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
  • Print

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.

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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!

fiesta-friday-badge-button-click-to-join1

Crustless Cardamom and Blood Orange Milk Tart

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

Adapted from Woolworths South Africa

Ingredients

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

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Line a deep, 25 cm baking tin with baking paper. If it is a springform pan, you may want to also cover the outside with some foil to protect against seepages.
  2. Measure out the milk in a jug then stir in the vanilla paste, cardamom and orange zest and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, sift or hand whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt to mix it all together and set aside
  4. Beat egg whites until stiff and set aside.
  5. Beat the egg yolks, sugar and butter until pale and creamy.
  6.  Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture with a enough of the flavoured milk to make a loose batter.
  7. Gently fold in the stiffly beaten egg whites.
  8. Then slowly stir in the rest of the milk.
  9. Set your prepared pan onto a rimmed baking sheet – it’s easier to move and safe guards against oven disaster.  Pour the very liquid batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with a good dusting of cinnamon sugar, then bake for 1 hour, or until almost set – it should have a lovely golden crust. A quick poke with a wooden skewer will tell you if it is done.
  10. Remove from the oven and leave to cool, then refrigerate until set.
  11. Segment the oranges and place in a pan. Squeeze over any juice from the membranes and sprinkle with a little sugar. Add a splash of booze. Heat until syrupy. Cool and serve with the slices of the tart and a small glass of the remainder of the pudding wine!
© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Chermoula Spiced Aubergine Wedges with Tahini Sauce and Feta

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

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

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

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

Chermoula Spiced Aubergine Wedges with Tahini Sauce and Feta

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

INGREDIENTS

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

INSTRUCTIONS

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

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

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Blood Orange, Cavalo Nero and Fregola Salad

Blood Orange, Cavalo Nero and Fregola Salad | Selma's TableA couple of times a year, four of us get together and spend the day wandering around a food market, shopping and then repairing to one of our homes to cook a tasting style menu. Usually, friends and family will turn up later on for dinner – it’s such a lovely and convivial day – I wrote about it in a little more detail, last year.  I suppose it is an echo of days gone by when families, friends and neighbours would gather to celebrate a harvest, cooking and eating together. Blood Orange, Cavalo Nero and Fregola SaladThis time, M suggested that we visit a Sardinian store called Vallebona, to which she had taken me before. I am not sure that I can find the words to describe the Vallebona experience but I will try. It’s like stumbling upon the most wonderful secret and realising that you have just joined the best club ever. It is family owned and run with great, enthusiasm, knowledge and style – visiting is just an utter delight and pleasure. Blood Orange, Cavalo Nero and Fregola Salad | Selma's TableVallebona in the middle of an industrial estate in Wimbledon, so finding it is the first challenge. Upon pulling up, it’s all forbidding burgundy coloured steel doors with only the signage to indicate that you are in the right place.

Upon pressing the buzzer to gain entry,  the door swings open into a stunning white space, filled with stylishly arranged Sardinian groceries and wine. The rooms have a distinct warehouse vibe with white painted brick walls and vintage shelving and accessories.

Blood Orange, Cavalo Nero and Fregola Salad | Selma's Table

Nibbles in wooden cones

You are pretty much handed a glass of wine and a few nibbles shortly after walking in which makes it a very enjoyable way to browse through the stunningly arranged warehouse rooms.

There is the most fabulous climate controlled cheese and meat room and also a kitchen from which they produce samples of their food to try and where they also cater for lunches and dinners.

Vallebona have recently started stocking fresh fruit and vegetables so it was the perfect food destination from which to make up our menu.

There were recipe suggestions galore so we decided on Spicy Sausage and Fregola main dish, a fabulous selection of cheeses and this gorgeous Blood Orange, Cavalo Nero and Fregola Salad. Blood Orange, Cavalo Nero and Fregola Salad | Selma's TableFor this recipe, you will need to segment oranges. It is really easy to do so give it a go if you haven’t tried this before. The video below shows how easy it is.

Fregola is similar to the giant Israeli couscous except that it is lightly toasted so has a wonderful flavour. Cavalo Nero is related to kale and cabbage and is used to make the classic Tuscan Ribollita Soup.

Blood Orange, Cavalo Nero and Fregola Salad | Selma's Table

Dan Lepard’s Rye Crackers

I always make something to take with me and this time I made Dan Lepard’s Rye Crackers to have with the cheese that I knew we would buy. They were delicious and easy to make but really showed up the hot spots in my oven! The recipe is in his book Short and Sweet which I highly recommend if you enjoy baking.

This Blood Orange, Cavalo Nero and Fregola Salad is a delicious marriage of flavours; sharp, sweet, salty, toasty and green. and perfect with fish too. If you can’t find blood oranges, use regular ones instead. Walnuts would also be the perfect substitution for the toasted sliced almonds. I am taking this to the virtual table at Fiesta Friday #58, hosted by the talented Angie of The Novice Gardener. Last week was sugar fuelled so a salad like this is sure to balance things out! This week we have Caroline @Caroline’s Cooking and Elaine @foodbod to thank, as our co-hosts. Both are fantastic cooks and have a wealth of recipes on their sites – do go over and take a look. If you blog, please do join in, reading the the guidelines first to get you going.

Blood Orange, Cavalo Nero and Fregola Salad

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

adapted from Vallebona’s recipe for Cavalo Nero, Blood Orange and Almond Salad

INGREDIENTS

  • 100g dried weight fregola,
  • 2 blood oranges
  • 1 lemon
  • 200 g Cavalo Nero (also known as Black Kale or Black Cabbage)
  • 1 tsp flakey sea salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • handful of sliced almonds

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Soak the Cavalo Nero in plenty of cold water.
  2. Cook the fregola in lots of boiling, salted water for 10 minutes; drain, rinse and set aside.
  3. in the meantime, segment the oranges by slicing off the top and bottoms, then vertically running a knife between the flesh and the pith, following the curve of the orange. Then segment by slicing out the flesh from between the membrane. Cut these segments into 2 or 3 pieces each and set aside.
  4. Squeeze all the juice out of the membranes into a separate bowl. Juice the lemon into this bowl too and set aside.
  5. Drain the Cavalo Nero and remove the stalks and discard. Slice the leaves into 1 inch pieces then chop a couple of times.
  6. Sprinkle the salt and sugar over the Cavalo Nero then pour over the combined juices. Massage (squelch) the leaves with the mix of salt, sugar and citrus juices for 4 or 5 minutes to break down the fibres and soften the leaves. Pour over the olive oil and massage again for a minute or so then set aside for 15 – 20 minutes.
  7. Toast the almond slices until golden brown.
  8. When ready to eat, toss the Cavalo Nero with the blood orange pieces, the cooked fregola and the toasted almond slices. Toss and serve.
© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Romanesco and Feta Cakes with Za’atar

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

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

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

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

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

R e a d e r   G i v e a w a y!

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

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

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

Now on to the recipe –

Romanesco and Feta Cakes with Za'atar

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

INGREDIENTS

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

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F
  2. Break up the romanesco into fairly small florets and steam for about 8 minutes. A knife should be able to pierce them easily but they should not disintegrate. Allow to cool a little.
  3. In the meantime, crumble or chop the feta in small cubes,
  4. When the romanesco is cool enough to handle, mix in the remaining ingredients.
  5. Taking walnut sized pieces of the mix, squeeze and shape into balls. Wetting your hands makes them easier to shape.
  6. Lightly oil a baking tray and place the balls on the tray, Flatten them slightly and then drizzle over a little oil. Dust with semolina, Turn over and repeat.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes until tinged with gold.
  8. Serve warm with a dollop of lemony creme fraiche or greek yoghurt.
© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Poached Saffron and Citrus Pears with Vanilla Mascarpone

Poached Saffron and Citrus Pears with Vanilla Mascarpone | Selma's TableIt’s Part 2 of the Fiesta Friday Anniversary Block Party Celebrations which I am thrilled to be co-hosting with the talented Nancy of Feasting with Friends. If you are a long time reader, you will know that the lovely Angie of The Novice Gardener hosts a virtual party every Friday where bloggers swap recipes and stories. It’s been a whole year since Angie grew the amazing community that is Fiesta Friday so it was only fitting to celebrate with a 2 week long party!  Last week was all about cocktails, canapés and appetisers – and there certainly was no dearth of creative and delicious recipes made specially to celebrate Angie’s fabulous party by the appreciative Fiesta Friday crowd. In fact the submissions were just so fabulous that Angie is going to write a post specifically to highlight the best ones.

This week, Fiesta Friday is about special occasion main courses and desserts and I can’t wait to see what everyone brings to the party. You are most welcome if this is your first time visiting  Fiesta Friday – here are a few guidelines to get you started. To join the party, all you have to do is click on the purple “Fiesta Friday” badge just before the printable recipe, below. Please don’t be shy and drop and dash – we would love to get you know you, so mix and mingle by visiting the other blogs and leaving some likes and comments!

Poached Saffron and Citrus Pears with Vanilla Mascarpone | Selma's TableTo mark this special event, this week I wanted to make something that would look elegant, taste spectacular but also not be too heavy. After cocktails, canapés, appetisers and a main course there may not be much room for a heavy dessert. And, not that I am greedy or anything, but I will want a few slivers of cheese to round off this special meal! So the ingredients had to be light but luxurious and to fit in with busy lifestyles, the dessert should be able to be made a day earlier. Pears have been calling my name for a few months now – I have a real thing for them in the winter and I love poached pears. So I decided to poach the in a orange and lemon juice mixture, warmed up by bay leaves, cardamoms and the haunting flavour of saffron. A little honey took the edge off the sauce. The mascarpone tastes just like vanilla ice-cream when a little vanilla paste is beaten into it, and the crunchy pistachio nuts add a much need crunchy texture to each blissful mouthful.

Poached Saffron and Citrus Pears with Vanilla Mascarpone | Selma's TableThese Poached Pears with Saffron Mascarpone are an elegant sweet course that can be served warm or cold depending on the weather and your time constraints. Either way, they can be prepared the day before and plated just before serving. Gently heat through the pears in the poaching syrup if you are serving this warm and then plate them up. To make this an even more healthy option, substitute greek yoghurt for the mascarpone. If you don’t want to fan slice the pears, then you could just cut the in quarters too. They are very easy to make and to eat! Angie has opened the party so let’s the festivities begin!

Poached Saffron and Citrus Pears with Vanilla Mascarpone | Selma's Table

Please click on the Fiesta Friday badge below, to either take a look at all the other submissions or to enter your specially created main course or dessert recipe post to the party.

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Poached Saffron and Citrus Pears with Vanilla Mascarpone

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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INGREDIENTS

  • 4 x oranges
  • 4 x lemons
  • 400 ml sweet dessert wine
  • 3 bruised cardamom pods –
  • 4 bay leaves
  • pinch of saffron strands
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 4 ripe Conference pears
  • 200 g mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste or the seeds from one pod
  • 2 Tbsp chopped pistachio nuts

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Juice the oranges and lemons – the juices should come to about 700ml and pour into a large shallow pan together with the sweet wine, cardamom, bay leaves and the saffron. Heat gently for 20 minutes or so – don’t let it boil as the froth spoils the appearance of the sauce. Stir in the honey and taste – the honey should soften the sharp citrus notes. Let this heat for another 10 minutes or until the mixture is nice and syrupy but not too thick.
  2. In the mean time, peel the pears and slice in half. Remove the cores with a teaspoon. Lay each half, face down and slice 4 or 5 times without going all the way to the top.
  3. Beat the mascarpone with the vanilla paste until it is smooth and set aside.
  4. Add the pears to the pan and poach for 5-10 minutes; spooning the syrup over them from time to time. The poaching time will depend on how ripe the pears are.
  5. Remove the pears once they are soft and set aside.
  6. The poaching liquid should be thick and syrupy. If it’s not, keep heating it until it reduces but don’t let the liquid boil. Fish out the bay leaves and the cardamom pods.
  7. Spoon some of the sauce onto 4 plates, Top with a good spoonful of the vanilla mascarpone. Drape two pear halves on top of the vanilla mascarpone on each plate and scatter over the chopped pistachios.
© 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.

Warm Blue Cheese Tartlets with Candied Walnuts

Warm Blue Cheese Tartlets with Candied Walnuts | Selma's TableIt’s hard to believe that a whole year has gone by since Angie dreamt up Fiesta Friday. I remember how she said that she wanted us all to mix and mingle with each other because it was a party. I must admit that I was sceptical – I had tried various linky parties which made me feel like a virtual wallflower – hardly anyone visited, and the few that did, never commented or liked what I shared. So, when Fiesta Friday started, I stood on the sidelines for a few weeks, popping by to see what was going on and couldn’t believe how fabulous Angie’s bash was. People were submitting gorgeous recipes and they were all mingling like mad! The comments were so supportive, encouraging  and some were very funny too. It quickly became apparent that some people were super bubbly and had to be kept away from the sweets – and I am not naming any names here! So, I really pushed the boat out and made a batch of Nutella Espresso Sticky Buns. Well, the WordPress app on my phone didn’t stop pinging all weekend – people were commenting, following my blog and generally doing exactly what should be happening at linky parties. I felt like the fabled swan when Angie featured my post the following week! So Angie, congratulations on such a successful event and a huge thank you for hosting a brilliant party and gathering these lovely bloggers to your fold.

Warm Blue Cheese Tartlets with Candied Walnuts | Selma's TableThese Blue Cheese Tartlets with Candied Walnuts are something that I have been wanting to make for some time. I watched one of the contestants on Masterchef making something similar with roasted tomatoes and basil oil and the idea of an individual savoury cheesecake really made an impression on me. Also, I bought half a dozen cute little fluted tart tins from the dollar store in Winnipeg when I was there last and keep looking for an excuse to use them. I thought that walnuts would be a much better flavour match for blue cheese so dressed my tarts with the candied walnuts and the walnut dressing.

Making a “crust” with buttery bread crumbs couldn’t be easier and the cheesecake filling comes together so easily with a little whizz in the food processor.

Warm Blue Cheese Tartlets with Candied Walnuts | Selma's TableThis recipe is worth it just for the candied walnuts alone – you will not be able to stop eating them so I suggest you make twice as many. Just sayin’.

Warm Blue Cheese Tartlets with Candied Walnuts | Selma's TableThe tarts are gorgeous – the rich cheese filling with the crispy, crumbly breadcrumb crust, the peppery rocket leaves and the sharp nutty dressing topped off with the sweet and slightly spicy crunchy walnuts – perfect dinner party fodder if you ask me!

I am taking this over to Angie’s Fiesta Friday Anniversary Part 1 which this special week is being co-hosted by my two of my favourite Canadian bloggers,  Hilda @Along The Grapevine and Julianna @Foodie On Board – the original two co-hosts for the first few Fiesta Fridays.

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 Anniversary Part 1 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 read the Fiesta Friday guidelines and invitation post for helpful hints.

It’s been my great pleasure to co-host Fiesta Friday several times and I am so honoured that Angie has asked me to co-host  the Fiesta Friday Anniversary Part 2 with  Nancy @ Feasting With Friends next week. The theme is mains and puddings/sweets next week, so best wear loose clothing! Jhuls, I will bring lots of camomile tea with me! I look forward to seeing what you lovely people bring this week and next. Happy Anniversary Fiesta Friday!

Blue Cheese Tartlets with Candied Walnuts

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Inspired by MasterChef

INGREDIENTS

For the Candied Walnuts

  • 150 g of walnut halves or pieces
  • 100 g of caster sugar
  • 15 g butter
  • a few shakes of cayenne pepper

For the Walnut Dressing

  • 1 Tbsp/15 ml white wine/apple cider vinegar
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tsp French mustard
  • 2 Tbsp/30 ml walnut oil
  • 1 Tbsp/15 mi extra virgin olive oil

For the Blue Cheese Tartlets

  • 100 g white bread (trimmed of the crusts)
  • 50 g butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 100g full fat cream cheese
  • 75 g blue cheese
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp flour
  • 1 Tbsp double cream/creme fraiche

To serve

  • Rocket leaves

INSTRUCTIONS

For the Candied Walnuts

  1. Place all the ingredients into a nonstick pan and stir over a medium heat.
  2. Keep stirring until the sugar turns to caramel and starts to coat the nuts. This takes between 3 to 5 minutes. Don’t let the caramel burn – just keep stirring it.
  3. Once the caramel is a toffee brown, pour the mixture onto a silicone sheet or parchment paper – be careful as the caramel is very hot – and using a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon, separate the nuts making sure that there is caramel on each one.
  4. Let cool, then store, out of sight, in a lidded jar to avoid eating the whole lot.

For the Walnut Dressing

  1. Place the vinegar and sea salt in a small bowl and whisk to dissolve the salt.
  2. Whisk in the mustard then slowly whisk in the oils. You can also just put the lot in a lidded container and shake hard but I like the rounded airy fullness that whisking gives to a dressing.
  3. Set aside.

For the Blue Cheese Tartlets

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F. Butter/spray the bases and sides of 4 x 8cm/3in fluted, loose bottomed flan tins.
  2. Whizz the bread in a food processor to fine crumbs. Melt the butter and tip in the crumbs, stirring to combine. Season with a little salt and pepper.
  3. Divide into 4 then press the mixture on the base and up the sides of the prepared tins. Use the back of a teaspoon to even out the base.
  4. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 10- 12 minutes or until the bases are golden but keep an eye on them as they can catch quite quickly.
  5. Beat the rest of the ingredients together and divide between the tins. I did this in the mini processor in which I whizzed the bread crumbs.
  6. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until the tops are golden and just set – a little wobble in the middle is desired.
  7. Cool for a few minutes then remove carefully from the tins.
  8. Serve warm or at room temperature on a few rocket leaves, drizzling the dressing around the plate and garnishing with the candied walnuts.
© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013 – 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.