Timely tips for the fraught family chef
AT A time of year when home cooks have to make so much from scratch, we need all the time-savers we can get. “We will have frozen, pre-made pie crusts and tartlet shells from Gefen,” says Rivki Rokach of Kosher Kingdom, in Golders Green, north west London. “They are good for savoury or sweet tarts, so you could make a quiche or a pudding. We will be selling them in individual sizes for dinner parties or larger ones for a family.”
Ready-to-cook ingredients are a help when you have many mouths to feed and Kosher Kingdom and Hendonbased Tapuach both offer prepared fruits, herbs and vegetables.
“We have peeled and chopped butternut squash; pumpkin; courgettes; beetroot; celeriac; onions; garlic and lots of herbs and fruits,” says Rokach.
Josh Lenef of Tapuach says: “We have a huge range of prepared and checked fruits and vegetables all year round but this time of year it is particularly useful as more customers cook from scratch for Pesach.”
Another brilliant time saver is Quick Lemon — real lemon juice (not from concentrate) sourced from Spain and instantly available for sauces and dressings.
Pesach can be a battle for those avoiding refined sugar. Sylvain Klein of Mehadrin has good news on that front, as his company will be distributing King Solomon medjool dates and date syrup — both from Israel. Great for snacks and for healthier sweetening. “We will also be bringing in St Dalfour jam, which has no added sugar, only the fruit sugars,” he says.
Providence Deli’s gourmet sauces and condiments will be available in kosher-for-Pesach form and are excellent for a quick supper. Its pesto, sundried tomatoes and fiery harissa add colour and flavour to grilled and roasted meats, fish, salads and roasted vegetables and this year will be joined by dairy-free black pepper sauce, “which is fantastic for making steak au poivre,” says founder, Adam Bass.
Dairy was always a big gap in the Pesach menu but at B Kosher, which has stores across north west London and in Borehamwood, you will find Camembert, Brie, blue cheese, mozzarella and others.
Also in stores is authentic Parmesan from Italy, grated, flaked or in blocks and, for snacking, Chevington cheese slices and Baby Chevs. Breakfast can be a problem without chametz. Danni Scheller of Hatov recommends his company’s granola. “It’s made from matzah farfel and comes in two flavours — classic and with cranberries.” His second pick (not for breakfast) is a milky pizza, gluten-free and nongebrochts. A treat for the carbophile weathering the season of low carbs.
Fish makes a healthy week-night supper and a change from potatoes and eggs.
Dominic Corney, north west London fishmonger, says: “Sea bass has become extremely popular and the good price has meant it is now more of an everyday fish. Sea bream is similar to sea bass and red snapper is also a good choice. Lemon sole and Dover sole are still very popular and are not a bad price at the moment.”
He also has recommendations for Seder suppers: “The Scotch halibut we currently stock is extremely delicious but the rising price has made it into a special-occasion dish.
“We do a few variants of smoked salmon — normal sliced, hot smoked portions and tsar smoked salmon, a cold smoked loin of salmon which we then slice to your desired thickness, which has a sushi texture with a great smoky flavour.”
For carnivores, Ephi Raymond of Kosher Deli says you will find special prices on turkey breast roll (great roasted with veggies) and prime bola — both lovely Seder choices. For midweek meals, lamb chops are also on special, while beef mince and goulash will make great-value crockpot suppers.
Another fishmonger — Nat Jacobs — recommends traditional carp.
If you need help catering for a huge Seder, look at the Pesach Delights range from Stamford Hill-based Dagim. It has everything from fried fish, fishballs, chrain, all sorts of herring and salads to frozen kneidlach and even charoset.
Kitniot eaters looking for a sweet treat can find chocolate-covered rice cakes (in bitter sweet or milk chocolate varieties) in handy snack-sized packs at Kosher Kingdom, where another highlight is rice sticks — a pasta-like product. Snackers avoiding kitniot could opt for gluten-free crostini, made from potato flour and available in barbecue or onion flavours.
Most unusual snack suggestion might well be Kosher Kingdom’s toasted coconut chips, from Gefen, in three flavours — original, chocolate or honey. Another alternative is Gefen’s potato pops. “These are also gluten-free and come in original, spicy or onion flavour,” says Rokach.
To minimise time in the kitchen, grab some Passover-friendly pizzas, bagels and pasta. Popular with all ages, speedy to prepare and kitniot-free.
New black-pepper steak sauce from Providence Deli