Ricotta and Chive Cakes

Ricotta and Chive Cakes | Selma's TableI have a friend who I think of as the Imelda Marcos of lunch boxes. She has the most incredible selection – ones for breakfast, ones with separate compartments for salads and dressing, ones that can go in the microwave, spill proof soup mugs, ones that have their own placemat, ones that have their own cutlery – you name it – she’s most probably got it! She takes the most delicious things to work and obviously saves a fortune in the process.

Ricotta and Chive Cakes | Selma's TableHave you ever totted up what you spend on food during the working week? I’m not talking about going out for restaurant  lunches but the stuff you get from the thousands of takeaway sandwich bars and cafe’s that line our streets. Starting with your morning latte and yoghurt pot/muffin/croissant to a mid morning snack, lunch of sandwiches/salads/noodles/sushi, coffee or tea, juice etc…it really adds up. At let’s say £5 – £10 a day, that’s £25 – £50 a week which works out to £1,250 – £2,500 a year! With a little fore thought and organisation, you could so easily be taking in your own food which will be delicious, not full of salt, sugar, preservatives and additives and saving you a fortune at the same time. Those Manolos might be yours sooner than you think…

Ricotta and Chive Cakes | Selma's TableAnyway, I popped round her house recently and she gave me a ricotta cake to try – she had mentioned them a few times in the past and said how wonderful they were and how perfect in one of her “salady” lunch boxes and I could immediately see why. It was so savoury; light but filling and extremely low carb, so, no mid afternoon carb coma. She did tell me what was in them, but all I could remember was the ricotta and parmesan. Possibly basil.

The other day, I bought some ricotta to make ravioli and had some left over so thought I would give the cakes a go. I did a little googling to get the proportions right and came up with these…They are so easy. Just whisk up a couple of eggs with salt and pepper, snip in the chives and stir in the cheeses. Spoon into very well greased tins, top with a little more parmesan and bake. So, so delicious!

These are really quite small – you would probably want 2 or 3 – maybe more, per serving, depending on your appetite. I also think that these would be lovely with a little grated lemon zest in them and maybe a sliver of sundried tomato on top. Thyme or oregano would work well here too. So many possibilities…

P.S. if you click on the link to the Manolo Blahnik website, there is THE most fabulous short film about how, as a child growing up in the Canary Islands, Manolo Blahnik made shoes from sweetie wrappers for lizards. I used to make Christmas decorations out of sweetie wrappers – think I may have missed my calling…

Ricotta and Chive Cakes

  • Servings: makes about 22 small cakes
  • Difficulty: easy
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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 large eggs, free range or organic
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch of chives about 25g
  • 500g ricotta cheese
  • 60g finely grated parmesan cheese, halved

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150C/300F. Thoroughly grease and flour a couple of 12 hole patty tins (the shallow kind used for mince pies or Yorkshire puds).
  2. Lightly whisk the eggs in a medium sized bowl. Whisk in the salt and pepper and snip in the chives – scissors are much better than a knife for chives.
  3. Add the ricotta and half the parmesan and whisk until all the ingredients are well mixed together.
  4. Pop a tablespoon of the mixture into each hole and lightly smooth over the tops.
  5. Evenly sprinkle over the remaining parmesan cheese.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly golden. Let cool for 5 minutes then remove from pans to either finish cooling on a wire rack or eat warm with a salad.
  7. Store in a lidded container in the fridge for up to 7 days.
© 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.

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. (Don’t worry, 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 quite often use frozen bananas but let them thaw and drain off the liquid before mashing and mash the bananas coarsely as this enables the loaves to remain lovely and moist. I prefer to use light brown sugar for a deeper more caramel flavour too.  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

My loaf tins are standard 900g/2 lb loaf tins. Measurements may vary slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer, but  they should be approximately 23cm x 13cm x 7cm  or 9″ x 5 ½” x 3″.

INGREDIENTS

  • 150 g mixed dried fruit (like berries, cherries, figs and sultanas)
  • 75 ml of very strong brewed Adagio 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/325F and either pop a paper case into each of two loaf tins or line with two strips of parchment paper. 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 fruit.
  8. Scrape the batter 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.

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
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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.

Fruit and Nut Sourdough Crackers

Cape TownHello from gorgeous Cape Town! I’m here for a wedding but wanted to share these fabulous crackers with you.

Fruit and Nut Sourdough Crackers | Selma's TableWhenever I dry any sourdough starter, I always test some before sending it out or storing it. This recipe is just perfect for using up the test batch as it makes about a cup.

Fruit and Nut Sourdough Crackers | Selma's Table

Rehydrated sourdough starter

The artisan crackers are just delicious – on their own or with cheese and also make the most gorgeous gift too.

Fruit and Nut Sourdough Crackers | Selma's TableFruit and Nut Sourdough Crackers | Selma's TableFruit and Nut Sourdough Crackers | Selma's TableMake sure to pre soak the dried fruit before starting. I used water but next time I will soak them in strong black tea or port.

Fruit and Nut Sourdough Crackers | Selma's Table

Rosemary, Dried Fruit and Nut Sourdough Crackers

  • Servings: about 100/125 crackers
  • Difficulty: easy
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Adapted from Dinner with Julie

INGREDIENTS

  • 80 g plain/AP flour
  • 70 g wholemeal flour
  • 80 g rye flour
  • 90 g soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup recently fed sourdough starter
  • 200 ml milk
  • 100 ml greek yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup dried fruit – I used berries, cherries and raisins, soaked and drained
  • 50 g chopped almonds
  • 50 g chopped hazelnuts
  • 40 g pumpkin seeds
  • 30 g sesame seeds
  • 40 g linseeds
  • 2 Tbsp/7g chopped fresh rosemary needles

1 x 6 mini loaf tin. Each one of mine measures 11.5 cm long, 6 cm wide and 3.5 cm deep.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking soda and salt to evenly distribute all the ingredients.
  3.  Then, add the starter, milk, the yoghurt and honey and using wooden spoon, mix well.
  4. Stir in the raisins, the nuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, linseeds and rosemary.
  5. Pour the batter into .
  6. Divide the batter evenly between 8 mini  4″ x 2 1/2″ loaf pans that have been well sprayed with nonstick spray.
  7. Bake 25 – 30 minutes, until the tops have domed and turned golden-brown, and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes then turn out to cool on wire racks. You can slice  when cold but they slice more thinly when frozen.
  8. Freeze when cold and leave 15 mins or so at room temperature to soften slightly.
  9. Pre-heat oven to 150°C/300° F
  10. Slice one loaf as thinly as you can using a serrated knife and place the slices in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet.
  11. Bake the crackers for about 15 minutes, then flip them over and bake for another 5-10 minutes, until crisp and brown. Repeat with the remaining loaves, as you need them.
  12. Store in an airtight container and try not to eat them all at once!
© 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.

Romanesco and Feta Cakes with Za’atar

Romanesco and Feta Cakes with Za'atar | Selma's TableOne of the few benefits of globalisation is the exposure and the availability we now have to a huge variety of fruits and vegetables. In England, garlic, which was once regarded as foreign muck is now as ubiquitous as the humble spud. Blood oranges, native to Italy are now cultivated and eagerly anticipated worldwide. When we moved to Canada in the mid ’70’s coriander leaves were scarce and an exotic luxury – my mother would use them parsimoniously out of necessity. Today, sheaves of them can be bought in the grocery stores. It is easier than ever to eat a huge variety of fruits and vegetables which has so many knock on benefits.

Romanesco and Feta Cakes with Za'atar | Selma's TableI can’t remember when I first saw my first romanesco broccoli (aka romanesque cauliflower) but it was a stunningly beautiful if strange, otherworldly looking vegetable that once brought home, I could not bear to destroy by cooking! Cultivated in Italy since the 15th/16th century, this is another vegetable that is now easily available to us. It has a the nutty, buttery flavour of the more familiar broccoli and cauliflower but without the bitter edge that cauliflower can sometimes have and is much preferred by children for that very reason.  I love the florets in a cauliflower cheese, or pureed to go with a roast or roasted themselves, but these cute little cakes another way to have them that doesn’t take long and can also be assembled ahead of time if necessary. The feta gives them a salty creamy kick and the za’atar picks out the lemony flavours. A hint of earthy, aromatic rosemary pulls it all together.

After steaming the florets, just mix the ingredients together, shape into little patties and bake – what could be easier?

Romanesco and Feta Cakes with Za'atar | Selma's TableI am sharing these with those die-hard party goers at Fiesta Friday, hosted by the talented Angie of The Novice Gardener. This week we have  Suzanne @apuginthekitchen and Sue @birgerbird to thank, as our co-hosts. Both are fantastic cooks and have a wealth of recipes on their sites – do go over and take a look.

If you blog, please do join in, reading the the guidelines first to get you going.

R e a d e r   G i v e a w a y!

Ruby Chard, Shitake Mushroom & Chestnut Tart | Selma's TableWin a copy of FIVE by Rachel de Thample!

Ever since my son, Jake, began weaning, I have instinctively incorporated more fruits and vegetables into our diet. I always make sure to include at least three fruits/vegetables at meals – usually more if I can. For instance yesterday we had a stir fry of shredded white cabbage, cavalo nero, ruby chard, kale tops, leeks and red onion with some salmon. This is why Rachel de Thample latest recipe book called FIVE which I reviewed last week, appeals so much to me. it shows you how easy it is to eat well and deliciously.  It is full of varied, accessible and delicious recipes that will have you packing away fruits and vegetables without any effort at all. There is a very useful double page spread listing fruits and vegetables and their portion sizes and the recipes clearly state how many portions are in each recipe. And the recipes! There isn’t a single one which I wouldn’t make – from creative breakfast truffles and clever muffins to galettes, latkes, stunning salads, hearty soups, curries, pastries, cakes, puddings, sorbets – and I have one copy to give away to a lucky reader!

All you have to do is follow this blog via email (if you don’t already) and leave a comment below telling me what one of your favourite vegetable dishes is – one of my favourites is  griddled courgette/zuchinni slices, tossed with basil or mint, lemon zest, olive oil, parmesan and toasted almond slivers – so delicious!

Now on to the recipe –

Romanesco and Feta Cakes with Za'atar

  • Servings: makes about 9 small cakes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 small romanesco cauliflower ( approx. 175 g prepared weight) or substitute broccoli or cauliflower
  • 75 g feta cheese
  • 20 g panko or bread crumbs
  • zest of half a lemon
  • ½ tsp finely chopped rosemary needles
  • ½ tsp vegetable bouillon powder or a good pinch of salt (remembering that the feta is salty)
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1 Tbsp za’atar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp fine semolina

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F
  2. Break up the romanesco into fairly small florets and steam for about 8 minutes. A knife should be able to pierce them easily but they should not disintegrate. Allow to cool a little.
  3. In the meantime, crumble or chop the feta in small cubes,
  4. When the romanesco is cool enough to handle, mix in the remaining ingredients.
  5. Taking walnut sized pieces of the mix, squeeze and shape into balls. Wetting your hands makes them easier to shape.
  6. Lightly oil a baking tray and place the balls on the tray, Flatten them slightly and then drizzle over a little oil. Dust with semolina, Turn over and repeat.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes until tinged with gold.
  8. Serve warm with a dollop of lemony creme fraiche or greek yoghurt.
© 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.