Presenting our first Kosher Gourmet from Cape Town
By: Justine Hepple, Bespoke Catering
A friend of mine’s Whatsapp status is: “Your Plan B is G-d’s Plan A”.
From my grandmother’s themed Shabbos dinners, to watching her bake biscuits during the school holidays, and helping my mother in the kitchen with her functions and dinner parties – I grew up surrounded by food, baking, and art, but I never thought it would define who I’d be as an adult.
After school, I studied Interior Design, and then had the amazing opportunity to live overseas for a year, where I’d often thank my hosts by cooking them a 3-course meal. It was fun, hard work, but it seemed to come really naturally. After I returned to South Africa, I got married and moved to Cape Town. A few years later, we were blessed with twin daughters. It meant that I was home for a couple of years and spent a lot of time cooking for my growing family and guests. All of a sudden, people began asking me to help them here and there with a few meals. It was then that I realised that the heat of the kitchen was actually my happy place.
Whether it’s meeting with clients, creating menus for a function, or designing a special birthday or wedding cake – my days are never dull.
Trained through life’s experience and guided by my family, I am truly lucky to have found my passion and realised that my ‘Plan B’ was the ‘Plan A’ I always wanted.
For more info visit: www.bespokecatering.co.za or to contact Justine: email@example.com or 083 372 1172
Roasted Tomato Soup
This soup is so versatile that, in summer, I add a dash of cayenne pepper to it and top each serving with salsa and, in winter, I serve it warm with a basil-infused kneidel.
1kg roma tomatoes cut into thick slices
750g cherry tomatoes halved
4½ Tbl olive oil
Coarse salt and pepper
2 small onions (thick slices)
8 whole garlic (peeled)
2 cups basil
4–5 cups veg stock
Preheat oven to 180°C
Place tomato halves and cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle half the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and course black pepper to taste. Roast in the oven for approximately 45 min. Remove the skins when done, it’s worth the effort. Roast onions slices and garlic cloves with the balance of the oil and a little salt and pepper for approximately 30 min. Remove any dark hard bits. Place onions, garlic, and tomatoes in a pot with basil and stock, simmer for 20 min. When its cooked altogether, blend till smooth.
Summer garnish: Finely chop red pepper and fresh cucumber and mix together. Use as a garnish on top of the soup for a little crunch.
Basil flavoured kneidelach
These are the softest and lightest kneidelach, but the mixture must be refrigerated for at least an hour, as it needs to firm up.
1 cup matza meal
½ cup oil
1 tsp salt
1 cup finely chopped basil in the food processor
Mix all the ingredients together and allow the mixture to firm up and infuse in the fridge. I leave mine covered in the fridge overnight. Put a pot of water and salt onto boil. Once it reaches boiling point, with damp hands make golf ball-sized kneidelach balls and place straight into the water. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for approximately 20–25 minutes. Allow these to cool in the water before removing from the pot.
My family love Poke Bowls and we change the veg depending on what’s in season and whether or not we feel like making sushi rice or serving it on a bed of baby spinach. The dressing for this dish is, in my opinion, the star. It’s so delicious that I keep a bottle of it in my fridge and add it to everything: salads, fish, chicken.
Cook rice according to instructions on the packet
Fresh salmon (fillet cubed and marinated in some of the sauce for about 10 min)
Thinly sliced radish
Julienne carrots (I prefer to cut by hand, shop bought are too thick)
Julienne cucumbers sticks
Edamame beans (I add these to rapidly boiling water, then I switch off the heat and let them sit for 2 or 3 minutes until they are cooked)
Black and white sesame seeds
Place the rice on your platter or in individual bowls and then place each prepared vegetable and cubed salmon beautifully, showing the different colours and textures. Serve with extra sauce on the side. If you can find the whole edamame pods, place these in a pot of boiling water and cook until tender (4 min). Immediately transfer to a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking. Drain and add a splash of light oil and salt. Serve these separately to dip into the sauce.
Dipping sauce and marinade
Juice of 1 lime
1 clove of garlic (finely chopped)
1 cm cube of ginger (finely chopped)
1 chilli (optional, but recommended)
2 spring onion (chopped)
2 tsp of siracha sauce
½ cup soya sauce
A little water if too thick
Mix altogether. (It keeps well in the fridge.)
Med Rare Scotch Fillet
2kg Scotch fillet
I rub good quality Dijon mustard, crushed black pepper, salt, and crushed fresh garlic all over the meat. I am very generous with the mustard and garlic. I never have the time to let it marinade, but you can leave this in the fridge for a few hours if you have time.
My favourite way of preparing this is to place it on a hot grill or fire and cook all the sides until they are done and the edges are crispy – about 5 to 7 mins per side. I then place it into a hot oven, covered, with about 2 cups of water, and cook it for an additional 20–25 minutes. My family like it medium rare, but you can cook it longer if you prefer it medium or well done.
This is best served room temperature. I keep the sauce warm to serve on the side if needed.
Ginger Soya Roasted Vegetables
Rainbow baby carrots (peeled)
Bunch of asparagus
Whole garlic (cut in half through the middle and brushed with a little olive oil)
Tomatoes on the vine
Course sea salt
½ tsp ginger powder
3 Tbl soya sauce
Splash of olive oil
Toss Carrots, tomatoes, and asparagus in ginger/soya marinade. Arrange veggies, including garlic, on a baking tray, sprinkle with coarse salt, and grill in the oven until just starting to blister (don’t overcook). Remove the veg from the oven, except for the garlic (let that continue to cook until soft and tender, approximately 30 minutes).
Chocolate Tart with fresh Berries
2 cups of flour
3 Tbl sugar
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup margarine
1 egg yolk
2 Tbl iced water
1 cup cream or Orley Whip
½ cup milk or almond milk
2 Tbl sugar
¼ tsp salt
Combine flour, sugar, and salt with margarine and mix with your hands until it resembles crumbs. Make a well in the centre and add egg yolk which has been whisked with the iced water. Work together until just combined. If too crumbly, add a little more water. Place dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll out pastry until about ¼ inch think and line into a 15cm tart pan. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to help the pastry keep its shape and then blind bake (ie. without a filling) for 30 minutes.
Heat cream, milk, and chocolate. Once the chocolate has melted, add in sugar and salt and stir until well blended. Whisk in egg yolk. Pour the chocolate mixture into the pie shell and bake for approximately 15 to 20 minutes on 180°C. Remove from the oven. The tart will still be a little wobbly in the centre but will firm up when cooled. Just before serving, decorate with the fruit of your choice.