A meal fit for a king

Some very special dishes to share with your family and guests this Yom Tov season

By: Karen Schneid of Ooh La La Confectionery

Rosh Hashanah is my favourite Jewish holiday. With jasmine in full bloom and blossoms budding everywhere, the season of new beginnings is cause for a celebration of life itself. When we created our home, I knew I wanted a long table in both the kitchen and the dining room. A long table signals that we are ready at the drop of a hat for a dinner party. The dinner could be as intimate as friends popping in for a Sunday night supper in the kitchen, the fire crackling in our hearth, or as expansive as a dinner party in the dining room that spills over into the garden. The grand nature of Rosh Hashanah means we adorn our dining room table with the best tablecloth, cutlery, silverware, and glasses. To share the love, I have fires aglow and light many candles at candle-lighting so that the table is ablaze with the soft, yellow warmth of candle-light. When guests arrive for the dinner, our home comes alive with its sense of purpose, to welcome and nurture our family and friends.

And then, there is the food. They say memory lives in the taste-buds. There is nothing so resonant as the dipping of the apples in the honey to symbolise that Rosh Hashanah has arrived. I weave notes of sweetness into the savoury courses, such as a challah baked with apples and honey, an apple and butternut soup, or a whole fish served with a sweet and sour sauce. The roasted apples drenched in Turkey gravy are a modern ode to traditional tzimmes, while the duck is layered with citrus. For dessert, there is a delicious apple and honey cake with Ooh La La roasted nougat and also a vanilla and mocha ice-cream log studded with Pecan Pebbles. An array of Ooh La La’s best confectionery, including our pomegranate-flavoured nougat and marshmallows is spread across the table allowing each guest to pick their favourite.

For me, cooking and preparing the Rosh Hashanah feast is a kind of prayer and poetry. Yes, there is some detail in the recipes, but I feel that it’s worth putting in a little bit more effort for the people we love at this auspicious time of year. Happy New Year and happy cooking!

Apple and Nougat Cake


2½ Cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

½ tsp allspice

2 tsp salt

1½ cups sugar

1½ cups of oil

4 eggs

3 cups grated granny smith apple (cored and peeled)

½ cup tinned, crushed pineapple (drained)

1½ cups crushed Ooh La La roasted nougat*


½ cup brown sugar

2 Tbsp oil

¼ cup chopped, roasted nougat*

2 Tbsp almond milk

*Alternatively, roast your own by placing any Ooh La La nougat, in an oven preheated to 100°C for approximately one hour


Preheat the oven to 180°C. Sift together flour, baking powder, bicarb, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt until evenly combined. Beat sugar, oil, and eggs together until fluffy. Add wet mixture to dry ingredients. Mix until combined. Add apples, pineapple, and nougat. Mix until combined. Pour the cake batter into a spring form round tin. Bake for 35 minutes to an hour, until cooked through.


Mix together brown sugar, oil, toasted nougat, and almond milk in a saucepan over medium heat, until warmed through, not boiling. Pour over the cake. Bake again for 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool on wire rack before icing

Parev icing:

125g White margarine

4 cups icing sugar

¼ cup almond milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Ooh La La Nougat to garnish

In a mixing bowl, add margarine, 2 cups icing sugar, almond milk, and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth and creamy. Gradually add remaining sugar, until the icing becomes a good spreading consistency (you might not need all the sugar). Ice the cake. Sprinkle nougat over the top.

Dairy Free Ice-cream:

1 + 2 cups coconut milk (total 3 cups)

1 pinch of salt

¾ (150g) cup sugar

5 large egg yolks

¾ tsp vanilla extract

150g Ooh La La pecan pebbles (lightly crushed)

2 Tbsp Instant coffee, dissolved in a little hot water, and cooled

Pomegranate seeds to serve


In a medium saucepan, warm 1 cup coconut milk, salt, and sugar. Stir until sugar and salt are dissolved. Remove from heat, let cool until just warm, not hot (approximately 10 minutes). In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Gradually add some of the warm milk mixture to the beaten yolks, stirring constantly as you pour. Return the warmed egg yolks to the saucepan with the rest of the warm mixture, and return to heat. Stir until combined and slightly thickened. Pour the mixture into mixing bowl containing the remaining 2 cups of coconut milk. Mix until combined, and place the bowl into an ice bath until the liquid chills. Place mixture in ice-cream machine until the ice-cream is thick and ready for freezing. Pour half of the mixture into a 28 by 10cm loaf tin, lined with cling film (so that the ice-cream loaf can be removed easily). Sprinkle half the crushed pecan pebbles over the top. Freeze for 20 minutes. Fold the coffee into the remaining half of the ice-cream. Remove the loaf tin from the freezer, and pour the coffee ice-cream over the partially frozen first layer. Sprinkle half the remaining pebbles over this layer. Return to freezer.

To serve

Remove the cake from the freezer, and lift the cake out of the tin using the cling film from earlier. Place the cake upside down on a platter and sprinkle the rest of the pebbles, along with pomegranate seeds over the top. Savour and enjoy!

Turkey and Roast Apples:

1 whole turkey

4 celery sticks (leaves intact)

2 large carrots

600ml tomato juice / tomato cocktail

1 cup sherry

1 Tbsp paprika

1½ Tbsp salt

Ground black pepper

4 cups water

12 Royal Gala apples


Preheat oven to 180°C. Fill the cavity of the turkey with the whole celery sticks and carrots. Place the turkey in large roasting pan, breast side up. Mix the remaining ingredients and pour over the turkey. Bake, uncovered for two hours, turning the turkey every half hour. When the turkey is about 45 minutes away from being cooked, score each apple around the circumference, as if drawing the equator. Trim the bottom of the apples, so that they sit firmly on their own. Place them on a separate roasting dish, with about a cup and a half of the turkey’s gravy. Place on a rack below the turkey. Cook for 45 minutes. For serving, arrange the apples around the turkey.


1 whole duck

2 oranges

Freshly ground salt and black pepper

¾ cups brandy

200ml red wine

¼ cup marmalade, warmed


Preheat oven to 220°C Cut the oranges into quarters. Place inside the duck cavity. Pour brandy over the duck, and in the cavity. Cook for 1 hour. Lower the oven to 190°C. Pour 200ml of red wine over duck and oranges. Cook for 30 minutes. Drain the juices. Brush marmalade over entire exterior of duck. Grill until golden.

Perfectly Crisp Roast Potatoes:

Toss your peeled, cut, and par-boiled potatoes in semolina and roast in the oven on the highest temperature, drenched in chicken fat, until golden and crisp.

Honey and Apple Challah (Makes 2 Challahs)

1 x 10g packet of self-rising yeast

6 cups flour

1/3 cup honey

1 Tbsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

2 eggs

½ cup oil

2½ cups warm water

2 small granny smith apples, sliced thinly

Egg wash:

1 egg

1 Tbsp water


Preheat oven to 190°C. Combine all dry ingredients. Make a well in the centre and add eggs and warm water. Beat well with a dough hook for 10 minutes. Brush the top of the dough with oil. Cover and leave to rise until doubled in size (to speed this up, place the dough in a warm area). Punch the dough down, add the apples, and knead well (which will incorporate the apples). Divide the dough in half, and create two long sausages of dough, making one end a little bit fatter than the other. Place the fat end onto a greased and floured baking tray, and twist the rest of the spiral around it like a snail. Leave to rise again for 30 minutes. Brush the top of each Challah with the egg and water wash. Bake for ±25 minutes.

*Honey and Black Halvah Variation:

Instead of adding the apples to the dough, spread 50g of Ooh La La black halvah paste over the top of each sausage (100g in total).

Pomegranate glazed quail or baby chicken salad:

3 baby chickens (or 6 quails)

500g mixed greens

Salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Pomegranate glaze:

2 cups pomegranate juice

½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice

½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

2 Tbsp honey

Walnut Oil Dressing:

2 Tbsp chopped red onion

½ cup red wine vinegar

2 tsp Dijon mustard

¾ cups olive oil

¾ cups of walnut oil or light olive oil

Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste


1 cup of ripe pomegranate seeds

1 cup walnuts, halved

1 bunch chives, finely chopped

½ bunch of coriander

1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced


Bring pomegranate juice to a boil in a saucepan. Simmer to a syrup until it is reduced by 2/3. Pour syrup into a blender. Blend to emulsify. Set aside. For the dressing, combine the onion, vinegar, and mustard in a blender. Blend until smooth. Slowly add olive oil to emulsify the dressing. Add walnut oil, process briefly, add salt and pepper to taste. To prevent sticking, brush both the grill and the quail with oil. Season the quail with salt and pepper. Grill the quail until tender (approximately 4-5 minutes). Turn the quail pieces over, brush with glaze and cook 2-3 minutes more. In a mixing bowl, dress the greens with the walnut oil dressing and toss. Lay the greens on a large platter. Place the glazed quail on top, artfully sprinkle pomegranate seeds and walnuts around the plate. Garnish with chives, red peppers, and coriander.

Butternut and apple soup (4-6 portions)

4 Tbsp Olive Oil

2 cups finely chopped onions

2 medium sized butternut squashes (peeled, seeded and chopped)

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped

3 cups chicken stock

1 cup apple juice

Salt and Pepper to taste

Thin slices of unpeeled granny smith apples for garnish


Heat the oil in a pot. Add onions and cook, covered for about 25 minutes until onions are tender. Pour in the stock, add butternut and apples, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 25 minutes, partially covered, until butternut and apples are tender. Pour the soup through a strainer, reserving the liquid. Transfer the solids to a food processor. Add one cup of the cooking liquid and process until smooth. Return the pureed soup to the pot. Add the rest of the cooking liquid and apple juice. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer briefly to heat through and serve hot, garnished with apple slices.

Deep Fried Sweet and Sour Fish (Serves 4)

2kg whole red snapper, scaled and cleaned, with the head and tail intact

1 Tbsp dry sherry

Pinch of salt

1 cup corn starch

Sweet and Sour Sauce:

¾ cup of tomato sauce

1 cup white vinegar

½ cup water

1 cup sugar

¼ cup corn starch

1 red onion, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes

Small tin of canned litchis, drained

Small tin of canned mandarins, drained

½ red bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, cut into 2cm cubes

½ cup dry sherry

½ tsp salt

½ cup frozen baby green peas, thawed

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

¼ cup toasted pine nuts


Add enough vegetable oil to a wok to cover about 4cm up the side of the wok and heat to roughly 180°C. While the oil is heating, prepare the fish. Starting behind the gills, make 4 evenly spaced cuts on either side of the fish, cutting down to, but not through, the bone. Sprinkle the fish with the sherry and a pinch of salt. Thoroughly coat the entire fish with corn starch. When the oil is ready, hold the fish by the tail and lower it head first, down the side of the wok so the oil doesn’t splash. Fry the fish on one side until golden and crispy (3-4 mins). Turn the fish over and repeat on the other side. Place the fish on its belly on a platter. For Rosh Hashanah, symbolically trim off most of the tail, to emphasise the custom of the fish head. For the sauce: Mix tomato, sugar, vinegar, and water in a medium bowl, stirring to dissolve the sugar, and heat in a small saucepan over high heat. Add tomato mixture, stir for 30 seconds. Set aside. Dissolve corn starch in ½ cup of water in a small bowl. Set aside. Discard all but 2 Tbsp of oil from the wok. Add the onion and stir fry for 10 seconds. Add the litchis, mandarins, and bell pepper and stir fry for approximately 1 min. Add the tomato sauce mixture. Bring to a boil. Add the sherry and salt, then the corn starch mixture. Add the peas and stir for 10 seconds. Stir in the vegetable oil, cook for 10 seconds more. Pour the sauce over the fish. Sprinkle toasted pine nuts over the fish and sauce and serve hot!

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