Masala Chai Banana Bread with Coconut Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing

Masala Chai Banana Bread with Coconut Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing | Selma's TableThis year’s UK Master Chef series on the television has been fantastic. The final five were all incredibly creative and really put through their paces as the competition ruthlessly progressed. (There are no spoilers here if you haven’t watched the final episode to crown the winner.)  Of the final five, I was really inspired by Emma whose love of middle eastern spices and modern use of ingredients mirrors the zeitgeist made mainstream by Ottolenghi.

Masala Chai Banana Bread with Coconut Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing | Selma's TableYou may recall that Adagio Tea sent me a sample pack of their gorgeous teas to try. I wrote about their artisan teas in last month’s IMK post. They have a huge range and their green teas alone are worth a look at. Their Masala Chai is quite incredible – it has the deep flavour that I remember from my childhood and is chock full of whole spices like cloves, cinnamon bark, cardamom seeds and ginger as well as black Ceylon tea.

Masala Chai Banana Bread with Coconut Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing | Selma's TableSpurred on by Emma’s creations on Master Chef, a LOT of dangerously dark bananas and Adagio’s Masala Chai, I adapted my go-to recipe for Banana Bread from How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson. It’s a recipe I have been making for years and it never lets me down. It’s particularly devilish and delicious when made with chocolate chips instead of fruit, but that is another story!

Masala Chai Banana Bread with Coconut Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing | Selma's TableBecause I had so many bananas I used them all and in retrospect, it was too much and caused the loaves to become heavy and sink in the middle when cooling. In the recipe below, I have written the amounts as they should be and not as I did this time.

I mash the bananas coarsely as this enables the loaves to remain lovely and moist and prefer to use light brown sugar for a deeper more caramel flavour.  Steeping the fruit in very a very strong solution of masala chai gives them a haunting flavour when you bite into a plumped up morsel. I have enhanced that with a little cardamom stirred through the batter too.

Masala Chai Banana Bread with Coconut Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing | Selma's TableThe icing. Oh my God, the icing! It’s just sublime. I wanted to compliment the heady banana and masala chai flavours of the loaf and put this icing together. The flavour reminds me of coconut burfi or penda (which my father adored) – Indian sweets as Jake refers to them…

Masala Chai Banana Bread with Coconut Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing | Selma's Table

I really like using coconut powder as you can get the depth of flavour you want and also the thickness by adjusting the liquid to powder ratio. A further rummage in the pantry led me to the gorgeously fragrant rose petals I bought recently on a foray into Shepherd’s Bush with Elaine and a bag of pistachio nuts.

Masala Chai Banana Bread with Coconut Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing | Selma's TableI ended up with a Magic Carpet Banana Bread! I think Emma would approve!

Masala Chai Banana Bread with Coconut Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing

  • Servings: Makes 2 loaves
  • Difficulty: easy
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Adapted from “Banana Bread” How to Be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson

INGREDIENTS

  • 150 g mixed dried fruit (like berries, cherries, figs and sultanas)
  • 75 ml of very strong brewed Adaigo Masala Tea Blend
  • 175 g Plain/AP flour
  • 2 ½  tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp cardamom powder or 2 drops of cardamom essence
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 125 g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 150 g light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 3 medium very ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Coconut, Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing

  • 3 Tbsp coconut powder
  • 1-2 Tbsp warm milk
  • 1 x 180 g pack of cream cheese
  • 1 x 250 g tub of mascarpone cheese
  • 5 – 6 Tbsp icing sugar
  • 3 drops cardamom essence or the powdered seeds of 2 cardamom pods
  • chopped pistachios (optional)
  • edible dried rose petals (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Steep the dried fruit with the hot masala chai for an hour (or microwave on high for 2 minutes and steep for as long as you can)
  2. Pre-heat oven to 170C and pop a paper case into each of two loaf tins. Put the butter in a heat proof bowl and place in the oven to melt. Check after 3-4 minutes.
  3. Place the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  4. Mash the bananas, coarsely, and set aside.
  5. With an electric mixer, beat together the cooled melted butter and the sugar until creamy and caramel in colour.
  6. Add the eggs, one at a time and make sure to beat well after each one.
  7. Add the bananas and the vanilla extract and mix well and finally, stir in the drained dried fruit.
  8. Scrape into the prepared loaf pans and bake for 50 minutes. Test with a wooden skewer which should come out moist but not with batter clinging to it. Let cool completely before icing.
  9. While the loaves are baking, make the icing: stir the coconut powder into warm milk until smooth.
  10. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the cream cheese and the mascarpone with a rubber spatula then add the coconut mixture and stir in. Sift in the icing sugar, mixing well and taste after you had added 4 Tbsp – it may be sweet enough. Stir in the cardamom essence or the powder and set aside in the fridge. When the loaves are cold, spread with the icing and top with the chopped pistachios and rose petals if using them.
© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2015. 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.

Devilled Eggs on Sourdough

Devilled Eggs on Sourdough | Selma's Table The bastion of all things butter, Lurpak, commissioned a study into lunches and found that we are creatures of habit, eating the same things pretty much everyday. Other than food bloggers (who seem to eat the most amazing meals, if Instagram is anything to go by), most people seem to eat sandwiches, usually cheese and/or ham. Sandwiches do make a very easy option at lunch time but the filings don’t have to be so mundane. 10 minutes of preparation the night before ensures that you have a tasty, nutritious and delicious lunch for the next day that you will be really looking forward to. And probably eating at 11 a.m. because you can’t think of anything else! Devilled Eggs on Sourdough | Selma's TableFillings can be made on Sunday or in the evening after work and the sandwiches assembled in the morning or even at your desk/office kitchen. To stop sandwiches going soggy, butter your bread (with Lurpak, naturally) but pop your filing into a small container. The container can go into the fridge at work, while the bread can stay at room temperature. Then all you have to do is a quick assembly job before tucking into a freshly made and delicious sandwich. Below are some easy but tasty fillings. When Jake used to take a packed lunch, I used to make his sandwiches in the morning. It was usually a small baguette stuffed with one of the fillings below and lots of salad leaves too. At least once a week, by request, I also used to make one for one of his best friends – I don’t think his mum ever knew…

  • Fry off or roast some red and yellow peppers with a couple of sliced onions and keep them in the fridge. Spread a wrap generously with soft goats cheese, strew with the peppers, a little freshly chopped mint and rocket leaves and roll up, slice in half and wrap. (The cooked peppers and onions keep for 5 days at least, well covered, in the fridge.
  • Chop up a packet of pre-cooked prawns, a couple of spring onions, a little bundle of chives, half a mango, a few fresh coriander leaves. Include tiny squares of finely chopped red chilli if you like a little heat. Squeeze over some lemon juice and grind over some pepper. Taste to adjust seasoning. Take in a container along with a few whole baby gem lettuce leaves. Spoon the mixture into each lettuce leaf for a carb free lunch! (Fish and shellfish do not keep well so make this the night before.)
  • Chop up a portion of left over roast chicken (or roast off some thighs) and stir in a spoonful of pesto and a little creme fraiche or mayonnaise. Stuff into a buttered baguette and top with sliced tomatoes and a few basil leaves. (Roast chicken keeps for 3 or 4 days in the fridge)
  • Chop up a packet of chicken tikka pieces and stir through a little tzatziki and fresh mint. Spread a little mango chutney on a wrap, top with the chicken mix and a few salad leaves. Roll, slice and wrap.
  • Homous, shredded left over roast lamb and mâche lettuce are delicious in a wrap. You can substitute shredded carrot for the lamb to make it vegetarian and vegan.
  • A tin of well drained tuna and a finely chopped stick of celery, mixed with a really small amount of mayonnaise, lots of freshly ground black pepper and lemon juice can be put in a container along with a handful of cucumber slices and buttered bread of your choice. Assemble just before eating.

If you are avoiding carbs, most of these fillings can be eaten using lettuce leaves as the “bread” or just dolloped on top of lots of salad leaves and slices of cucumber. Elaine has a lovely recipe for mayonnaise on her blog, foodbod, if you want to have a go at making it yourself. Devilled Eggs on Sourdough | Selma's TableThese smoky devilled eggs are a favourite and the mixture keeps well for a couple of days in the fridge. Buy the best eggs you can afford – battery eggs taste of nothing – please don’t buy them. Look at the deep yellow colour of the yolks of these…

Eggs are a soft in texture and benefit from something crisp and salty on top. I had mine with salmon but Jake had his with crispy fried turkey bacon and it was a much nicer contrast in textures. Devilled Eggs on Sourdough | Selma's TableThe sharp, lemony beetroot or radish slices make a welcome contrast to the richness of the eggs. Devilled Eggs on Sourdough | Selma's TableThis is the crumb shot of my home made sourdough loaf made with my starter, Twinkle.

Devilled Eggs on Sourdough

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
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INGREDIENTS

  • 6 large fresh eggs – organic or free range at room temperature
  • 3 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp smoky paprika
  • ¼ – ½ tsp cayenne pepper – adjust this to your palate or leave it out if there are young children involved.
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • lots of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley and or chives
  • 4 slices of sourdough bread
  • Lurpak butter

TOPPINGS

  • smoked salmon
  • crisp fried shallots or
  • crispy bacon/turkey bacon (chop and fry in a non stick pan with no added fat) or
  • chorizo cubes (fry in a non stick pan with no added fat, stirring frequently until it’s oil runs and the edges crisp up)
  • thinly sliced raw chioggia beetroots or radishes, tossed in a little lemon juice and salt.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place the eggs in a small lidded pot and cover with cold water. (If the eggs are fridge cold, cover with tap-hot water for 5 minutes then drain. The shells will crack otherwise) Place over medium low heat and bring to a boil. Let them boil for 1 minute then remove from the heat and let them sit, covered in the pot for 9-10 minutes. Drain and fill the pot with cold water to stop them cooking any further. Crack the shells (I give the fat end a bash in the sink) and put back in the cold water. The water gets between the membrane and the egg and makes it very easy to peel.
  2. While the eggs are cooking;  1. Put the shallots or bacon or chorizo on to fry. 2. Whisk together the mayo, smoky paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper in a medium sized bowl. 3. Slice the chioggia beetroot or radishes as thinly as you can and toss in lemon juice. 4. Chop the parsley/chives.
  3. Chop the boiled eggs  (smaller that in my photos as they are less likely to fall off the bread than chunky pieces) and stir into the mayonnaise mixture together with the parsley/chives. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. I don’t like too much mayonnaise but feel free to add more if you like your fillings creamier.
  4. Butter the bread and top with the eggs and crispy topping of your choice and a few slices of the lemony chioggia or radish slices on the side.
© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2015. 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 – April 2015

In My Kitchen - April 2015 | Selma's TableIn my kitchen, Spring has truly sprung!

Earlier in the month I had a bunch of white tulips and purple hyacinths. Now there is a large bunch of those pretty cream coloured daffodils on the windowsill. If you would like to know more about the rather beautiful handblown glass bowl next to the vase, take a look at my second IMK post for the details.

In My Kitchen - April 2015 | Selma's Table

In my kitchen I have a wonderful new cookbook and some utterly delicious produce. I was thrilled  to receive an invitation to Theo Randall’s launch party for his latest book, My Simple Italian. It was held in his elegant restaurant Theo Randall at the Intercontinental off Park Lane, heaving with friendly, creative, foodie people – well, the ones I met were! As we chattered, the most delicious canapés were being served by his charming and knowledgeable staff who also refilled our glasses with what seemed to be a never ending supply of bubbles. The recipes for the canapés are all to found within the covers of Theo Randall’s book and they all depend on one thing – really good, tasty ingredients. He along with many Michelin starred chefs, get their produce from a company called Natoora, who, luckily for those of us without the expense account, also sell to consumers via their website and Ocado. They carry unusual ingredients like Monk’s Beard, Marinda Tomatoes, Calcott Onions, Speckled Wild Baby Radicchio, Wild Garlic Leaves as well as fish, meat and cheese – their website is well worth a browse. I came home with a Theo Randal jute shopping bag, stuffed full of lemons, blood oranges and a selection of the most savoury tomatoes I have ever eaten. There was also a bag of chocolate truffles and a signed copy of his excellent new book, My Simple Italian.

The recipes are simple yet full of flavour with a wealth of tips gleaned from his travels and years at River Cafe. The photography is stunning – showcasing his gorgeous food in a very simple way.  I cannot wait to get started – I have earmarked lots of pages and I have a pheasant in the freezer that is now destined to be cooked in milk and celeriac as per Mr Randall’s instructions! (Just a reminder – if you click on the first photo, you can see the enlarged version of the picture in the each of the galleries.)

In my kitchen I have some delicious packets of artisan tea from Adagio Tea and their ingenious IngenuiTea tea brewer. The teas are just gorgeous – full of flavour and really unusual too. If you are a tea drinker, I highly recommend a look around their website – from large range of unusual green teas to a vaiiety of rooibos; herbal teas to flavoured ones –  there is such a fabulous and interesting selection. I really like the Blood Orange tea – it’s incredibly fragrant and quite tart – I think it would be wonderful as a cold drink in the hotter weather.

The IngenuiTea brewer is fabulous – after steeping the tea, you place it on top of your cup which releases the valve and the brewed tea pours straight into the cup. I have some recipes which I am going to try out using their blends.

In My Kitchen - April 2015 | Selma's TableIn my kitchen I have a bowl full of gorgeous unwaxed organic lemons from Chegworth Valley Farm Shop in Borough Market. Unwaxed lemons are essential for zesting but don’t keep as long as their waxed ones.

In my kitchen I have a funky tea towel sent by a friend in New Zealand. I feel like I should rename the blog!!

In My Kitchen - April 2015 | Selma's TableHer sister, who lives in London, also brought me back some wonderful Kiwi Manuka honey – it’s so good spread on my home made sourdough bread!

In My Kitchen - April 2015 | Selma's TableIn my kitchen I have mini spatulas and a pretty new jug. I realised the other day, as I was trying to scrape the last of the peanut butter out of the jar that I really, really needed a mini rubber spatula. I popped into TK Maxx and there was a happy little bunch of them waiting for me to take them home! The jug comes from a fabulous new shop on Queenstown Road called Les Sardines –  I couldn’t resist it. It looks wonderful filled with flowers!

In My Kitchen - April 2015 | Selma's TableIn my kitchen I have a new peeler with a ceramic blade. I find these so smooth and efficient – I had my last one for about 8 years so was a little bereft when it snapped. Being ceramic, they are not as robust as metal but with a little care and thought, they last a very long time. I was so pleased to find another one even though it’s a bit wider than I am used to – it does, however, still do a marvellous job.

In My Kitchen - April 2015 | Selma's TableIn my kitchen I have a tub of Dodoni feta cheese. While I was in Cape Town, I observed how feta is sold in large pots rather than the little vacuum packed slabs we are more used to. When I popped into the Mediterranean grocery store around the corner from me, I saw that they sell slices of feta in tubs. It keeps really well in the brine rather than going off in the packet when you have used a bit for a recipe. I used the feta on my Chermoula Spiced Aubergine Wedges and also in my pull apart rolls, below.

In My Kitchen - April 2015 | Selma's TableIn my kitchen I went sourdough crazy and baked up a fruit loaf, a red pesto, feta cheese and olive pull apart rolls and a green pesto and tomato pull apart rolls. It’s the basic overnight dough divided into 2 equal portions, stretched out, filled, rolled up and sliced and baked. Being sourdough, they are chewy rather than soft and fluffy and so full of flavour! Just wonderful with bowl of steaming hot soup.

In My Kitchen - April 2015 | Selma's TableIn my kitchen I had sourdough hot cross buns – inspired and instructed by tweets from Celia! My crosses are very wonky and I also need to work on shaping buns but they were very tasty indeed. I am working on a chocolate chip and espresso version now…

Well, that is it from my kitchen – what’s been going on in yours?

Huge thanks, as ever to the generous Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial who hosts this monthly event – peeking into everyone’s kitchens all over the world is so inspiring!  Make yourself a cuppa and have a little browse – all the links to the participating blogs are on the right hand side of Celia’s post. I have linked her post to her blog name so click and take a little tour!

Crustless Cardamom & Blood Orange Milk Tart

Crustless Cardamom and Blood Orange Milk Tart |Selma's TableBrowsing through Woolworths’ South African website, I came across this intriguing recipe for Milk Tart, which is apparently, the ultimate braai recipe. It’s very unusual in that it is a really liquid batter but it does work and is absolutely delicious.

Crustless Cardamom and Blood Orange Milk Tart |Selma's TableAs a bonus, the house smelt amazing too – cardamom and cinnamon baking together is just such a wonderful smell! I think that this would be a lovely alternative to a chocolate dessert for easter lunch – it can be made a couple of days ahead and refrigerated so is absolutely perfect for entertaining.

Crustless Cardamom and Blood Orange Milk Tart |Selma's TableI must admit that my heart stopped when I realised how much liquid I was dealing with and I gingerly put it in the oven not expecting it to work at all but it did. “Folding” the egg whites into so much liquid was not easy.

Crustless Cardamom and Blood Orange Milk Tart |Selma's TableI think it would work better if the egg whites were folded in to only half the liquid and the rest stirred through. I used the last of the blood oranges to make this but you could of course, use conventional oranges.

Crustless Cardamom and Blood Orange Milk Tart |Selma's TableNot wanting any waste, I made a lovely syrupy orange sauce to go with it using sweet dessert/pudding wine, sugar and orange segments. If you don’t want to use a sweet wine, then just add a little orange juice instead.

Crustless Cardamom and Blood Orange Milk Tart |Selma's TableI am thrilled to be co-hosting Fiesta Friday #61 with the incredibly talented  Margy @La Petite Casserole for Angie of The Novice Gardener. In case you missed it, Fiesta Friday has a new home now – http://www.fiestafriday.net.

If you are new to blogging, please do join the party, we would love to see you. Fiesta Friday is a great way to gain exposure and make new friends too. Be sure to comment, like and follow – Angie has such a friendly crowd at this party that you will come away with lots of new followers (as long as you interact) as well as a lot of inspiration!

Submit a post (please be sure to include the link and a mention, in your post, to Angie’s   Fiesta Friday #61 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’re new to Fiesta Friday, please do take a minute to read the guidelines.

Click on the purple button below to be taken to the party – you can take a look at what everyone has brought or join in with a post of your own. Enough nattering – let’s fiesta!

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Crustless Cardamom and Blood Orange Milk Tart

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Adapted from Woolworths South Africa

Ingredients

  • 700ml / 3 cups milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 orange, zested (1 large or 2 small) and segmented
  • 4 large free-range eggs, separated
  • 200 g soft brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp soft butter
  • 140 g plain/AP flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • cinnamon sugar, for dusting
  • Sugar
  • Sweet pudding wine

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Line a deep, 25 cm baking tin with baking paper. If it is a springform pan, you may want to also cover the outside with some foil to protect against seepages.
  2. Measure out the milk in a jug then stir in the vanilla paste, cardamom and orange zest and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, sift or hand whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt to mix it all together and set aside
  4. Beat egg whites until stiff and set aside.
  5. Beat the egg yolks, sugar and butter until pale and creamy.
  6.  Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture with a enough of the flavoured milk to make a loose batter.
  7. Gently fold in the stiffly beaten egg whites.
  8. Then slowly stir in the rest of the milk.
  9. Set your prepared pan onto a rimmed baking sheet – it’s easier to move and safe guards against oven disaster.  Pour the very liquid batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with a good dusting of cinnamon sugar, then bake for 1 hour, or until almost set – it should have a lovely golden crust. A quick poke with a wooden skewer will tell you if it is done.
  10. Remove from the oven and leave to cool, then refrigerate until set.
  11. Segment the oranges and place in a pan. Squeeze over any juice from the membranes and sprinkle with a little sugar. Add a splash of booze. Heat until syrupy. Cool and serve with the slices of the tart and a small glass of the remainder of the pudding wine!
© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2015. 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.

Spicy, Slow Cooked Butter Beans with Chorizo

Spicy, Slow Cooked Butter Beans with ChorizoNo matter what I do, when I cook meat in the slow cooker (aka the crock pot), it becomes wooly and all the delicious seasonings I have added become dull, dull, dull. On the other hand, I love the texture and flavour of meat slow cooked in the oven or braised on the stovetop. Perhaps the sealed environment of the slow cooker which is essentially slow boiling the meat over a very long period of time, relegates the proteins and the seasonings to a pappy, bland insipidness. Perhaps oxygen and evaporation play a crucial role in the flavour and texture stakes. I don’t know but what I do know is that there are millions of people out there who do make it work and work well – there are some fabulous sounding recipes out there and many a crock pot devotee as a quick search on Pinterest will confirm. Nonetheless, I cannot make it work for me. I have tried “roasting” a chicken in it, braising brisket and stewing meat. I’ve used it to make stock and flavoured legumes. I’ve adjusted cooking times, reduced liquid, increased flavourings and spices – all to no avail. Everything just tastes dull; no matter how much I try and adjust the seasoning after the cooking, I just cannot rescue the texture or the flat taste.

Spicy, Slow Cooked Butter Beans with Chorizo | Selma's TableThat being said, what I do like is how well it cooks dried legumes like chickpeas and butter beans without the need to pre-soak or watch that the pot does not boil dry. I chuck together the beans, bay leaves and water just before going to bed and in the morning, the beans are soft, juicy and plump, ready to be sauced for supper that evening.

Spicy, Slow Cooked Butter Beans with Chorizo | Selma's TableBut, I hear you say, why bother when you can get tins of the stuff in practically any corner shop and grocery store? Well, the texture and the flavour is much, much nicer when cooked from dry. I find the liquor in the tins tastes tinny and have to rinse the beans very well indeed before using them. Having said that, I always have a couple of tins in pantry as they do come in very useful for those last minute meals but if I have the time, I much prefer to cook them from dry.

Spicy, Slow Cooked Butter Beans with Chorizo | Selma's TableI would suggest that the first time you make these, you do them during the day, when you are likely to be around to check on the water in the crock. I have found that the measurements below are perfect for my crock – the beans cook and soak up just enough water, leaving perhaps a cup of thick liquid that has not been absorbed and is just perfect to thicken the sauce with.

Spicy, Slow Cooked Butter Beans with Chorizo | Selma's TableThe chorizo sauce is just delicious!! Lemony, tangy, spicy and rich – do, please take the time to caramelise the onions slowly – you can get on with something else in the kitchen for the 10 minutes or so that it will take for them to slowly turn a golden brown. They lend such a depth of flavour to the sauce. And of course you can use the contents of 2 very well rinsed cans of butter beans instead and just use water where the recipe calls for bean cooking liquid. If you don’t have a slow cooker and want to use dried beans, then cook the dried beans, according to the manufacturers instructions on the pack which usually involve soaking them for 8 hours and then simmering them for one or two hours afterwards.

Spicy, Slow Cooked Butter Beans with Chorizo

INGREDIENTS

  • 250 g dried butter beans
  • 650 ml water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • salt
  • 1 cooking chorizo sliced into ½ cm rounds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ – 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tsp smokey paprika
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 large tomatoes diced
  • handful chopped parsley

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Either the day before or at least 9 hours before you wish to eat; place the dried butter beans and bay leaves in the crock, top with water cook on low heat for 7 – 8 hours. I don’t find it necessary to add any salt or baking soda. The beans will become plump and tender, having soaked up most of the water.
  2. An hour or so, before you wish to eat; heat the olive oil in a pan and stir in the finely chopped onion. Sprinkle with a little salt and cook on a low heat for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Take time to cook them slowly to get that deep flavor from the caramelised onions.
  3. Stir in the sliced chorizo and the spices. Let this cook gently until the oil turns orange from the chorizo.
  4. Add a ladle of the bean cooking liquid, stirring to deglaze the pan by scraping any sticky bits off the bottom. When it has evaporated, stir in the tomato paste and the diced tomato. Stir and add another ladle of the bean cooking liquid, when it has evaporated, add a final one. There shouldn’t be much liquid left in the beans – try and get as much of it into the chorizo mixture to evaporate. If you don’t have much liquid left in the beans then use water instead.
  5. Stir in the butter beans, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Simmer gently for half and hour to allow the flavours to blend and any excess liquid to evaporate.
  6. Just before serving, stir in the parsley.
  7. Serve with rice, a dollop of greek yoghurt and a sharp green salad.

Left overs are even better the next day!

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2015. 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.

Chermoula Spiced Aubergine Wedges with Tahini Sauce and Feta

Spiced Aubergine Wedges | Selma's TableWhile I was in Cape Town, I stayed with friends in their gorgeous villa.  Justin has designed and decorated the house so that it is not only stunning to look at but also very liveable – and while the rooms are classically arranged, there is nothing precious about the house at all except of course, for their gorgeous Labradors who kept me company! Spiced Aubergine Wedges | Selma's TableIn their fabulous kitchen, antique blue and white Spode plates jostle for position on the open shelving with contemporary blue and white bowls and mugs; bone and silver cutlery is stored in earthenware jars, fruit and vegetables are displayed in blue and white bowls on the island and silver and glass cloches are in constant use to cover food which has been prepared. Mixing old and new, marble and wood – the kitchen is just such joy to work in. Spiced Aubergine Wedges | Selma's TableThe evening before the wedding, they had planned to host a “casual” braai (barbecue). We had all had all been to a cocktail party the night before, at the grooms’ (also stunning) house and some of us were feeling a little fragile! Nonetheless, that morning, Justin went off shopping, coming back with bags full of fresh produce, tender beef and cases of bubbles. Jake was arriving that afternoon, flying out straight after finishing his last mock exam and had to be collected. On the way to the airport we discussed the menu and what had to be done. Traffic was horrendous which meant we were running a little late and Justin had some work to do when we got back, so I assumed the role of sous chef and set about chopping ingredients for a salad and marinating the beef for the barbecue.

That evening, the table was covered in a stunning trellis patterned cloth; the centrepiece was a trio of coral Himalayan salt candles surrounded with a swathe of fresh mint from the garden.  Plates and napkins were piled up and salads were laid out under the cloches. Huge wooden platters with bowls of nibbles and cheese circulated around the pool where we mingled before the meal and watched another spectacular sunset over the South Atlantic.

While I was sous-cheffing, I found a pile of glossy, purple aubergines which were to be turned into ‘chips‘. Further enquiry led to the clarification that chips meant wedges, so I tossed them in a spice mix I found int the larder and they were roasted in the oven that evening. The leftovers were sprinkled with feta and parsley and served at room temperature with houmous and were absolutely delicious. Spiced Aubergine Wedges | Selma's TableI couldn’t wait to re-create this when I got back. Chermoula is a North African spice blend consisting of ground cumin and coriander seeds, sumac, chilli, paprika, salt and pepper. It is mixed into a paste with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and coriander before slathering over meat and fish. You can make your own or buy it ready mixed. Google is your best bet! Spiced Aubergine Wedges | Selma's TableI use the chermoula as a dry rub, coating the aubergine wedges after tossing them in olive oil. The wedges are roasted, turning them over halfway through the cooking time and roasting until the edges are crispy and the thicker bits are soft and squidgy. It’s that wonderful combination of flavours and textures; soft and  crispy with a nutty, smokey, tart and salty flavour with the freshness of the chopped parsley and coriander leaves. Delicious with barbecues, as a side to roast lamb or chicken or as part of a mezze.

I am taking this over to Angie’s Fiesta Friday #59 which this week is being co-hosted by the lovely, bubbly Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and  the fabulous Mila @ milkandbun. If you are new to blogging, please do join the party, we would love to see you. Fiesta Friday is a great way to gain exposure and make new friends too. Be sure to comment, like and follow – Angie has such a friendly crowd at this party that you will come away with lots of new followers (as long as you interact) as well as a lot of inspiration! Submit a post (please be sure to include the link and a mention, in your post, to Angie’s   Fiesta Friday #59 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’re new to Fiesta Friday, please do take a minute to read the guidelines.

Chermoula Spiced Aubergine Wedges with Tahini Sauce and Feta

  • Servings: 4 side servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 aubergines (eggplants)
  • 2 tsp chermoula dry spice blend
  • 2-3 Tbsp olive oil
  • a good pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 lemon halved and one of the halves, sliced into wedges
  • water to thin
  • 50 g feta
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley and coriander leaves
  • olive oil to drizzle.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F
  2. Slice the aubergines into 12 – 16 wedges each, depending on their size.
  3. Toss wedges in olive oil then sprinkle over the chermoula spice mix and a god pinch of salt and toss again. I do all of this on the baking sheet.
  4. Roast for 20 – 25 minutes, turning them over once, half way. They should be golden, cooked through and a little crispy at the edges.
  5. In the meantime, mix the tahini with the juice of half a lemon which will make it very think. Stir in a little water at a time to get it to a good drizzling consistency and then stir in the garlic and set aside.
  6. Crumble the feta and chop the parsley.
  7. Place the wedges in a serving platter, drizzle with tahini mix and scatter over the feta and parsley. Drizzle over a little olive oil and serve with lemon wedges.

You can omit the tahini and serve these with a scoop of houmous instead.

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2015. 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 – March 2015

Thank goodness that February is a short month – it brings those of us in the Northern Hemisphere just a little closer to Spring! Nonetheless, I’ve had a lot going on in my kitchen despite also spending two glorious weeks in Cape Town to attend the wedding of one of my oldest friends. I thought that you might like to see some photos of the stunning table setting and the food which was divine. The last photo above, is of the first course. I brought back our name cards as a momento. (If you click on the first photo, you can see the enlarged version of each picture in the gallery.)

In my kitchen there have been blood oranges, cavolo nero and fregola from which I made a salad because earlier in the month, I together with some friends, visited a fabulous shop called Vallebona which I wrote about here. It’s full of gourmet Sardinian groceries. These are some of the goodies I brought back.

IMK March 2015 | Selma's Table

Olive oil, truffle honey, grape must

We sampled the honey with white truffle on cheese and I tried some blue cheese with the grape juice must which were both wonderful. They both went into my basket! Vallebona sell a very thin cracker that comes in huge sheets which you just break off to eat – it’s called Carta Musica and lasts forever. I also bought the green tea with cherry blossom which is lovely.

I popped into a couple of local charity shops and came away with more china bargains. It’s becoming a bit of an obsession now – how did I go from shoes to plates?

I had this beautiful purple savoy type cabbage in my Sutton Community Farm veg box – unfortunately there was no time to make anything with it before I left, so I gave to a friend.

Cape Town has a fantastic food culture and I always look forward to seeing what they are up to. This time, a friend took me to a tiny award winning restaurant called Chefs Warehouse and Canteen run by a chef Liam Tomlin and his wife Jan.  They serve a very popular tapas style menu which is what we had. Wow – such incredible food – balanced, intense flavours and beautifully presented. There are more photos on my Instagram feed.

There is also a small but well curated shop attached, full of professional cookware, ceramics, ingredients and cookbooks. I bought a gorgeous glazed tapas dish just like the one we were served calamari in and a couple of packets of fruity buttery toffees – Sour Fig and Orange and Pomegranate. I really wish that I had bought a copy of his “Tapas” book but I just can’t justify another cookbook at the moment.

The friends we were staying with took us to the Oranjezicht City Farm Market which is held on the grounds of the Premier Helen Zille’s official residence, Leeuwenhof. Every Saturday, she opens up the gardens and the pool to the general public and independent local farmers and artisanal food producers. Apparently it’s the equivalent of David Cameron opening up Chequers to the hoi polloi! The fresh produce is fantastic and I was very surprised at how delicious the cheeses were too. There was a separate tent full of stall holders making and selling gorgeous and healthy food to eat.

I bought some intensely deep flavoured honey which took me right back to my childhood in Nairobi. This honey is similar to the Arabian Sidr Honey. I also bought a bottle of fig and grape must chutney.

A couple of days after returning to London, I received a lovely Welcome Home card and pack of black garlic from Elaine of foodbod which was such a surprise and had me squealing in delight.

Well, that is it from my kitchen this month – huge thanks to the lovely Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial who hosts this monthly event – peeking into everyone’s kitchens all over the world is so inspiring!  Make yourself a cuppa and have a little browse – all the links to the participating blogs are on the right hand side of Celia’s post. I have linked her post to her blog name so click and take a little tour!

Before you take your leave, feast your eyes on this amazing sunset – a display that Capetonians enjoy most evenings!

Sunset over the South Atlantic Ocean

Sunset over the South Atlantic Ocean from Seapoint, Cape Town