Kitchen Tips and Tricks plus Knife Wisdom

A variety of kitchen utensils, most of which we are familiar with today; by the Dutch painter Cornelis Jacobsz Delff, 1570-1643

A variety of kitchen utensils, most of which we are familiar with today; by the Dutch painter Cornelis Jacobsz Delff, 1570-1643

I first published my page on Kitchen Tips and Tricks in August last year. Since then it has had many updates and not a little re-organising too.

http://selmastable.wordpress.com/tips-and-tricks/

Do go over and take a look. If you leave your tips in the comments section, I will include them with a credit back to you!

Citrus Chicken with Sage

Citrus Chicken with Sage | Selma's TableA clementine or satsuma is part of our breakfast these days, in the vain hope of keeping at bay, the season’s coughs and colds but a recent purchase of a bag of clementines yielded mouth puckering, lip curling, sour fruit that neither of us can eat. Rather than throwing them away, I have been using them in place of lemons for a similar return in acidity but with a softer more floral flavour.

Duck and orange is a classic combination and as my eyes fell on the bowl full of sour clementines, I didn’t think twice about adding them to the chicken as I rushed to get something ready for dinner the other night. My Citrus Chicken with Sage is an easy, self saucing, one pan dish that looks after itself while you get on with other things; all it really needs is a salad to round it off.

Citrus Chicken with Sage | Selma's TableI placed all the ingredients in a roasting tin – not too large or there won’t be any sauce left, gave them all a good stir, covered the tin with foil which I removed for the final 20 minutes. You can substitute the clementines with an orange or lemon and the sage for rosemary, thyme or oregano. I always add whole, unpeeled cloves of garlic whenever I roast chicken. After cooking you end up with a nugget of  very mellow, gooey garlic paste which squeezes easily from it’s papery shell and is wonderful smeared onto a forkful of chicken. Some of the smaller cloves caramelise and become chewy. They are all such a treat and also very good for you!! Citrus Chicken with Sage is a really delicious meal for very little effort.

Citrus Chicken with Sage | Selma's TableI am sharing my Citrus Chicken with Sage with the Fiesta Friday revellers. Generously hosted by Angie of the Novice Gardener who this week as posted a really delicious looking cake flan – it not only looks spectacular but also magically flips itself over during baking – showcasing how baking really is science!

Our lovely co-hosts (once again) this week are both Canadian! Globe-trotter Julianna whose blog, Foodie on Board is full of the most delicious global recipes and gorgeous photographs too and Hilda of Along the Grapevine who makes foraging and living off the land aspirational and delicious!!  We are in good hands!!

Citrus Chicken with Sage

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 1 hr 15 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 skin on, bone in, free range/organic chicken pieces – I use a combination of legs and thighs
  • 4 medium sized carrots
  • 2 large potatoes (or 12 small potatoes)
  • 2 small sour oranges, clementines or lemons
  • 6 unpeeled cloves of garlic
  • 20 fresh sage leaves
  • Olive Branch EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
  • Salt and Pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200C/400F.
  2. Trim any fatty bits off the chicken and place in a roasting tin that will comfortably hold everything in one layer.
  3. Peel the carrots and cut into three pieces and add to the tin.
  4. Peel the potatoes – cut large ones into 6 pieces and halve small ones. Add to the tin.
  5. Thinly slice one of the citrus fruits and add to the tin along with garlic, sage and a good grinding of peppercorns.
  6. Squeeze over the juice of the second citrus fruit and a tablespoon of olive oil and give it all a really good mixing in the tin. Then arrange the chicken pieces so that they are skin side up and distribute the vegetables and citrus slices evenly too.
  7. Sprinkle over a good pinch of sea salt, cover tightly with foil and place in the oven for half an hour.
  8. Remove foil, sprinkle a little more salt on the chicken skin to help  it crisp up and cook for 15 – 20 minutes more, until the skin is golden brown.
  9. Arrange the chicken and vegetables on a serving platter and cover loosely with foil. Pour the juices into jug, straining off any excess fat and taste – adjust the seasoning if necessary and serve with the chicken.

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Carrot & Apple Cake Cheesecake

Carrot & Apple Cake Cheesecake  | Selma's TableA few weeks ago my friend Rupert held a fundraising ‘coffee’ morning, taking part in an event which is billed as ‘The world’s biggest Coffee Morning for Macmillan Cancer Support”.  My understanding is that it’s a bit like a bring and buy bake sale, so that you can take cakes home as well as indulging in a slice or two while you are there, with a cuppa. Well, Rupes was having none of “that buying thing” – he thought that a donation would be more in keeping with what he had in mind. And he was certainly not thinking of a lot of cakes and biscuits either. He organised the event for between 11 – 2 on a Saturday to give people plenty of time to either lie in, go to the gym or get Saturday chores or shopping done. Well beforehand, he made the phone calls to invite people and he collected money from people who were not able to attend. In true Rupert style, his flat gleamed and was filled with flowers and burning Diptique candles. We sipped  Bucks Fizz from crystal flutes, gorged on delicious savoury nibbles, including crispy prawns, stuffed vine leaves, chicken tikka bites and prosciutto wrapped figs with goats cheese. He served jasmine tea in beautiful Coalport porcelain tea cups  and individual tea pots from a tea service which had been part of his mother’s wedding trousseau. His sister donated a box of Jordanian pastries which were stuffed with dates and walnuts and a friend brought some Matcha macaroons which she had made. I brought this Carrot & Apple Cake Cheesecake which I had made the evening before, because I always have to take something! It was a really lovely event, more like a cocktail version of a brunch party rather than a cake sale and everyone got a chance to mingle and catch up or finally meet. The donations were extremely generous and I am quite certain that the same  amount would not have been raised had people been buying cakes and biscuits in the more traditional manner.

Carrot & Apple Cake Cheesecake  | Selma's Table

Rupes doesn’t do sweet -he really does not have a sweet tooth so I wanted to make something that he would enjoy. I thought about doing a spicy, fruity, carrot cake topped with creamy cheesecake – an idea that I had seen in a magazine at some point and had written down in my notebook. I tweaked an old recipe for carrot cake that I’ve had for years, substituting butter for the oil as I thought that the batter should be fairly stiff to support the cheesecake topping. I have really enjoyed using ‘Dairy’ from Lurpak’s Cook’s Range – it really is a joy to use in baking as you can use it straight from the fridge. I reviewed it in my last IMK post.   I also realised too late that I didn’ have enough carrots so topped them up with apples. I used an old recipe for a baked cheesecake that I had found on the back of a Carnation Condensed Milk tin in Canada. I can tell you that I was quite nervous putting it in the oven and said a few words as it went in!

Carrot & Apple Cake Cheesecake  | Selma's Table

I got there a little early, taking it over whole and asked Rupes to cut up some of it into one inch pieces. He began to trim off the edges, and popped a shard of trimming into his mouth. He stopped and said “OMG this is gorgeous!” and then passed the trimmings round to a couple of others who had arrived in the meantime. I was so pleased and very relived that it worked out. Rupes gave me a portion of the left over slab to take home – he was keeping the rest for himself, which made me very happy! Happy that he liked it enough to keep and happy that Jake would have some as well. Jake likes a cheesecake and really enjoyed the combination of spicy cake and cheesecake so it got the thumbs up from him too.

Carrot & Apple Cake Cheesecake  | Selma's Table

I had some caramel sauce which I had intended to take with me to drizzle enticingly over the top but I am afraid that it got left behind. The slices would have looked much prettier with a few swirls of caramel sauce. Also an apology for the photos – food photos can be difficult to take at the best of times and these were difficult to photograph in an unfamiliar setting with people about, little time to faff and without my props. But you get the idea – they baked up really well!

Carrot & Apple Cake Cheesecake  | Selma's Table

Carrot & Apple Cake Cheesecake  | Selma's Table

At the end of the event, the last few of us remaining, (photo at the tip of the post) counted the money in the donation box and were delighted to find that there was a really good sum in there to send to Macmillan. A big thanks to everyone for such generous donations. Rupes has since had a lovely thank you letter from Macmillan too!

Carrot & Apple Cake Cheesecake

  • Servings: 24 pieces
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

For the carrot & apple cake base:

  • 75 g soft brown sugar
  • 75 g caster sugar
  • 200 g plain/AP flour
  • 1 ½  tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp table/fine salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • ¼ tsp grated nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp allspice powder
  • 75 g golden raisins (or just use normal ones)
  • 45 g desiccated coconut
  • 75 g grated carrot (about 3 medium carrots – weigh them out before grating them)
  • 75 g grated apple (about 3 medium apples – weight them out factoring in an additional 5 g per apple for the core)
  • 1 large egg at room temperature
  • 115 g Baking  (Lurpak’s Cook Range) (or unsalted butter at room temperature)

For the cheesecake:

  • 560 g (2 large tubs) full fat cream cheese at room temperature
  • 397 g (1 tin) of condensed milk
  • ¼ c sour cream
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature

INSTRUCTIONS

For the carrot & apple cake base:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F. Line a 8″ x 12″ tin with grease proof paper leaving enough up the sides so that it can easily be used as handles to pull the cake out. (See my Tips and Tricks page for an easy way to do this.)
  2. Measure all the dry ingredients (from sugar through to coconut) into a mixing bowl and whisk well to combine.
  3. Peel and grate the apples and carrots, cover closely with cling film and set aside.
  4. Beat the egg and Dairy/butter until light and fluffy.
  5. Stir in the dry ingredients until combined then stir in the grated carrots and apples and whisk until the batter is well combined.
  6. Scrape batter into the tin and level it as well as you can. One of those offset spatulas would come in very handy here!

For the cheesecake:

  1. Beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy
  2. Beat in the condensed milk until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Beat in the eggs, sour cream, salt and vanilla until well combined.
  4. Pour this over the carrot & apple cake base and level.
  5. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, testing with a wooden toothpick or a piece of dry spaghetti to ensure that the cake base is cooked. The cheesecake top should be set but with a little wobble which will firm up when it cools.
  6. Cool in the tin then cover and refrigerate until serving. Can be sliced into 24 x 2 inch squares or larger pieces if preferred.

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Ambassador Cupcakes

Ambassador Cupcakes | Selma's TableIt was Jake’s birthday a few weeks ago and I made him these fabulous Ambassador Cupcakes to take to a party that one of his friends was throwing for him. He is not a big fan of chocolate cakes and icing, though he loves chocolate, but when I mentioned that I could make them with a Ferrero Rocher chocolate  inside as well as on top of them, his eyes lit up, so that was that! Ambassador Cupcakes | Selma's TableI’ve been making birthday cakes for Jake, for friends and for their children for quite a long time now. I thought that you might like to see a selection of Jake’s birthday cakes over the years including the train that nearly turned me into a train wreck which I mentioned in my post on the Spiced Honey and Orange Cake. I have a star shaped pan that has come in very useful for celebration cakes in general and I have put it to good use over the years. Ambassador Cupcakes | Selma's Table Ambassador Cupcakes | Selma's TableFor these Ambassador Cupcakes, I was inspired by Michelle’s (Giraffes Can Bake) spectacular Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes but I was up against the clock so needed  to make something simpler and that would also travel well on public transport. So I had a quick trawl of the internet, found a recipe that looked quick and easy and tweaked it a little. Ambassador Cupcakes | Selma's TableThese Ambassador Cupcakes really are a special occasion cupcake. They require 48 Ferrera Rocher chocolates which really ratchets up the cost however, they look fabulous! If you are going to make these and don’t have a piping bag or nozzles, then please, do get some. You can buy a roll of disposable piping bags and a set of basic nozzles inexpensively from most large supermarkets and on-line too. Yes, of course you can scrape the icing on with a spatula or fill a sandwich bag, snip off a corner and squirt it on but if you are going to go to the expense and effort of making these, then for a few pounds more you can make them look really lovely too. I just wish that I had been more organised and ordered gold paper cases – that would have looked stunning and very in keeping with the Ferrero Rocher image!  Remember this TV commercial?

I don’t know about you but my icing techniques leave a lot to be desired. I made the cupcakes the night before and the Nutella buttercream early in the morning – I hurriedly iced a cupcake for Jake to take up to him in bed, with his cards and present and realised that I needed a crash course in icing techniques.

In My Kitchen Oct 2014 | Selma's Table

Jake’s early morning cake

I scoured YouTube and and thought I would share the best one with you! Below is a great video tutorial by Xanthe Milton on 4 icing techniques, including that rose swirl (which would have been too girly for Jake – sigh) which looks so fabulous on larger cakes.

Ambassador Cupcakes | Selma's Table I ended up using the last technique which she likens to an old fashioned swimming hat. My nozzles are quite small in comparison to Xanthe’s – larger ones are on my hit list – but I got a lovely effect, nonetheless! Ambassador Cupcakes | Selma's Table And a little tip; the easiest way to fill a piping bag is to fit the nozzle and coupler if you are using one, onto the piping bag, then set this inside a tall glass, peel back the bag over the glass and fill. Ambassador Cupcakes | Selma's Table

I am taking these to share with the Fiesta Friday revellers. Angie of the Novice Gardener is having a well deserved day off with strict instructions from most of us to not bring anything to the party!! Our co-hosts this week are both Canadians! Globe-trotter Julianna whose blog, Foodie on Board is full of the most delicious global recipes and gorgeous photographs too and Hilda of Along the Grapevine who makes foraging and living off the land aspirational and delicious!! We are in good hands!!

Ambassador Cupcakes | Selma's Table

Ambassador Cupcakes

  • Servings: 24 cupcakes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Adapted from  Ferrero Rocher and Nutella Cupcakes by Cookies, Cupcakes and Cardio INGREDIENTS For the cupcakes

  • 200g plain/AP flour
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 90 g unsweetened cacao powder, sifted
  • 1 Tbsp instant espresso powder
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp fine salt
  • 3 Tbsp light olive oil
  • 180 ml buttermilk (or 180 ml milk plus 1 Tbsp of lemon juice – let this sit for 10 minutes)
  • 180 ml warm water
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 48 Ferrero Rocher chocolates (24 for inside the cupcakes and 24 to decorate them with)

For the Nutella Buttercream

INSTRUCTIONS Fot the cupcakes

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Line a 24 cup muffin/cupcake tin with paper cases. Gold ones would look really stunning.
  3. Remove the wrappers from the chocolates.
  4. Hand whisk all the dry ingredients, from flour through to salt in a large mixing bowl to blend thoroughly.
  5. Make a well in the centre and add all the wet ingredients all at once. Blend on a low speed until well combined. The mixture will be quite liquid.
  6. Take the bowl over to the prepared tins and put one tablespoon of batter into each hole.
  7. Center a Ferrero Rocher chocolate in each one.
  8. Top with one tablespoon of batter – pour it over the Ferrero Rocher chocolate.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes – testing the sides with a toothpick or a piece of dry spaghetti after 18 minutes.
  10. Let them settle for 10 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.

For the Nutella Buttercream

  1. Cream the Baking or butter until light and fluffy.
  2. Beat in the icing sugar (I start this off by hand to keep down the icing sugar cloud) until smooth..
  3. Beat in the Nutella. If the mixture is too stiff, add 1 Tbsp of milk. I didn’t need to.
  4. Fit a piping bag with an icing nozzle of your choice (I used a “star” nozzle ) and set it inside a tall glass. Peel back the bag around the glass and fill it with as much icing as you can comfortably handle. Twist the end closed and set aside in the fridge until you are ready to ice the cakes. You don’t want the icing to be too hard so don’t leave it in there too long.
  5. Ice the cakes and top each with a Ferrero Rocher chocolate.
  6. Store, covered in the fridge for at least ½ an hour, to set the icing.

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

In My Kitchen – October 2014

In My Kitchen Oct 2014 | Selma's TableIn my kitchen, I have cheese. One of my favourite cheese stalls in London’s Borough Market, is Une Normade a Londres. Run by two brothers from Normandy, these boys really know their cheese. This time I came away with a little rondel of Pérail de Brebis, a ewe’s milk cheese  – seriously savoury and creamy from Aveyron in the Mid Pyrenees in France. The land the sheep graze on is rich in floral growth and this is very evident in the mellow but rich flavour of this cheese. In My Kitchen Oct 2014 | Selma's TableThe enormous variety of goats cheeses they have on display is something to behold – they always have plenty of cheese available to sample – if you are in the area, drop by and see what takes your fancy – I don’t think you will come away empty handed! In My Kitchen Oct 2014 | Selma's TableIn my kitchen I have this award winning, liquid gold, which I was sent to sample, from Olive Branch, a company specialising in Greek produce. Olive Branch’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is cold pressed using only Cretan Koroneiki olives, which makes it a single varietal EVOO. It’s quite floral – more grassy and fruity than peppery though there is little bite of pepperiness towards the end. In My Kitchen Oct 2014 | Selma's TableOlive Branch work with a the local co-op as well as neighbouring farmers to partially produce this low acidity (0.3%) EVOO on their farm. Using early ripening olives and cold pressing them within hours of harvest also ensures that the oil is fresh, aromatic and full of nutrients and anti-oxidants. It is absolutely gorgeous – just look at that stunning colour! It has been wonderful on the last of the flavourful summer tomatoes and drizzled over pasta too. In My Kitchen Oct 2014 | Selma's TableI made a lovely salad with sliced fennel, cherry tomatoes, black grapes, walnuts and bee pollen (the bee pollen featured in my September IMK post)  and this oil was the perfect complement to it.

Greek Inspired Roast Chicken with Bread | Selma's Table

Greek Inspired Roast Chicken with Bread

I also made a Green Inspired Roast Chicken with Bread which was delicious with their oil. Do try the oil if you get the chance – it makes a lovely addition to the peppery EVOO that we are more used to. A little tidbit for you – they supply Ottolenghi with Dakos, that crispy bread he is so fond of! In My Kitchen Oct 2014 | Selma's TableSpeaking of Ottolenghi, I was completely overexcited to receive my copy of the long awaited Plenty More. I have made the wonderful tomato and pomegranate salad, the slow cooked chickpeas, the sweet and sour leeks with goats cheese and the corn fritters – all have been delicious!! The book is divided into chapters by method (Tossed, Steamed, Blanched, Braised, Mashed, Grilled etc…) and is vegetarian but you wouldn’t even notice. Nonetheless, there are plenty of suggestions for the carnivore too. Desperately hoping that he returns to London (he is in Australia on his book tour) with a few more dates for book signings… In My Kitchen Oct 2014 | Selma's Table In my kitchen, Jake cooked dinner – the first time in a long while. He gets invited to dinner at least once a week where he and his friends do the cooking. At least that is what I think is going on! A few times, I have called him and he is in Sainsburys with one or two of his friends, buying groceries to make dinner with. I can’t hear the tell tale sound of clinking bottles in the basket….Anyway, he announced that he was going to cook dinner – he made this delicious pasta dish, sautéing onions and garlic and adding sundried tomatoes, left over roast chicken, a pinch of smoky paprika and some creme fraiche. The pasta was perfectly al dente too. I was so impressed.

In my kitchen there were fancy, schmancy cupcakes because Jake turned 17. For the past few years, I either take him and a couple of his friends out for dinner or a group of us go out – this year, one of his friends threw him a surprise party. We spun him a tale and made him believe that I was taking him and this friend out to lunch and that afterwards they were going to go to the park and maybe meet up with a couple of friends (because “everyone is away”). I bailed at the last minute, but made him take the Ambassador Cupcakes that I had made in case anyone turned up to the park. He didn’t suspect a thing and got such a surprise when he got to his friend’s house and found everyone there!! I made the cupcakes the night before and the icing, early in the morning. I took him up one hastily and hideously iced and assembled cake with a candle in it, all his birthday cards and his present. Then I watched some icing videos on YouTube and iced the rest in a slightly more professional manner!! The recipe for these Ambassador or Double Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes with Nutella Icing is on the blog – they went down a treat! In My Kitchen Oct 2014 | Selma's Table In my kitchen, I have Lurpak’s Cook’s Range. I was sent a couple of packs of ‘Baking‘ of and a bottle of ‘Cooking Liquid‘. ‘Baking’ is simply amazing for baking and icing – a blend of butter and rapeseed (canola) oil, it is soft from the fridge so that within a few seconds of beating it looks like this – In My Kitchen Oct 2014 | Selma's TableI used ‘Baking’ to make the Nutella icing for the Double Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes and also used some to make my Carrot and Apple Cake Cheesecake (more about that later) and I think it is pretty amazing. I’ve used the ‘Cooking Liquid’ which is also a blend of butter and rapeseed oil, to sauté onions and brown meat – it does the job brilliantly. There is also a mist and a clarified butter in the range which I would love to try. I have been very impressed with both the products. If you bake a lot, Baking would be a great asset in the kitchen. Lots of recipes on their website as well as a very clever shopping tool which links to your on-line grocery store! In My Kitchen Oct 2014 | Selma's TableIn my kitchen I made a Carrot & Apple Cake Cheesecake. My friend Rupert, was hosting a Coffee Morning fundraiser for Macmillan and asked me to help – not that I did much other than bake this cake and bank the money raised. In true Rupert fashion, there was a mouthwatering array of hot and cold savoury bites, Bucks Fizz  in Vera Wang crystal flutes and Jasmine tea in a Coalport tea service. There was no selling of anything, just very generous donations from everyone instead – it was lovely and so much fun! He raised a good sum of money too, which was the whole point! The recipe for the Carrot & Apple Cake Cheesecake is now on the blog.

Well, that is it from my kitchen – huge thanks to Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial who hosts this monthly event – peeking into everyone’s kitchens all over the world is quite the eye opener sometimes!  Pour yourself a drink and take a little browse – all the links to the participating blogs are on the right hand side of Celia’s post. I have linked the page to  her blog name so click on it and take a little tour! Have a wonderful October, everyone!

A Sublime Rolled Roast Shoulder of Lamb & Potatoes

A Sublime Rolled Roast Shoulder of Lamb & Potatoes | Selma's TableA Roast Chicken and Other Stories by Simon Hopkinson is a cookbook which took my cooking and palate to another level in the mid ’90’s. A grown up’s cookbook and later voted The Most Useful Cookbook’ in 2005, chef and writer, Simon Hopkinson makes absolutely no compromises when it comes to technique or quality of ingredients and is very no-nonsense in his classic approach to cooking which is unpretentious and full of flavour. He has headed the kitchens at Hilaire (where I was fortunate enough to have dined when he was cooking) and then Bibendum; has written a food column for the Independent and also made some wonderful TV programmes; some of which are still available on the 4OD catch up service if you are in the UK. It was he who introduced me to cooking a roast chicken at a very high temperature for the first 15 minutes to tighten skin and start rendering the fat, before lowering it for the rest of the roasting time. It was also he who introduced me to the the flavour sensation that is anchovy, rosemary, garlic stuffed into slits made into a leg of lamb – that first mouthful was unforgettable – the anchovy had broken down and mellowed into an intense savouriness while the garlic and rosemary had perfumed the lamb. I rarely cook a leg of lamb any other way.

10 years later, I am watching Jamie Oliver roast a leg of lamb directly on the oven rack with a roasting tin full of potatoes underneath to catch all the fat and juices. Both he and Nigella Lawson send my kitchen OCD tendencies completely into overdrive – they are both so MESSY but perhaps I would be too if I had a brigade of assistants to wipe down every jar, utensil, surface and handle I touch. I digress. I was very taken with the idea of the potatoes roasting under the lamb, cooking in the lamb fat and absorbing all the lamby juices but there was absolutely no way that I was going to put myself through cleaning the oven afterwards.

One Sunday, few weeks later and in a hurry, I bought some lamb and potatoes, thinking I would do my usual but got home to find that I had bought a boned and rolled shoulder of lamb. I thought of Jamie Oliver’s roasting method and remembered that I had a wire rack which had feet – it could sit in a roasting tin, a few inches above the base.  So I improvised on my “usual” by making a paste out of the anchovy/rosemary/garlic trinity and added a spoonful of mustard. I unrolled the lamb and smeared it with the paste, re-rolled it using the stretchy butchers string that it came rolled in and set it on that wire rack, over a few peeled potatoes, to roast. Best. Meal. Ever.

Intensely savoury and juicy meat; potatoes which were crisp on the bottom and full of the flavours of lamb – eaten alongside some plain green beans and washed down with a glass or two of a smooth red – it really was sublime. It is not a dish I make often though – this really is a treat to have once in a while, after a long brisk walk or perhaps for a special occasion when dietary concerns can be put aside…

A Sublime Rolled Roast Shoulder of Lamb & Potatoes | Selma's Table

Roasted and ready to rest

This time round I included thyme leaves and a little harissa too – it was wonderful. Of course, you can leave out the harissa if you wish or substitute chill flakes and paprika but please do try it with the anchovy – the heat of the oven changes the flavour completely with no fishy taste, just a lot of big savoury flavour. And do remove the lamb from the fridge for at least an hour beforehand, to get the meat up to room temperature. It will cook more evenly this way.

A Sublime Rolled Roast Shoulder of Lamb & Potatoes | Selma's Table

Today, Elaine the inspirational blogger behind Foodbod and I are once again co-hosting Fiesta Friday #36 which is held by the generous, creative and wonderful Angie @ The Novice Gardener. Do take a look at Angie’s latest post – I mean, who else can take a draft post and some left over mole and come up with this mouthwatering dish for Crepas di Mole? You can also see who has been featured from last week’s birthday-centric submissions. And, on to my co-host,  Elaine – she makes the most delicious looking and sounding food all of which is dairy, wheat and meat free. Take a look at  The foodbod range where you can order some of her flavour packed dips and goodness bars if you are lucky enough to live locally to her.

Click on the Fiesta Friday badge below to join the party – you can submit a post (please be sure to include the link and a mention in your post to Angie  FF#36 post – it’s only polite and also ensures that you can be considered for a feature next week!)  or just take a look at others are up to!  If you are new to blogging, Fiesta Friday is a great way to gain exposure and make new friends too.

If you’re new to Fiesta Friday, please do take a minute to read the guidelines.

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A Sublime Rolled Roast Shoulder of Lamb & Potatoes

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy-moderate
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 medium floury potatoes
  • 750-900g boned and rolled shoulder of lamb
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

For the paste

  • 2 stems of rosemary leaves
  • 1 good Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 4 anchovies (in oil)
  • 1 tbsp of the anchovy oil or olive oil
  • 1 tsp Djion mustard
  • ½ – 1 tsp Harissa paste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Peel and halve the potatoes lengthwise. Toss in a little olive oil and salt and place in a roasting tin, cut side up.
  3. Pop in the oven to start roasting while you get on with the lamb.
  4. Unroll the lamb, fat side down. Save the stretchy butchers string, unless you have kitchen string that you can use.
  5. Blitz the paste ingredients together – it should be quite thick. Add a little more oil if necessary. Taste and adjust the seasoning – it shouldn’t need salt as there is plenty in the anchovy.
  6. Smear the paste on the meat, getting into all the cracks and crevices. Roll up the lamb (fat on the outside) and secure with the stretchy butchers string. Push in any paste which escapes and coat the ends of the lamb with it too.
  7. Take the tin out of the oven and turn the potatoes over so that the cut sides are face down. Bunch them up (in one layer) so that you can place the rack so that it will cover as many of them as possible.
  8. Lay the lamb on the rack, anoint the fat with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Any potatoes which are not directly under the lamb should have a tiny bit of olive oil drizzled over them too. As the lamb roasts, the fat and the lamb juices will run down onto the potatoes and infuse them with a huge amount of flavour.
  9. Roast for 1 – 1 ¼ hours then remove the lamb and set aside loosely covered with foil, to rest for at least 20 minutes. Keep the potatoes warm under some foil while you get on with any other vegetables – I love green beans with this.
  10. Remove the string and carve into juicy slices – the thickness is up to you – I prefer ½ cm thick slices – not too thin and not too thick either. The paste will have formed a sublime sauce of sorts, inside the lamb which will ooze out as you carve – make sure that everyone gets a little!

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Greek Inspired Roast Chicken with Bread

Greek Inspired Roast Chicken with Bread | Selma's TableWhen I first moved to London on my own in the early nineties, I worked as a P.A. to a Greek hairdresser. He and his English wife had been crowned London Hairdresser of the Year a couple of times – a reputation which they were really living off at that point. We were paid a pittance for the opportunity to work there and shine in the reflected glory of their name. I learned a great deal about the “show biz” end of hairdressing there – the photo shoots, the big national and international hair shows, the video shoots, the trade events.  When there was an event on, the hours were long and it was expected that everyone that needed to, would pitch in as necessary. I could be typing scripts and cue sheets and the almost daily changes until midnight – this would be for the elaborate hair shows that would be taken, models, wigs, outfits and all to Japan where this company had a big sponsor. For photo shoots it was usually a 6am start to get to the studio and start prepping the girls for hair, make-up and clothes. Themes, storyboarding and clothes styling were my involvement for this sort of thing, though to begin with I would be briefed with the ‘vision’ then make the phone calls to source clothes for the vision and finally bring back what I could scrounge, as hair shoots don’t really come high on any PR or designer’s list of where to loan out clothes to show their lines. Nonetheless, I managed to come back with racks of clothes for the shoots to take to the studio or the trips where his wife would oversee the vision. Eventually I was trusted enough to be invited to these events to help select the clothes and dress the models. It was a far cry from the happy, busy, personal growth and client focused, customer service driven, suburban salon I had worked in before.

Occasionally, the couple would invite the Art Team back to their house for some food (it was never a meal) to brain storm or invite all the staff over for a barbecue if an event had been particularly gruelling with the salon staff having to prop things up while the Art Team were on a punishing schedule, out of the country or working on a trade event. And it is,  of course, the Greek food that is of interest in this case – in those days, I had only eaten Greek food at that wonderful Bayswater institution, Halepi, in West London –  and also another in Claygate that included plate smashing as part of the post-meal entertainment. The barbecues that we were invited to at their house were memorable – some of his family members would be there; the men presiding over a number of small coal grills, tending to  an assortment of meats and Greek sausages as well as half a lamb on a spit. The salads were many and varied too. But the dish I remember the most was that of lemony, oregano scented potatoes – gorgeous waxy Cyprus potatoes that braise slowly in a little stock, lemon juice and oregano.

Greek Inspired Roast Chicken with Bread | Selma's TableThis Greek Inspired Roast Chicken with Bread recipe takes it’s cue from those potatoes, though it is much more than that, of course. It is a another one-pot meal where the flavours and textures all mingle to produce a wonderful dish that is more than just a sum of it’s parts. Some of the bread and vegetables absorb the juices from the chicken and become gooey and soft whilst the rest roast and get crispy and chewy and sharp with the lemon – you can add things like artichoke hearts too if you wish or splash in some stock or wine towards the end for more of a wet roast. It is immensely adaptable to what you have in your pantry and I hope that it acts as a springboard for you – do try it with the bread though – it’s an unusual and fabulous addition!

In the photos you will note a couple of sweet potatoes which I have not included in the recipe below as I wanted to have these for my lunch the next day and not as part of this dish. We love having rocket/arugula with this – the sharp, peppery flavour is another wonderful contrast.

Greek inspired Roast Chicken with Bread

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Adapted from Aliwaks Roast Chicken with Bread and Garlic

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 kg free range/organic chicken
  • 1 tsp Harissa paste
  • 1 Tbsp Sundried Tomato and Basil Paste
  • Juice of two lemons, separated and plus one whole one
  • 3-4 slices of stale sourdough bread
  • 1 head of garlic – cloves separated but skins left on
  • 2 leeks, cleaned of any sand
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp Green and Black olives stuffed with sundried tomato, garlic and rosemary
  • 8 Sundried tomatoes
  • 700 g waxy potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp fresh or 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Sea salt
  • Greek “Olive Branch” EVO oil

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Mix the Harissa, sundried tomato paste and the juice of one lemon together to make a runny paste.
  2. Untruss the chicken. Remove as much visible fat as you can from the cavity and discard along with the trussing. If there are giblets, freeze them to make gravy another time.
  3. Smear the paste all over the chicken and inside the cavity and leave to marinate for 1 hour at room temperature.
  4. In the meantime, slice the bread into large cubes, slice the leeks into 1 inch segments and peel and halve the potatoes and arrange in a large roasting dish. Scatter over the garlic cloves, olives and the sundried tomatoes. Squeeze over the juice of the second lemon and sprinkle with oregano and sea salt.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 220C/425F
  6. Stuff the chicken with a halved lemon
  7. Lubricate the bread and vegetables with some olive oil and arrange the chicken on top, making sure that it is sitting on some of the bread and the potatoes which will absorb the chicken juices. Pour over any remaining marinade that has been left on the plate, back over the chicken.  Drizzle a little oil over the chicken and sprinkle with sea salt to help the skin crisp up.
  8. Cook the chicken for 20 minutes at 220C/425F and then turn down the heat to 180C/350F and give the pan a shake, turning over any bread and vegetables that are not covered by the chicken. Roast for another 40 – 55 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken and until the juices run clear at the leg joint.
  9. Turn off the oven. Remove chicken to rest for at least 15 minutes, loosely covered with foil. Keep the vegetables and the bread warm, also loosely covered, in the residual heat of the oven.
  10. Carve the chicken as you wish but make sure that everyone gets a good mix of crispy chewy, roasted vegetables and bread as well as some which have absorbed the chicken juices – it is a real textural revelation!

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.