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
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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.

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Ruby Chard, Shitake Mushroom & Chestnut Tart

Ruby Chard, Shitake Mushroom & Chestnut Tart | Selma's TableRachel de Thample is a woman after my own heart. A food writer, forager and advocate for seasonal and local produce, she has worked in the kitchens of Marco Pierre White, Peter Gordon and Hester Blumenthal. She was  Commissioning Editor for Waitrose Food Illustrated, contributed to two Borough Market cookbooks and wrote a fabulous book called Less Meat, More Veg a few years ago. Did I mention that she is also a fellow South Londoner? Ruby Chard, Shitake Mushroom & Chestnut Tart | Selma's TableRachel is the Food Editor for one of the pioneers of the UK organic veg box schemes, Abel & Cole. She writes the most delicious, weekly seasonal recipes for them and also meets with food buyers to look at the ethical aspects of sourcing food.  Her second book, called FIVE has just been published. 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…mouthwatering and while heavy on the fruit and vegetables, there are recipes which include fish and meat. Ruby Chard, Shitake Mushroom & Chestnut Tart | Selma's TableI have a copy of FIVE to give away to a lucky reader which I will tell you about in another post but in the meantime just get your tastebuds going with some of these recipe titles – Mexican Roast Pumpkin Soup with Lime; Lemony Scrambled Eggs with Indian Spiced Spinach and Mushrooms; Sassy Cherry and Watercress Salad with Crushed Pistachios; Athenian Rissoles with Pavlos’ Sauce; Summer Veg Patch Gumbo with Chorizo and Crab; Honeyed Aubergine, Feta and Walnut Borek; Honey Blossom Peaches; Mulled Figs with Mascarpone…doesn’t it all sound delicious? Ruby Chard, Shitake Mushroom & Chestnut Tart | Selma's TableIn the meantime, inspired by the premise of the book and my complimentary Able and Cole veg box as well as my Sutton Community Farm veg box, I came up with a recipe which I hope Ms De Thample would approve of!

It is full of seasonal ingredients like ruby chard, mushrooms, leeks  and one of my favourite winter ingredients – chestnuts; gently sautéed together with celery, garlic and thyme and a little lemon to sharpen the flavours, spread onto flakey puff pastry and topped with Barber’s delicious cheddar cheese.

My recipe has been featured over on the Happy Foodie website along with four other bloggers – take a look at what they have to say and what they made here – http://thehappyfoodie.co.uk/articles/number-five-challenge

Ruby Chard, Mushroom & Chestnut Tart

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

INGREDIENTS

  • Bunch of ruby chard or swiss chard or spinach (approximately 250g)
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 punnet shitake mushrooms
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 1 leek
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 75g vacuum packed cooked chestnuts
  • 2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp vegetable stock powder ilke Essentials or Marigold
  • 1 good handful of grated Barbers Vintage Reserve Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 x 320 g sheet of ready rolled, all butter puff pastry
  • 2 eggs beaten with a tablespoon of milk

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Fill the sink with cold water and swish the chard around in it to loosen any soil. Leave the chard in the water to let any grit settle on the bottom of the sink. Carefully lift the chard out of the water, without disturbing the sediment on the bottom of the sink and gently shake off the excess water. Trim off the ends and cut out the stalks. Slice the stalks, on the diagonal into 3 cm pieces. Slice the leaves into wide ribbons. Keep them separate.
  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Dice the onions and slice the mushrooms and add these to the hot oil. Sprinkle with a little salt, squeeze over the juice of half a lemon then stir and cook until the onions are soft, floppy and golden and the mushrooms have caramelised. You may need to add a little more oil if the mushrooms soak it all up.
  3. While this is going on, finely dice the celery and and slice the leeks into 1 cm rings; coarsely chop the chestnuts – add to the pan with the chard stems and stir. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes.
  4. Finely chop the garlic and add to the pan along with the chard and thyme leaves. Stir and cook for a couple of minutes or until the chard has wilted.
  5. Sprinkle over the stock powder and add a splash of water – just enough to deglaze any caramelisation on the bottom of the pan and get everything nice and juicy but not wet! Turn the heat right down and let this simmer for a minute or two. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Turn off the heat, stir in the parsley and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.
  7. Unroll the pastry and score a 2 cm border around the perimeter. Transfer onto a parchment lined baking sheet/tray.
  8. Place the cooled chard mixture within the border and scatter over the grated cheddar cheese.
  9. Brush the edges of the tart with the beaten eggs and then gently drizzle the remainder of the egg mixture over the tart.
  10. Bake for 25-30 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 part of a 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.

Tomato & Chard Crostata with Barber’s Cheddar

Slow Roasted Tomato & Chard Galette with Barber's Cheddar Cheese | Selma's TableCharlie Barber is by all accounts, a pretty good cook. I wish I had to thought to ask him more about what and how he likes to cook but quite honestly, last week at the BBC Good Food Show, I had cheese goggles on and only had eyes for the cheese – that judging room for the World Cheese Awards is my idea of heaven! Those of you who know me, know how much I LOVE cheese – my favourite course at any dinner is the cheeseboard; I love having people round for a meal because it gives me an excuse to buy some extra special cheese. One Christmas, I remember eating far too much of the preceding courses and couldn’t manage a scrap of cheese. I was so cross with myself – we had bought some gorgeous cheeses that year.  Anyway, when Charlie threw down a challenge to come up with a recipe using my local produce and their delicious Barber’s 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar, I wasn’t going to refuse!

Slow Roasted Tomato & Chard Galette with Barber's Cheddar Cheese | Selma's TableI’ve been wanting to make one of those free form open crostatas for some time with a lovely flaky, buttery pastry;  pastry and cheese is always delicious so there was the start of the recipe. Our veg box (CSA) from Sutton Community Farm, is full of seasonal produce which has been grown locally without the use of pesticides. I had some of their beautiful late season Rainbow Chard that was begging to be used as well as some of their onions.

Chard, onions and Barber's 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar

Chard, onions and Barber’s 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheese

I also had some large slicing tomatoes from the local greengrocers but they would need to be roasted, low and slow to get rid of a lot of their moisture. The tomatoes may have been a subconscious thing because Elaine had tried some sundried tomatoes from one of the many small producer food stands at the Good Food Show and said how delicious they were…Slow roasting them this way really intensifies the tomato flavour and is great way to treat tomatoes that may not have the flavour they should. I like to make batches of them and store them in oil to use in sandwiches, pasta dishes and sauces.

Slow Roasted Tomatoes | Selma's Table

Slow roasting the tomatoes

I love tarragon with tomatoes and it goes well with the earthiness of beetroot too. Chard is a member of the beet family so it seemed like a natural combination. Nonetheless, before I added in the tarragon, I conducted a little taste test with a spoonful of cooked chard, caramelised onion and a sprinkle of cheddar just to make sure and it did work really well together. That aniseed flavour does not appeal to everyone so replace it with rosemary, thyme or even basil if you are so inclined.

Slow Roasted Tomato & Chard Galette with Barber's Cheddar Cheese | Selma's TableThis recipe is best made over two days. Slow roast the tomatoes, caramelise the onions and make the dough on the first day. The smell of the slowly roasting tomatoes and caramelising onions will drive you and anyone else around, mad with unrequited sensory hunger so I suggest having something strongly flavoured to snack on! On the second day, sauté the chard, roll out the dough then assemble and bake the crostata.

Layering galette | Selma's Table

Layering galette

The pastry is a basic shortcrust pastry using half fat to flour, a pinch of salt (I used vegetable stock powder to give it a more savoury flavour) and just enough iced water to make it come together. The trick is to cut the cold unsalted butter into quite small cubes with a small sharp knife and put these back into the fridge. The butter needs to be really cold so that you can rub – well, slide really,  the butter between your fingers, into the flour and into flakes without it melting. Stir in the iced water a little at a time. Once the dough has come together, wrap it in cling film and pop it in the fridge overnight or for at least an hour.

A very flaky shortcrust pastry | Selma's Table

Making the dough

Roll it out between two sheets of baking paper using one of the sheets to transfer it onto the baking sheet. This produced a really seriously flaky pastry that even Jake commented on.

A very flaky shortcrust pastry | Selma's Table

Rolling out the shortcrust dough between two sheets of parchment paper

This crostata is full of flavour with the intensely flavoured slow roasted tomatoes, the caramelised onions, the earthy chard, the aniseed of tarragon and Barber’s superb Vintage Reserve cheddar cheese. It is wonderful as a light lunch or supper dish or as part of a mezze style table.

Slow Roasted Tomato & Chard Galette with Barber's Cheddar Cheese | Selma's Table

I’m taking this Tomato and Chard Crostata with Barber’s Cheddar to the party animals over at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #44. Today she has made some stunning sandwiches with leftovers from Thanksgiving. Only Angie can take a bit of roast turkey and some bread and make it look like something from a magazine spread! Co-hosting today are two of my favourite story tellers –  Prudy @Butter, Basil and Breadcrumbs and Jess @Cooking Is My Sport. Their posts are always inspirational, touching and funny. Their amazing recipes are a bonus!!

Tomato & Chard Crostata with Barber's Cheddar

  • Servings: 4 as a main or 6 - 8 slices as part of a tapas
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

For the Slow Roasted Tomatoes

  • 600 g tomatoes (cherry, plum, slicing, heirloom)
  • 30ml/ 2Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbps finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • salt and pepper

For the Caramelised Onions

  • 1 large or 2 medium white onion, finely sliced
  • 30ml/ 2Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • pinch of salt

For the Shortcrust Pastry

  • 160g flour
  • ½ tsp vegetable stock powder or ¼ tsp of salt
  • 80 g cold unsalted butter
  • 3 – 5 Tbsp iced water

To finish

  • 200g chard, leaves and stems
  • 1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp butter
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 Tbsp creme fraiche
  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves
  • 100 g Barber’s 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar
  • 1 egg mixed with 1 tbsp of milk

INSTRUCTIONS

For the Slow Roasted Tomatoes

  1. Preheat the oven to 100C/200F.
  2. If the tomatoes are large, slice them horizontally into 4 slices. If they are cherry or plum tomatoes, slice them vertically, into halves or quarters, depending on their size.
  3. Place them on a baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil, season and sprinkle with the chopped rosemary.
  4. Roast for between 2 – 6 hours. The time really depends on how much moisture they have and how thick the slices are. My slices took 4 hours. I checked every hour after the first two looking for the slices to be fairly dry but still soft. Once they have cooled off, use a slice to lift them off and place in a bowl scraping the gorgeous concentrated tomato juice and oil off the sheet and over them. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

For the Caramelised Onions

  1. Heat the butter and oil in a small saucepan over a medium heat and stir in the finely sliced onions.
  2. Stir in a pinch of salt and when the onions are coated in the oil and butter, turn the heat down to low and let this cook down for about an hour. Stir from time to time – the onions should cook down to a pale gold sticky mass. Cool and refrigerate until needed.

For the Shortcrust Pastry

  1. Place the flour and stock powder or salt in a medium sized mixing bowl and whisk well to combine.
  2. Toss the cold butter cubes through the flour to coat them; then working quickly, slide them (as if you were clicking your fingers and thumb) between your fingers and thumb into the flour, over and over again – you want flat, flour-coated shards of butter flakes as well as the usual coarse sand type mixture.
  3. Using a fork, stir in 2 – 3 Tbsp of water. Then, use your fingertips to bring the dough together – handle it as lightly and as little as possible. If you need additional water to bring it together, then add it one table spoon at a time. I needed 4 Tbsp. Keep it in the bowl as you bring it together into a ball – remember to handle it lightly and as little as possible. Press lightly into a disc then wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 3 days.

To finish and assemble

  1. Fill the sink with water and swish the chard leaves about. Leave them in the sink for any grit to settle on the bottom.
  2. In the meantime, finish off the onions by stirring through the creme fraiche and the tarragon and set aside. Grate the cheese and set aside. Remove the slow roasted tomatoes from the fridge and set aside. Whisk the egg and milk together in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Carefully scoop the chard out of the sink and cut out the stems. I fold them in half along the stem and use a pair of scissors to snip them out quickly. Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. While it is heating, slice the chard stems into 1 cm pieces stir into the pan together with the fennel seeds. With lots of water clinging to the chard leaves, roughly chop them. Once the stems have softened a little – 3 or 4 minutes, stir in the chopped leaves, season lightly and let these cook down for about a minute. Then turn off the heat and let this cool while you get on with the pastry.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 190C/375F.
  5. Roll out the pastry between two sheets of parchment paper, flipping it over from time to time until it is about 30 cm/12 inches in diameter. It will be quite thin. You can also roll it out on a lightly flour dusted work surface (no need to flip) but rolling it out between parchment paper makes the process so much easier. Once it is approximately the right size, peel off the top parchment paper and use the bottom one to transfer it onto a baking sheet, leaving the parchment underneath it.
  6. Leaving a 3 cm/1 inch border around the edge, sprinkle over half the cheese. Spread the onion mixture on top of the cheese and cover this with the cooked chard. Sprinkle over most of the remaining cheese then top with the tomatoes and a final sprinkle of cheese. Drizzle over any oily tomato juices which may have collected then fold over the border, pleating the pastry as you go along. Brush the pastry with the egg wash.
  7. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the pastry is golden and cooked through. Cool on a rack and serve in wedges, warm or at room temperature.
© 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.

Smoky, Spicy Roasted Corn Soup

Smoky, Spicy Roasted Corn Soup | Selma's TableI popped into Borough Market on Saturday, just to buy some gnarly heirloom tomatoes – something both Jake and I really enjoy with basil and buffalo mozzarella. The market is uncomfortably busy on a Saturday so I didn’t linger but just made my way to the periphery where there are some brilliant farm vegetable stalls and also came away with these lovely ears of corn.

Smoky, Spicy Roasted Corn Soup | Selma's TableI’ve been craving the East African dish of “Makai Paka” or  “Corn in Coconut” but after a conversation with my mother, realised that I didn’t have a couple of items so decided on making a rustic soup instead. I used a dried chipotle pepper to add a smoky spicy depth to this dish – you could add smoky paprika and some chilli flakes if you don’t have chipotle peppers. After rehydrating it in hot water, I sliced it in half and scraped out the seeds as it was quite hot enough!

Smoky, Spicy Roasted Corn Soup | Selma's TableI had seen a method of slicing off corn kernels that I had been itching to try. which involves a Bundt pan and a sharp knife – it worked! The hole in the middle of the pan supports the cob and the pan itself catches most of the kernels and really contains the ‘scatter and splatter’ that inevitably results when slicing off fresh corn kernels.

Smoky, Spicy Roasted Corn Soup | Selma's Table

When roasting the kernels, don’t over do them – for this soup, they are nicer when they are still quite creamy and tinged gold rather than hard chewy golden nuggets! And don’t throw the corn cobs away – they are needed to make a corn broth for the soup!

This is a lovely dish to enjoy as a light lunch or supper, making the best of the late summer produce that is around! I am taking this over to share with the lovely bloggers over at The Novice Gardener’s, Fiesta Friday #31  which today, is being hosted by Angie herself. Angie is sharing the most delicious spread of bruschetta and crostini and the featured recipes from last week are absolutely mouth watering! Smoky, Spicy Roasted Corn Soup | Selma's Table

Smoky, Spicy Roasted Corn Soup

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Adapted from Fresh Corn Soup by David Lebovitz

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cobs of corn
  • 2 pointed sweet red peppers
  • 4 cloves of garlic in their skins
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 800 ml water
  • 1 medium onion
  • splash of olive oil
  • 150 ml creme fraiche
  • 1 dried chipotle pepper (or 1 tsp smoked paprika and ½ tsp chilli flakes)
  • 1 tsp dry roasted cumin seeds, crushed coarsely
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves or use parsley or chervil instead
  • lemon wedges to serve

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Leave the chipotle pepper to soak in a little hot water.
  2. Preheat oven to 190 C/ 375F
  3. Shuck the corn and slice off the kernels. Set the cobs aside. to make a broth. Slice the red peppers in two and de-seed.
  4. On a large baking tray, mix the kernels, the peppers, the garlic, the salt and the olive oil – spread out and roast for 25 mins, stirring a couple of times. The corn should be tinged gold in places but don’t over-roast – the kernels should still be succulent.
  5. While the kernels are  roasting, snap the cobs into pieces and place in a saucepan. Cover with 800 ml of water and bring to a simmer. Simmer on a low heat for about 30 minutes.
  6. Sauté the onion in a large saucepan until floppy and slightly golden.
  7. When cool enough to handle, chop the sweet red pepper into small pieces.
  8. Drain the chipotle pepper, cut in half and remove the seeds to reduce the heat. Chop  finely and have a little taste to see how hot it is.
  9. Squeeze the garlic out of their skins and add to the onions in the saucepan, along with the kernels and the chopped red pepper. Stir in the chipotle pepper to your taste – I used the whole one. Or add the smoky paprika and the chilli flakes if not using the chipotle pepper. Add a teaspoon of vegetable bouillon and the crushed cumin seeds
  10. Remove the corn cobs from the water and discard. Tip the corn broth into the saucepan and bring to a simmer. Do not boil.
  11. Stir in the creme fraiche and the herbs.

Serve with a lemon wedges which really sharpen the flavour and tone down the heat at the same time.

 

© 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Courgette, Red Pepper & Mint Gratin with Chèvre

Courgette and Red Pepper Gratin with Chèvre | Selma's Table

Such a glut of courgettes (zucchini) around – do you know that right now, the most popular recipe on my blog is Quick Summer Pickle – Sweet and Sour Courgettes? It gets more views every day than anything else at the moment! I love courgettes but unfortunately, Jake does not. No matter how I cook them, oven fries, griddled, sautéed, grated raw or ribboned  in a salad – he just picks them out and says that it is a texture thing. I can’t even fool him anymore by saying that it’s cucumber – he’s waaaay beyond that stage now!

So in order to satisfy my craving for them, I tend to cook them so that they will keep for a couple of days at least – that means gratins and stews. This one is a riff on the very first recipe I posted a year ago, Courgette, Feta and Thyme Bake. I still can’t photograph it that well – it’s not a looker but it tastes fabulous warm, room temperature  or cold.

This Courgette, Red Pepper & Mint Gratin with Chèvre is a good dish for a picnic or a barbecue as it can be made ahead and ideal for a buffet table as well. I like it on a slice of toasted sourdough with a rocket salad – it makes the perfect light lunch or supper. The combination of courgettes, mint, red pepper and goats cheese is lovely and fresh – perfect to see off the summer with.

Courgette and Red Pepper Gratin with Chèvre | Selma's Table

Courgette and Red Pepper Gratin with Chèvre | Selma's Table

My Courgette, Red Pepper & Mint Gratin with Chèvre is terribly easy to make. Sauté some shallots and peppers, then add the coins of courgettes, garlic and seasonings. While that is going on, mix up the custard – the eggs, creme fraiche and parmesan cheese. Then it’s just a matter of layering it all together and dotting it with chunks of chèvre (goats cheese) and popping it in the oven for half and hour or so. Now the trick with layering is to start off really parsimoniously – be as mean as you can get away with so that you have generous amounts left for the top layers. Printable recipe follows below, as always!

Courgette and Red Pepper Gratin with Chèvre | Selma's Table

Courgette and Red Pepper Gratin with Chèvre | Selma's Table

Courgette, Red Pepper & Mint Gratin with Chèvre

  • Servings: 4 - 8 servings
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Tbsp rapeseed or mild olive oil
  • 2 large banana shallots or 1 medium onion
  • 1 large sweet red pointed pepper
  • 4 medium courgettes/zucchini
  • pinch of salt
  • pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp vegetable bouillon powder
  • a splash of water
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint leaves finely chopped
  • 3 medium free range or organic eggs
  • 150 ml reduced fat creme fraiche
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 100 g of soft goats cheese/chèvre

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 220 C/450F and butter an oven proof dish.
  2. Warm oil in a large frying pan over a medium low flame
  3. Slice shallots into half moons and stir in.
  4. De-seed and slice the red pepper and stir in. Add a pinch of salt and give it all a stir.
  5. Slice the courgettes into ½ cm coins. When the shallots start to caramelise and the peppers are starting to soften, stir in the courgettes. Let these sauté for about 5 – 7 minutes, stirring frequently so that the shallots don’t catch. The courgettes should be just cooked through and a little browned in places. It does help to use a big frying pan.
  6. Stir in the minced garlic, the rosemary and the bouillon powder and add a little splash of water and scrape up the delicious caramelised juices that will have stuck to the pan. Turn off the heat, stir in the mint and set aside to  cool while you get on with the eggs.
  7. Lightly whisk the eggs in a medium sized mixing bowl. Whisk in the creme fraiche , the lemon juice and the parmesan cheese. It will look slightly curdled and will thicken from the lemon juice but it is fine.
  8. In a well buttered ovenproof dish, layer a scant half of the vegetables and cover with a very scant half of the custard. Repeat, finishing by dotting blobs of the soft goats cheese over the top.
  9. Bake for 25-35 minutes until set and golden brown in places.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 6/8 as side dish or 4 as a light lunch with salad

Also fabulous to take on picnics or in packed lunches.

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

Walnut & Date Scones

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

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

Walnut and Date Scones

  • Servings: 8 scones
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

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

INSTRUCTIONS

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

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

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

Feta, Sundried Tomato and Thyme Scones

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

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

Feta, Sundried Tomato and Thyme Scones

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

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

 

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

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

Feta, Sundried Tomato and Thyme Scones

Feta, Sundried Tomato and Thyme Scones

Feta, Sundried Tomato and Thyme Scones

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

Feta, Sundried Tomatoes and Thyme Scones

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

Adapted from Rape Seed Oil Benefits

INGREDIENTS

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

INSTRUCTIONS

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

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