Sweet Potato, Courgette and Paneer Baked Fritters

sweet-potato-courgette-and-paneer-baked-fritters The lovely people over at Savera Paneer sent me some of their paneer to play with. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you will have seen the bloggers pack I came home to last week. Inside the large saffron hued box were a bag of cumin seeds, a bag of turmeric powder, a branded water bottle and a really cute yellow and blue lunch box containing an ice pack and two packs of paneer made from skim milk thus containing only 8% fat. There were also a couple of delicious sounding recipe cards  which had been developed by the talented  food writer, Deena Kakaya who is probably familiar to many of you as she visits so many of our blogs, commenting and encouraging.sweet-potato-courgette-and-paneer-baked-fritters Well, the lunch box came in really handy as Jake started work experience at a law firm this week, which he has really enjoyed. He’s been to court nearly every day and also written official letters to clients detailing progress on their cases. Not bad for someone who has to be reminded 3 times to take the rubbish out!

I had not cooked with paneer before this so I had a little research to do before I started experimenting. Paneer, an Indian cheese,  is traditionally made at home from the curds formed when lemon juice is mixed with hot milk. It’s a fresh, bland, unsalted cheese which can be substituted with Queso Blanco or Fresco. It is quite crumbly, an excellent source of protein and absorbs flavours beautifully. It really is a cheese to cook with rather than eat as is and is most often found cubed, sautéed and added to spicy vegetable based sauces and gravies.

There are hundreds and hundreds of Indian recipes which use paneer so, I really wanted to use it in a different way. And as Savera had gone to the trouble of developing a low fat cheese, I wanted to make something fairly healthy. No frying or rich sauces but lots of  vegetables and flavourings. At the green grocers, a bag of sweet potatoes caught my eye and which made me think about latkes and so idea for these Sweet Potato, Courgette and Paneer Baked Fritters was born. sweet-potato-courgette-and-paneer-baked-fritters Keeping in mind the tips I had gleaned on how to use it, I grated and seasoned the paneer and set it aside to absorb the flavours. Honestly, I was a bit hesitant when I saw how crumbly the paneer looked but it grated easily and absorbed the flavours of the spices absolutely perfectly. sweet-potato-courgette-and-paneer-baked-fritters I also grated the sweet potato and courgette and left them to drain separately. When it came time to assemble the fritters, I mixed them all together with a light hand then added a little flour and some raw couscous and stirred in a beaten egg. Set on a lightly oiled baking sheet, and brushed with a little more oil, the fritters baked up beautifully. sweet-potato-courgette-and-paneer-baked-frittersThe Sweet Potato, Courgette and Paneer Baked Fritters were light and crunchy with a lovely smoky flavour from the paprika and cumin. I had wanted to add fresh mint to the mixture but realised that I didn’t have any when I started cooking – I think it would be a lovely addition. Serve with a wedge of lemon and a little tzatziki and some salad leaves and you have a delicious light lunch or first course. sweet-potato-courgette-and-paneer-baked-fritters   sweet-potato-courgette-and-paneer-baked-frittersA big thank you to Savera Paneer for introducing me to this lovely product! I have a few more recipes to make and post in the coming days.

As it is Friday, I am taking these over to that fabulous party over at Angie’s – Fiesta Friday. Crowd control aka co-hosts this week are Elaine @ foodbod and Prudy @ Butter Basil and Buttercrumbs.

Courgettes are in season so I am also entering them into the Simple and In Season hosted by Ren @ Renben and guest-hosted this month by Sally @ My Custard Pie.

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Please do take a look at their fabulous blogs – you will come away chock full of great ideas for recipes to take you through the summer and beyond! And, don’t be shy – visit as many of the blogs as you can, follow the ones that are new to you, leave comments and tuck in!!

Sweet Potato, Courgette and Paneer Baked Fritters

  • Servings: makes 12 fritters
  • Difficulty: easy
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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium sized sweet potato/kumara – about 200g
  • 1 medium sized courgette/zucchini – about 200g
  • 125 g grated Saveera Paneer
  • 1 clove of garlic grated or crushed
  • ½ tsp smoked paprkia
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • juice of ¼ of lemon
  • ¼ cup parsley
  • 50 g flour
  • 1 Tbsp raw couscous
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Peel the sweet potato and grate – try and get long strands. Place in a colander sprinkle with a little salt, mix and leave to drain for at least half an hour.
  2. Grate the courgette – try and get long strands. Place in a separate colander sprinkle with a little salt, mix and leave to drain for at least half an hour.
  3. Grate the paneer. Sprinkle over the garlic, smoky paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin powder, coriander powder and squeeze over the lemon. Using a fork, toss to mix and leave to marinate for at least half an hour.
  4. When you are ready to cook, pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F.
  5. Line a baking tray with parchment and spray with an olive oil cooking spray or smear with a little olive oil.
  6. Squeeze out as much liquid as you can from both the sweet potato and the courgette and place in a mixing bowl.
  7. Add the chopped parsley and the paneer and using a fork, toss to mix well but lightly. Have a taste of the mixture at this point to see if it needs any salt. I found that the salt I used during draining was enough.
  8. Sprinkle in the flour and couscous and again, using a fork, toss to mix.
  9. Stir in the lightly beaten egg and mix.
  10. Mound about 1 ½ Tbsp of the mixture on the prepared tray and press down with a fork to flatten and make a rustic looking fritter. You should get about 12 portions from the mixture. I baked six at a time in two batches.
  11. Drizzle with a little olive oil and bake for 10 minutes. Flip them over and bake for 5 minutes more or until golden brown and crispy
  12. Serve hot, with a wedge of lemon and a dollop of Greek yoghurt mixed with a little mint.

© 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.

© 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
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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.

Juicy Marinated Cherry Tomatoes

Marinated Cherry TomatoesI saw some lovely looking cherry tomatoes in the greengrocers the other day and remembered that I had seen a recipe on Pinterest which I wanted to try out. I have hundreds of recipes that I want to try out so it was quite amazing that I remembered this one! I am embarrassed to say that it wasn’t until I was in my late twenties that I began to appreciate raw tomatoes. Until then I turned my nose up and refused to eat them. I know I drove my mum crazy as I picked them out of salads and made a fuss when I could see lumps of them in gravy. It wasn’t until I tried someone’s Insalata Tricolore in a really good Italian trattoria that the penny dropped and I realised what I had been missing. Now I can’t get enough of them and look forward to the summer’s crop of heirlooms, beef steaks, plums, cherries and canaries.

Marinated Cherry TomatoesThis is a lovely recipe which really brings out the best in sweet cherry tomatoes. The marinade takes on the flavours of the tomatoes, rosemary, chilli, garlic and lemon and is wonderful drizzled over fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese. They can marinate for as little as 20 minutes but I think that both the tomatoes and the marinade taste so much nicer a few days later. Serve as part of a mezze type meal, use to top open faced sandwiches and tartines, include in lunchbox salads – the possibilities are endless. Make sure to eat at room temperature and with lots of napkins to hand!

Marinated Cherry Tomatoes

I know that peeling tomatoes and cherry tomatoes at that, is a chore and one that I skip if I can get away with it but in this case, it is absolutely necessary. It doesn’t take long and the flavour pay off is worth it. These juicy marinated cherry tomatoes are really easy to make:

Marinated Cherry Tomatoes

First, get the kettle on to boil and fill a mixing bowl with ice cubes and water. Then using a very sharp knife, lightly score the tops the tomatoes – this helps get the skins off. Fill a pan with the kettle hot water and turn up the heat to keep it at a boil. Then, using a large slotted spoon, lower the tomatoes into the water and set a timer for 30 seconds. You should see the skins lifting away where they have been scored, almost immediately. Using the slotted spoon, remove the tomatoes and plunge into the ice bath to stop them from cooking. Pop the rosemary in to blanch and after 30 seconds, remove and put in the ice bath. Drain and pinch the skins off which will come away very easily.  Layer the tomatoes with the garlic, bay leaves and rosemary in a sterilised/extremely well cleaned Le Parfait/Kilner/Mason/pickle or jam jar. Mix up the marinade ingredients in a measuring jug and pour over the tomatoes. If there isn’t enough to cover them, top up with more olive oil.

Marinated Cherry Tomatoes

Juicy Marinated Cherry Tomatoes

  • Servings: 1 x 500 ml jar
  • Difficulty: easy
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Adapted from Marinated Cherry Tomatoes by Alida Ryder for Simply Delicious
INGREDIENTS

  • 30 cherry tomatoes (or fill your jar with tomatoes to see how many will fit comfortably)
  • 2 stalks of rosemary
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 3 bay leaves, broken up

For the marinade

  • 50 ml lemon juice (for me this was about the juice of a lemon and a half)
  • 100 ml extra Virgin Olive oil
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt

You will also need 

  • sterilised 500 ml Le Parfait/Kilner/Mason/pickle or jam jar

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Put the kettle on to boil and fill a bowl with ice and water. When the kettle boils pour the water into a saucepan and keep it boiling.
  2. Lightly score the tops of the tomatoes.
  3. Lower the tomatoes in for 30 secs then remove with a slotted spoon and place in the iced water. Drain and pinch off the skins which should slip off very easily.
  4. Blanch the rosemary while the tomatoes are cooling and plunge the stalks into the iced water as well.
  5. Layer the tomatoes in the sterilised jar with the rosemary, garlic and bay leaves.
  6. Measure the lemon juice and olive oil into a measuring jug then stir in the fennel seeds, chilli flakes and salt.
  7. Pour this over the cherry tomatoes. It should cover them, if not top up with some more olive oil.
  8. Leave at room temp for at least half an hour if you want to eat it later, otherwise place in the fridge. Let come to room temp before serving – the oil will solidify so give it a shake from time to time, when you remember.

Should keep for at least a week or two as long as your jar is clean and herbs blanched.

We had it on toasted pain de campagne with buffalo mozzarella, basil leaves, sliced avocado and a good drizzle of the flavoured oil.

Marinated Cherry Tomatoes