Shakshuka – (Eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce)

shakshuka-eggs-poached-in-a-spicy-tomato-sauceStating the obvious, I know, but weekends are just made for leisurely breakfasts and brunches. Whether meeting friends at a bustling cafe or making something at home, brunch is one of my favourite meals just because it feels so indulgent and decadent in comparison to the usual Monday to Friday grind.

I watched Ottolenghi’s Mediterranean Feast when it first aired a couple of years ago (Dec 2012) and  was struck by the warmth and conviviality that he encountered whether shopping in a market, researching in a backstreet or cooking in restaurants with fellow chefs. The food ranged from traditional to modern and always so fresh – it was a fabulous series. (If you are in the UK, click on the link to take you to Channel 4OD to watch the series.) One dish that really caught my fancy was Shakshuka, a Tunisian dish of eggs, poached in a spicy tomato sauce which he dished up in Tel Aviv under the watchful eye of “The King of Shakshuka”. I’ve been making it ever since…

shakshuka-eggs-poached-in-a-spicy-tomato-sauce

My version is not as spicy and lends itself to being easily converted to a vegetarian meal by omitting the chorizo or merguez sausages and substituting these with mushrooms and red peppers. This recipe is so tasty and so simple to make that I hope it will become a firm favourite in your weekend meal repertoires.

shakshuka-eggs-poached-in-a-spicy-tomato-sauce

shakshuka-eggs-poached-in-a-spicy-tomato-sauce

The eggs are poached…

shakshuka-eggs-poached-in-a-spicy-tomato-sauce

I am taking these over to Angie’s Fiesta Friday #18 which this week, is being co-hosted by Justine@Eclectic odds n sods and Mr Fitz@Cooking with Mr Fitz . With these two party animals in charge, it is going to be a blast!! Justine has been at the champers since the get go and Mr Fitz has been brandishing those super sharp knives of his when things threaten to get out of control…do take a look at their blogs – you are sure to find much to amuse at Justine’s and much to envy at Mr Fitz’…

Angie’s Fiesta Friday is attended by the warmest, most supportive and incredibly creative bunch of people that it has been my pleasure to (virtually) meet. Do take a look at the entries for inspiration and if you blog, feel free to join in. Not only would Angie, Justine and Mr Fitz welcome you with open arms but so will the crowd!

Read the guide lines here – http://thenovicegardener.wordpress.com/fiesta-friday/

Join the party here – http://thenovicegardener.wordpress.com/2014/05/29/going-vegetarian-for-fiesta-friday-18/

Shakshuka

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 banana shallots or one medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 75 g chorizo or merguez sliced into ½ cm chunks (or use mushrooms and red peppers for a vegetarian option)
  • 1 tsp tomato paste/puree
  • 1 tsp Harissa paste (adjust this to your palate and substitute with ½ tsp of chilli flakes if you don’t have any Harissa)
  • 1 can of tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dry roasted cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • ⅓ can of water
  • 4 large, preferably  organic/free range eggs
  • handful of chopped coriander/cilantro leaves (I also used some snipped chives)
  • Greek yoghurt and flat breads or sourdough toast to serve

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan or skillet, over a medium low flame.
  2. Gently sauté the shallots until they have softened and coloured which should take about 4 – 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and the chorizo or merguez and sauté for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring from time to time to cook all sides. I add a splash of water to the pan if I think it’s going to catch and burn.
  4. Add the tomato paste and the Harissa to the pan, stir, and let the rawness cook off for a a minute or so.
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes, smoked paprika, cumin seeds and thyme leaves and ⅓ of the (tomato) can of water. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any delicious caramelisation that will have occurred and let this bubble away , uncovered, for between 5 -8 minutes, reducing to a thick chunky sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
  6. In the meantime, heat up the flat breads or make the toast and set the table…
  7. Make 4 indentations in the sauce and crack an egg into each one. Cover  the pan and turn down the flame to low and cook for between 3 – 5 minutes. The time taken depends on how “done” you like your yolks, how thick or thin the base of the pan is and how hot the element is, so do check on the eggs after the initial 3 minutes are up.
  8. Scatter over the coriander leaves and serve immediately with a dollop of yoghurt and lots of warm flat bread to scoop up the delicious sauce.

© 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.

Swiss Chard and Herb Tart

swiss-chard-and-herb-tartMy veg box this week included some beautiful Rainbow Swiss Chard and to celebrate the gorgeous spring weather we have been having, I decided that I wanted to use them in a tart. A quick internet search brought me to a recipe by Ottolenghi which I knew I could adapt without  too much trouble. swiss-chard-and-herb-tartIsn’t rainbow chard beautiful? I read that the coloured shard stalks can bleed into paler colours when cooking but I didn’t find this to be a problem. Chard does need to have a good soak and swish in a sink full of cold water to dislodge any mud that may be clinging in the leaf crevices. The stems have to cook for a little longer than the leaves so do separate them and use them! swiss-chard-and-herb-tart swiss-chard-and-herb-tart The tart was really very delicious – the flaky pastry combined with the greens and cheese reminded me of of that wonderful Greek dish of Spanakoptika. And the textures work really well – slightly crunchy celery and chard stems,  buttery flaky pastry, soft greens and creamy cheese – we had this for a mezze type dinner and Jake, who invariably feels shortchanged if there is no meat, didn’t seem to notice and, unprompted, ate the left overs when he got home from school the next day. A printable recipe follows the photos below so you can scroll straight to that if you prefer not to read my ramblings but for those of you that can bear it, this is how I made the Swiss Chard and Herb Tart. swiss-chard-and-herb-tartFirst, fill the sink with water and swish the chard leaves about. Leave the in the sink for any grit to settle on the bottom and in the meantime slice the onion into half moons and start sautéing them. Slice the celery and add them to the onions. Scoop out the chard leaves and cut out the stems. Slice the chard stems and add to the pan. With lots of water clinging to the chard, slice the chard leaves and chop the herbs and garlic. When the celery has softened a little and become  translucent, stir in the  chard leaves, the herbs and the garlic. Let this cook down, stirring from time to time,  on a gentle heat for about 10 minutes. In the meantime toast the pine nuts (these burn quickly and I find it easier to do in the microwave for a couple of minutes – they don’t brown but get nice and crunchy), crumble the feta, grate the parmesan and zest the lemon. swiss-chard-and-herb-tartTurn the heat off under the pan and stir in the cheeses, zest and nuts. Season with lots of freshly ground pepper. Leave to cool. In the meantime, turn on the oven and beat the eggs. Unfurl the pastry onto a baking sheet and score a 2 cm border around the edge, using the back of a knife. Spread the cooled filling within the borders and crimp the edges of the pastry to form a lip. Brush the edges with the beaten eggs. Season what is left over of the eggs and pour slowly and evenly over the filling. Dot the top with teaspoons full of ricotta and slices of goats cheese. I also added some halved marinated cherry tomatoes and used some of the marinade to drizzle over the tart. This can of course, be substituted with fresh cherry tomatoes and olive oil. swiss-chard-and-herb-tart   Bake for half an hour and serve warm or at room temperature! swiss-chard-and-herb-tart swiss-chard-and-herb-tart 

Swiss Chard and Herb Tart

  • Servings: 4 as a main, 6 as part of a mezze
  • Print

adapted from Swiss Chard and Herb Tart by Ottolenghi for Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium red onion, sliced (about 85 g)
  • 4 celery stalks, thinly sliced (about 220 g)
  • 1 bunch of Swiss chard; stalk and leaves separated; both roughly chopped (about 250g)
  • 2 cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbsp mint leaves roughly chopped
  • 3 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 100 g feta cheese crumbled
  • 50 g parmesan, grated
  • 15 g pine nuts toasted
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 x 320 g sheet of ready rolled all butter puff pastry
  • 8 tsp ricotta cheese
  • 50 g (7 or 8 thin slices) of goat’s cheese
  • 5 cherry tomatoes halved (I used the marinated ones from this recipe of mine)
  • 2 beaten eggs

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over a medium low flame and add the sliced onions.
  2. While they cook, slice the celery and stir into the pan.
  3. Remove the stalks from the chard, chop these up and stir into the pan.
  4. Ribbon (chiffonade)  the chard leaves, slice the garlic and chop the herbs.
  5. Once the celery has softened a little, which should take about 5 minutes, stir in the chard, herbs and garlic. Let this cook down for about 10 minutes and take if off the heat.
  6. Stir in the feta, parmesan, lemon zest and pine nuts and season with a little salt  if necessary (the feta and parmesan are very salty) and a good grinding of pepper. Leave to cool.
  7. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.
  8. Unfurl the pastry and score a 2 cm border around the perimeter.
  9. Place the cooled chard mixture within the border and crimp or pinch the edge of the pastry to form a lip.
  10. Dot the top of the chard mixture with the ricotta, goats cheese and cherry tomatoes.
  11. Brush the edges of the tart with the beaten egg and then gently drizzle the remainder over the tart.
  12. Bake for 30 minutes and allow to cool a little before serving

Eat warm or at room temperature. Serves 4 as a light main course with a salad and some cold cuts for the determined carnivores. Or slice into 12 and serve  as mezze for 6.

© 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.

Orange and Coconut French Toast with Fruit

orange_coconut_french_toastEaster holidays are in full swing, which this year means LOTS of revision for GCSEs which start shortly after the beginning of next term. I made French Toast aka Pain Perdu aka Eggy Bread aka Gypsy Toast over the weekend and thought that you might appreciate a little reminder that it makes a really lovely and seasonal breakfast.

orange_coconut_french_toast

Years ago, when I lived in Weybridge, my brother came over from Canada to visit. He was probably about 19 or 20 and had a HUGE appetite in those days – I remember being astounded at how much food he could get through. He loves pointing out all the cultural differences between England and Canada – just recently commenting on how the English love living in tiny properties…I digress. We had a friend who owned a Novelle Cuisine restaurant in Hersham and she invited us to have a meal with her there. If this food fad passed you by, please click on the link for a visual. We started with a selection of tiny but beautiful amuse bouche with our aperitifs. Eventually our first course arrived –  a stunning looking plate of 3 slender asparagus spears, one quail’s egg with a 5 drops/dots/daubs of  hollandaise sauce. I deliberately avoided eye contact with my brother at this point. Our main course was served – my brother had chosen the steak – 3 tiny tournedos of filet mignon looking stylish and very, very  small indeed on the large white plate…I choked back a giggle and didn’t dare look at him for fear of disgracing myself – I mean it was such a lovely gesture for our friend to host us at her restaurant, right? He  leaned over to me and said, “What’s this? A snack?!” Yes, I was both mortified and hysterical with laughter. We ended up getting some pizzas on the way back that evening…

orange_coconut_french_toast

I remember making a version of this French Toast for him which I think had rum or brandy in it; whichI baked in the oven – I  really was a novice in the kitchen back then and didn’t feel confident enough to fry them. It had a great flavour but not such a nice mouth feel.  I now always add something to the eggy mix and it is usually orange zest and cinnamon. This time I thought that coconut might be nice and it was. I also knocked up a quick fruit topping which was absolutely delicious.

orange_coconut_french_toast

So this is what you do…

orange_coconut_french_toastFirst, get the fruit ready – it really elevates this fairly simple dish into something weekend-worthy…Put a pan on to heat and slice up one banana per person. Put a pat of butter in and let it sizzle over med low heat. Add the banana slices and let their natural sugars caramelise (not on too high a heat or they will just burn) on one side – start segmenting an orange in the meantime – I had a blood orange left so used that. Then flip the banana slices over and carry on segmenting the orange. If the butter browns a little that is great – just keep an eye on the heat so that nothing burns. Once the banana slices are done, turn off the heat and toss in the orange segments, squeeze over any juice left in the membrane and in the bowl and toss in a few blueberries. The residual heat will warm everything up and make it absolutely delicious! (Please click the link to watch a short demo on segmenting citrus fruit, if you are unfamiliar with the technique.)

orange_coconut_french_toastThen get on with the egg mixture. Beat some eggs and a splash of milk in a dish; sprinkle over some cinnamon, grate in the zest of an orange

orange_coconut_french_toastand stir in some coconut.

orange_coconut_french_toastPut a large frypan on medium low flame to heat up and  dunk the bread in the eggy mix. (And yes, that is Hovis, Best of Both – my concession to Jake’s inevitable request for – what I call – white plastic bread, in the holidays.)

orange_coconut_french_toastPut some butter in the pan to heat up and flip the slices of bread over to soak on the other side. This type of bread soaks up an amazing amount of liquid…

orange_coconut_french_toastOnce the butter is sizzling, place the bread in the pan and cook gently for 2 or 3 minutes. I don’t add sugar to the egg mix because I find that then the  bread burns on the outside and is raw in the middle – I serve maple syrup on the side instead. Check the state of play by lifting a corner of the bread slices to see how they are coming along. Once they have browned nicely on one side, flip them over and  do the same – they won’t need as long on the second side.

orange_coconut_french_toast

Serve with maple syrup, honey, icing sugar, fruit – whatever takes your fancy.

 

orange_coconut_french_toast

Orange and Coconut French Toast with Fruit

  • Servings: 1-2 depending on the bread
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

For the fruit

  • 1 medium banana per person cut into 1 cm slices
  • 1 small orange per person, segmented – save the any juice including what is left in the membrane
  • ¼ cup of blueberries per person
  • 1 tsp of butter per person

For the french toast

  • 2 large eggs
  • ⅓ cup of milk (approx 3 tablespoons)
  • ½ tsp of cinnamon
  • ½ tsp of vanilla extract
  • zest of one orange
  • 1 Tbsp coconut – desiccated
  • 2 slices of large sandwich bread or 4 slices of something smaller and not as absorbent!
  • 1 tsp of butter – please – just eyeball it!
  • ½ tsp icing sugar

To serve

  • Maple syrup, golden syrup, honey, agave nectar…
  • creme fraiche or yoghurt
  • Fresh fruit if you prefer – strawberries, blueberries, bananas, peaches, mango etc.
  • Fruit compote

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Put a small frying pan on a medium flame to heat up. Add butter when the pan is hot and once the butter is sizzling a little, add the banana slices in one layer , turning down the heat if necessary and allow to caramelise on one side.  Check after 1 or 2 minutes and when ready, flip over and do the same with the other side.  Once the slices are done, turn the heat off, scatter over the orange segments, juice and blueberries, shaking the pan gently to mix.
  2. Crack eggs into a container which will comfortably fit at least one slice of bread – one large enough for two or more slices would be better. Add the milk, cinnamon and vanilla and whisk until there are no traces of yolk or white remaining. Zest the orange directly over the egg mix and sprinkle in the coconut – mix well.
  3. Put a frying pan on a medium flame to heat up.
  4. Lay the bread in the egg mix and allow to soak for about 30 seconds to a minute, depending on what type of bread you are using. 2 slices of sandwich bread soaked up all the eggy mix but if you use smaller, less absorbent bread you should be able to double the amount you can make.
  5. Put the butter in the hot pan to melt and turn the heat down a little.
  6. Flip the slices of bread over and let them soak up the remaining eggy mix.
  7. Swirl the butter round the bottom of the pan to coat it well then transfer the soaked slices of bread into the pan.
  8. Let this cook for about 3 minutes or so but do check from time to time, that it is not burning – the idea is to cook the egg through to the centre of the bread whilst the bottom turns golden brown and crispy. It is better to lower the heat and cook for a little longer rather than have the heat too high and char the bread, obviously.
  9. Flip the bread over and cook the second side for 2 minutes or so.
  10. Remove to plates and serve with the warm fruit, a dollop of creme fraiche and the syrup of your choice

 

 

Sour Cream and Cinnamon Pancakes with Blueberries

It’s Shrove Tuesday tomorrow aka Pancake day! Pick up some sour cream today and make up this batter tonight, then you will be all set for tomorrow!

Selma's Table

Sour Cream and Cinnamon Pancakes with Blueberries

I’ve been making pancakes at the weekends for as long as J can remember.  He loves them; his friends love them; my friends love them. I’ve made them with spelt flour, buckwheat flour, self raising flour, wholewheat flour; I’ve added coconut flakes to the mix and made all sorts of quick fruit compotes to go with them; I’ve cooked them in coconut oil. But in the end, I always return to these ones – they really are the nicest. Simple, straightforward with ingredients that I usually always have on hand.

Sour Cream and Cinnamon Pancakes with Blueberries

Sour Cream and Cinnamon Pancakes with Blueberries

The acid in the sour cream is what makes these so delicious – it produces tender pancakes that are light and moist. If you don’t have any sour cream, you can use buttermilk and if you don’t have buttermilk just add a spoonful of vinegar or lemon juice to milk and leave it to thicken for 15 minutes or so.

View original post 888 more words

Baked Fruit and Oatmeal

Baked-fruit-and-oatmealOatmeal is not something I enjoyed as a child. My memories of porridge is that it was quite thin and watery and not very tasty at all – which is quite at odds with the delicious food I grew up with. When I began baking in my teens, I found that oatmeal was brilliant to make chewy chocolate chip cookies with.  I also discovered those packets of flavoured instant oats which bolstered me up during what felt like endless sessions of binge revision. As a mother of a school age child, I knew how nutritious and sustaining porridge is for those dark, cold, wintery school mornings and set about making it delicious as well. I don’t know if this is how you make it but I put a cup of oats in a pan and toast them slightly, I then add 2 cups of milk and one of water and stir over a medium low heat until thick and creamy. I ladle a portion into a shallow rimmed bowl, shake over some cinnamon and sprinkle it with 1 dessert spoonful of Demerara  sugar which goes syrupy. I peel a tangerine or a clementine and arrange the segments around the lip of the bowl like chubby rays of sunshine. Sometimes, I add some frozen blueberries to the bottom of bowl before ladling in the porridge. By the time my son gets to the table, dressed for school, the porridge has cooled down sufficiently to not delay him and I am quietly smug in the knowledge that he’s not going to be experiencing that mid morning sugar crash AND that I’ve managed to get 1 or 2 portions of fruit in him already. At the weekends, breakfasts are a more leisurely affair; eggs and sausages or french toast or pancakes but oatmeal doesn’t figure.

Until now, that is. I saw a photo for Oatmeal Casserole (which sounds a little grim, don’t you think?) on Pinterest and then surfed through several recipes for Baked Oatmeal, many of which included chocolate. This is my version which is full of healthy ingredients and tastes absolutely delicious. It’s warm, fruity, nutty and chewy. It takes about 15 minutes to put together and needs half an hour in the oven, filling the kitchen with gorgeous aromas as it bakes. It is ideal for a weekend breakfast. Left overs can be taken into to work or frozen in portions and warmed up in the microwave. You can chop and change the fruit and nuts to suit your palate or take into account what is in your cupboards. This is also something that you could bake in the evening during the week, to effortlessly have ready for the following morning.

Baked-fruit-and-oatmealPlace the oats, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, walnuts, dried fruit and half the blueberries in a large bowl.

Baked-fruit-and-oatmealGrate in the orange zest and mix thoroughly.

Baked-fruit-and-oatmealSlice one banana and arrange on the bottom of the oven safe dish. Cover with the dried mixed ingredients (which I forgot to photograph!)

Baked-fruit-and-oatmealJuice the orange.

Baked-fruit-and-oatmealWhisk the wet ingredients together in the same mixing bowl you used for the dry ingredients. (If you want to substitute honey or agave syrup for the sugar, add it now, to the wet ingredients.) I find that it is best to “temper” melted butter by slowly whisking in a little cold milk into it and then adding it to everything else. Otherwise, the melted butter just solidifies into fat globules that float on top.

IMG_6150Slowly and gently, pour the wet mixture over the oatmeal mix.

Baked-fruit-and-oatmealScatter over the remaining blueberries and the coconut flakes. (If you wish to use desiccated coconut instead, mix it in with the dry ingredients.) Slice the second banana and arrange over the top and bake for half an hour. (A scattering of pumpkin or sunflower seeds would be nice too.)

Baked-fruit-and-oatmeal

Baked-fruit-and-oatmealServe warm with a dollop of yoghurt.

I have included some vegan options for the dairy and egg but these are untested by me. Thanks to Susan Edelman of watchhatchfly for the information!

Baked Fruit and Oatmeal

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups oats (anything but instant or quick cook)
  • 1/4 cup muscavodo (or brown) sugar plus enough for a sprinkle later
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • zest of 1 orange
  • ½ cup walnut pieces – broken up to make them smaller
  • ½ cup dried mixed fruit like cranberries and cherries or apricots and raisins or dates
  • 1 cup of blueberries divided into two portions
  • 2 large ripe bananas
  • 3tbsp/45g  melted butter (or vegan soy spread/coconut oil)
  • 2 cups milk ( or soy milk/almond milk/rice milk)
  • 1 large egg ( or applesauce/mashed banana/vegan egg replacer/ground chia and flax seeds)
  • Juice of one orange
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup coconut flakes
  • yoghurt to serve (or coconut milk or soy milk yoghurt)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190C/375F.
  2. Butter or oil an oven safe dish (mine is 28 x 20cm/11″x 8″).
  3. Thoroughly mix the first 9 ingredients (using only half the blueberries)  in a large bowl to distribute everything evenly.
  4. Slice one banana and arrange on the bottom of the dish.
  5. Cover with the dry mixed ingredients.
  6. In the same bowl that you used for the dry ingredients, lightly whisk the egg.
  7. Slowly whisk a a cup of milk into the cooled butter to amalgamate it and pour it and the second cup of milk onto the whisked egg together with the vanilla and the orange juice and whisk again.
  8. Slowly and evenly pour the wet mixture over the dry ingredients.
  9. Scatter over the remaining portion of blueberries and the coconut flakes (some seeds would be nice too).
  10. Top with the slices from the second banana.
  11. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until bubbling and golden brown.
  12. Sprinkle a little more brown sugar over the top and leave to cool a little.
  13. Serve warm with yoghurt.

Enriched Milk and Butter Loaf topped with Floppy Onions and Cheese

Enriched Bread topped with Floppy Onions and Cheese

Enriched Bread topped with Floppy Onions and Cheese

I am in Cape Town, staying with my friends A and R who really make the most of this beautiful city they call home. They live in a gorgeous Victorian villa in Sea Point, perched high on the slopes of Signal Hill with a panoramic view of the suburb below and the Atlantic Ocean.

View from the deck

View from the deck

As you may imagine, the sunsets have been simply stunning.

Sunset over Sea Point

Sunset over Sea Point

Sunset from the deck

Sunset from the deck

The people I have met on this visit have been so friendly and so sociable and seem to pack so much into their days. The magnificent landscape probably has a lot to do with this as well as not having to waste hours commuting on a packed train to and from work.  The days and evenings have been spent  meeting up with or hosting friends in that warm, hospitable Capetonian manner, enjoying the gorgeous wines and eating beautiful food. There is an incredible food scene here about which I will post more another time.

Sundowner on the deck

Sundowners on the deck

We spent last weekend at their stunning holiday home in Greyton where R cooked up a storm.

The garden at Greyton and Lily the springer spaniel

The garden at Greyton and Lily the springer spaniel

Saturday was spent walking their adorable dogs, wandering around the Saturday market in Greyton, lunching at Searle’s and then back to the house for a marathon cooking session.

Searle's

Searle’s

Searle's

Searle’s

A stunning cake was baked and iced.

THAT cake!

THAT cake!

Bread was baked (recipe below), fillet was stuffed and trussed and salads were made. For dinner that night, a group of us feasted on the braaied (barbecued) fillet and boerewors, potato wedges, salad with flowers from the garden, palm hearts dressed with white balsamic and parmesan cheese, tomato and mint couscous, the bread and finished off with a slice of that cake.

Feasting at Greyton

Feasting at Greyton

This bread needs a little elbow grease but is completely worth it.

Dough before second proofing

Dough before second proving

Dough after second proving

Dough after second proving

Bread before topping

Bread before topping

Topping with floppy onions

Topping with floppy onions

Topping with cheese

Topping with cheese

Ta da!

Ta da!

Enriched Milk and Butter Loaf topped with Floppy Onions and Cheese

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: intermediate
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g bread flour
  • 10g instant yeast (10ml)
  • 10g salt
  • 350ml tepid milk
  • 50g softened butter

Topping:

  • 1/2 a large white onion sliced in half moons and one clove of chopped garlic, fried in a little olive oil until translucent but not caramelised
  • 100 g grated cheddar cheese

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place the flour yeast and salt in a bowl and slowly pour in the tepid milk, 100 ml at a time. The milk must not be too hot as it can kill off the yeast. (24-28 degrees)
  2. Stir with your fingers until it comes together. You may not need all the milk so don’t pour it all in.
  3. Turn out onto a lightly  floured surface and start to knead, incorporating the butter, one spoonful at a time. Or, if your butter isn’t quite soft enough, cube it and add it in a few cubes at a time. Knead until the dough is elastic, smooth and glossy – this may take up to 20 minutes. It is quite a wet dough so it does take some time to come together. The dough should be fairly firm and not sticky to touch.
  4. Oil a bowl and place dough in it turning it around in the oil and cover with tea towel or cling film ad leave it to rise until doubled. Knock back (deflate) and then weigh dough. Slice off approximately 100g lumps of dough and roll and shape each one by placing on your worktop (you should not need any flour) Cup your hand over it and start work in a circular motion, tucking with with your thumb and fingers – the finished ball will have a smooth top with the crease underneath.
  5. Place in a round tin – we used a non-stick one, cover and leave to rise again for about an hour. It should double in size, filling in any gaps.
  6. Bake in a oven preheated to 230 C /450 F for 1/2 an hour. Scatter over the floppy onions and then the grated cheese and place back in the oven for another 15 minutes or so. Cool on a rack for about 5 mins and then turn it out of the tin.
  7. The bread is ready when it is golden brown and sounds hollow when you rap the base with your knuckles.

Enriched Bread topped with Floppy Onions and Cheese

Enriched Bread topped with Floppy Onions and Cheese

Sour Cream and Cinnamon Pancakes with Blueberries

Sour Cream and Cinnamon Pancakes with Blueberries

I’ve been making pancakes at the weekends for as long as J can remember.  He loves them; his friends love them; my friends love them. I’ve made them with spelt flour, buckwheat flour, self raising flour, wholewheat flour; I’ve added coconut flakes to the mix and made all sorts of quick fruit compotes to go with them; I’ve cooked them in coconut oil. But in the end, I always return to these ones – they really are the nicest. Simple, straightforward with ingredients that I usually always have on hand.

Sour Cream and Cinnamon Pancakes with Blueberries

Sour Cream and Cinnamon Pancakes with Blueberries

The acid in the sour cream is what makes these so delicious – it produces tender pancakes that are light and moist. If you don’t have any sour cream, you can use buttermilk and if you don’t have buttermilk just add a spoonful of vinegar or lemon juice to milk and leave it to thicken for 15 minutes or so.

Sour Cream and Cinnamon Pancakes with Blueberries

The addition of a little baking soda is really important here – when baking soda meets with an acid (like sour cream, buttermilk, vinegar, etc) there is a chemical reaction which results in the production of carbon dioxide, water and a salt. This reaction happens at room temperature before exposure to any heat and is what makes the pancake batter fluffy while still sitting in the bowl.  Joy the Baker has a really good explanation of baking powder vs baking soda here.

Sour Cream and Cinnamon Pancakes with Blueberries

I tend to buy punnets of blueberries in the height of summer and stash them in the freezer. I just pop them onto the pancakes frozen. By the time the pancakes have been flipped, the blueberries have not only thawed but have heated through completely.

Sour Cream and Cinnamon Pancakes with Blueberries

Because I make them so regularly, I bought a really wide 32 cm non-stick pan which I also use to make cocktail sized blinis for parties. The larger surface facilitates making a lot of pancakes in a shorter space of time.

Sour Cream and Cinnamon Pancakes with Blueberries

Left over pancakes are eaten standing at the fridge, when J comes home from school at the same time as asking when dinner will be ready…for the more civilised among you, these re-heat really well in a low oven or in the microwave.

Sour Cream and Cinnamon Pancakes with Blueberries

Sour Cream and Cinnamon Pancakes with Blueberries

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Best Buttermilk Pancakes Recipe

Makes about 18 x 4 inch pancakes – enough for 3 – 4 servings or double up the recipe for larger portions or more people.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup/125 g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp caster sugar
  • 150 ml sour cream (or buttermilk or mix one teaspoon of vinegar into 150ml of milk and let it sit for 15 minutes until it thickens)
  • 150 ml milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp/30g melted butter in a medium sized bowl and cooled slightly
  • Punnet of  blueberries
  • Butter for the pan
  • Maple syrup to serve

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Measure out and place the first 6 ingredients (which are the dry ones) in a mixing bowl and give it a good whisking to evenly distribute the ingredients and aerate the mixture.
  2. Crack the egg into the cooled melted butter and whisk until it is a uniform creamy mass – I find that this helps the butter to be more evenly distributed.
  3. Loosen the sour cream by pouring in a little milk into it and whisking until smooth. Then pour this into the egg mix and whisk until there are no lumps left, finally add the rest of the milk and whisk thoroughly once more.
  4. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the egg mixture. Using a circular stirring motion, gently stir to draw in the dry ingredients to the middle, being careful not to over mix – a few floury patches are fine. It should be quite thick and a bit lumpy.
  5. SET ASIDE for 1/2 an hour at room temperature or overnight in the fridge.
  6. Once the batter has rested the surface will be covered in holes and  bubbles – this is just how it should be. Don’t, whatever you do, stir the batter at this stage. You just want to scoop out tablespoonfuls, straight into the frying pan.
  7. Pre-heat the oven to 75 C or very low. Get an oven proof dish out and a piece of foil to cover it with.
  8. Put the widest non-stick fry pan  you have, on a medium low heat. If it is too high, the outside burns before the insides are cooked…Once the pan is hot, brush with a little butter (I stick a piece on the end of a table knife and swipe it around the pan, cringing whenever the metal touches the non-stick base).
  9. Using a tablespoon, scoop out and place the batter on the pan – I can get 4 to 5 pancakes going in mine but it is a rather large pan. The batter spreads so just try spacing 3 out to start with.
  10. Once the batter is in the pan, plop 3 or 4 blueberries on the top of each pancake. They will need to cook for 3 minutes or so. Keep checking and also keep an eye on the heat which you may have to keep adjusting. (Just have a peek under the pancake, by lifting a corner with a spatula, to see how it is colouring)
  11. When the tops of the pancakes have lots of holes in them, it is time to flip them over.  If a blueberry escapes, just push it back under. This side will not take as long to cook – about a minute – so keep an eye on them. When they are done, remove them to the ovenproof platter, loosely cover with foil and pop them in the oven. Carry on with the next round, lightly buttering the pan when you need to and keeping an eye on the heat.
  12. Serve with proper Canadian maple syrup.

Substitutions
Bananas. Don’t add the blueberries. After all the pancakes are done, wipe the pan clean with a paper towel and melt a little butter in it. Then slice up a couple of not too squishy bananas straight into the pan and let them caramelise, flipping over once. Serve on top of the pancakes with maple syrup.