Spicy “Po’ boy” Toastie

Spicy "Po' boy" Toastie | Selma's TableThese days, it’s not often that I get a chance to go out with my son. Jake has gathered his London ‘tribe’, the size of which ebbs and flows like the fickle tide of fame but I am pleased that his close friends have remained constant throughout. My point is, that in his spare time, he is always busy, friends to meet up with, an event to go to or a party to attend – with a tribe that large there is always something going on. It’s nigh on impossible to do anything on the spur of the moment that includes him. Unless he is grounded, which was the case last week. So I snatched at the opportunity to take him shopping with me (he needed some things too, so don’t go feeling sorry for him at being grounded and dragged round the shops!) at the weekend. We stopped for some much needed fuel at “Pho“, one of a chain of Vietnamese restaurants that seem to have sprung up everywhere. Jake had the Pho Combo which was really tasty – full of aniseed and beefy flavours, but a huge portion as most of these noodle soup bowls are – does anybody actually finish one? I had the green papaya salad with peanuts and chicken which was absolutely gorgeous – fresh, crunchy and light. Looking around, I couldn’t help but notice how many bottles of Sriracha Sauce they had lining the shelves, as well as on every table. No wonder there is a dearth of them in the shops for us mere consumers! It was really lovely to spend a few hours with Jake, outside of the house (aka the battlefield) and just hang out like old times.

Spicy "Po' boy" Toastie | Selma's TableI adore Vietnamese food – really fresh flavours with mint and coriander, bone broths (Pho), noodles and lots of salads – quite easy to eat well and healthily.  I’ve heard so much about bánh mì sandwiches – French bread sandwiches stuffed with all manner of glorious fillings and also known in New Orleans as a Vietnamese Po’ boy. I had fried seafood sandwiches on my mind when I received some packets of Whitby Seafood to review.

Spicy "Po' boy" Toastie | Selma's TableWhitby is an independent family business, founded in 1985 by Graham Whittle who has now been joined at the helm by his daughter and sons – isn’t that just such a wonderful thing in these days of giant omnipresent, multinational, community destroying, food businesses?  They have rebranded themselves – rather wonderfully in my opinion – with packaging that is modern, relevant and eye-catching and a website that is so easy to navigate and read. Whitby Whole Scampi (langoustine), fished in British waters, is one of their best sellers and has been awarded a Great Taste 2014 Star too. Funnily enough, I was chatting to a friend earlier today and she had just bought a couple of packets in Morrisons – they are on sale – 2 for £4 and I would recommend snapping up a few packs – you won’t regret it!

Spicy "Po' boy" Toastie | Selma's TableSo, I made a toastie version of a Po’ boy, with Whitby’s Whole Scampi, spicy homemade mayonnaise and that wonderful Barber’s 1833 Farmhouse Vintage Reserve Cheddar, which comes from another independent food producer, who are in fact the the oldest cheese makers in England.  I have written about Barber’s previously here. I didn’t realise that Jake was going to be home this morning and for lunch (he is on study leave/writing exams) so I was really pleased that he was here to try my Spicy Po’ boy Toastie. After claiming that he wasn’t hungry, he scoffed the lot, saying between mouthfuls “this is really good” and “can you make this again”.

Spicy "Po' boy" Toastie | Selma's TableCrispy on the outside, soft on the inside bread, crunchy coated, tender scampi, spicy, smoky, creamy mayonnaise and gooey melted cheese – with a few cornichons or pickles to add sharpness – simply divine. I’m not going to lie – this is utter comfort food and with the wild weather we have been having, seemed like the perfect thing to eat.

They are really easy to make. While the scampi are cooking in the oven, mix up the spicy mayo, grate the cheese and generously butter the bread. Then, once the scampi are cooked. put a frying pan on a low heat, place one slice of bread in it, buttered side down, spread with the spicy mayo, then top with the scampi and cheese. Place the second slice of bread on top with the buttered side up, cover and gently sizzle for a minute or two – just keep checking the underside. When it’s a nice golden colour, flip it over, press down gently and let it cook for another minute or so. I find covering the pan heats everything through and makes the cheese melt more evenly. Use soft butter on the bread – it will tear otherwise and the mayo and cheese will leak out into the pan.

Disclaimer – I was sent the products to review but the opinions expressed are my own.

Spicy Po' boy Toastie

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 x 225g package of Whitby Whole Scampi
  • 4 tsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp smoky paprika
  • pinch of chilli flakes
  • a few drops of hot sauce
  • soft butter
  • 80g Barber’s 1833 Farmhouse Vintage Reserve Cheddar
  • 4 slices of bread

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 220C/425F and cook the Whitby Whole Scampi for 15 minutes or a couple of minutes less than directions on the package.
  2. In the mean time, mix the mayonnaise with the smokey paprika, the chilli flakes and a few drops of hot sauce (I used 4 drops)  and set aside.
  3. Generously butter two slices of bread – this will be the outside of the toastie.
  4. Coarsely grate the Barbers Vintage Reserve Cheddar Cheese.
  5. When the scampi is ready, place a non-stick frying pan on a low heat and place one (or two, depending on the size of your pan) slice of bread, buttered side down in it. Spread the unbuttered side which should be facing you, with half the spicy mayonnaise mixture, then top with about 7 or 8 pieces of scampi and half the grated cheese. Top with the other slice of bread, buttered side up and cover the pan with a lid. Check the underside after 1 ½ minutes – it should be golden brown. If not leave for a few more seconds.
  6. Using a spatula, lift the toastie out of the pan and flip it over and put it back in the pan. Press down gently and cook for another minute or until the underside is golden and the cheese has melted.
  7. Serve with a side of cornichons or pickles and lots of napkins!
© 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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Sour Cherry, Coconut and Oat Slice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sour Cherry, Coconut and Oat Slice

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

INGREDIENTS

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

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F and line an 9″ square tin with baking parchment or aluminium foil, leaving a little overhang so that you can use them as handles later. Grease the bottom and the sides of the paper.
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, oats, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl, mixing well.
  3. Cut the butter into the smallest cubes you can and thoroughly rub into the flour mixture.
  4. Set the prepared baking tin onto the scales ands set to zero. Measure out 300g of the mixture into the baking tin and press evenly onto the bottom of the pan. Make sure to get into the corners. Smooth the top by running a flat bottomed glass over it.
  5. Spread the sour cherry jam over the surface to within 1 cm of the edges. The jam spreads as it bakes so this prevents it from seeping from the edges and burning.
  6. Sprinkle over the remaining flour mixture and evenly top with the shredded coconut. Press lightly into the jam.
  7. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes or until golden. Leave in the tin on a rack, to cool completely. Then using the paper overhang, lift the bake out of the tin and onto a chopping board. Using a long knife or a pizza cutter, slice into squares.
© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Agnello e Patate al Forno (Apulian Shepherd’s Pie)

Agnello e Patate al Forno (Apulian Shepherd's Pie) | Selma's TableApulia is the southern Italian region which makes up the “heel” of the boot after which the country of Italy is likened. The area was once known as the Wine Cellar of Europe and today, their olive oils are much coveted by the cognoscenti . Their food espouses that wonderful Mediterranean diet of olive oil, fresh vegetables, fresh fish and shellfish, pasta and regional cheeses. The meat of choice is lamb or kid which is grilled, roasted or baked which brings me to this recipe for Agnello e Patate al Forno which translates to Lamb and Potatoes of the Oven or an Italian version of Shepherd’s Pie!

Agnello e Patate al Forno (Apulian Shepherd's Pie) | Selma's TableIt’s from a wonderful book called Italian Country Cooking by Susanna Gelmetti which I have had for many more years than I care to remember.  Over those years, I have made many a recipe from it but this is the one that gets made time and time again. Italian cooking is cooking from the heart. It is all about excellent quality ingredients generally cooked simply and without fuss and this ethos completely appeals to me. This recipe depends on flavoursome lamb, tasty fresh tomatoes, good pecorino cheese, good wine and fresh herbs. I have made it with and without wine – it is better with, of course. I tend to use lamb neck fillet as despite being tender, it has a lot of flavour and cooks a little more quickly than other cuts. The dish comes together in about 15 minutes and cooks for 1 – 1.5 hours depending on the cut of meat used.

Agnello e Patate al Forno (Apulian Shepherd's Pie) | Selma's TableI start by pre-heating the oven to 200C/400F and placing a couple slices of bread in it to toast for the bread crumbs. I set the timer for 5 minutes too so that I don’t forget about them! Then I place the garlic, the cheese and the herbs in a small processor and blitz until the mixture resembles green crumbs, which is set aside. Once the bread is out and has cooled, I tear this up and blitz it too and mix it into the cheese and herb mixture. I peel and cut up the potatoes, dice the tomatoes and chop the lamb. A little olive oil is judiciously poured into a baking dish, into which the lamb, potatoes and tomatoes are tumbled about, seasoned and covered with the herbed breadcrumb mixture. A little wine is poured in and a little water to come halfway up the potatoes. At this point I like to pull up bits of lamb to poke through so that the tops get nice and crispy while the underneath braises in the delicious wine and tomato juices and gets melting tender. A little olive oil is then lightly drizzled over the top and it goes into the oven to cook, undisturbed for an hour or so.  In the past, I have used stock for all the liquid if wine was not at hand and also added lemon zest to herb mixture and the juice to the liquid. It smells amazing as it cooks and benefits from resting for a few minutes after coming out of the oven. Served with a peppery rocket salad, it’s a lovely meal at this time of the year.

Agnello e Patate al Forno (Apulian Shepherd's Pie) | Selma's Table

Agnello e Patate al Forno (Apulian Shepherd's Pie)

  • Servings: serves 3 people or 2 generously, with left overs
  • Difficulty: easy
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Adapted from  Italian Country Cooking by Susanna Gelmetti

INGREDIENTS

  • 35g pecorino cheese
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary – about 5g of needles
  • 25g fresh parsley including the stalks
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • pepper
  • 25g fresh bread crumbs
  •  500g potatoes (floury or waxy – both types are fine here)
  • 400g – 500g lamb neck fillet or lean lamb
  • 5 ripe tomatoes
  • salt
  • 100ml approx of white or red wine
  • 100ml approx of water or stock
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh parsley and pecorino cheese to serve.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F. If you are making your own bread crumbs, which I recommend, then place the bread slices in the oven to dry out for 5 minutes while the oven is heating up. In my experience, it is best to set a timer so that you don’t forget about them!
  2. Chop the pecorino into cubes, peel the garlic and strip the needles off the rosemary. Place in a small processor and blitz until it’s crumbly. Add the parsley and oregano and blitz again. Scrape out and set aside. When the bread has been in the oven for 5 minutes, remove to cool, then tear up and blitz into crumbs. Stir into the herb and cheese mixture and grind over lots of freshly milled pepper. Mix well.
  3. Smear the bottom of an oven proof dish with a little olive oil. Mine is about 9″ x 5″.
  4. Peel and chop the potatoes into smaller chunks that you would for a roast. So the larger ones into about 8 equal sized pieces and smaller ones into 4 and place in the dish. Cut the lamb, across the grain in similar sizes to the potatoes. Dice the tomatoes keeping them chunky. Tumble the lot into the dish and season with a good sprinkle of salt. Arrange so that bits of lamb and potato are poking through.
  5. Carefully pour in the wine and water, tilting the dish so that the liquid is evenly distributed. It should come halfway up the potatoes.
  6. Shake over the breadcrumb mixture to cover the top evenly and drizzle over a little olive oil.
  7. Cook in the oven for 1 – 1½ hours or until the potatoes are cooked through. Let rest for 5 minutes then sprinkle over some fresh parsley and shaved pecorino before serving.
© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Masala Chai Banana Bread with Coconut Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing

Masala Chai Banana Bread with Coconut Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing | Selma's TableThis year’s UK Master Chef series on the television has been fantastic. The final five were all incredibly creative and really put through their paces as the competition ruthlessly progressed. (Don’t worry, there are no spoilers here if you haven’t watched the final episode to crown the winner.)  Of the final five, I was really inspired by Emma whose love of middle eastern spices and modern use of ingredients mirrors the zeitgeist made mainstream by Ottolenghi.

Masala Chai Banana Bread with Coconut Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing | Selma's TableYou may recall that Adagio Tea sent me a sample pack of their gorgeous teas to try. I wrote about their artisan teas in last month’s IMK post. They have a huge range and their green teas alone are worth a look at. Their Masala Chai is quite incredible – it has the deep flavour that I remember from my childhood and is chock full of whole spices like cloves, cinnamon bark, cardamom seeds and ginger as well as black Ceylon tea.

Masala Chai Banana Bread with Coconut Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing | Selma's TableSpurred on by Emma’s creations on Master Chef, a LOT of dangerously dark bananas and Adagio’s Masala Chai, I adapted my go-to recipe for Banana Bread from How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson. It’s a recipe I have been making for years and it never lets me down. It’s particularly devilish and delicious when made with chocolate chips instead of fruit, but that is another story!

Masala Chai Banana Bread with Coconut Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing | Selma's TableBecause I had so many bananas I used them all and in retrospect, it was too much and caused the loaves to become heavy and sink in the middle when cooling. In the recipe below, I have written the amounts as they should be and not as I did this time.

I quite often use frozen bananas but let them thaw and drain off the liquid before mashing and mash the bananas coarsely as this enables the loaves to remain lovely and moist. I prefer to use light brown sugar for a deeper more caramel flavour too.  Steeping the fruit in very a very strong solution of masala chai gives them a haunting flavour when you bite into a plumped up morsel. I have enhanced that with a little cardamom stirred through the batter too.

Masala Chai Banana Bread with Coconut Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing | Selma's TableThe icing. Oh my God, the icing! It’s just sublime. I wanted to compliment the heady banana and masala chai flavours of the loaf and put this icing together. The flavour reminds me of coconut burfi or penda (which my father adored) – Indian sweets as Jake refers to them…

Masala Chai Banana Bread with Coconut Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing | Selma's Table

I really like using coconut powder as you can get the depth of flavour you want and also the thickness by adjusting the liquid to powder ratio. A further rummage in the pantry led me to the gorgeously fragrant rose petals I bought recently on a foray into Shepherd’s Bush with Elaine and a bag of pistachio nuts.

Masala Chai Banana Bread with Coconut Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing | Selma's TableI ended up with a Magic Carpet Banana Bread! I think Emma would approve!

Masala Chai Banana Bread with Coconut Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing

  • Servings: Makes 2 loaves
  • Difficulty: easy
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Adapted from “Banana Bread” How to Be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 150 g mixed dried fruit (like berries, cherries, figs and sultanas)
  • 75 ml of very strong brewed Adagio Masala Tea Blend
  • 175 g Plain/AP flour
  • 2 ½  tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp cardamom powder or 2 drops of cardamom essence
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 125 g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 150 g light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 3 medium very ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Coconut, Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing

  • 3 Tbsp coconut powder
  • 1-2 Tbsp warm milk
  • 1 x 180 g pack of cream cheese
  • 1 x 250 g tub of mascarpone cheese
  • 5 – 6 Tbsp icing sugar
  • 3 drops cardamom essence or the powdered seeds of 2 cardamom pods
  • chopped pistachios (optional)
  • edible dried rose petals (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Steep the dried fruit with the hot masala chai for an hour (or microwave on high for 2 minutes and steep for as long as you can)
  2. Pre-heat oven to 170C/325F and either pop a paper case into each of two loaf tins or line with two strips of parchment paper. Put the butter in a heat proof bowl and place in the oven to melt. Check after 3-4 minutes.
  3. Place the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  4. Mash the bananas, coarsely, and set aside.
  5. With an electric mixer, beat together the cooled melted butter and the sugar until creamy and caramel in colour.
  6. Add the eggs, one at a time and make sure to beat well after each one.
  7. Add the bananas and the vanilla extract and mix well and finally, stir in the drained fruit.
  8. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pans and bake for 50 minutes. Test with a wooden skewer which should come out moist but not with batter clinging to it. Let cool completely before icing.
  9. While the loaves are baking, make the icing: stir the coconut powder into warm milk until smooth.
  10. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the cream cheese and the mascarpone with a rubber spatula then add the coconut mixture and stir in. Sift in the icing sugar, mixing well and taste after you had added 4 Tbsp – it may be sweet enough. Stir in the cardamom essence or the powder and set aside in the fridge. When the loaves are cold, spread with the icing and top with the chopped pistachios and rose petals if using them.
© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Devilled Eggs on Sourdough

Devilled Eggs on Sourdough | Selma's Table The bastion of all things butter, Lurpak, commissioned a study into lunches and found that we are creatures of habit, eating the same things pretty much everyday. Other than food bloggers (who seem to eat the most amazing meals, if Instagram is anything to go by), most people seem to eat sandwiches, usually cheese and/or ham. Sandwiches do make a very easy option at lunch time but the filings don’t have to be so mundane. 10 minutes of preparation the night before ensures that you have a tasty, nutritious and delicious lunch for the next day that you will be really looking forward to. And probably eating at 11 a.m. because you can’t think of anything else! Devilled Eggs on Sourdough | Selma's TableFillings can be made on Sunday or in the evening after work and the sandwiches assembled in the morning or even at your desk/office kitchen. To stop sandwiches going soggy, butter your bread (with Lurpak, naturally) but pop your filing into a small container. The container can go into the fridge at work, while the bread can stay at room temperature. Then all you have to do is a quick assembly job before tucking into a freshly made and delicious sandwich. Below are some easy but tasty fillings. When Jake used to take a packed lunch, I used to make his sandwiches in the morning. It was usually a small baguette stuffed with one of the fillings below and lots of salad leaves too. At least once a week, by request, I also used to make one for one of his best friends – I don’t think his mum ever knew…

  • Fry off or roast some red and yellow peppers with a couple of sliced onions and keep them in the fridge. Spread a wrap generously with soft goats cheese, strew with the peppers, a little freshly chopped mint and rocket leaves and roll up, slice in half and wrap. (The cooked peppers and onions keep for 5 days at least, well covered, in the fridge.
  • Chop up a packet of pre-cooked prawns, a couple of spring onions, a little bundle of chives, half a mango, a few fresh coriander leaves. Include tiny squares of finely chopped red chilli if you like a little heat. Squeeze over some lemon juice and grind over some pepper. Taste to adjust seasoning. Take in a container along with a few whole baby gem lettuce leaves. Spoon the mixture into each lettuce leaf for a carb free lunch! (Fish and shellfish do not keep well so make this the night before.)
  • Chop up a portion of left over roast chicken (or roast off some thighs) and stir in a spoonful of pesto and a little creme fraiche or mayonnaise. Stuff into a buttered baguette and top with sliced tomatoes and a few basil leaves. (Roast chicken keeps for 3 or 4 days in the fridge)
  • Chop up a packet of chicken tikka pieces and stir through a little tzatziki and fresh mint. Spread a little mango chutney on a wrap, top with the chicken mix and a few salad leaves. Roll, slice and wrap.
  • Homous, shredded left over roast lamb and mâche lettuce are delicious in a wrap. You can substitute shredded carrot for the lamb to make it vegetarian and vegan.
  • A tin of well drained tuna and a finely chopped stick of celery, mixed with a really small amount of mayonnaise, lots of freshly ground black pepper and lemon juice can be put in a container along with a handful of cucumber slices and buttered bread of your choice. Assemble just before eating.

If you are avoiding carbs, most of these fillings can be eaten using lettuce leaves as the “bread” or just dolloped on top of lots of salad leaves and slices of cucumber. Elaine has a lovely recipe for mayonnaise on her blog, foodbod, if you want to have a go at making it yourself. Devilled Eggs on Sourdough | Selma's TableThese smoky devilled eggs are a favourite and the mixture keeps well for a couple of days in the fridge. Buy the best eggs you can afford – battery eggs taste of nothing – please don’t buy them. Look at the deep yellow colour of the yolks of these…

Eggs are a soft in texture and benefit from something crisp and salty on top. I had mine with salmon but Jake had his with crispy fried turkey bacon and it was a much nicer contrast in textures. Devilled Eggs on Sourdough | Selma's TableThe sharp, lemony beetroot or radish slices make a welcome contrast to the richness of the eggs. Devilled Eggs on Sourdough | Selma's TableThis is the crumb shot of my home made sourdough loaf made with my starter, Twinkle.

Devilled Eggs on Sourdough

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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INGREDIENTS

  • 6 large fresh eggs – organic or free range at room temperature
  • 3 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp smoky paprika
  • ¼ – ½ tsp cayenne pepper – adjust this to your palate or leave it out if there are young children involved.
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • lots of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley and or chives
  • 4 slices of sourdough bread
  • Lurpak butter

TOPPINGS

  • smoked salmon
  • crisp fried shallots or
  • crispy bacon/turkey bacon (chop and fry in a non stick pan with no added fat) or
  • chorizo cubes (fry in a non stick pan with no added fat, stirring frequently until it’s oil runs and the edges crisp up)
  • thinly sliced raw chioggia beetroots or radishes, tossed in a little lemon juice and salt.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place the eggs in a small lidded pot and cover with cold water. (If the eggs are fridge cold, cover with tap-hot water for 5 minutes then drain. The shells will crack otherwise) Place over medium low heat and bring to a boil. Let them boil for 1 minute then remove from the heat and let them sit, covered in the pot for 9-10 minutes. Drain and fill the pot with cold water to stop them cooking any further. Crack the shells (I give the fat end a bash in the sink) and put back in the cold water. The water gets between the membrane and the egg and makes it very easy to peel.
  2. While the eggs are cooking;  1. Put the shallots or bacon or chorizo on to fry. 2. Whisk together the mayo, smoky paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper in a medium sized bowl. 3. Slice the chioggia beetroot or radishes as thinly as you can and toss in lemon juice. 4. Chop the parsley/chives.
  3. Chop the boiled eggs  (smaller that in my photos as they are less likely to fall off the bread than chunky pieces) and stir into the mayonnaise mixture together with the parsley/chives. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. I don’t like too much mayonnaise but feel free to add more if you like your fillings creamier.
  4. Butter the bread and top with the eggs and crispy topping of your choice and a few slices of the lemony chioggia or radish slices on the side.
© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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.

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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.

Spicy, Slow Cooked Butter Beans with Chorizo

Spicy, Slow Cooked Butter Beans with ChorizoNo matter what I do, when I cook meat in the slow cooker (aka the crock pot), it becomes wooly and all the delicious seasonings I have added become dull, dull, dull. On the other hand, I love the texture and flavour of meat slow cooked in the oven or braised on the stovetop. Perhaps the sealed environment of the slow cooker which is essentially slow boiling the meat over a very long period of time, relegates the proteins and the seasonings to a pappy, bland insipidness. Perhaps oxygen and evaporation play a crucial role in the flavour and texture stakes. I don’t know but what I do know is that there are millions of people out there who do make it work and work well – there are some fabulous sounding recipes out there and many a crock pot devotee as a quick search on Pinterest will confirm. Nonetheless, I cannot make it work for me. I have tried “roasting” a chicken in it, braising brisket and stewing meat. I’ve used it to make stock and flavoured legumes. I’ve adjusted cooking times, reduced liquid, increased flavourings and spices – all to no avail. Everything just tastes dull; no matter how much I try and adjust the seasoning after the cooking, I just cannot rescue the texture or the flat taste.

Spicy, Slow Cooked Butter Beans with Chorizo | Selma's TableThat being said, what I do like is how well it cooks dried legumes like chickpeas and butter beans without the need to pre-soak or watch that the pot does not boil dry. I chuck together the beans, bay leaves and water just before going to bed and in the morning, the beans are soft, juicy and plump, ready to be sauced for supper that evening.

Spicy, Slow Cooked Butter Beans with Chorizo | Selma's TableBut, I hear you say, why bother when you can get tins of the stuff in practically any corner shop and grocery store? Well, the texture and the flavour is much, much nicer when cooked from dry. I find the liquor in the tins tastes tinny and have to rinse the beans very well indeed before using them. Having said that, I always have a couple of tins in pantry as they do come in very useful for those last minute meals but if I have the time, I much prefer to cook them from dry.

Spicy, Slow Cooked Butter Beans with Chorizo | Selma's TableI would suggest that the first time you make these, you do them during the day, when you are likely to be around to check on the water in the crock. I have found that the measurements below are perfect for my crock – the beans cook and soak up just enough water, leaving perhaps a cup of thick liquid that has not been absorbed and is just perfect to thicken the sauce with.

Spicy, Slow Cooked Butter Beans with Chorizo | Selma's TableThe chorizo sauce is just delicious!! Lemony, tangy, spicy and rich – do, please take the time to caramelise the onions slowly – you can get on with something else in the kitchen for the 10 minutes or so that it will take for them to slowly turn a golden brown. They lend such a depth of flavour to the sauce. And of course you can use the contents of 2 very well rinsed cans of butter beans instead and just use water where the recipe calls for bean cooking liquid. If you don’t have a slow cooker and want to use dried beans, then cook the dried beans, according to the manufacturers instructions on the pack which usually involve soaking them for 8 hours and then simmering them for one or two hours afterwards.

Spicy, Slow Cooked Butter Beans with Chorizo

INGREDIENTS

  • 250 g dried butter beans
  • 650 ml water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • salt
  • 1 cooking chorizo sliced into ½ cm rounds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ – 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tsp smokey paprika
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 large tomatoes diced
  • handful chopped parsley

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Either the day before or at least 9 hours before you wish to eat; place the dried butter beans and bay leaves in the crock, top with water cook on low heat for 7 – 8 hours. I don’t find it necessary to add any salt or baking soda. The beans will become plump and tender, having soaked up most of the water.
  2. An hour or so, before you wish to eat; heat the olive oil in a pan and stir in the finely chopped onion. Sprinkle with a little salt and cook on a low heat for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Take time to cook them slowly to get that deep flavor from the caramelised onions.
  3. Stir in the sliced chorizo and the spices. Let this cook gently until the oil turns orange from the chorizo.
  4. Add a ladle of the bean cooking liquid, stirring to deglaze the pan by scraping any sticky bits off the bottom. When it has evaporated, stir in the tomato paste and the diced tomato. Stir and add another ladle of the bean cooking liquid, when it has evaporated, add a final one. There shouldn’t be much liquid left in the beans – try and get as much of it into the chorizo mixture to evaporate. If you don’t have much liquid left in the beans then use water instead.
  5. Stir in the butter beans, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Simmer gently for half and hour to allow the flavours to blend and any excess liquid to evaporate.
  6. Just before serving, stir in the parsley.
  7. Serve with rice, a dollop of greek yoghurt and a sharp green salad.

Left overs are even better the next day!

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