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Parshot/Festivals

Going Greek for Chanukah

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Although the Greeks were the villains in the Chanukah story, and because I can’t write another potato latke or doughnut recipe, I’ve chosen to go Greek for Chanukah. We are finally reaching the end of this tumultuous year, and we can kick back and relax.

I’m taking out my braai and aiming for simple, meze-style light meals. I hope you enjoy these. I promise they are delicious and easy.

Beef koftas

Makes 14 and 3/4

Ingredients

15 wooden skewers soaked for an hour or two in water so they don’t burn on the braai

1kg beef mince

2 tbsp cumin

2 tbsp ground coriander

1 tsp salt

½ tsp ground black pepper

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tbsp onion powder

1 tbsp chopped parsley

1 tbsp chopped coriander

Method

Mix all the ingredients together. Shape into 14 sausages. If you are madly pedantic like me, they will weigh around 75g each. Place each sausage on a wooden skewer and braai until they are crispy on the outside and cooked through on the inside

Vegetarian tip: I’m obsessed with Somebody Feed Phil, and dream about the sabich he eats on his Tel Aviv episode.

Instead of the beef, you could add the following to your pita sandwich, or you could stuff these in with the beef koftas

2 aubergines sliced to about 1cm thick

Olive oil

1 tsp cumin

Sprinkle of chilli flakes (if you wish)

Salt

Method

Slice the aubergines. Lay them flat, and sprinkle with salt. Rinse them well, and dry them with paper towel. Brush them with olive oil. Sprinkle on the seasoning, and bake at 180 degrees centigrade until they are crisp.

Pita

It’s quicker to make your own, but it’s the holidays! So, if it’s easier buy the humus, pitotand Israeli salad that accompanies the koftas, do so. Don’t do anything that will detract from your enjoyment of the dish. Toast the store-bought pitot though. It enhances the dish.

Ingredients

500g flour

10g dry yeast

10g salt

10g sugar

300ml lukewarm water

Method

Mix the dry ingredients together. You can use a stand mixer with a dough hook or muscle power for this. Add the water and knead the dough until it is smooth. Cover and let it rise for 30 minutes. Knead again for a few minutes, and then let it rise for another 20 minutes. Divide the dough into 10 balls. Cover them, and let them rise for 20 minutes.

Flatten each ball into a round using your hands or a rolling pin. Heat a frying pan, and when it’s hot, place the round on the heated pan (no oil).

Flip when it browns or puffs up.

Mielie latkes

Ingredients

1 cup rice flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ tsp baking powder

2 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp salt

4 cups cooked mielies (off the cob – it’s about 4 mielies)

2 eggs

2 tsp lemon juice

¼ cup finely sliced spring onion

¼ cup chopped coriander

Sunflower oil for frying

Pea shoots for garnish

Method

Sift the dry ingredients. Add the lightly beaten eggs and lemon juice. Beat together, and then add the remaining ingredients. (Note: If your dough seems excessively stiff, add a little cold water although I never need to). Heat a little oil in a non-stick frying pan. Drop two tablespoons of the mixture into the oil when it’s hot. Be very careful as it splatters. Cook until the underside is golden brown, and then flip. Garnish with pea shoots, and serve with sweet chilli sauce

Chocolate hazelnut biscotti

These use one bowl and take less than 10 minutes to make. Warning: it takes 10 minutes to eat the entire batch too!

Ingredients

2½ cups of flour

1 cup of sugar

½ tsp of bicarbonate of soda

½ tsp of baking powder

Pinch of salt

1 tsp of vanilla essence

3 eggs

Rind of 1 orange

1 cup of chocolate chips

100g blanched and toasted hazelnuts (toasted in a 180-degree oven until light brown)

Method

Preheat your oven to 170 degrees centigrade, and line two baking trays with parchment paper.

Place the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of your Mixmaster. Add the vanilla essence, orange rind, and eggs. You may need to add a little more flour. Stir in the hazelnuts and chocolate chips by hand. Shape into three sausages with floured hands. Bake these for 30 minutes, and then remove them from the oven. Cool for 10 minutes, and then slice thinly using a serrated knife. Reduce the oven temperature to 120 degrees, and bake the biscotti for 30 minutes turning them midway.

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