Sour Cherry, Coconut and Oat Slice

Sour Cherry, Coconut and Oat Slice | Selma's TableThese gorgeous Sour Cherry, Coconut and Oat Slices are so easy to make and very child friendly too by which I mean that it is something that you could make with young children if you were so inclined. Other than needing a knife to cube the butter into tiny pieces, there is no need for any implements other than a set of scales and a spoon.

Sour Cherry, Coconut and Oat Slice | Selma's Table

Sour Cherry, Coconut and Oat Slice | Selma's Table

First, prepare your baking tin. There is a good description in the Baking section, over on my Tips and Tricks page – click on the link. Once you have papered it, either spray or brush on some melted butter.

Then, it’s simply a matter of one bowl into which you mix the dry ingredients with your hands, breaking up any brown sugar lumps with your finger tips and then rubbing in the butter and patting most of the mixture into a prepared baking tin.

Spoon over the jam and sprinkle over the remaining oat and flour mixture and some shredded coconut and press it lightly into the jam. That is it. Then it goes into the oven and emerges looking like hipster cafe offering. You could drizzle a little melted white chocolate over it if you wanted to get all fancy pants but it looks and tastes rather lovely as it is.

Sour Cherry, Coconut and Oat Slice | Selma's TableI resisted the urge to scatter over almond flakes even though almonds and cherries are a match made in heaven – it’s just that I tend to put them on everything! Instead I opted for shredded coconut which adds a lovely flavour.

Sour Cherry, Coconut and Oat Slice | Selma's TableWith such a short ingredient list, it is important to use good quality butter, and a really tasty jam. I admit to having a complete weakness for the Maribel jams from Lidl – the Sour Cherry Conserve is my absolute favourite.

This recipe is endlessly adaptable – all sorts of combinations come to mind – blueberry jam with some lemon zest in it; fig jam with some crushed walnuts in the topping; apricot preserves with vanilla and definitely flaked almonds in the topping; strawberry or raspberry jam with white chocolate drizzled over the top when it has cooled…so many possibilities.

Sour Cherry, Coconut and Oat Slice | Selma's TableIf you have some homemade jam that needs using up – this is the recipe for you. Surprisingly, it’s not too sweet and is rather wonderful with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk. The recipe adapts easily to being doubled if you want to bake a big batch and the slices are sturdy so these are perfect as a hostess gift or for a bake sale.

Sour Cherry, Coconut and Oat Slice | Selma's TableI am taking a large tray of these Sour Cherry, Coconut and Oat Slices over to Angie’s Fiesta Friday #68 which this week is being co-hosted by Justine @ Eclectic odds n sods and Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.. I’ve not been for a few weeks and look forward to checking out the new venue (fiestafriday.net) and meeting the new bloggers who have joined in the virtual weekly party! Now where is the bar and who’s brought the cocktails?

Sour Cherry, Coconut and Oat Slice

  • Servings: Cuts into 16 squares
  • Difficulty: easy
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Adapted from Raspberry Oatmeal Cookie Bars on Allrecipes.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 125g plain/AP flour
  • 100g soft brown sugar
  • 100g rolled porridge oats
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • good pinch of salt
  • 115g cold, unsalted butter
  • 250g sour cherry jam
  • 2 Tbsp shredded coconut

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F and line an 9″ square tin with baking parchment or aluminium foil, leaving a little overhang so that you can use them as handles later. Grease the bottom and the sides of the paper.
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, oats, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl, mixing well.
  3. Cut the butter into the smallest cubes you can and thoroughly rub into the flour mixture.
  4. Set the prepared baking tin onto the scales ands set to zero. Measure out 300g of the mixture into the baking tin and press evenly onto the bottom of the pan. Make sure to get into the corners. Smooth the top by running a flat bottomed glass over it.
  5. Spread the sour cherry jam over the surface to within 1 cm of the edges. The jam spreads as it bakes so this prevents it from seeping from the edges and burning.
  6. Sprinkle over the remaining flour mixture and evenly top with the shredded coconut. Press lightly into the jam.
  7. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes or until golden. Leave in the tin on a rack, to cool completely. Then using the paper overhang, lift the bake out of the tin and onto a chopping board. Using a long knife or a pizza cutter, slice into squares.
© 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.

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
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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.

Wholemeal Sourdough Loaf

Wholemeal Sourdough Loaf | Selma's Table

When you see the timeline on this recipe, you are going to laugh and say who has 3 days to make a loaf of bread?! The truth is that you barely spend any time on it yourself – the wild yeast is doing all the work for you. As I mentioned in my post on Fruited Sourdough, it’s all about deciding when you want to bake and working backwards from there. I start the process on a Friday afternoon to bake on Sunday morning. The long, slow cold proofing allows the flavours to mature and take on even more of that distinctive sour, sourdough taste.

Wholemeal Sourdough Loaf | Selma's TableI bake my bread in an lidded enamel roasting dish. Baking it like this, creates steam so that the crust doesn’t become so hard that the loaf cannot expand and rise in the heat. This bit is referred to as oven spring. Slashing the dough helps with  creating a good oven spring too.  If you don’t have a lidded pot then, bake on a sheet/pizza stone but pop a small tin of ice cubes or water into the oven to create that steam. The lid is removed halfway through baking and I am always childishly surprised and in wonder at how much the loaf has grown and split open in that time.

Wholemeal Sourdough Loaf | Selma's Table

Wholemeal Sourdough Loaf | Selma's TableI don’t know about you but I really struggle with counter space – I just seem to have so much out on it but that’s just the way I am. If I put things in a cupboard, they tend to shuffle off to the back and lie forgotten. So, when it comes to stretching and shaping dough, rather than clear away appliances and bottles of oil, I use a large stainless steel tray – it’s portable and so easy to clean. As an added bonus, the dusting flour/semolina etc is contained and doesn’t get everywhere! Stainless steel is really easy to work on too. Wholemeal Sourdough Loaf | Selma's TableSo, if you have sourdough starter of your own or had some from Celia or me, give this method for Wholemeal Sourdough, a go!
Wholemeal Sourdough Loaf | Selma's TableAlways start with a bubbly bowl of starter. Following Celia’s advice, I take out ¼ cup of Twinkle (my starter) from the fridge at 1pm, feed her ¼ cup each of bread flour and filtered water, followed by ½ cup of each at about 4pm. By 8pm, Twinkle is bubbly and ready to go!

Set a large mixing bowl on the scales and add the ingredients, re-setting to zero between ingredients. Wholemeal is a dry thirsty flour, so you may need more water. Start with 300g first and add more if you need it. Squelch them all together and leave to autolyse for half an hour. Then stretch and fold a half dozen times, cover and leave to prove on the worktop, overnight. The following morning, stretch and fold the dough again and this time place in the fridge to prove for 24 hours. On Day 3, shape the dough, let it have a final short proof on the worktop and bake.

Wholemeal Sourdough Loaf

  • Servings: Makes a 500 g loaf
  • Difficulty: easy
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INGREDIENTS

  • 150 g of bubbly starter
  • 300 – 320 g of room temp or cool filtered water
  • 250 g of organic wholemeal bread flour
  • 250 g of organic strong white bread flour
  • 9 g of fine salt
  • olive oil
  • fine semolina or rye flour
  • poppy seeds

INSTRUCTIONS

Day 1 Evening

  1. Use a large mixing bowl and set it on the scales, re-setting to zero between additions.
  2. Tip in 150 g of bubbly starter.
  3. Then add 300g of the filtered water. (Start with the lesser amount first – you can always add a little more if the dough is too dry.)
  4. Measure in the bread flours.
  5. Add 9 g of fine sea salt.
  6. Squelch it all together with a clean hand until it is well mixed. This shouldn’t even take a minute. Add a little more water if the dough is too dry. Wholemeal is a thirsty flour! Scrape all the floury bits off your hand and back into the bowl. (I’ve been using latex disposable gloves – very little sticks to them.) Cover the bowl and set the timer for ½ an hour for the dough to autolyse.
  7. When the half hour is up, stretch and fold the dough, inside the bowl, 5 or 6 times. Clean the bowl  then smear some olive oil in it and place the dough inside, seam side down. Cover and leave out on the worktop, overnight.

Day 2 Morning

  1. In the morning, the dough will be bubbly and have doubled in volume at least.
  2. Dust the work surface (I use a large stainless steel tray) with fine semolina or rye flour (white tends to stick) and gently scrape the dough out, onto it. Repeat the stretch and fold a half dozen times. Place seam side down in a large oiled bowl, cover and place in the fridge.

Day 3 Morning

  1. The next morning, the dough will have risen and is ready to bake. You could even leave it in the fridge for another day for the flavours to develop.
  2. Pre-heat your oven to 240/250C – as high as it will go.
  3. Dust the work surface and gently scrape the dough out, onto it. There is no need to punch down – you want to keep as many of those bubbles in the dough as you can.
  4. Pull the outside thirds into the middle, then turn it over so that it is seam side down and shape it as you wish. Try and pull the outside of the dough as tightly as possible to get a good gluten coat which will hold it’s shape well.
  5. Oil some cling film and cover the dough on the worktop for about 45 minutes to an hour, for the final prove. The dough should warm up a little and also expand. If your kitchen is really warm, it may only take half an hour – so keep an eye on it, setting the timer as this is the only proofing that should NOT be over done.
  6. Then, after it has finished the final proofing, remove the cling film, and sprinkle generously with poppy seeds.
  7. Slash the top of the dough and place it in a lidded **enamel roaster/dutch oven. Cover with the lid and place in the oven. Turn the heat down to 220C (fan assisted) and bake for 20 minutes.
  8. After 20 mins, remove the lid and carry on baking for another 20 mins. Check to see if the bread is done by tapping it on the underside – it should sound hollow. If you like a crispy crust, then place directly on the oven rack and bake for another 5 minutes. Otherwise, remove from the pot and cool on a wire rack.

**If you don’t have a lidded pot, you can, of course, bake the bread on a baking sheet/pizza stone. In that case, place a few ice cubes/water in a small tin and put this in the oven to create the steam that baking in a lidded pot does.

© 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.

Almond, Orange and Tahini Biscuits

Almond, Orange and Tahini Biscuits | Selma's TableI was so thrilled when Elaine of foodbod asked me to write a post for her new series, “What would you feed me?” Elaine is the embodiment of healthy eating – she is vegetarian, sugar free, caffeine free and also avoids wheat but doesn’t miss out on any flavour with her punchy Middle East inspired spicing. I discovered her blog when someone re-blogged one of her earliest posts which was for a pavlova – the antithesis of how Elaine eats!  So I set my mind to thinking how I could produce a treat that was true to Elaine’s food ideals. Obviously, it had to have tahini in it – Elaine’s favourite food group!!  Ground almonds to substitute for flour and honey for sugar…I kept thinking about those lovely Chinese Almond Cookies that are made for Chinese New Year. I am rather partial to orange zest and cardamom in baked goods, so in they went too.. Almond, Orange and Tahini Biscuits | Selma's TableThe Almond, Orange and Tahini Biscuits have Elaine’s name written all over them. Wheat free, refined sugar free but chock full of almonds and tahini of course! They are also dairy free and egg free, making them suitable for vegans.  While these do have honey in them they are not very sweet so they won’t kick your sweet cravings into high gear. The orange and cardamom flavours work beautifully with the nutty flavours of the tahini and almonds. The biscuits bake up crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside – just begging to be dunked in a cuppa!  Judging by the response on Instagram, I think that they are a success! Almond, Orange and Tahini Biscuits | Selma's Table If you want to know how to make these ridiculously easy Almond, Orange and Tahini Biscuits please go over to my guest post on Elaine’s blog, foodbod. The post is called, ‘What would you feed me…Selma’ – if you click on the link below, it will take you straight to it. While you are there, take a minute to browse through Elaine’s recipes – you will come away inspired!

https://foodbod.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/what-would-you-feed-me-selma/

 © Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from the 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.

Orange Mince Pie Pastry

Orange Mince Pie Pastry | Selma's TableI’ve always been mad about Christmas even though as a child, it was not something we celebrated. My cousins, who are half German always did Christmas in a big way. My aunt used to bake up a storm, fiercely guarding her recipes – I most remember the almond star cookies with the cinnamon  meringue tops that she always made without fail. (Luckily, Ginger recently posted a traditional recipe for these so I can make them now!) And they always had a big, gaily decorated tree in their sitting room, which I couldn’t tear my eyes away from.

Orange Mince Pie Pastry | Selma's TableI begged and whined every year for a tree and one year, we finally got one BUT – it was unceremoniously parked outside the doors to the verandah at the rear of our house and we had no decorations – I improvised with colourful metallic sweetie wrappers which I twisted to look like bows and oh, how I loved that tree.  I sound so deprived but I wasn’t really. We were living in Nairobi, engaging mainly with our huge and extended Muslim family and it just wasn’t the done thing to celebrate Christmas – we had Eid, of course.

Needless to say, my first Christmas on my own included the largest tree we could get into the flat, strung with so many lights that we probably caused a dent in the national grid every time they were turned on. It was so laden with ornaments that the branches were bowing under their weight.

Orange Mince Pie Pastry | Selma's TableSince then, I have refined my tree decorating and have strings and strings of soft white lights – no coloured lights and certainly no flashing in time to music – which are wired to the branches so that they sit perfectly without any visible wires. There is no tinsel, no garland just lots of pretty, sparkly red, silver and gold ornaments and baubles, which have been amassed (amassed, being the key word) over the years.

Jake used to have a little tree in his room, which I do understand may be thought of as a little excessive but I had lost time to make up for! This little tree had very colourful ornaments and baubles – a practice, I am so happy to hear, that has been taken up by a friend, for her twin boys. Anyway, the bottom line is that I am just crazy about Christmas as a tradition – the twinkly lights everywhere, the smell of pine needles, the lovely things in the shops, the carols, the festive food, meeting up with friends for a Christmas drink, the parties and the general feeling of good cheer – I just love it!

Orange Mince Pie Pastry | Selma's TableAnd of course, I love the baking. This is one of the best recipes I have ever used for mince pie pastry. It’s short, rich and buttery with a wonderful flavour from the flecks of orange zest. It is not too sweet which balances with the sweet mincemeat. And it is ever so forgiving. The trimmings come together like playdoh and can be re-rolled a number of times. The dough doesn’t have to be kneaded – just patted into a disc, chilled and then rolled out. It keeps for days in the fridge too.

Orange Mince Pie Pastry | Selma's TableI always use shop bought mincemeat which I ramp up with port soaked dried cranberries and golden sultanas and orange zest. I usually grate an apple into the mixture before I fill the pies but this year I didn’t. Honestly, jazzing up shop bought mincemeat like this makes it taste absolutely wonderful and I never think to make my own from scratch.

Orange Mince Pie Pastry | Selma's Table

Pastry before being gathered and chilled

Orange Mince Pie Pastry | Selma's Table

Most years, I make at least two batches of mince pies with this pastry, usually with a glass of port and Michael Bublé for company! For me, this is when I start to feel really festive.

Orange Mince Pie Pastry | Selma's Table

I am taking these to share with the wonderful bloggers at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #47. Today we are being co-hosted by two charming ladies – Indu @Indu’s International Kitchen and Jhuls @The Not So Creative Cook Do take a moment to see what Angie, Indu and Jhuls have been up to!

Orange Mince Pie Pastry | Selma's Table

Orange Mince Pie Pastry

  • Servings: enough for 24 mince pies
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Adapted from Sainsbury’s Christmas Book by Joycelyn Dimbleby

INGREDIENTS

For the mincemeat

  • 200g of dried cranberries. dried cherries and golden sultanas
  • enough port to cover the dried fruit
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 500 g mincemeat

For the pastry

  • 500g plain/AP flour
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 375 g cold butter, cubed
  • finely grated rind and juice of one orange

To assemble

  • 1 x 8cm/3in round cutter
  • 1 x 5cm/2in round cutter
  • 3 Tbsp flour in a bowl
  •  2 Tbsp water in a small glass or bowl
  • 1 Tbsp milk in a small glass or bowl
  • icing sugar

INSTRUCTIONS

Pastry

  1. Place the flour, sugar and orange zest in the bowl of a food processor, fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to mix.
  2. Add the chilled butter cubes and process until the mixture looks like coarse damp sand. Scrape out into a bowl and  break up any large lumps of butter or compacted mix.
  3. Using a table knife, stir in the orange juice until the pastry just starts to come together. You will think that this amount of liquid can’t possibly be enough, but it is.
  4. Gently, pat into a disk, wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 mins or overnight.

Mincemeat

  1. Soak the dried fruit and zest in the port overnight (do not refrigerate).
  2. Stir in the mincemeat and set aside until needed.

To assemble

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Butter/spray the tart tins.
  3. Remove the pastry from the fridge. Divide into two, one piece slightly larger than the other. Wrap the smaller one in the cling film and pop it back in the fridge.
  4. Cut the larger half of the disc in half again. I find it easier to roll out a smaller piece of dough. Lightly flour the worktop and the rolling pin. Roll out the pastry, which will be solid to begin with but soon softens up as the butter warms up, a little thicker than usual and stamp out 12 x  8cm/3in rounds. Dip the cutter into the flour from time to time. Re-roll the trimmings to achieve the 12 rounds. Line the tart tin and pop into the fridge to chill. Repeat with the other half of the pastry and refrigerate while you get the tops ready.
  5. Remove the second half of the pastry dough from the fridge. Cut in half and roll out. Stamp out 12 x 5cm/2in rounds, again re-rolling the trimmings to achieve 12 rounds for the tops. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
  6. Optional – gather all the trimmings, re-roll and stamp out stars, christmas trees, hearts etc.
  7. Remove the tart tins from the fridge and fill with the mincemeat – do not overfill.
  8. Dipping a finger into the water, moisten one side of the rounds and place on top of the filled pies.  Press lightly to seal and make a small slit on top.
  9. Moisten one side of the star/heart/Christmas tree and place on top of each pie.
  10. Brush with a little milk and bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  11. The pastry is beautifully crumbly so it is best to let the mince pies cool for 10 minutes before easing them out of the tins (you may need to use a table knife to do this) and letting them cool on a wire rack.
  12. Dust with icing sugar and serve warm or cold.
© 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.

Roast Pumpkin and Walnut Squares

Roast Pumpkin and Walnut Squares | Selma's Table

Did you know that 90% of the tea drunk in the UK is a blend of teas, and that tasting and blending tea, like blending whisky or champagne, is a fine art, and takes years of training?

When I read that, I sat up and took notice! Tea is something that I take for granted – I like a cup in the afternoon and I like drinking green tea after dinner. So when I received some Tetley Tea to sample along with a fact sheet, I began to look at tea in a new light. There are over 200 ways to describe tea! It takes 5 years of training to become a Tetley Tea Blender, fluent in the art of tea blending and the vocabulary that comes with it. There are 60 different tea blends sold by Tetley and each blend is taste tested 8 times before it can be judged good enough to called Tetley!  Phew – now that is something to consider as we get through the 165,000,000 cups of tea that are drunk daily in the UK!

These are the top 20 terms used by Tetley’s tea tasters, bearing in mind that there are many more…

  1. Aroma: an important consideration in cupping teas is the smell that is given off. A favourable aroma is most often associated with a flavourful taste.
  2. Black tea: the most commonly consumed tea in the world. One of three major types of tea, the others being Green and Oolong.
  3. Biscuity: a desirable trait usually referring to a well fired Assam.
  4. Bite: a very brisk and “alive” tea liquor.
  5. Blend: a mixture of teas from several different origins blended together to achieve a certain flavour profile.
  6. Body: describes a tea liquor possessing fullness and strength.
  7. Colour: indicates useful depth of color and strength.
  8.  Dust: a term which is used to describe the smallest particles of tea leaf.
  9.  Flat: not fresh. Tea tends to lose its characteristics and taste with age, unlike some wines which mature with age.
  10.  Hard: a desirable quality suggesting pungency, particularly applied to Assam teas.
  11.  Jasmine: a green tea to which Jasmine flowers are added.
  12.  Leaf: a tea where the leaf tends to be on the large or longish size.
  13.  Malty: desirable character in some Assam teas. A full, bright tea with a malty taste.
  14.  Nose: a term used to connote a good aroma of tea.
  15.  Powdery: ‘fine, light dust’ as the tea people say, meaning a very fine, light leaf particle.
  16.  Pungent: describes a tea liquor having marked briskness and an astringent effect on the palate without bitterness.
  17. Sparkle: clarity and purity of colour from grey to pure colour.
  18.  Toasty: a tea which has been slightly overfired during processing. It may be a desirable characteristic in some Darjeeling teas.
  19.  Woody: a characteristic reminiscent of freshly-cut timber. This trait is usually associated with teas processed very late in the season.
  20.  Zing: overall quality impression of the tea on the palette; the balance of character and taste in the tea.

Well, after all the hard work that has gone into producing your blend, you want to be sure to treat that tea with a little respect! Here are Tetley’s Master Blenders’ top tips for the perfect cup…

The tea should be made with boiling water ­ and only once-boiled water with a low mineral content if possible. This is because reboiling reduces oxygen levels and affects the taste, whilst water with a low mineral content allows the tea notes to come through better.

If you’re making black tea, stand by the kettle to ensure you pour as soon as it’s boiled. Black tea tastes best when brewed in water as close to boiling point as possible. That’s why your cuppa may taste different on a plane. In the reduced pressure environment, the boiling point is lowered to 90°.

But if you’ re making green tea, allow the kettle to cool for up to two minutes. This will make sure that your tea doesn¹t over-infuse and develop a bitter taste. Green teas are more delicate after all.

When using a tea bag in a cup, always add your milk after the water, otherwise the milk will cool the water down and hinder the all important infusion process. If using a tea pot, try adding the milk to the cup first. This traditional technique stopped the delicate porcelain cups from cracking.

We advise leaving the bag in for at least two minutes to provide sufficient time to let the flavour of the tea to infuse. This is more of a guideline though; the perfect brew is down to personal preference. But do not poke or prod the bag while it is infusing ­ be patient and let the process happen naturally!

After removing the bag, leave the brew to cool down for around two-three minutes. As the temperature reduces, the flavours will develop for a better quality taste.

If you would like to know more about the art of tea blending, take a look on Tetley’s website for a much more in-depth overview.

In My Kitchen December 2014 | Selma's TableMy recipe for Roast Pumpkin and Walnut Squares compliments and showcases the fruitiness of one of  one of Tetley’s latest blends – Green Tea with Peach and Apricot.

Roast Pumpkin and Walnut Squares | Selma's TableI soaked some sultanas in a very strong brew of the tea which absorbed the fruity flavours perfectly. I roasted the seasonal crown squash that was in my Sutton Community Farm  veg box along with some butter, brown sugar and my Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice mix.

Roast Pumpkin and Walnut Squares | Selma's TableI whizzed up a buttery, oaty, nutty base & topping, layered up and baked it then drizzled the squares with a lemony yogurt glaze. The result reminded me a little of the flavours of a baklava – sweet, spicy and nutty! I found that it sets up best overnight and even tastes better as all the flavours mature.

Roast Pumpkin and Walnut Squares | Selma's TableI am taking these delicious Roast Pumpkin and Walnut Squares over to Angie’s to share with the revellers at her popular Fiesta Friday party – it’s the 45th one – can you believe it?! Our talented first-time co-hosts this week are  Michelle @Giraffes Can Bake (I don’t know about giraffes but Michelle is an extraordinary baker!) and MB @Bourbon & Brown Sugar (MB has some fantastic bakes on her blog but her savoury food is pretty fabulous too!) Welcome to co-hosting, ladies – it is quite the blast!

Roast Pumpkin and Walnut Squares

  • Servings: 16 pieces
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

For the roast pumpkin

  • 300 g crown squash diced into 1  cm pieces (about a ¼ of a squash)
  • 1 tbsp butter cubed
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix

Mix and roast in a single layer  at 200C/400F for 20 minutes, stirring once or twice. The pumpkin pieces should be cooked through but still a little firm. Set aside to cool

For the sultanas

  • 75 g sultanas
  • 1 Tetley’s Peach and Green Tea teabag
  • 1 Tetley Redbush (Rooibos) teabag
  • 1 cup of just boiled water

Make a very strong brew with the two teabags, then remove and stir in the sultanas. Soak for 20 minutes at least. Drain when ready to use.

For the base and topping:

  • 125 g Digestive biscuits (about 8)
  • 20 g walnuts
  • 190 g plain/AP flour
  • 50 g oats
  • 20 g ground almonds/almond meal/almond flour
  • 1 ½  tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix
  • 180 g cold, unsalted butter, cubed
  • 50 g chopped walnuts – reserve for the topping
  • 2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds – reserve for the topping

For the filling:

  • 1 large egg
  • 150 g light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix
  • 300 g roast pumpkin
  • drained sultanas
  • 1 Tbsp ground almonds/almond meal

For the glaze:

  • ½ c golden icing sugar
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla yoghurt
  • 2 tsp Yuzu Citrus Seasoning

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C/350 F. Line a 9 inch square tin with greaseproof paper so that the base and sides are covered – use a few dabs of butter to get the paper to stick to the pan.
  2. Place the walnuts and digestive biscuits in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
  3. Add the flour, oats, ground almonds and pumpkin pie spice mix and pulse a couple of times to combine.
  4. Add the cold butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse, damp sand.
  5. Set aside 1 generous cup of this mixture for the topping and tip the rest into the prepared tin. Pat it level – don’t press down too hard or the base will be tough – then bake for 15 minutes.
  6. While the base is baking, get the filling ready; combine the pumpkin and the sultanas.
  7. Using an electric mixer and a medium sized bowl, whisk the egg,  sugar and pumpkin pie spice mix until thick, coffee coloured and creamy – about 2 minutes. Fold in the pumpkin, sultanas and almond meal..
  8. After the base has been in the oven for 15 minutes, remove it and top with the filling – covering the hot base as evenly as you can with the pumpkin filling
  9. Sprinkle over the reserved topping, walnuts and pumpkin seeds.
  10. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.
  11. Cool completely before glazing.
  12. Combine glaze ingredients together until smooth and drizzle over the top.

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

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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

INGREDIENTS

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

INSTRUCTIONS

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.

 

Ambassador Cupcakes

Ambassador Cupcakes | Selma's TableIt was Jake’s birthday a few weeks ago and I made him these fabulous Ambassador Cupcakes to take to a party that one of his friends was throwing for him. He is not a big fan of chocolate cakes and icing, though he loves chocolate, but when I mentioned that I could make them with a Ferrero Rocher chocolate  inside as well as on top of them, his eyes lit up, so that was that! Ambassador Cupcakes | Selma's TableI’ve been making birthday cakes for Jake, for friends and for their children for quite a long time now. I thought that you might like to see a selection of Jake’s birthday cakes over the years including the train that nearly turned me into a train wreck which I mentioned in my post on the Spiced Honey and Orange Cake. I have a star shaped pan that has come in very useful for celebration cakes in general and I have put it to good use over the years. Ambassador Cupcakes | Selma's Table Ambassador Cupcakes | Selma's TableFor these Ambassador Cupcakes, I was inspired by Michelle’s (Giraffes Can Bake) spectacular Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes but I was up against the clock so needed  to make something simpler and that would also travel well on public transport. So I had a quick trawl of the internet, found a recipe that looked quick and easy and tweaked it a little. Ambassador Cupcakes | Selma's TableThese Ambassador Cupcakes really are a special occasion cupcake. They require 48 Ferrera Rocher chocolates which really ratchets up the cost however, they look fabulous! If you are going to make these and don’t have a piping bag or nozzles, then please, do get some. You can buy a roll of disposable piping bags and a set of basic nozzles inexpensively from most large supermarkets and on-line too. Yes, of course you can scrape the icing on with a spatula or fill a sandwich bag, snip off a corner and squirt it on but if you are going to go to the expense and effort of making these, then for a few pounds more you can make them look really lovely too. I just wish that I had been more organised and ordered gold paper cases – that would have looked stunning and very in keeping with the Ferrero Rocher image!  Remember this TV commercial?

I don’t know about you but my icing techniques leave a lot to be desired. I made the cupcakes the night before and the Nutella buttercream early in the morning – I hurriedly iced a cupcake for Jake to take up to him in bed, with his cards and present and realised that I needed a crash course in icing techniques.

In My Kitchen Oct 2014 | Selma's Table

Jake’s early morning cake

I scoured YouTube and and thought I would share the best one with you! Below is a great video tutorial by Xanthe Milton on 4 icing techniques, including that rose swirl (which would have been too girly for Jake – sigh) which looks so fabulous on larger cakes.

Ambassador Cupcakes | Selma's Table I ended up using the last technique which she likens to an old fashioned swimming hat. My nozzles are quite small in comparison to Xanthe’s – larger ones are on my hit list – but I got a lovely effect, nonetheless! Ambassador Cupcakes | Selma's Table And a little tip; the easiest way to fill a piping bag is to fit the nozzle and coupler if you are using one, onto the piping bag, then set this inside a tall glass, peel back the bag over the glass and fill. Ambassador Cupcakes | Selma's Table

I am taking these to share with the Fiesta Friday revellers. Angie of the Novice Gardener is having a well deserved day off with strict instructions from most of us to not bring anything to the party!! Our co-hosts this week are both Canadians! 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!!

Ambassador Cupcakes | Selma's Table

Ambassador Cupcakes

  • Servings: 24 cupcakes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Adapted from  Ferrero Rocher and Nutella Cupcakes by Cookies, Cupcakes and Cardio INGREDIENTS For the cupcakes

  • 200g plain/AP flour
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 90 g unsweetened cacao powder, sifted
  • 1 Tbsp instant espresso powder
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp fine salt
  • 3 Tbsp light olive oil
  • 180 ml buttermilk (or 180 ml milk plus 1 Tbsp of lemon juice – let this sit for 10 minutes)
  • 180 ml warm water
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 48 Ferrero Rocher chocolates (24 for inside the cupcakes and 24 to decorate them with)

For the Nutella Buttercream

INSTRUCTIONS Fot the cupcakes

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Line a 24 cup muffin/cupcake tin with paper cases. Gold ones would look really stunning.
  3. Remove the wrappers from the chocolates.
  4. Hand whisk all the dry ingredients, from flour through to salt in a large mixing bowl to blend thoroughly.
  5. Make a well in the centre and add all the wet ingredients all at once. Blend on a low speed until well combined. The mixture will be quite liquid.
  6. Take the bowl over to the prepared tins and put one tablespoon of batter into each hole.
  7. Center a Ferrero Rocher chocolate in each one.
  8. Top with one tablespoon of batter – pour it over the Ferrero Rocher chocolate.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes – testing the sides with a toothpick or a piece of dry spaghetti after 18 minutes.
  10. Let them settle for 10 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.

For the Nutella Buttercream

  1. Cream the Baking or butter until light and fluffy.
  2. Beat in the icing sugar (I start this off by hand to keep down the icing sugar cloud) until smooth..
  3. Beat in the Nutella. If the mixture is too stiff, add 1 Tbsp of milk. I didn’t need to.
  4. Fit a piping bag with an icing nozzle of your choice (I used a “star” nozzle ) and set it inside a tall glass. Peel back the bag around the glass and fill it with as much icing as you can comfortably handle. Twist the end closed and set aside in the fridge until you are ready to ice the cakes. You don’t want the icing to be too hard so don’t leave it in there too long.
  5. Ice the cakes and top each with a Ferrero Rocher chocolate.
  6. Store, covered in the fridge for at least ½ an hour, to set the icing.

© 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.

Plum and Cinnamon Cake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click on the Fiesta Friday badge below to join the party – you can submit a post (be sure to include a link to Angie  FF#34 post – it’s only polite and also ensures that you can be considered for a feature next week!)  or just take a look at others are up to!  If you are new to blogging, Fiesta Friday is a great way to gain exposure and make new friends too.

If you’re new to Fiesta Friday, please read the guidelines.

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Plum and Cinnamon Cake

  • Servings: 8 generous -12 skinny slices
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Adapted from Marian Burros’ Famous Purple Plum Torte  and Deb Perleman’s Smitten Kitchen Purple Plum Torte

INGREDIENTS

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

INSTRUCTIONS

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

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Ginger Berry Nutty Crisp

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ginger, Berry, Nutty Crisp | Selma's TableClick on the Fiesta Friday badge below to join the party – you can submit a post (be sure to include a link to Angie and Hilda’s FF#32 posts – it’s only polite and also ensures that you can be considered for a feature next week!)  or just take a look at others are up to!

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Ginger Berry Nutty Crisp

  • Servings: 16 pieces
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

For the base and topping:

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

For the filling:

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

For the glaze:

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

INSTRUCTIONS

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

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

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Peach & Amaretti Crisp

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

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

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

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

Peach & Amaretti Crisp | Selma's Table

Peach & Amaretti Crisp

  • Servings: 16 pieces
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

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

INGREDIENTS

For the base and topping:

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

For the filling:

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

For the glaze:

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

INSTRUCTIONS

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

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

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Walnut & Date Scones

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

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

Walnut and Date Scones

  • Servings: 8 scones
  • Difficulty: easy
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INGREDIENTS

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

INSTRUCTIONS

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

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

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Spiced Orange & Honey Cake – Sugar Free

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sugar Free, Spiced Orange & Honey Cake

  • Servings: 12-16
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

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

INSTRUCTIONS

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

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

Feta, Sundried Tomato and Thyme Scones

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

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

Feta, Sundried Tomato and Thyme Scones

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

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

 

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

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

Feta, Sundried Tomato and Thyme Scones

Feta, Sundried Tomato and Thyme Scones

Feta, Sundried Tomato and Thyme Scones

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

Feta, Sundried Tomatoes and Thyme Scones

  • Servings: 8 scone wedges
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Adapted from Rape Seed Oil Benefits

INGREDIENTS

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

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 225 C/ 440F. Line baking sheet with baking parchment and sprinkle over a little flour.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and vegetable stock powder, three times to thoroughly incorporate all three ingredients.
  3. Using an table knife, mix in the cheddar and thyme leaves to coat with the flour.
  4. Make a well in this mixture and pour in the milk and rapeseed oil. Add ¾ of the chopped sun dried tomatoes.
  5. Using the table knife and a light hand, mix in the bowl until the flour has been incorporated.
  6. Lightly flour or oil your fingers and push into a ball shape in the mixing bowl then turn out straight onto the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Pat down gently into a circular shape until it is 1 inch in height.
  8. Using a pizza wheel or a knife, cut into 8 triangles.
  9. Scatter over the feta cheese and the reserved sun dried tomatoes and press into the dough. Scatter over the reserved thyme leaves.
  10. Brush the top only, with a little milk.
  11. Bake for 20- 25 mins. Test after 20 minutes – you don’t want it over baked – under baked is better as it continues to cook in the middle as it is cooling down.

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.