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Pesach tips and recipes from expert chefs

  • OritRecipe
Three local culinary experts share their Pesach tips on being organised and relaxed by the time the Seder arrives. They also share their favourite Pesach recipe.
by ELIANA CLINE | Mar 29, 2018

It may be a little late to help you this year, but it’s worth saving the tips and recipes for next year.

Sharon Lurie, known as “the kosher butcher’s wife” after the title of her popular cookbook, says she begins preparations a few weeks before, to avoid a last-minute rush. “I don’t have a Pesach kitchen, so I begin preparations a few weeks before on the veranda. I have two hot plates, and I cordon the area off. I try to do a few things every day, so it’s relaxed.

“There is so much you can do before and freeze for the Seder. Soup can be frozen, as can ice cream. I make lots of blintzes and freeze them.

“I have also realised over the years that you don’t actually need starters for the Seder. People aren’t that hungry after the matza, charoset and eggs, and they would always hardly eat the main course. Now I just make soup, main course and dessert.

“Another wonderful tradition that has developed in our home is the Pesach table decorations. Every year I buy a big piece of material and invite all the children, nieces, nephews and now grandchildren. They paint it together, and it’s a precious memento. We look back and see how they have developed and grown in their abilities. I place it on the table as an overlay.”

Orit Taback, owner of Orit’s Bakery and the mother of six school-age children, says she tries to do all her cooking in bulk before Pesach begins.

“A few days before Pesach, I cook different dishes in bulk. On the first day I do all the cakes, then the meats and chicken. Finally, I prepare kugels, chicken schnitzels and other dishes.

“Before Pesach begins, my freezer is filled with labelled trays of dishes to last the whole holiday. The only thing I prepare fresh on the day are the salads and dips that I can’t prepare in advance, like avocado dip.

“At the Seder I serve soup and kneidlach to the kids while we are still busy, because they’re hungry.”

Caron Melamed, the author of A Pinch Of, also says preparing in advance is the key to hosting, and enjoying, the Seder.

“I begin two days before – this year on Wednesday – and prepare dressings, pickles, nuts and mayonnaise, as well as the desserts. On Thursday I cook the lamb, brisket, kugels, gefilte fish and onions, and on Friday I make just the eggs and mushrooms, and I prepare the Seder plate.”


Sharon Lurie, author of Cooking with the Kosher Butcher’s Wife

Risk-it brisket


•     5 - 6 lbs fresh brisket

•     2 Tbsp potato starch

•     A little oil for frying

•     1 heaped cup chopped onions

•     1 tsp crushed fresh garlic

•     2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger

•     8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced

•     ½ cup red wine

•     1 beef stock cube dissolved in ½ cup hot water

•     1 cup Cola (not diet)

•     1 tsp coffee dissolved in ½ cup hot water

•     2 Tbsp onion soup powder (Osem or Thelma)

•     2 Tbsp tomato paste (I like Gefen)


1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

2. Rub the brisket with the potato starch. Heat a little oil in a large pot or frying pan (just enough to cover the bottom) and fry the brisket on both sides until nicely browned. Be careful not to burn the bottom of the pot as you need to add stock a little later.

3. Once browned, remove the brisket and set aside.

4. Add a little more oil to the pot and fry the onions until lightly browned. Add the garlic and ginger, and fry for another minute or two.

5. Add the mushrooms and simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Then add the wine and boil for a minute or two. Then add beef stock and Cola and bring to the boil. Boil for a minute or two, stir, then reduce the heat and simmer for another minute or two. Remove from the heat.

6. Add the rest of the ingredients – coffee, onion soup mix and tomato paste – and mix well.

7. Place the brisket in a roasting pan and pour over the mushroom gravy. Cover and cook in the oven for 2½ to 3 hours, until soft. A bigger piece needs longer to cook.

8. The gravy should almost be like a glaze. If it is too watery, cook for a little while longer.

Caron Melamed, author of A Pinch Of

Best recipe

I chose this lamb as it is best prepared one to two days ahead. That makes life much easier. It’s delicious and melts off the bone. It’s made with fresh ingredients, so it is good for a Chabad Pesach (minus the paprika and garlic.)

Lemon and herb roast lamb

  • Ingredients
  • 1 large shoulder of lamb
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Paprika
  • Salt
  • Black pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.

2. Trim the shoulder of any excess fat, then wash and dry well.

3. Place in a large roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil and season with paprika, black pepper and lightly with salt.

4. Roast the lamb for 30 minutes per side.

Lemon and herb sauce


  • 2 heads of garlic, tops sliced off
  • 3 onions, quartered
  • 20 grams fresh rosemary
  • 30 grams fresh thyme
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • ¾ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 2 chicken cubes dissolved in 4 cups boiling water


1. Preheat oven to 150ºC.

2. Place the whole heads of garlic with the meat in the roaster. Add the onions, herbs and the balance of ingredients.

3. Cover lamb with foil and roast for 3 hours, turning halfway.

4. Remove lamb from the oven and allow to cool. Cut the lamb up into serving portions. Strain the sauce remaining in the roaster over the lamb and squeeze out the garlic from the bulbs into the sauce.

5. At this stage, the lamb can be refrigerated overnight.

Before serving:

Heat by placing the lamb, which has been covered with foil, in an oven preheated to 150ºC until heated through.

Orit Taback, owner of Orit’s Bakery

Best recipe

It’s my mother’s pastillim. This is a Moroccan dish consisting of a potato ball coated in egg and matza meal, with mince meat inside.



  • Prepare mashed potatoes with chicken soup powder.
  • Fry onion and mince meat, and season.
  • Make a ball of mashed potatoes. Press mince meat mixture inside and cover with more mashed potatoes. Cover with egg and matza meal.
  • Bake in the oven or fry till golden brown.

1 Comment

  1. 1 MRS A SCHNEIDER 31 Mar


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