Barber’s Farmhouse Cheesemakers

Barber's Farmhouse Cheesemakers

Elaine, Simon Barber and me – Photo courtesy of

Last Saturday, Elaine (from foodbod) and I were very fortunate to be at the BBC Good Food Show as guests of Barber’s Farmbouse Cheesemakers.  We were met at the Press Desk by Duncan from their PR company who armed us with press passes (for which I was extremely grateful later, as with them, we had access to the calm of the Press Room, far, far from the madding crowd) and then Elaine and I immediately went off for a natter and a restorative green tea and a double espresso – I will leave you to guess who had what!

Following a call from Duncan (very The Apprentice!), we went off to meet Simon and Charlie Barber at the Barber’s stand, which was right next to thousands of cheeses laid out on tables for the World Cheese Awards.

Barber's Farmhouse Cheesemakers

Some of the many tables groaning under the weight of over 2,000 cheeses at the World Cheese Awards

The WCA had over 2,000 entries from cheese makers all over the world and these had been judged on Friday. Barbers came away with 8 awards for their cheeses, including a  Super Gold for their Vintage Farmhouse Cheddar, which was voted 3rd best, making it one of the top 50 in the world.  During the judging, they were at Number 1 (Champion) for quite some time. Coming in 3rd overall with a haul of  2 golds, 4 silvers, 1 bronze and that fabulous Super Gold is pretty good going in a competition of over 2000 entries!

Some facts about the Barber Family and their traditional cheese making process:

  • The Barber Family has been farming and making cheddar at Maryland Farm in Didcheat, Somerset, since 1833, making them the oldest cheesemaker in England.
  • Six generations of Barbers have sustained the family business.
  • The Barber Family are the sole guardians of the original live starter culture which contains the friendly bacteria that start the cheese making process.
  • This culture has been kept alive through the years, surviving two World Wars as well as the near disappearance of traditional cheddar cheese making which began with the arrival and popularity of freeze dried starter cultures. These are cheaper to use but cannot compare in to the complexity and depth of flavour achieved using a live culture.

‘Our starter culture is the signature of our cheese.  We’re simply doing just as our ancestors did, only these days we have the technology to choose the blend of bacteria that we think makes our cheese taste the best.  Our starters provide character and individuality.  It’s what makes our cheddar taste so good, so more-ish.  It gives it structure and flavour.

‘As a family we decided that traditional starter cultures needed to be protected – if they died out then proper West Country cheddar would too.  So we set up a lab to keep the cultures safe and to this day the process continues.  In essence, the culture starts everything off; we keep a little of the new milk and starter mixture back; which then becomes the starter for the next batch; and so it continues, every day, and hopefully for many more years, and generations of Barber’s to come.    Nicholas Barber.

  • In the 1950’s, the family invested  in their own labs to preserve the rapidly diminishing starter cultures critical in making farmhouse cheddar and it is thanks to the Barber Family that we can still enjoy traditional farmhouse cheddar today.
  • Barbers also supplies cultures for surrounding cheddar producers such as Wyke Farms and Montgomery’s.
  • Barbers continue with many traditional cheesemaking methods such as turning cheddar curds by hand – cheddaring – in open vats.
  • The cheddar is aged in special wooden boxes which maintain a firm, closed structure.
  • The company has been given Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status that protects and establishes their cheese as being made in its ancestral home using the traditional recipes and methods practiced since cheddar was first developed.
Barber's Farmhouse Cheesemakers

Barber’s 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar – creamy and slightly nutty – just so delicious!

  • Barber’s 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar has a unique complexity that can only be found in cheddar made with a traditional starter culture.
  • Barbers 1833 Vintage Cheddar is matured for 24 months and will only leave the farm when one of the Barber Family have tasted and approved it.

Our Vintage Reserve Cheddar 1833 is firm to the touch, has a consistent creamy colour throughout and a smooth texture interspersed with small, crunchy crystals.  These are not made of salt, but calcium lactate and should be present in good quality aged cheddar of about 18 months or over.  It’s a good indication that the cheese has been made well and is old enough to be full-flavoured and tasty.

  • The copious by-product of the cheese making process, whey, is not wasted. From whey butter to vodka; concentrated powdered protein for food products to lactose for livestock feed; even the resulting water that is used to wash down the barns is then filtered again to the highest river water quality. Truly sustainable farming which is just so admirable.Barber's Farmhouse Cheesemakers

Did you know?

  • Mature cheddar melts and blends better than other cheeses
  • It takes 10 litres of milk to make 1 kg of Cheddar
  • Cheddar cheese contains more protein and less sodium than most other cheeses
  • Due to it’s minimal lactose content, Cheddar is suitable for those who are mildly lactose intolerant
  • Cheddar originates from the village of Cheddar (a few miles away from Maryland Farm) in Somerset.
  • Cheddar Gorge on the edge of the village contains a number of caves, which provided the ideal humidity and steady temperature for maturing the cheese.
  • The name Cheddar comes from the Old English word ceodor, for deep dark cavity or pouch which references the caves that the cheese matured in

Cheddar has been produced since at least the 12th century. A pipe roll of King Henry II from 1170 records the purchase of 10,240 lb (4,640 kg) at a farthing per pound.  Charles I (1600–1649) also bought cheese from the village…Wikipedia

Elaine and I reluctantly left, having listened to Simon and Charlie, who are so incredibly passionate about their cheese, tell us about their history and the cheese making process. We tasted all sorts of delicious cheeses made by the family including a lovely hard goat’s cheese and a smoked cheese made by their cousins in Wookey Hole.

Barber's Farmhouse Cheesemakers

A selection of cheeses from Barbers and their cousins at Wookey Hole

I also had a shot of the Black Cow Vodka, despite the early hour and have to say that it was utterly smooth and very, very drinkable. Drinkable until the cows come home according to their very cool, animated  video and I would not argue with that!

Barber's Farmhouse Cheesemakers

Super smooth Black Cow Vodka

We also came away with a very smart green Barber’s cool bag with a over a kilo of their Vintage Reserve Cheddar and a booklet full of recipes. I shall be posting the recipe I developed using my local produce and their cheese as challenged by Charlie Barber.

We are hoping to visit Maryland Farm in the spring and I can’t wait! Wellies at the ready, Somerset, here we come!

So now that I have whetted your appetite, you obviously want to know how to get your hands on this award winning, gorgeous cheddar cheese. Barber’s 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar is available from Fortnum & Mason, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, delicatessens and farm shops nationwide and directly through in the UK. It is also available from Whole Foods in the States;  Harris Farm Markets and independent retailers in Australia; Dean and Deluca in Dubai so google them to see if they are available in your country.

Full disclosure – Barbers supplied us with press passes and cheese to take home but the opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Sharing this with the hungry hordes over at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #43 which this week is being co-hosted for the second week running by Tracy @Scratch It and Stephanie @The Cozy Cook. Thank you ladies – it’s going to be a blast!

© 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.


Garlicky Tahini Chicken from ‘Slow Cooked’

Garlicky Tahini Chicken | Selma"s TableSlow cooking is like waving a culinary magic wand. Cheaper cuts of knife resistant, sinewy meat transform into something silky and tender as they gently burble away in an aromatic bath of your choice. Up until recently, I used my Le Creuset and a low oven to slow cook lamb shanks, stewing beef, brisket and the like. Then a couple of years ago, I spotted a slow cooker in the summer sales and thought how perfect it would be for making dishes overnight or during the day so that there was something gorgeous for dinner to come home to. But truth be told, I haven’t been too adventurous with it; my best thing is making chicken stock in it with the remains of a carcass but that is all set to change with the publication of a new book, “Slow Cooked” by fellow South Londoner and blogger, Miss South, which I was sent to review.

Garlicky Tahini Chicken | Selma"s TableMiss South has a passion for cooking good food on a very tight budget. She won the Young British Foodies Food Writing award in September 2013 for her blog North/South Food, which she writes with her brother Mister North. She has also written for Observer Food Monthly as well as appearing on The Food Programme on Radio 4. With these sort of credentials, you just know that you are in for a treat when it comes to her book. It is packed full of 200 delicious sounding recipes which cover meat, poultry and fish, soups, vegetables and legumes, cakes, puddings and preserves too, all made in the slow cooker.

Garlicky Tahini Chicken | Selma"s TableAfter her first few attempts to cook in the slow cooker, Miss South found that the results were watered down as liquid does not get a chance to evaporate so she set about cutting back on the liquid and amping up on the spicing to get the recipes to work.  Recipes like Carbonnade which have mustard croutons pressed into it for the last hour or so; Butter Beans with Chorizo where the dried beans are cooked without soaking. There are some lovely photos at the beginning of the book but none with the recipes themselves, however the recipes sound so good that I didn’t even register the lack of photos.

Garlicky Tahini Chicken | Selma"s TableHaving tried a few of the recipes in the book, I found that I needed to rev the up seasoning and spicing a little. I’m not sure if that’s a matter of personal taste or if perhaps my herbs and spices lost some of their potency during the extended cooking period but it is just a matter of tasting and adjusting as you go along.

Garlicky Tahini Chicken | Selma"s TableWe thoroughly enjoyed the results of slow cooking chicken thighs which had been marinated overnight in a mixture of tahini, lemon and garlic. I added a little sumac and paprika to the original recipe to boost it’s flavour and served the juicy shredded chicken in wraps with tzatziki, harissa oil, and shredded lettuce. There are lots of lovely recipes and brilliant ideas as well as some very useful information about the foundations of slow cooking that make this book a must have for anyone who already uses their crock frequently or for those who would like to start. My next stop is the pudding chapter….

Garlicky Tahini Chicken | Selma"s Table

Do take a look at what a few other bloggers had to say about the book and see what they cooked up too. The reviews are on the Happy Foodie site –

Garlicky Tahini Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 20 mins prep, 24 hours marinate, 7 hours in the crock
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Adapted from Slow Cooked by Miss South who describes this as “a dinner party-friendly take on chicken kebab with garlic sauce.”


  • 12 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
  • 6 chicken thighs on the bone
  • 4 Tbsp tahini
  • 3 – 6 Tbsp water
  • juice of one lemon
  • 2 tsp sumac
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper
  • chopped fresh coriander leaves
To serve
  • Wraps/tortillas
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Greek yoghurt or tzatziki
  • 1 tsp Harissa paste, loosened with some olive oil
  • sliced avocados, chopped tomatoes, sliced cucumber – optional but delicious


  1. Place the garlic in a small pan of boiling water and simmer for 15 minutes or until soft. Drain and when cool enough to handle, slip the skins off.
  2. In the meantime, remove the skin and any fat from the chicken thighs; slash the flesh a couple of times.
  3. The tahini should be the consistency of pouring cream so thin it out with as much of the water as you need to.
  4. Whizz or pound together the garlic, tahini, lemon juice, sumac, paprika and some salt and pepper. Taste it and adjust the seasoning if necessary then spread it over the chicken, getting into the slashes and leave it to marinate, covered, in the fridge for up to 24 hours. I did mine overnight.
  5. When you are ready to cook, place the chicken pieces and the marinade in the crock  and cook on low for 7 hours. The oil from the tahini bastes the chicken and keeps it really tender.
  6. Shred the tender chicken into a serving dish, discarding the bones. Taste the marinade, adjust the seasoning if necessary and pour this over the chicken and sprinkle with coriander leaves.

Note – if you don’t have a slow cooker then you can make this in the oven. Place the marinated chicken and the marinade in a roasting tin and cover tightly with foil and cook for 1.5 hours at 160C. Then remove the foil and cook for another 15 mins until tender and falling off the bone.

Serve hot with warm wraps/tortillas and all the fixings.

Any left-overs, re-heat beautifully.

Roasted Pumpkin Pancakes

Roasted Pumpkin Pancakes | Selma's TableI had half a crown squash in my veg box the other day and couldn’t decide what to make with it. Jake’s not a fan of sweet vegetables like parsnips, squashes or sweet potatoes and I didn’t want to end up eating it all myself. So I roasted it off and mashed it,  thinking that I would freeze the puree in ice cube trays so that I could just use a couple when ever I needed to thicken a sauce. Or something. Jake came into the kitchen as I was mashing the squash and just sort of mentioned that we hadn’t had pancakes in a while. Egads!! Brilliant idea!! I used the Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix which I posted last week and also made up the pancake batter the day before cooking as it’s always better after a rest overnight in the fridge. If you can be that organised. Normally I am not.

Roasted Pumpkin Pancakes | Selma's TableI make my pancakes quite small – I use a table spoon to measure them out the batter with and they are only 3 inches wide but I just prefer that as portion control and they are easier to flip too, that the ones than use a half cup measure.

Roasted Pumpkin Pancakes | Selma's TableI’m always looking for ways to speed up preparation or just make things easier in the kitchen generally. I find the least stressful way to roast squash is to slice it in half, remove the seeds, drizzle with a little oil and then roast the squash in it’s skin. Once cooked, the skin simply peels off. In this case, I scooped out the seeds, cut the squash into wedges and roasted them at 200C/400F for 20 minutes until they were tender.

Roasted Pumpkin Pancakes | Selma's TableThese pancakes are not ethereally light and fluffy like my sour cream, cinnamon and blueberry ones – the puree does weigh them down a little but they are absolutely gorgeous! Perhaps separating the egg, whisking the white until the soft peak stage and folding this in would help but we thought they were delicious as they were. The pumpkin sweetens the batter and the spicing warms up the flavour beautifully. I think that a few pumpkin seeds would be nice sprinkled on the top of the pancake batter before they get flipped too. These would go very well with something salty on the side for contrast. Jake mentioned again, the other day, how good the pancakes had been – this was while he was looking at a tray of roasted pumpkin cubes covered in Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix with, however, no desire to taste them!! He really is not a fan of sweet vegetables!

Roasted Pumpkin Pancakes | Selma's Table

I’m a little late to the party this week but I am still sharing these with the revellers at Angie’ of the Novice Gardener’s Fiesta Friday! Angie has made some stunning pancake waffles with a really clever twist on chocolate “sauce”. Also do take a look at the features from last weeks Fiesta Friday – lots of wonderful recipes that you will want to make right now!

This week we are co-hosted by the bubbly Jhuls of The Not so Creative Cook who has made some rather moreish looking twist cookies and reflects on maturing, accepting, forgiving and moving on.  Our second co-host is Margy of La Petite Casserole who has not only made a gorgeous butternut squash and coconut soup but also begs the question, why  do we eat airline food when, each time we fly, we say we won’t – I know I do that!!  A huge thanks to all three of you!

Roasted Pumpkin Pancakes | Selma's Table

If you blog and would like to join the party, you would be most welcome. Click on the button below to join Fiesta Friday and please do read the guidelines before linking up.


Roasted Pumpkin Pancakes

  • Servings: 15 x 3 inch pancakes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 115g Plain/AP Flour
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Pumpkin Spice Mix
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 15g butter (preferably, unsalted) melted and cooled but still runny
  • 1 large egg at room temperature
  • 150 ml milk
  • 230 g roasted pumpkin puree
  • pumpkin seeds – optional


  1. Place the dry ingredients, (flour through to salt) in a medium sized mixing bowl and whisk to combine and aerate.
  2. Lightly whisk the egg in a measuring jug then which in the cooled melted butter  then finally tup up with the milk. Whisk again.
  3. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the egg mixture. Using a circular stirring motion, gently stir to draw in the dry ingredients to the middle, being careful not to over mix – a few floury patches are fine. It should be quite thick and a bit lumpy.
  4. Stir in the pumpkin puree.
  5. SET ASIDE for 1/2 an hour at room temperature or overnight in the fridge.Don’t, whatever you do, stir the batter after the resting stage. You just want to scoop out tablespoonfuls, straight into the frying pan.
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 75 C or very low. Get an oven proof dish out and a piece of foil to cover it with.
  7. Put the widest non-stick fry pan  you have, on a medium low heat. If it is too high, the outside burns before the insides are cooked…Once the pan is hot, brush with a little butter (I stick a piece on the end of a table knife and swipe it around the pan, cringing whenever the metal touches the non-stick base).
  8. Using a tablespoon, scoop out and place the batter on the pan – I can get 4 to 5 pancakes going in mine but it is a rather large pan. The batter spreads a little so just try spacing 3 out to start with. Top with a few pumpkin seeds if desired.
  9. They will need to cook for  2 or 3 minutes on this side. Keep checking and also keep an eye on the heat which you may have to keep adjusting. (Just have a peek under the pancake, by lifting a corner with a spatula, to see how it is colouring)
  10. When the tops of the pancakes have lots of holes in them, it is time to flip them over.  The second side will not take as long to cook – about a minute – so keep an eye on them. When they are done, remove them to the ovenproof platter, loosely cover with foil and pop them in the oven. Carry on with the next round, lightly buttering the pan when you need to and keeping an eye on the heat.
  11. Serve with proper Canadian maple syrup.

© 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.



Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix | Selma's TableI have been fascinated by the furore that surrounds the Pumpkin Spice Latte from a well known coffee shop chain. You know, the one which claimed that it didn’t make any profit in the UK so didn’t pay any tax. The latest in the drama that seems to surround this business is that there is no pumpkin in their lattes. Cue media outrage and more sales as apparently, all publicity is good publicity. My understanding is that the latte is all about the flavour of the pumpkin pie spice mix and not the actual pumpkin itself.

In the UK pumpkin pie is not a part of our national food history so canned pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice blends are not easily found on the shelves of our grocery stores. So for those of you wishing to recreate a Pumpkin Pie or a  Pumpkin Spice Latte at home, this spice mix is for you. You can easily make pumpkin puree by roasting wedges of pumpkin or squash, pureeing and sieving the result, freezing in ice cube trays and storing the cubes in bags in the freezer.

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix | Selma's Table

Cinnamon, Ginger, Allspice, Cardamom & Nutmeg

The spice mix is so easily made with ingredients you will most probably have in your cupboards, that you will wonder why you left it so long to make your own. It is generally a blend of ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves, in varying quantities. I am not keen on cloves as they can be overpowering in a blend so I use allspice instead. And I have also added cardamom as I love the smell and flavour of it – so comforting, don’t you think? In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit to asking Jake to crush the cardamom seeds in the pestle and mortar. He did a magnificent job; much better than I ever could. He is now the official pestle and mortar man at Selma’s Table!

There are many uses for the Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix – in ravioli, cheesecakes, biscuits, cakes and pies – there are a plethora of recipes that celebrate this festive mix. My favourite thing to do though, is to sprinkle a teaspoon of pumpkin spice mix into a carved pumpkin before lighting at tea light and letting that delicious and seasonal aroma waft around the house!!

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix | Selma's TableI used a 70 ml Kilner Spice Jar to store the mix in and it was half full. If you want to give this as a gift, double the quantities to fill a bottle of that size. I find that the easiest way to fill the little jar is to place the measured ingredients on a piece of baking paper and then use the paper to funnel it into the jar.

I am sharing my Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix with the Fiesta Friday revellers. Generously hosted by Angie of the Novice Gardener who this weekend is celebrating her birthday! Just take a look at her fabulous Naked Cake – it is gorgeous!!

And a huge thanks to our fabulous  co-hosts; Suzanne of A Pug in the Kitchen and Sue of Birgerbird. Both very talented and prolific cooks with blogs that you will not be able to stop scrolling through…

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix

  • Servings: Makes 35 ml or or just over 2 Tbsps
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp grated nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp cardamom powder


  1. Measure out and place the spices in small airtight jar.
  2. Shake well to mix.

I used a 70 ml Kilner Spice Jar to store the mix in. If you want to give this as a gift, double the quantities to fill the bottle and add a gift tag with the instructions: “For pumpkin pie, add 1 – 1 ½  teaspoons of spice mix to your other ingredients.”

© 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.



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.

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


  • 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


  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


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


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.