Start the year with new menu

By Natalia Sloam

With the Jewish holidays fast approaching, it’s high time to finalise your Rosh Hashana menu.

And if you’re bored of brisket and looking for something a little more exciting than gefilte fish to feast on, I’ve got you covered with delicious yomtov recipes that also happen to incorporate symbolic Rosh Hashana ingredients.

Although menus vary according to family customs and traditions, certain foods (simanim) are fixtures at the yomtov table and are eaten for their symbolic meaning.

Slices of apple are dipped in honey to represent the hope for a sweet and prosperous new year ahead, and round challa (sometimes sweetened with honey or studded with raisins) is eaten to represent the cyclical nature of life.

Other traditions include serving the head of a fish (a nod to the literal translation of Rosh Hashanah as ‘head of the year’), eating a new fruit (often a pomegranate) on the second night of the holiday, and incorporating carrots into recipes to express the hope that our merits should increase in the coming year.

Apple Chai Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Drizzle

This recipe features in Sweet Noshings by Amy Kritzer


For cake:

  • 426g all-purpose flour, plus more for flouring the pan
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 235ml vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 60 ml orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 400g granulated sugar, plus extra 5 tablespoons for apples
  • 4-5 Granny Smith apples, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
For maple-cream cheese drizzle:

  • 113g cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 113g powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon (plus 1-2 teaspoons, if needed) milk (or water or almond milk if keeping parev) at room temperature

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a Bundt pan with butter and a dusting of flour (or use nonstick spray) and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer or spoon, mix together oil, eggs, orange juice and vanilla. Then mix in sugar until combined. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, switching to the beater attachment (or continue to mix by hand.) Mix until combined, being careful not to over mix. Batter should be thick but pourable.

Peel and core apples and cut into thin wedges. Combine apples in a large bowl with remaining 5 tablespoons sugar, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.

Spoon a third of the batter in the pan. Add half of the apple mixture in an even layer, then add another third of the batter. Follow with the other half of the apple mixture and the last of the batter.

Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then remove and finish cooling on a cooling rack.

To make drizzle, beat cream cheese and butter with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Then beat in powdered sugar, butter, maple syrup, salt, and enough milk to get a thick but runny glaze. Keep beating until smooth. Drizzle all over your cooled cake.

Roasted Duck Legs with Clementines & Apricots

This recipe features in Honey and Co At Home (Pavilion) by Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich.


  • 8 duck legs
For the salt rub:

  • 2 tbsp table salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
For roasting:

  • 2 onions, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 2 clementines, quartered
  • 150g dried apricots
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 star anise

Mix the salt rub ingredients together and sprinkle over both sides of the duck legs. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for at least 6 hours, but ideally about 24 hours.

Heat your oven to 220°C and place the duck legs in one layer in a deep roasting tray. Roast in the oven for about 20–25 minutes or until the skin starts to colour. Carefully drain off the fat (you can keep it to roast some potatoes on another day — it lasts for ages in the fridge).

Add the onion wedges and clementines to the tray, and return to the oven for another 15 minutes. Remove the tray again, add the apricots, bay leaves and star anise, and then pour over enough water to reach just halfway up the duck legs (you may need a little more or a little less than 600ml, depending on the size of your tray).

Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C. Cover the tray, return to the oven and cook for another 40 minutes.

Remove the cover and check the liquid level — it should still reach about halfway up the legs. Baste all over, re-cover and return to the oven for another 30 minutes.

Remove the cover, baste again and return to the oven for 15 minutes, before basting one last time. Push any apricots into the liquid so that they don’t burn, then cook for a final 15 minutes to finish crisping up the skin. Serves 6-8.

Roasted Carrots with Pistachio Cream, Coriander Seeds & Honey

This recipe, also from Honey and Co At Home, is a perfect side for the duck legs.


For the pistachio cream:

  • 100g shelled unroasted pistachios
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Juice of ˝ lime
  • 2 tsp orange blossom water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
For the salad:

  • 8 carrots — mixed variety would be lovely, if possible
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • Pinch of chilli flakes
  • 1 orange, cut into thin wedges with the skin on
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 punnet of lamb’s lettuce

Blitz the pistachios in a small food processor till very smooth, then add the lime zest and juice, orange blossom water, oil and salt, and blitz again. Now add 4 tbsp of water and mix until combined (you may need a little more water to bring it to a smooth, custard-like texture).

Heat your oven to 220°C. Peel and cut the carrots into 2cm slices. Toss them in the olive oil, sea salt, coriander seeds and chilli flakes, then spread on a roasting tray.

Place in the oven for 10 minutes, then stir around and return for another 10 minutes.

Remove the tray from the oven, add the orange wedges and juice, and drizzle with the honey. Mix well to combine and return to the oven for a final 10 minutes.

Place the lamb’s lettuce on a large serving plate, and top with the roasted carrots and orange segments along with all the juice they produced. Dollop with the pistachio cream and serve immediately. Serves 6-8.

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