Kosher Gourmet

Milchiks and more

…and fleishigs for sure!

By: Sharon Lurie

Shavuot is in the air, and it’s time to bring out our favourite dairy delights. I’m sure many have already frozen a few bakkies of cream cheese in an attempt to avoid the ‘big cream cheese hunt’ we had in Johannesburg this year for Pesach. As a result, I’ve included a really simple recipe to make your own cream cheese so that we may never fear going without this essential Shavuot ingredient again! But don’t forget that Shavuot is a Yom Tov and meat should be served at a Yom Tov meal. I’m sure most of us went over budget for Pesach so I’ve included a “cheats beef Wellington” made with mince for a meat option for Shavuot. Of course, we include the obligatory cheese cake, this time my baklava version.


3 Tbls butter

2 Tbls vegetable oil

2 large onions chopped

1 tsp crushed garlic

1 kg fresh broccoli

½ cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp mustard powder

2 litres vegetable stock (6 Imana spring vegetable cubes dissolved in 2 litres boiling water)

1 cup cream

250g tub cream cheese

2 cups finely grated cheddar cheese

2 bay leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

Feta cheese to crumble on top of soup just before serving.

Heat butter and oil together in a large soup pot. Add onions, garlic and broccoli and bay leaves and cook until soft. Add flour, paprika, and mustard and mix well for a minute. Remove from heat and add soup stock and stir off the heat for another minute. Return soup pot to the heat and bringing to the boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and allow to simmer until broccoli is cooked. At least 45 minutes stirring every now and then. Remove bay leaves. Add cream, cream cheese, and cheddar cheese. Blend the soup with a hand blender. Add salt and pepper. Serve with crumbled feta on top.


Pesach was a real eye opener for me, literally up until 3pm Erev Pesach with people crying for cream cheese. So I decided that Shavuot wouldn’t come to that, home-made was going to be the option.

2 litres fresh full-fat milk

1/3 cup lemon juice

1 tsp salt

2 Tbls butter

Place milk into saucepan with salt and bring to the boil, be careful it doesn’t overflow. Just as it starts to come to the boil add the lemon juice a bit of the time while still whisking. This is where “Little Miss Muffet” does her thing with the curds and whey. We all know what to do with curds, but what can we do with the whey? Apparently it’s great to add to bath water, to use on your face for those fine lines and makes your hair incredibly soft. Switch of heat once curds start to separate from the whey and allow to sit for 8-10 minutes. Line a sieve with muslin, over a bowl. As the curds separate from the whey, remove “clots” with a slotted spoon and place into muslin cloth draped over a sieve, allowing for liquid to drain into a large bowl. The longer you strain it, the drier your cheese will be. At this point you have Ricotta cheese. Don’t leave it to dry out. Don’t twist the muslin to squeeze out the excess liquid. Once lightly drained and whilst still hot, place the curds into a food processor, add butter, and blend for 4 minutes.


I love crispy cucumbers and was determined to do everything possible to achieve that super crisp crunch to every bite. I soaked them in a bowl of iced water for 4 hours before slicing them. I cut the tops off the cucumbers, sliced and salted the cucumbers to dehydrate them first, rinsed them and then added the pickle brine. After all that I wasn’t sure which method was the most effective. I think it was slicing them, salting them and leaving them in the fridge overnight that may have done it. So here goes…

750 fresh cucumbers, Israeli or English sliced 1cm thick. 

3 Tbls salt

Place the cucumbers into a colander and then into a bowl. Sprinkle two Tbls of salt over the cucumbers and gently mix them around to ensure they are evenly coated in salt. Cover with paper towel and refrigerate overnight. The next morning prepare onions and pickle brine. 2 large white onions cut in half and sliced into semi-circular rings


2 cups vinegar

3 cups water

4 Tbls sugar

8 large cloves of garlic, crushed 

4 bay leaves 

1 Tbl peppercorns

1 chilli (whole) optional

Remove sliced cucumbers from fridge – do not wash them as you need the salt for taste. Place unwashed cucumbers and onions in layers into a large jar. Meanwhile, place the vinegar, water, sugar, crushed garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, and optional chilli into a pot and bring to the boil or heat through until sugar dissolves. Set aside to cool. When cool, pour over cucumbers and onions and refrigerate.


1 box cannelloni pasta (Divella)


2 tins tuna fish, well drained

1 tin asparagus/mushroom cuts drained 

1 cup ricotta cheese

Salt and pepper


3 Tbls butter

3 Tbls flour

1 tsp. Mustard powder

½ tsp salt

2½ cups full cream milk

2 cups grated cheddar cheese


1 plastic sachet x 750ml Woolworths brand tomato and basil or your favourite ready-made.

Combine the filling for the cannelloni pasta. Stuff each cannelloni pasta tube, (uncooked) with filling. Pour the ready-made Neapolitan sauce onto the base of a rectangular baking dish. Place the cannelloni tubes on top of the Neapolitan sauce. Preheat oven to 180°C.

Meanwhile make up cheese sauce.

Melt butter in a saucepan, add flour, salt, and mustard. Cook it for about 3 minutes, stirring all the time. This helps to create a nutty flavour. Take it off the heat and slowly add milk while still whisking. Whisking helps to keep the sauce lump free. Return the sauce to the heat and keep whisking until it thickens up. Add cheese and continue to whisk until cheese is well incorporated. Pour over pasta-filled tubes and bake for 30 minutes on 180°C or until golden brown.


2 cups finely chopped onions 

1 cup finely grated carrots

1 tsp crushed garlic

2 tsps dried sage 

1 sachet tomato paste

1 tsp sugar 

Salt and pepper

400g sliced mushrooms

1 chicken stock cube dissolved in 1 cup boiling water

1½ kg minced meat

500g store bought puff pastry

1 egg lightly beaten with a Tbl of water (eggwash)

Fry onions, carrots, garlic, and sage until soft. Add tomato paste, sugar, salt, and pepper. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Meanwhile, in the same frying pan that you fried the onions, fry the mushrooms until soft and most of the liquid has evaporated from the mushrooms. Add a Tbl of flour to the mushrooms whilst stirring. Add chicken stock liquid to mushrooms and bring to the boil until it thickens up. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Add the onion mixture to the raw minced meat and mix it well. Preheat oven to 180°C. Dust a board or surface with a little flour and unroll the pastry. Roll pastry into a rectangle large enough to wrap up the beef. Spoon the mushroom mixture evenly over the surface of the pastry. Spoon the meat onto the pastry and pat it into a log shape to spread the length of the pastry. Seal the edges of the pastry with egg wash and fold the pastry over the meat and place the meat in pastry seam side down on a baking sheet. Egg wash pastry. Bake for 45 minutes until golden brown.


My cousin, a vegan, watched me eat her vegan lox on rye without saying a word until I said, “Where do you get such wonderful smoked Salmon?” “Carrots!” she said. Yes, they were marinated carrots! Who would have ever imagined that?

3 large carrots, not peeled

Plenty of salt, enough to cover the carrots 


3 Tbls rice vinegar

3 Tbls soy sauce

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp smoked paprika

¼ cup olive oil

1 sheet seaweed finely snipped with scissors

Preheat oven to 240°C. Place carrots onto a baking tray and cover with salt. Don’t worry you will wipe it off after baking and it won’t leave the carrots too salty. Bake for about 25 minutes at this high temperature. Then turn heat down to 180°C and continue cooking for another 15 minutes. You want the carrots to be fork tender and not mushy as you still have to slice them with a vegetable peeler. The dark skin achieved whilst cooking gives a smoky flavour to the flesh. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Wash as peel off outer layer of carrot. Meanwhile, make up marinade by whisking the marinade ingredients together. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the carrots into ribbons from the thick side down and place into marinade overnight. The longer they’re in the marinade the more the carrots will have the texture and consistency of lox.


Fun time for the children; something a little novel for Shavuot. 

250g ready-made puff pastry

500g pkt of your favourite Vienna cocktails

1 egg for egg wash

Preheat oven to 220°C. Unroll pastry and cut into 3 x 8cm rectangles. Place two cocktail sausages in the centre of each rectangle. Wrap the pastry around the sausages and place them on a baking tray with the seam facing down. Egg wash and bake in a preheated oven for 10 minutes or until golden.


500g cottage cheese

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla essence

4 Tbls sugar

½ tsp baking powder

1 cup sifted flour*

Pinch of salt

Oil or butter for frying

In a large bowl add farmer’s cottage cheese. Using a fork, break any big lumps. To the same bowl add eggs, vanilla essence, sugar, salt, flour, baking powder. Mix everything nicely until the mixture is smooth.

* The amount of flour you need depends on the amount of liquid in your cottage cheese. If you stir the flour into your cottage cheese and egg mixture and it’s still too runny, add some more flour. The final mixture should be sticky but not runny in order to shape the pancakes.

Heat a little oil or butter (or both, to prevent butter from burning). Working in batches, cook the fritters for 2-3 minutes then flip and cook another 2 minutes on the other side until the cheese pancakes are golden brown and crispy. Transfer cooked Cottage Cheese Pancakes on a large plate lined with a paper towel. Serve immediately with sour cream, honey/syrup/jam. (Have to admit I prefer fresh cream.)



8 sheets phyllo pastry

125g melted butter ( to paint pastry)

1 cup crushed pecan nuts

½ cup syrup

1 tsp cinnamon


750g Philadelphia cream cheese (definitely worth paying a little more)

250ml sour cream

3 eggs

¾ cup sugar

3 Tbls custard powder

pinch of salt 

Preheat oven to 180°C. Combine nuts, warm syrup, and cinnamon in a bowl. Line the base of a springform tin (20cm) with baking paper. Paint the base and sides of tin with butter. Place a layer of phyllo pastry vertically onto the bottom and up the sides of the baking tin. It should overlap. Place another layer horizontally over the first layer, paint with butter and sprinkle a third of the nut mixture over the pastry. While working. Keep the unused phyllo covered with a damp towel to prevent it drying out. Place another piece of phyllo pastry over the nuts running one way and another running the other, paint with butter and sprinkle with another third of the nut mixture. Repeat this with another two layers of phyllo and last 1/3 of nuts ending with the last two layers of phyllo pastry. Cut off the excess phyllo pastry around the top of the tin.


In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, and sour cream in a bowl. Beat eggs and custard powder in a separate bowl. Add eggs to cream cheese and mix well. Pour mixture into phyllo shell. Bake for 20 minutes then reduce heat to 125°C. Continue to bake for 30 minutes. Decorate with some candied crushed nuts and syrup drizzled phyllo pastry cut offs (as per pic).

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