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 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.

Spiced Orange & Honey Cake – Sugar Free

Spiced Orange & Honey CakeMy friends’ adorable baby girl, Olive (just look at those cheeks!), turned 1 last week and her mother, Danna, asked me if I would make the birthday cake. Now, birthday cakes are something that I have made a lot of over the years for Jake as well as the children of friends and neighbours. There have been dinosaurs, ships, butterflies, bears, football pitches, stars, numbers….The most memorable and completely ridiculous year was when Jake turned 4 and I made one to take to his Nursery school, another for the birthday party at home and one for the children’s party in a church hall. Making and decorating 3 cakes is fairly deranged but one of them was a train with 2 wagons, made completely from scratch and which nearly gave me  nervous breakdown! I finished decorating it at about 4 am…utter madness even if it was rather spectacular!

Sugar Free, Spiced Orange & Honey Cake | Selma's TableDana asked me to make a sugar free cake as she has managed to keep Olive away from refined sugar thus far. Well, thank goodness for the trend in “naked” cakes – that took care of the icing, but what about the cake itself? A little research led me to birch sugar with the rather unfortunate and chemical sounding name of Xylitol – the name is actually derived from the Greek word for tree – “xyl”. It is a naturally occurring sugar, found in birch, berries and corn husks. Xylitol has a Glycemic Index of only 7 which is 10 times lower than sugar and 4 times lower than fructose; it has 40% less calories than sugar and 75% less carbs and looks and tastes just like sugar. It is used in exactly the same quantities as sugar.

So I planned to make a naked Honey Cake, layered with whipped cream and berries, but then realised that would be tricky to put together as the party was taking place in the gorgeous gardens of The Telegraph, a stylish country pub in Putney. So in the end, I used my patterned Bundt pan and served slices of the cake with organic ginger Greek yoghurt and blueberries.  Just before bringing it out, it was lightly dusted with a tiny amount of icing sugar and decorated it with edible butterfly wafers and flowers by Alex, a very sweet young chap who is 4 – didn’t he do a wonderful job?

Sugar Free, Spiced Orange & Honey Cake | Selma's TableThis recipe is an adaptation from Marcy Goldman’s Treasures of Jewish Holiday Baking and Deb Perlman’s Majestic and Moist Honey Cake. I have cut back on the sweetness and the spicing, adjusted the leavening and added orange zest to the batter for more flavour.  You could of course make the cake with regular caster and brown sugar if you wanted to. As an added bonus, the smell of this cake baking will make your house smell incredible!

I ended up having to make it twice. Disaster struck the first time as I didn’t grease the tin properly and the cake stuck to the pan and broke coming out of it. It was, however, really delicious and moist which I was really happy with and Spiced Orange & Honey CakeJake took it to a picnic he was going to so it wasn’t wasted. The second time, I not only greased the tin, but also floured it which highlighted the spots I had missed – easy to do on these patterned tins.

Sugar Free, Spiced Orange & Honey Cake | Selma's TableThe cake is so easy to make – mix together the flours, raising agents and spices, make a well, pour in the sugars and wet ingredients, beat, pour into the tin and bake. It couldn’t be simpler. Just make sure that you grease your tin properly!!

Sugar Free, Spiced Orange & Honey Cake | Selma's Table

This week, I am thrilled to be co-hosting Fiesta Friday #29 with my old partner in crime, Jhuls @ Not So Creative Cook. We are throwing a pool party over at Angie’s this week.  Come, dressed in your most glamourous poolside lounging gear and let’s celebrate the wonderful summer we have been having. I’m the one in the white linen, bejewelled caftan, huge floppy hat and the rhinestone flip flops!

If you have Fiesta’d then you know what to do. If you haven’t, it’s really easy;

  1. Write a post – it doesn’t have to be about food but it should be a new one for the party.
  2. Add the link from Angie’s Fiesta Friday #29 post (http://thenovicegardener.wordpress.com/2014/08/15/mille-crepe-cake-fiesta-friday-29/) to your post together with a line or two about the party.
  3. Finally click on the purple Fiesta Friday “click to join” button which will take you to the linky page so that you can add your link to the party page.

I’m probably not making much sense so read the guidelines here – http://thenovicegardener.wordpress.com/fiesta-friday/

Jhuls and I would be over the moon to see you at our Fiesta. If you are new to blogging, Fiesta Friday is a great way to gain exposure and make new friends too. So, put on your most fabulous pool party gear  and join the party!!! Mix and mingle with all the guests, follow and leave comments too – it is the friendliest party around! Click over to Angie’s post for FF#29 to join the party or click on the button below.

fiesta-friday-badge-button-click-to-join1

 

Sugar Free, Spiced Orange & Honey Cake

  • Servings: 12-16
  • Time: 15 mins Prep 1hr baking
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 235 ml warm strong black tea (I used 2 rooibos teabags)
  • 440 g  plain/AP flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp table salt
  • 3 tsp cinnamon powder
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • 235ml mild flavoured vegetable oil (I use Olivio)
  • 340g/1 jar of honey
  • 225 g Total Sweet (xylitol – a wood or birch sugar – replaces refined cane sugar)
  • 60 g coconut/palm sugar/jaggery  (brown sugar replacement)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Zest of 2 oranges
  • 100-12o ml of orange juice (which is approximately the juice from one orange)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Make the tea and set aside to steep.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 180 C/350 F
  3. Grease a 25 cm/10 inch Bundt tin thoroughly especially if patterned. Pop into the fridge for a few minutes, then flour it, which will also highlight any spots you have missed. Grease the entire inside of the tin as this cakes rises magnificently. Leave in the fridge until you are ready to use it.
  4. Measure out the flour into a large mixing bowl, then add the baking powder and soda, the salt and the spices. Whisk really well to mix and aerate, then make a well in the middle of it.
  5. Pour/add in the rest of the ingredients (the oil, the honey, the tea (squeezing the teabags to extract as much flavour as you can out of them), the xylitol, the palm sugar, the eggs, the vanilla and the orange juice and zest).
  6. Set the hand mixer on the lowest speed and mix until really well blended. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl to ensure that all the dry ingredients have been incorporated.
  7. Pour this very liquid batter into the prepared baking tin.
  8. Set the tin onto 2 baking sheets (this ensures that the cake cooks evenly as the batter is so liquid)
  9. Place in the oven and set the timer for 50 minutes. Check to see how it is coming along and cover loosely with aluminium foil if it is starting to catch and burn – let your sense of smell guide you too.
  10. Set timer for 10 more minutes then use a wooden skewer to ensure that it is cooked all the way through. Both times, mine took exactly 60 minutes to bake.
  11. Let the cake set in the tin, on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then place a wire rack over the top of the tin and flip it over. Give it a gentle shake and the cake should detach itself easily from the tin.
  12. The cake tastes better the next day, after it has had a chance to mature.
  13. Serve with Honey or Ginger flavoured Greek yoghurt and some blueberries or enjoy a slice plain with a cup of tea.

© 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.

 

 

 

Feta, Sundried Tomato and Thyme Scones

Feta, Sundried Tomato and Thyme SconesIt’s International Scone Week and I am joining Celia over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial where she will be hosting a scone recipe round up at the end of the week. She started this 3 years ago as she and her friends found themselves baking scones at about the same time and it has now become a rather wonderful tradition. As I was too busy to join in with Celia’s monthly In My Kitchen series (even though I have some wonderful things to share with you so will save them for next month) I made it a point to join this round up when I saw Celia’s post on Instagram, which was followed swiftly by her blog post – http://figjamandlimecordial.com/2014/08/11/international-scone-week-2014

Feta, Sundried Tomato and Thyme SconesIt is also my first anniversary here on the blog. It’s been a wonderful year, a huge learning curve with the bonus of  getting to know so many of you. I have met Elaine of Foodbod and had a super time in Borough Market with her. Tina of Mademoiselle Gourmande is coming to London in  September and we are deciding on whether to have Afternoon Tea or Dim Sum when we meet – either way, I cannot wait! I regularly meet friends of friends who follow and read my blog which is always wonderful as well as being a little scary too – so much to live up to! Thank you all, for your support and friendship and for following me on so many different social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest – where I do try and keep the majority of my posts different so that I don’t bore you with the same photos and posts!) Thank you for sharing my posts, retweeting them, favouriting them, commenting on them and re-pinning them. It has been fabulous having you all along on this journey.

Feta, Sundried Tomato and Thyme Scones

Mr Fitz  is always going on about Mrs Middleton’s Cold-Pressed Rapeseed Oil on his blog. He recently re-tweeted a post of theirs that said they were sending out samples to interested chefs and bloggers. I immediately emailed then, told them that I had heard of them from Mr Fitz (‘Ah, good old Mr Fitz’, was their reply!) and received a very chic bottle of their rather gorgeous oil. Let me tell you, I can see what all the fuss is about now. The seeds are grown on the family farm in Bedfordshire and each batch of oil is labelled with the name of the field where the seed was grown so that you can track where your oil has come from! Cold pressed below 40C and filtered once after the residues have settled, this glowing golden oil has a rounded mellow and slightly nutty flavour profile. It’s been wonderful in salad dressings and I plan to try it in a mayonnaise next.

I have just found out that the oil (as well as their Stone Ground Flour) has been awarded stars by the Guild of Fine Food in the Great Taste Awards! You can buy this delicious award winning oil, directly from Mrs Middleton’s website (they have some offers on at the moment) or from stockists which they list on their site – http://www.mrsmiddleton.co.uk

 

Feta, Sundried Tomato and Thyme SconesRapeseed oil (also known as Canola oil in Canada and the States) has less unhealthy saturated fat than all other cooking oils and fats and is high in beneficial monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats omega 3, 6 and 9 and anti-oxidants. It also has a high smoke point which is very useful for oven roasting, pan and deep frying. In Britain, there are no commercially grown GMO rapeseed crops which is not always the case in other countries. I feel like I have waited far too long to start using this oil!

Feta, Sundried Tomato and Thyme SconesAnyway, I have been wanting to showcase Mrs Middleton’s rather lovely oil and developed a delicious savoury scone recipe, which is really moist yet crumbly.  Unlike most scone recipes, there is no rubbing in of butter or even any addition of eggs. The grated cheese and the oil provide the moisture. Traditionally, self raising flour is used but I have run out so if you would prefer to use self raising flour then only add 1 tsp of baking powder to the flour.  These are wedge scones and bake together therefore these do take a little longer to bake than the scones that are stamped out. And remember that the less you handle the dough, the crumblier and shorter your scones will turn out.

Feta, Sundried Tomato and Thyme Scones

Feta, Sundried Tomato and Thyme Scones

Feta, Sundried Tomato and Thyme Scones

*Disclaimer – I was sent a bottle of Mrs Middelton’s Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil to try out but the opinions expressed in this piece are entirely my own.*

Feta, Sundried Tomatoes and Thyme Scones

  • Servings: 8 scone wedges
  • Time: 15 min prep, 25 min bake
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Adapted from Rape Seed Oil Benefits

INGREDIENTS

  • 225 g plain flour/ AP flour
  • 1 Tbsp (15g) baking powder
  • 1 tsp Essential vegetable stock powder
  • 75 g strong cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves chopped, save a few whole ones for garnish
  • 60 g sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 125 ml milk
  • 50 ml Mrs Middleton’s cold pressed rapeseed oil
  • 50 g feta cheese, cut into small cubes
  • a little extra milk to glaze

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 225 C/ 440F. Line baking sheet with baking parchment and sprinkle over a little flour.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and vegetable stock powder, three times to thoroughly incorporate all three ingredients.
  3. Using an table knife, mix in the cheddar and thyme leaves to coat with the flour.
  4. Make a well in this mixture and pour in the milk and rapeseed oil. Add ¾ of the chopped sun dried tomatoes.
  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. Scatter over the feta cheese and the reserved sun dried tomatoes and press into the dough. Scatter over the reserved thyme leaves.
  10. Brush the top only, with a little milk.
  11. Bake for 20- 25 mins. Test after 20 minutes – you don’t want it over baked – under baked is better as it continues to cook in the middle as it is cooling down.

© 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.

Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Strawberries

cheesecake-stuffed-chocolate-strawberriesWe’ve been having the most glorious summer weather here in London – this historic city is even more beautiful when the sun is shining and you can appreciate the architecture, gardens and cafe society in the golden glow of the summer sun rather than scurrying along under an umbrella, shoulders hunched, looking at the ground to avoid puddles. There is a wonderful campaign of sorts, called “Look up London” which exhorts us to look up and admire the amazing architecture – I always travel on the top decks of  buses just so that I have a better view of the upper sections of the buildings. In fact, when Jake was just a toddler, we used to spend the bus journeys into the West End, on the upper decks, gargoyle spotting. Such fun!

Last weekend, a friend organised a picnic in a private garden square off Sloane Street in Belgravia – the posh bit of Chelsea. “Simply bring yourself!” he exclaimed, when I asked what I should bring; “I just want you to relax and enjoy yourself.” Now, I have been on his picnics before – it’s all silver cutlery, china plates, crystal glasses, linen napkins, gorgeous throws to sit on and  really beautiful food. This picnic was no different – his “prep area” was an arbour set with wooden block seating where the hampers and bottles of wine where kept cool in the shade. Adjacent to this, in the sunshine and next to a lavender edged flower bed, he had spread out one of his enormous throws, scattered with large Indian carpet cushions. Along with a couple of deck chairs, a white linen covered occasional table set with a vase of flowers, a pile of the Sunday papers and a bronze Blackamoor holding out a box of marshmallows, it was akin to  something out of the Days of the Raj – all that was missing was the punkah-wallah to keep us cool!

cheesecake-stuffed-chocolate-strawberriesAnd the food…poached salmon on watercress with an avocado sauce garnished with lemon, prawns and squid rings; a wild rice salad with orange and red peppers, cashew nuts and dried cranberries: a green bean and tomato salad and finally, a vodka marinated cucumber salad with a dill sauce – all immaculately presented, of course. We also had fabulously ripe cheeses brought along by one of the guests, macaroons, the aforementioned marshmallows and I took these Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Strawberries – because I was not going to be able to turn up empty handed! A really splendid afternoon, catching up with old friends and making some new ones, in these beautiful gardens far removed from the hoi-polloi of “barbaric” Chelsea!

These Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Strawberries are a modern, healthy and portable version of a Strawberry Cheesecake. Hollowed out strawberries are filed with a sweetened vanilla cream cheese then dipped in melted chocolate and coated with biscuit crumbs. I saw a version without the chocolate on Pinterest last year but when I made them I found that the biscuit crumbs got soggy from the strawberries as well as the cream cheese. The chocolate forms a barrier  and a really delicious one at that! Feel free to use semi-sweet or milk chocolate instead of dark if you prefer. I made two punnets for the picnic and one for this post. The strawberries for the picnic were much larger and the ones for this post were quite small – you will have to judge how much cream cheese, chocolate and crumbs you will need, depending on the size and amount of the fruit – the recipe below is what I used for the smaller berries. Remember that they don’t take much cream cheese to fill them. These are best at room temperature but do need to be kept in the fridge for the chocolate to firm up. These are perfect for picnics but they are also lovely as a sweet canapé at a summer party.

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cheesecake-stuffed-chocolate-strawberries

cheesecake-stuffed-chocolate-strawberries

cheesecake-stuffed-chocolate-strawberriesI am taking these over to Angie’s for Fiesta Friday #27 – that fabulous weekly party where you will leave completely inspired and blown away by the creativity out there. This week, Angie is ably helped by Aussie power duo,  Saucy @ Saucy Gander and Margot @ Gather and Graze who are in fancy dress – so I’ve come in flapper gear, doing the Charleston and handing out strawberries!

Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Strawberries

INGREDIENTS

  • 400 g punnet of strawberries as even in size as possible
  • 100 g cream cheese
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp sifted icing (confectioner’s) sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract. or paste
  • 70 g of dark or semi sweet chocolate
  • 4 – 5 digestive biscuits or graham crackers

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place the biscuits in a sandwich bag and crush to fine crumbs with a rolling pin or the bottom of a glass. Place  the crumbs in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Blend the cream cheese with 1 tablespoon of the sifted icing sugar and the vanilla – taste and add more sugar if it’s not sweet enough. Taste your strawberries too – you don’t want an overly sweent stuffing if the berries are very sweet.
  3. Fit a large holed nozzle onto a piping bag and fill the bag with the cream cheese mixture. Or fill a sandwich bag with the cream cheese – you can snip off a small bit of the corner when you are ready to stuff the strawberries. Place the bag in the fridge while you get on with the strawberries.
  4. Rinse the strawberries and set aside any that have mushy spots. You can trim those and save them for smoothies, fruit salads etc.
  5. Using a small paring knife, slice off the strawberry hull or calyx – the leaves.
  6. Then, using the tip of the paring knife, hollow out from the base by twisting the knife around in a conical circle.
  7. Place the strawberries on a paper towel lined tray to drain.
  8. Once they are all hulled and hollowed out, pat the tops of the fruit with another paper towel to dry the surfaces.
  9. Fill the strawberries with the cream cheese, using the piping or sandwich bag to fill the fruit neatly.
  10. Either melt the chocolate (in a small bowl) on a low setting in the microwave for 30 second intervals or in a double boiler set-up (a pan of simmering water with the bowl of chocolate set on top but not touching the water). The chocolate should be just melted.
  11. Using a pickle fork or a toothpick or even your fingers if the strawberries are large enough to hold, dip the ends in the chocolate and then in the crumbs.
  12. Set on a tray and pop into the fridge for the chocolate to firm up.
  13. These are best enjoyed at room temperature so take them out at least half an hour before serving. If transporting for picnic then place in a suitable container, packing an icepack underneath the container.

© 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.

The Recipe Wheel Challenge – Roast Chicken

the-recipe-wheel-challenge-roast-chickenThe lovely people over at the Happy Foodie asked what I could do with a Roast Chicken – they obviously knew that I am the Queen of cooking roast chickens, every which way – it is something that I make most weeks as I love having left overs to play with for a few days afterwards.

The idea of the challenge comes from Rosie Ramsden, a self described painter, cook and food stylist. Her new book, The Recipe Wheel, published by Random House, takes a core ingredient which sits at the centre of the wheel and then develops this into recipes which fit into different categories. In this case, the categories are Night In, Left Overs, Impress, No Frills, Friends and Creative. I’ve had a quick look at the book on-line and have to say that it is absolutely beautiful. The wheel for fish is made up of beautifully coloured fish shapes just as the chicken wheel shapes could be cockscombs – you can really see how she has cast and applied her painterly eye over the entire concept.

Inspired by Rosie’s beautiful wheels but having a very basic software package to work from, I decided to use eggs in which to place the recipes titles. You can see my wheel above. The links to the six recipes are below, in the titles – I hope that some of them are ones that you may not have seen before but they have all been published on my blog previously. This post , together with a little write-up about me, has been featured in the latest on-line edition of the the Happy Foodies Newsletter, together with posts from other bloggers using the wheel with different core ingredients – take a look at it here – http://thehappyfoodie.co.uk/articles/the-recipe-wheel-challenge

black-summer-truffle-pesto-roast-chicken

Impress –  Black Summer Truffle Pesto Roast Chicken

 summer-pasta-salad-with-chicken-and-broad-beans

Creative – Summer Pasta Salad with Chicken and Broad Beans 

 

sticky-spicy-chicken

Night In - Sticky Spicy Chicken 

the-recipe-wheel-challenge-roast-chicken

Left Overs – Warm Chicken Noodle Salad & Spicy Tahini Sauce

the-recipe-wheel-challenge-roast-chicken

Friends – Extraordinary Roasted Chicken, Potatoes and Chickpeas

  • This recipe was a contest winner on Food52 – links are in the post

Chicken Mac 'n' Cheese with Rosemary

No Frills – Chicken Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Rosemary

 

© 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.