Plum and Cinnamon Cake

Plum and Cinnamon Cake | Selma's TableAs this blog has gathered pace and found it’s feet, so Jake has learned his place in the hierarchy – photos first, then he gets to eat. He always asks before cutting into a cake or digging into a casserole – well, until Sunday just gone. I baked this Plum and Cinnamon Cake, uploaded a quick snap to Instagram with a flippant remark about not being able to wait a day for it to settle and mature and woke up in the morning to find that there was a huge, messily cut piece missing from it!

Plum and Cinnamon Cake | Selma's TableJake had got in late, couldn’t resist the smell or the look of it, didn’t dare try to take the ring off the springform pan so cut it out the best he could. He said he thought I was sleeping which is why he didn’t ask. Well, I’m not one to get upset when it comes to food being eaten so I determined to do the best I could with it, when it came to the photos. A bit of crumb tidying, fruit prodding and a dusting of icing sugar took care of most of it but the missing slice is well and truly missing!!

This recipe was printed every autumn in the New York Times from 1983 until 1995 when Marian Burros, the food columnist (who got the recipe from Lois Levine, co-author of Elegant but Easy) said that it would not be re-printed, so this was the last chance to clip it out. I have seen it numerous times and in various versions around the web but Deb Perleman of Smitten Kitchen, who always manages to make me want to cook anything she makes, posted it recently and I caved.

Plum and Cinnamon Cake | Selma's TableThe batter is quite meagre and you will feel that it won’t be enough, once you spread it out and that maybe an additional egg or more baking powder or a smaller tin…don’t panic, don’t fiddle – it comes out perfectly. The original recipe calls for halved plums skin side up but I quartered mine so that some of flesh got the heat of the oven. And you want to go for tart, ripe ones for the best result. It does seem better the next day – the whole thing softens and the plums get jammy. And the smell – no wonder Jake couldn’t resist helping himself to a slice!!

Plum and Cinnamon Cake | Selma's TableThe cake rises just enough to cushion but not encase the plums and the combination of the sweet, tender, vanilla sponge, the tart juicy, jammy plums and the sugar and cinnamon dusted top is utterly heavenly! I am helping a friend host a Macmillian Coffee Morning fundraiser next week and this is definitely going to be served.

Plum and Cinnamon Cake | Selma's TableI’ve tweaked it a little – I’ve added vanilla to the batter and added less cinnamon to the top. Next time I may reduce the sugar a little too but if the plums are more on the tart side than the sweet sponge is the perfect foil for them. And it’s really easy to make. Quarter the plums and set aside. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and set aside. Cream the softened butter and sugar then add the eggs, one at a time, finally mix in the flour and scrape into the prepared tin. Arrange the plums over the top, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and bake!

Plum and Cinnamon Cake | Selma's Table
Plum and Cinnamon Cake | Selma's Table

Today, Elaine the inspirational blogger behind Foodbod and I are co-hosting Fiesta Friday #34 which is held by the generous, creative and wonderful Angie @ The Novice Gardener. Do take a look at Angie’s latest post – I mean, can food from the garden look any prettier? You can also see who has been featured from last week’s submissions. And what can I say about Elaine – she makes the most delicious looking and sounding food all of which is dairy, wheat and meat free – she also makes and sells her flavour packed dips and goodness bars so do take a look at her blog.

Click on the Fiesta Friday badge below to join the party – you can submit a post (be sure to include a link to Angie  FF#34 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 read the guidelines.

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Plum and Cinnamon Cake

  • Servings: 8 generous -12 skinny slices
  • Time: 15 mins prep and 40-50 mins oven
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Adapted from Marian Burros’ Famous Purple Plum Torte From Elegant but Easy and The Essential New York Times Cookbook and Deb Perleman’s Smitten Kitchen Purple Plum Torte

INGREDIENTS

  • 140 g plain/AP flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of table salt
  • 150 g of golden, unrefined caster/superfine sugar
  • 115 g softened unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
  • 8 medium ripe, tart plums
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 2 Tbsp Demerara sugar

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C/ 170C Fan assisted/ 350 F and prepare a 9 inch spring form pan by buttering the base and sides or using grease proof paper – see my tips and tricks page (Baking – tip 3) to read how to do this.
  2. Halve the plums and twist to remove the pits, then halve again and set aside.
  3. Place the flour, baking powder and salt in a cereal bowl and hand whisk to incorporate the 3 ingredients throughly.
  4. Place the butter and sugar in a medium sized mixing bowl and cream until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl a couple of times.
  5. Beat in the eggs, one at a time until well incorporated – scrape down the sides after each addition. It may look curdled but if you add a spoonful of the flour mixture all will be well again.
  6. Add the flour mixture and the vanilla paste/extract and beat only just until incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, scrape under to make sure that there is no raw flour and mix in if there is.
  7. Scrape into the prepared tin and smooth it out to cover the base. It will seem very scant but don’t worry – it will be enough!
  8. Arrange the plums from the outside into the middle, keeping it quite tight.
  9. Scatter over the cinnamon and the Demerara sugar and place in the pre-heated oven.
  10. Bake for 40-50 minutes. Insert a tester (toothpick or a bit of dry spaghetti) into the cakey part – if no batter is left clinging to it then it’s done. If there is batter clinging to it then pop it back in for 5 mins increments and keep checking.
  11. Try and make this the night before to let it mellow, covered and at room temperature, when it will be at it’s best.

© 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 – September 2014

In My Kitchen - September Kitchen | Selma's TableI didn’t submit an IMK post last month so this one has a few extra items in it that I had been saving for August’s round up! I had lunch with a friend’s mother, Liz, the other Sunday. Liz now lives in Spain so it is wonderful to see her whenever she visits. The last time was just before Christmas when we went to see The Book of Mormon at the Prince of Wales Theatre in Leicester Square. This time  a small group of us went for pizza- not readily available where she lives – and had a good old natter and catch up. Jake and a friend of his swung by to say hello. They hadn’t seen each other since he was about three and he is nearly 17 now so I was really pleased that he made the effort. Liz handed me these gorgeous roses as we were leaving – who doesn’t love getting flowers? I’ve been reminded of her every time I looked at them and surprisingly for roses, these lasted for about 10 days!

In My Kitchen - September Kitchen | Selma's Table

In My Kitchen - September Kitchen | Selma's Table

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been on the look out for bee pollen – it’s all the rage and I do like to be on trend!! Joking aside, it is apparently a superfood that among other things, acts as an anti-inflammatory. As Jake and I both suffer a little with allergies I thought we should try it. The most beneficial way to eat it is with fruit so we have been having it in smoothies. Verdict – undecided. Jake’s hay fever has cleared up but that may have also been because it’s been raining and cooler too. It is quite delicious though and I really like it as a slightly sweet, honeyed note in a salad so as an ingredient, I do rather like it!

In My Kitchen - September Kitchen | Selma's TableBefore I had Jake, I used to work as PR/PA to a high profile hairdresser. One of the fun parts of my job was organising photo shoots and styling the clothes for them – we used to shoot hair collections to tie in with whatever the current fashion trends were and I would try and convince designers and PR companies to let me use their pieces. I had a few favourite designers that I used to work with and Ben de Lisi was one of them. Always gracious and interested in whatever we were doing, both he and his PR were so easy to work with. I was reminded of that creative time in my life when I had an email from a PR company asking if I would like a to try a limited edition Ryvita tin, created by Ben de Lisi. Mondrianesque in it’s design, it arrived with a selection of delicious Ryvita crispbreads and crackers. Ryvita has some excellent flavours in it’s range these days – I love the Pumpkin Seed and Oats and the Multigrain crisp breads – they are just perfect with cheese and soup for lunch. But the Fruit Crunch is my new obsession. It’s fabulous crushed and stirred into yoghurt and fruit for breakfast. Oh, and the tin has kept them nice and crisp!

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These one clove garlic bulbs are brilliant – not only is there less peeling of the papery skin that can be so stubborn sometimes, but these beauties are so easy to grate into dressings, marinades and dips. They roast superbly too. Grown in China, and called Solo or Pearl Garlic, the only place I have ever seen them in is Lidl and they seem to have them in all year round.

In My Kitchen - September Kitchen | Selma's TableI took Jake into the West End recently, to take a look at some suits and shoes for school. Now that he is in Sixth Form, he has to wear a suit along with the school tie and black shoes. We finished up by going for sushi in Soho as a little treat for doing so well in his exams. My favourite Japanese shop, Arigato, was not far from where we ate  so I popped in to stock up on a couple of items and bought a few new ones too. I love these rice paper discs – they are so easy to use – briefly soak in water then fill with delicious bits and pieces (prawns, shredded carrot, bean sprouts and chives are my favourite), roll and eat with a dipping sauce.

In My Kitchen - September Kitchen | Selma's Table

While I was there, I picked up a bottle of Yuzu seasoning – it’s absolutely delicious – we often have it in Japanese restaurants as a ponzu sauce with tuna sashimi. It is sweet, sharp, citrusy and just gorgeous – I imagine it would be wonderful in cocktails! I used some to make the glaze for the Ginger Berry Nutty Crisp which I posted the other day. I also snapped up a couple of packs of dumpling skins – we both love Gyoza and they are so easy to make once you get into a rhythm. Filled gyoza freeze marvellously and I will no doubt be posting some recipes soon.

In My Kitchen - September Kitchen | Selma's TableI picked up this pretty bowl – it’s just the right size for food photos and as we approach Autumn, I see a few crumbles in it’s future! In fact I had bought a few punnets of blackberries and raspberries just for that purpose but I couldn’t bring myself to make a crumble just yet. I made the Ginger Berry Nutty Crisp instead but there will be some crumbles coming up soon!

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 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!

 

Ginger Berry Nutty Crisp

Ginger, Berry, Nutty Crisp | Selma's TableI rather love September – not only because my favourite (!) son was born towards the latter end of the month but also because it’s full of new beginnings. A new school year begins with high hopes and  all the paraphernalia that goes with it – uniform, school shoes, pens and pencils, geometry sets, books, teachers and classmates. Only this year, as Jake enters what is known as Sixth Form (the last two years of school before University) there is no “uniform” other than the Sixth Form tie. All the boys must wear a suit (navy, charcoal or black), a white shirt and black shoes. He does go off to school looking terribly smart!

Ginger, Berry, Nutty Crisp | Selma's TableMeaning to make a crumble to showcase a pretty bowl (I know, how shallow am I?), I bought some lovely blackberries and raspberries from the market. But making a crumble seemed akin to admitting that the summer was over – which I am not quite ready to do! The weather has been warm in that September sort of way and the trees seem determined to hang onto their verdant hues though there are a few on the turn too.

Ginger, Berry, Nutty Crisp | Selma's TableIt didn’t seem right somehow to be making a winteresque pudding so I adapted the Peach and Amaretti Crisp I made last week to make a Ginger Berry Nutty Crisp. I used a spicy biscuit called Speculoo, added some ground ginger and walnuts to the base and topping and included that gorgeous Japanese citrus flavour called Yuzu in the icing. I used a golden icing sugar which is unrefined – it gives the icing a gorgeous caramel colour and flavour too. Any spicy biscuit will do – by spicy I mean with ginger or cinnamon – not chilli!! And if you can’t get ahold of Yuzu seasoning (please do look out for it – it is amazing in dips and with fish as well as cocktails) then use a couple of teaspoons of lemon juice along with some zest.

Ginger, Berry, Nutty Crisp | Selma's TableA quick word on preparing pans for baking. I don’t think that enough emphasis is placed on it but it is essential to do this well so that your delicious and lovingly prepared bakes are easy to turn out and present. If you bake frequently, it is completely worth buying pre-cut circles, strips and rolls of baking paper. In the UK, Lakeland and John Lewis are great resources as are eBay and Amazon. It’s not necessary to grease and paper the tins but do use a few dabs of butter so that the paper sticks to the tin and doesn’t move about.

How to line a baking tinAnd how to easily paper a square or rectangular tin? You can either cut out two long strips that are as wide as the tin so that they cover the base as well as the sides or you can do what I do which is to turn the tin over then drape and cut off enough paper to fit over it. Make a neat pleat at the corners- as if gift wrapping then turn the tin over and the paper should slip straight in. For a circular tin, cut out a strip which is a little longer than the length of the circumference. Then make a narrow fold along the length of it and snip along it at an angle. Dab a little butter along the sides of the tin and place the strip along it with the snipped section flat against the base of the pan. Place a circle of paper on the base on top of the snipped section and you are good to go.  I have lots of tips that you might find interesting on my TIps and Tricks page. If you go over and take a look, do leave your best tips in the comments box. I will include them with a credit to you.

Ginger, Berry, Nutty Crisp | Selma's TableI’m taking my Ginger Berry Nutty Crisp along to Angie of the Novice Gardener’s Fiesta Friday #32 – the weekly virtual get-together where we share fabulous stories and recipes from all over the world. Please do join in by seeing what is on offer or sharing a post. This week (as well as last week) Hilda from Along the Grapevine is helping Angie as a co-host. Hilda lives on a rather idyllic 7 acre property in Ontario, where she shares her stories and recipes of all the things she grows and forages on her land – this week it’s her incredible tomatoes – sigh! And Angie has brought a delicious Chilli con Carne – one of my favourite dishes! A huge thanks to both Angie and Hilda for hosting!!

Ginger, Berry, Nutty Crisp | Selma's TableClick on the Fiesta Friday badge below to join the party – you can submit a post (be sure to include a link to Angie and Hilda’s FF#32 posts – 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!

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Ginger Berry Nutty Crisp

  • Servings: 16 pieces
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

For the base and topping:

  • 80 g Speculoo biscuits (a spicy biscuit)
  • 20 g walnuts
  • 190 g plain/AP flour
  • 50 g oats
  • 20 g ground almonds/almond meal/almond flour
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 150 g cold, unsalted butter, cubed
  • 50 g chopped walnuts – reserve for the topping

For the filling:

  • 275 – 300 g mixed soft berries I used raspberries and blackberries
  • 1 large egg
  • 100 g light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ground almonds/almond meal

For the glaze:

  • ½ c golden icing/super fine sugar
  • 2 Tbsp crème fraîche
  • 2 tsp Yuzu Citrus Seasoning

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C/350 F
  2. Line a 9 inch square tin with greaseproof paper so that the base and sides are covered – use a few dabs of butter to get the paper to stick to the pan.
  3. While the oven is heating up, place the 20 g of walnuts on a tray and toast for 5 – 8 minutes. Cool, then place in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Don’t take it too far otherwise you will have a nut paste rather than a nut flour. Set aside.
  4. Place the Speculoo biscuits in a food processor and blitz to fine crumbs.
  5. Add the flour, oats, ground almonds, the ground walnuts and ginger and pulse a couple of times to combine.
  6. Add the cold butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse, damp sand.
  7. Set aside 1 cup of this mixture for the topping and tip the rest into the prepared tin. Pat it level – don’t press down too hard or it will be tough – then bake for 15 minutes.
  8. While the base is baking, get the filling ready; sort through the fruit and discard any mouldy ones.
  9. Using an electric mixer and a medium sized bowl, whisk the egg and sugar until coffee coloured and creamy – about 2 minutes. Then add the almond meal and salt and whisk again. Fold in the berries.
  10. After the base has been in the oven for 15 minutes, remove it and top with the filling – covering the hot base as evenly as you can with the fruit.
  11. Sprinkle over the chopped walnuts and the reserved topping.
  12. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.
  13. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then using the lining paper as handles, lift out and place on a wire rack to cool completely before glazing.
  14. Combine glaze ingredients together until smooth and drizzle over the top.

Stores brilliantly, covered in the fridge for 4-5 days.

© 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.

Peach & Amaretti Crisp

Peach & Amaretti Crisp | Selma's TableWhen I first began baking, all those years ago in Canada, my Mum would always exhort me to to cut back on the amount of sugar that was called for. Invariably there was a lot of sugar in those recipes for cakes, cookies and bakes so reducing it was not too much of a hardship. It is something that I still do today. Even though I would like to think that modern recipes have dialled this down somewhat, I still find that I can usually cut back a little on sugar. I bake a lot but Jake has never needed a filling in his nearly seventeen years on this sugar mad planet. He doesn’t have a dentist phobia either!! When he was a baby, I used to make all his food – steaming, pureeing and freezing vegetables in ice cube trays – no added sugar, salt or preservatives! When he was a toddler, sweets were for Sundays and as he got older and developed a liking for fizzy drinks, they were reserved for occasions like restaurant meals or birthdays. I like to think he got off to a good start even though he does love a Mars bar!

Peach & Amaretti Crisp | Selma's TableTrying to cut back on sugar meant that I almost didn’t post this recipe for Peach and Amaretti Crisp. I didn’t think the squares of Crisp were sweet enough but Jake had a friend round for dinner on Monday and they both thought that the squares were perfect. I didn’t add any sugar to the base as I thought the sugar in the Amaretti was enough (I had a taste of the dry mix just to make sure – the things I do for you, dear Reader..) but when I tasted a square without the glaze I came to the conclusion that my quest had gone too far. But  once they were glazed, they were absolutely delicious – just sweet enough to bring out the flavours of the peaches and the almonds.

Peach & Amaretti Crisp | Selma's TableThe amaretti are such a visual treat. These ones come in such a pretty tin, wrapped in papery twists; some with fringed edges. When I was married, we used to frequent a local Italian restaurant and they used to serve these with the coffee. My husband, replete with excellent food and Saint-Emillion, would roll the paper into a column place it on the tablecloth and set it alight. I, heart in mouth, would watch with a combination of terror and childish delight, as it would rise, flaming, off the table and burn to an ash.

Peach & Amaretti Crisp | Selma's TableThis Peach and Amaretti Crisp is quite a simple thing to make. Blitz the base which is also the topping, together, reserving a cup full for the topping and pat the rest into the prepared cake tin and bake for 15 minutes. While it is baking, make the peach filling which is essentially whisked egg, sugar and almond meal into which you fold the chopped peaches. The hot base is covered with the peach filling and the reserved topping is sprinkled over with some flaked almonds. While that finishes baking, the glaze can be prepared to be drizzled over the Peach and Amaretti Crisp when it is cold. You end with a mouthful of crisp, gooey, crunchy fruity, almondy deliciousness that is perfect with an espresso. So make the most of the seasonal peaches as the summer segues into autumn and make these – they make a very nice after school snack too!

Peach & Amaretti Crisp | Selma's Table

Peach & Amaretti Crisp

  • Servings: 16 pieces
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Adapted from Peaches ‘n’ Cream Bars by Sally’s Baking Addiction

INGREDIENTS

For the base and topping:

  • 80 g amaretti biscuits (9 biscuits)
  • 190 g plain/AP flour
  • 50 g oats
  • 40 g ground almonds/almond meal/almond flour
  • 150 g cold, unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 Tbsp flaked almonds

For the filling:

  • 3 tasty peaches
  • 1 large egg
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ground almonds/almond meal

For the glaze:

  • ½ c icing/super fine sugar
  • 2 Tbsp crème fraîche
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C/350 F
  2. Line a 9 inch square tin with baking parchment so that the base and sides are covered – use a few dabs of butter to get the paper to stick to the pan.
  3. Place the amaretti biscuits in a food processor and blitz to a fine powder.
  4. Add the flour, oats and almond meal and pulse a couple of times to combine.
  5. Add the cold butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse, damp sand.
  6. Set aside 1 cup of this mixture for the topping and tip the rest into the prepared tin. Pat it level – don’t press down too hard or it will be tough – then bake for 15 minutes.
  7. While the base is baking, get the filling ready; peel, pit and chop the peaches into 1 cm chunks.
  8. Using an electric mixer and a medium sized bowl, whisk the egg and sugar until pale and creamy – about 2 minutes. Then add the almond meal and salt and whisk again. Fold in the peaches.
  9. After the base has been in the oven for 15 minutes, remove it and top with the filling – covering the hot base as evenly as you can with the peaches.
  10. Sprinkle over the reserved topping and scatter over the slivered almonds.
  11. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.
  12. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then using the lining paper as handles, lift out and place on a wire rack to cool completely before glazing.
  13. Combine glaze ingredients together until smooth and drizzle over the top.

Stores brilliantly, covered in the fridge for 4-5 days.

© 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.

Smoky, Spicy Roasted Corn Soup

Smoky, Spicy Roasted Corn Soup | Selma's TableI popped into Borough Market on Saturday, just to buy some gnarly heirloom tomatoes – something both Jake and I really enjoy with basil and buffalo mozzarella. The market is uncomfortably busy on a Saturday so I didn’t linger but just made my way to the periphery where there are some brilliant farm vegetable stalls and also came away with these lovely ears of corn.

Smoky, Spicy Roasted Corn Soup | Selma's TableI’ve been craving the East African dish of “Makai Paka” or  “Corn in Coconut” but after a conversation with my mother, realised that I didn’t have a couple of items so decided on making a rustic soup instead. I used a dried chipotle pepper to add a smoky spicy depth to this dish – you could add smoky paprika and some chilli flakes if you don’t have chipotle peppers. After rehydrating it in hot water, I sliced it in half and scraped out the seeds as it was quite hot enough!

Smoky, Spicy Roasted Corn Soup | Selma's TableI had seen a method of slicing off corn kernels that I had been itching to try. which involves a Bundt pan and a sharp knife – it worked! The hole in the middle of the pan supports the cob and the pan itself catches most of the kernels and really contains the ‘scatter and splatter’ that inevitably results when slicing off fresh corn kernels.

Smoky, Spicy Roasted Corn Soup | Selma's Table

When roasting the kernels, don’t over do them – for this soup, they are nicer when they are still quite creamy and tinged gold rather than hard chewy golden nuggets! And don’t throw the corn cobs away – they are needed to make a corn broth for the soup!

This is a lovely dish to enjoy as a light lunch or supper, making the best of the late summer produce that is around! I am taking this over to share with the lovely bloggers over at The Novice Gardener’s, Fiesta Friday #31  which today, is being hosted by Angie herself. Angie is sharing the most delicious spread of bruschetta and crostini and the featured recipes from last week are absolutely mouth watering! Smoky, Spicy Roasted Corn Soup | Selma's Table

Smoky, Spicy Roasted Corn Soup

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Adapted from Fresh Corn Soup by David Lebovitz

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cobs of corn
  • 2 pointed sweet red peppers
  • 4 cloves of garlic in their skins
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 800 ml water
  • 1 medium onion
  • splash of olive oil
  • 150 ml creme fraiche
  • 1 dried chipotle pepper (or 1 tsp smoked paprika and ½ tsp chilli flakes)
  • 1 tsp dry roasted cumin seeds, crushed coarsely
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves or use parsley or chervil instead
  • lemon wedges to serve

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Leave the chipotle pepper to soak in a little hot water.
  2. Preheat oven to 190 C/ 375F
  3. Shuck the corn and slice off the kernels. Set the cobs aside. to make a broth. Slice the red peppers in two and de-seed.
  4. On a large baking tray, mix the kernels, the peppers, the garlic, the salt and the olive oil – spread out and roast for 25 mins, stirring a couple of times. The corn should be tinged gold in places but don’t over-roast – the kernels should still be succulent.
  5. While the kernels are  roasting, snap the cobs into pieces and place in a saucepan. Cover with 800 ml of water and bring to a simmer. Simmer on a low heat for about 30 minutes.
  6. Sauté the onion in a large saucepan until floppy and slightly golden.
  7. When cool enough to handle, chop the sweet red pepper into small pieces.
  8. Drain the chipotle pepper, cut in half and remove the seeds to reduce the heat. Chop  finely and have a little taste to see how hot it is.
  9. Squeeze the garlic out of their skins and add to the onions in the saucepan, along with the kernels and the chopped red pepper. Stir in the chipotle pepper to your taste – I used the whole one. Or add the smoky paprika and the chilli flakes if not using the chipotle pepper. Add a teaspoon of vegetable bouillon and the crushed cumin seeds
  10. Remove the corn cobs from the water and discard. Tip the corn broth into the saucepan and bring to a simmer. Do not boil.
  11. Stir in the creme fraiche and the herbs.

Serve with a lemon wedges which really sharpen the flavour and tone down the heat at the same time.

 

© 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Courgette, Red Pepper & Mint Gratin with Chèvre

Courgette and Red Pepper Gratin with Chèvre | Selma's Table

Such a glut of courgettes (zucchini) around – do you know that right now, the most popular recipe on my blog is Quick Summer Pickle – Sweet and Sour Courgettes? It gets more views every day than anything else at the moment! I love courgettes but unfortunately, Jake does not. No matter how I cook them, oven fries, griddled, sautéed, grated raw or ribboned  in a salad – he just picks them out and says that it is a texture thing. I can’t even fool him anymore by saying that it’s cucumber – he’s waaaay beyond that stage now!

So in order to satisfy my craving for them, I tend to cook them so that they will keep for a couple of days at least – that means gratins and stews. This one is a riff on the very first recipe I posted a year ago, Courgette, Feta and Thyme Bake. I still can’t photograph it that well – it’s not a looker but it tastes fabulous warm, room temperature  or cold.

This Courgette, Red Pepper & Mint Gratin with Chèvre is a good dish for a picnic or a barbecue as it can be made ahead and ideal for a buffet table as well. I like it on a slice of toasted sourdough with a rocket salad – it makes the perfect light lunch or supper. The combination of courgettes, mint, red pepper and goats cheese is lovely and fresh – perfect to see off the summer with.

Courgette and Red Pepper Gratin with Chèvre | Selma's Table

Courgette and Red Pepper Gratin with Chèvre | Selma's Table

My Courgette, Red Pepper & Mint Gratin with Chèvre is terribly easy to make. Sauté some shallots and peppers, then add the coins of courgettes, garlic and seasonings. While that is going on, mix up the custard – the eggs, creme fraiche and parmesan cheese. Then it’s just a matter of layering it all together and dotting it with chunks of chèvre (goats cheese) and popping it in the oven for half and hour or so. Now the trick with layering is to start off really parsimoniously – be as mean as you can get away with so that you have generous amounts left for the top layers. Printable recipe follows below, as always!

Courgette and Red Pepper Gratin with Chèvre | Selma's Table

Courgette and Red Pepper Gratin with Chèvre | Selma's Table

Courgette, Red Pepper & Mint Gratin with Chèvre

  • Servings: 4 - 8 servings
  • Time: 15 mins prep, 25 - 35 mins oven
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Tbsp rapeseed or mild olive oil
  • 2 large banana shallots or 1 medium onion
  • 1 large sweet red pointed pepper
  • 4 medium courgettes/zucchini
  • pinch of salt
  • pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp vegetable bouillon powder
  • a splash of water
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint leaves finely chopped
  • 3 medium free range or organic eggs
  • 150 ml reduced fat creme fraiche
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 100 g of soft goats cheese/chèvre

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 220 C/450F and butter an oven proof dish.
  2. Warm oil in a large frying pan over a medium low flame
  3. Slice shallots into half moons and stir in.
  4. De-seed and slice the red pepper and stir in. Add a pinch of salt and give it all a stir.
  5. Slice the courgettes into ½ cm coins. When the shallots start to caramelise and the peppers are starting to soften, stir in the courgettes. Let these sauté for about 5 – 7 minutes, stirring frequently so that the shallots don’t catch. The courgettes should be just cooked through and a little browned in places. It does help to use a big frying pan.
  6. Stir in the minced garlic, the rosemary and the bouillon powder and add a little splash of water and scrape up the delicious caramelised juices that will have stuck to the pan. Turn off the heat, stir in the mint and set aside to  cool while you get on with the eggs.
  7. Lightly whisk the eggs in a medium sized mixing bowl. Whisk in the creme fraiche , the lemon juice and the parmesan cheese. It will look slightly curdled and will thicken from the lemon juice but it is fine.
  8. In a well buttered ovenproof dish, layer a scant half of the vegetables and cover with a very scant half of the custard. Repeat, finishing by dotting blobs of the soft goats cheese over the top.
  9. Bake for 25-35 minutes until set and golden brown in places.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 6/8 as side dish or 4 as a light lunch with salad

Also fabulous to take on picnics or in packed lunches.

© 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.

Walnut & Date Scones

Walnut & Date Scones | Selma's TableI was leafing through some magazines at the dentist’s the other day, more as a distraction than anything else, trying hard to quell the rising panic in my throat that this particular branch of health care seems to provoke in me. All I could think about as I nervously leafed through those pages was whether I was going to walk out or be brave and see the appointment through. Thankfully the drill was silent or I would have most probably left. You will laugh if I tell you that it was for a scale and polish but there is something about that clinical smell, the clang of sharp instruments, the sound of that God awful suction machine and that big bright overhead lamp that just makes my skin crawl and reduces me to a whimpering child. I got through it, of course I did, but not without a great deal of trepidation first. If anyone deserved a star, a sticker and obviously a gold medal, it was me, I can tell you.

Walnut & Date Scones | Selma's TableSomehow, despite the rising panic in that waiting room, I registered a picture of walnut topped pastries that popped back in my head when I got home. Well, Celia’s International Scone Week had got it’s hold on me so I had a rummage in the pantry and made these scones based on the Feta, Sun dried Tomato and Thyme Scones I posted last week. This time round, I separated the wedges which made them bake faster and added chopped walnuts and dates to the flour mixture. To heighten the walnut flavour, I also added a little walnut oil to the dough. They are really lovely with a soft cheese and quince or fig jam. The dates lend just enough of  a hint of sweetness that goes so well with walnuts. Remember to handle the dough as little as possible to ensure that you have a nice crumbly scone.

Walnut and Date Scones

  • Servings: 8 scones
  • Time: 15 mins active, 15 mins baking
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 225 g plain flour/AP flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • pinch fine salt
  • 50 g chopped walnuts
  • 50 g chopped ready to eat dates
  • 30 ml Mrs Middleton’s rapeseed or a light olive oil
  • 20 ml walnut oil
  • 125 ml milk
  • a little extra milk to glaze
  • 8 walnut halves to decorate

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 225 C/ 440F. Line baking sheet with baking parchment and sprinkle over a little flour.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt really well to make sure that all the ingredients are well incorporated.
  3. Stir in the chopped walnuts and dates ensuring that all are well coated in flour. This stops them sinking to the bottom.
  4. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the oils and the milk.
  5. Using the table knife and a light hand, mix in the bowl until the flour has been incorporated.
  6. Lightly flour or oil your fingers and push into a ball shape in the mixing bowl then turn out straight onto the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Pat down gently into a circular shape until it is 1 inch in height.
  8. Using a pizza wheel or a knife, cut into 8 triangles.
  9. Pull the wedges apart and brush the tops with a little milk. Set a walnut half on top of each one.
  10. Bake for 15 minutes until golden

Lovely served warm, with a little blue cheese and membrillo (quince paste) or brie/goats cheese and fig jam.

© 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.