue Pie

One of the things I love most in the world, is weddings. They don’t come around in Cape Town too often, so we really relish in the simcha (joy) when we do attend. Is there anything like celebrating love with a happy bride and groom, not much?

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Is Cape Town not the most beautiful?

We like to host Sheva Brachot when we can for couples. This is a tradition where friends and family host dinners for the newlyweds, it’s like a little party, continuing the wedding celebrations. At the end of the evening after benching (the grace after meals) we recite (well, sing) the Sheva Brachot (literally, 7 blessings) that are recited under the Chuppah.

We hosted on Monday night for a friend of my husband from school.  We hosted a bagel night (kind of Holy Bagels, Israel inspired) with the option to toast them – and it went down really well (as it did the last time we hosted Sheva Brachot). It seems as though toasted sandwiches are total comfort food which people thoroughly enjoyed eating as kids 😉

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Our bagel spread. Tip: People go more for the hard cheese than creamed variety.

Anyway, so because dessert is my favourite, and what I like to impress with – I made decadent chocolate truffles. So easy, and so delicious. Here is the recipe:

Chocolate Truffles

  • 1/2 cup of cream
  • 2 cups of chocolate
  • a little flavouring (try vanilla or any other essence, a liqueur or coffee!)

And they’re super easy to make. Boil the cream on the stove and then add it to the broken up chocolate (the smaller the pieces the better). Stir with a whisk until a soft and delicious ganache forms. Then put it in the fridge for a for hours – I know you might not be patient enough (like me) but do it. The firmer it is the easier it is to work with. Scoop out and roll into little balls, and then roll them in cocoa/ground nuts/sprinkles/icing sugar/coconut… the options are only limited my your imagination. I wanted to coat some in white chocolate, but ran out of time.

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I wish I could have taken better pictures of these, but I promise they taste better than this picture looks.

I also made one of my absolute favourite desserts, lemon meringue pie. My husband doesn’t like lemon, but we were at a friends party who made a deliciously sweet one that he just loved! So I got the recipe from her and made it for everyone 🙂

Lemon Meringue Pie

  • 1 packet of crushed biscuits
  • 125 grams of butter, melted.
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tins of condensed milk
  • 1 cup of lemon juice (or more or less to taste)
  • 1/4 cup castor sugar

Let’s make it!

  • Melt the butter and mix it with the biscuit crumbs. Press it into the base of your dish.
  • separate the eggs. Add the yolks to the condensed milk and lemon juice, and mix with a hand mixer until thick. Depending on how much lemon you like, adjust the taste.
  • Pour into the base and bake at 180 for 20 minutes.
  • While it’s baking beat your egg whites and gradually add the sugar until it forms a yummy meringue.
  • Once it’s done baking, add the meringue and use a knife, fork or spoon to create some pretty curls.
  • Pop it back in the oven to brown.
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This is what’s left of it. In it’s defense it was in the fridge in a packet, which whipped off some of the meringue. Oops. I promise it tastes delicious.

Needless to say, I’ve just brought all the leftovers in to work, and they got devoured in a second! So delicious. The perfect sweet and delicious treats after celebrating a special simcha! (or the end to a rough day at work 🙂

I’m always looking for new theme ideas for Sheva Brachot, so if you have any – send them this way! Have a great week, everyone.

Choc Chip Oatmeal Cookies

You’ll learn soon enough (from the recipes I contribute to this blog) that dessert is really my thing. I kind of like to end a good Shabbos meal with an impressive dessert. You might not usually associate cookies with Shabbos dessert, maybe more like snacks for tea, but I assure you, they can be upgraded.

LEt me give you some background on these. Story #1. My husband bought a pack of oats (the non-instant kind) for breakfast when he started his new teaching job last year. A year later, they’re still in our cupboard reaching the expiry (yip, who knew that oats had an expiry? Well, they do.) and I figured I had to do something with them. So naturally, I hopped onto pinterest for some ideas, and the greatest thing to possibly make with these oats, were choc chip cookies.

Now, story #2. Before this I’d never actually baked choc chip cookies successfully. You see, a few years ago, after my gap year in Israel we had a couple on shlichut in my home town for Bnei Akiva, the Jewish Zionist Youth Movement. We were incredibly close to them, and the wife would make the greatest choc chip cookies. At every event she’d bake them, and once even made a batch for my birthday. It wasn’t a fancy recipe, in fact it was the standard recipe that came at the back of the chocolate chip packet, but they just always tasted so much better when Noa made them. Anyway, so while this might not be her recipe (I tried it once, before I knew my way around a kitchen, and didn’t bat an eyelid at the typo that said 3tbs of baking powder…), but choc chip cookies will always remind me of her.

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So back to the point, I found the yummiest recipe on a blog called How Sweet Eats. So yummy, that after I’d tasted the batter before it went in the fridge to chill, I decided I had to make a 2nd batch (and because I still had a half packet of oats left). So here it is:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (I used more brown than white)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon (the first batch I used only 1tsp and in the 2nd omitted it completely. It really depends on how much you like cinnamon)
  • 1 1/4 cups chocolate chips (or in my case, just pour in as many as you like.
  • if the dough is crumbly and not pulling together, feel free to add  1 – 2tbs milk (I’m sure water or orange juice would do the trick if you’re keeping it parev. I didn’t need it)

Method:

  • Mix the butter and sugar. If you’re like me without an electric mixer you’ll need it to be soft at room temperature and put a little elbow grease into it.
  • Add vanilla and eggs and mix.
  • Stir rest of the dry ingredients (flour, baking power, salt, cinnamon). Then beat in the oats until the dough comes together. (Add milk if necessary.
  • Add the chocolate chips.
  • Cover in the fridge for about half an hour.
  • Scoop and flatten onto your baking tray.
  • Bake for 9 – 12 minutes (or just keep an eye on them, depends how crunchy/soft you want them) at 190 degrees.

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DELICIOUS! Thank you Jess for such a fabulous recipe 🙂

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So how do you upgrade these for Shabbos, you ask? Ice cream sandwich cookies, of course!

Truth be told, I ran out of time to make the sandwiches this time, but I have made them before. You can use Jodi’s parev ice cream recipe – I made peanut butter ice cream by adding 2 big dollops of creamy peanut butter (because peanut butter and chocolate need to go together). We served platters of cookies, sweets from Israel, and nougat with the ice cream – it was such a hit with our guests, and also made a great breakfast for our friends who were staying over (well, the cookies anyway ;)).

Do you have a favourite cookie recipe?

Egg free challah (and some delicious variations)

You get those people who only eat a slice of Challah as a means to an end (ie main course), and you get those who actually enjoy and relish in the deliciousness of it. If you came to my house for Shabbos, you’ll know full well to look forward to mine (and I will make you eat more than 1 piece. At least). I take great pride in these braided breaded loaves of goodness.

This recipe comes from a lady in our community, who’s children suffer from food allergies. As well as having a book, she got published in a South African publication called the Jewish Life. The recipe is so delicious, you wouldn’t even know it was “missing an ingredient”.

I don’t have time to bake challah just before Shabbos, so I usually make a big batch on a Sunday and put them in the freezer (I promise you can’t taste the difference). This past Sunday our kitchen transformed to a challah factory and we made a double batch: twelve challot.

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The basic recipe is simple and delicious. Use a mixer or kneed by hand or whatever works best for you. The thing that makes me challto special are all the different variations I make 😉 I’ll list those at the bottom of this post for your entertainement.

Ingredients

  • 3 x 10g sachets of dry active yeast
  • 1.5 cups of sugar (but you can substitute some of it with honey if you like)
  • 6 cups warm (not hot!) water
  • 1.5 cups of sunflower or olive oil (I think we even use canola oil. I don’t know the differences here)
  • 2tbsp salt
  • 1 x 2.5kg bread flour (I use cake flour. Feel free to use brown bread flour, or half and half)

Method

  • Place the yeast, sugar in a bowl and cover with water to prove for 5 – 7 minutes.
  • Add oil, salt and stir.
  • Add the flour a 1/4 of the packet at a time. Start mixing with a wooden spoon until that becomes too dificult, then use your hands in the bowl until it starts to come together.
  • Tip it out the bowl and kneed for about 15 minutes. Push the dough away from you with the heel of your hand, then pull it back towards you as if you’re folding it in half. Don’t take my word on how to kneed dough, I always look like a fool while doing so.
  • If the dough gets too stiff, allow it some time to relax before kneeding again.
  • Put the dough back in the bowl and cover it with a damp cloth until it doubles in size (on a warm day about 45 minutes will do, it’ll take longer on cold days. I usually go about with something else for a while)
  • Once it has risen to double it’s size punch it down again.
  • Begin plaiting! This recipe makes 6 challot. So separate your dough into 6. I usually do this by cutting in half and then each half into 3s. Personally I prefer a 6-braid (which is way more effort), I just feel it looks more impressive.
  • Bake for half an hour at 180 degrees. My oven is a bit wonky, so I usually switch the trays halfway through.

The thing is, that I’m always making some form of variation to my challah (I’ve never made it plain, or even just with poppy/sesame seeds). NOW, if you want yourself some really fancy challah – keep reading:

  • Chocolate. Kneed chocolate chips into your dough before braiding, and if you have pareve chocolate spread feel free to put some on top before baking.
  • Sprinkles. Throw some on top. They melt just a little and the sweetness is extra delicious.
  • Halva. I bought halva spread in Israel and I’ve spread some of that on top too.
  • Onion. This is a goodie. Fry some onions and put it on top before baking. If you’re really adventurous, you can kneed it into your dough, but be warned, it does make it a little harder to braid.
  • Zaatar & Paprika. This one aside for tasting delicious, also looks beautiful. Colour each strand of your challah, 1 with zaatar, 1 with paprika, and leave one plain. They look so beautiful braided together. Top with sesame seeds. Tip: Instead of just kneeding the spices in, actually rub the spice onto the dough first, then the colour will really show.
  • Pesto and Sundried tomato. I tried to do this like I do with the zaatar and paprika, but its really difficult to get these kneeded into the dough because they’re so oily. Try if you like, it’s worth it. If you’re putting pesto on top, rather do so towards the end of the cooking time. You don’t want it to burn like mine did once.

To freeze, I wrap in foil, label with a marker and then put in a freezer bag. They always come out really fresh, even from the freezer. Pop on the hot tray before your Shabbos comes in, and viola!

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The Challah Factory in progress. 3 different challot pictures, another type already in the oven. And yes, that is a 1kg bag of chocolate chips on the side.

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Chocolate and sprinkle variations.

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Onion is one of my favourites.

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L-R: Zaatar and Paprika, Halva, Chocolate, Zaatar & Paprika
B: Sprinkles, Chocolate

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Sliced Zaatar & Paprika challah. You can’t see the colours so clearly, but I promise in real life it’s beautiful.

sheva brachot challah

Sheva Brachot challah in the initials of the bride and groom. So festive. Topped these ones with sprinkles.

Let me know if you try this recipe, or any of the above variations. Do you have a favourite challah recipe or a way to make it special?

New beginnings, and our own little Shabbos Project

Hello! You found us 🙂

Welcome to this little blog. It’s nothing too fancy (for now anyway). It’s just a little place for us to share our favourite Shabbos recipes, with each other and all of you! Shabbos, it’s (partly) all about the food 😉

The idea came about on one sunny December afternoon where we met up in the holidays. We joked about how we never thought we’d ever be able to cook growing up, about how grown up we are now, married, working, one of us with a kid. We started talking about some of the Shabbos foods we’d recently made. Jodi loves to make pavlova, Lee-Ann loves to make challah.

Naturally, I started asking Jodi for some of her recipes. And viola, our blog idea was born.

We are starting with humble beginning and hope to take off from there. Please feel free to read, share and comment on our blog and recipes. We don’t consider ourselves foodies, just some Jewish gals who like to wow our Shabbos guests with yummy food.

Stay tuned, we promise there’s more to come 😉