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
  • Print
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.

Home-made Lemon Olive Oil and Dukkah

home-made-lemon-olive-oil-and-dukkahIt’s time for Fiesta Friday #17 hosted by the lovely Angie @ The Novice Gardener. This week she is joined by  three, yup, three co-hosts! Sweet Alex @ Dinner Daydreams, bubbly  Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and yours truly.  Jhuls and I had a lot of fun co-hosting a couple of weeks ago – she has a soft spot for the dessert table which is where you are likely to find her hanging out! Alex will be keeping an eye on the rest of the proceedings while I expect to be propping up the bar! Do check out their wonderful blogs for some great recipes!

Today, I have a couple of recipes to share – both very simple yet with lots of flavour and a myriad of uses. The first is a lovely, really simple recipe for Lemon infused Olive Oil. The oil takes a month to infuse and only uses two ingredients – unwaxed lemons and olive oil. The oil is wonderful drizzled over fish, seafood, chicken, couscous, pasta, soup, tomatoes and also makes a lovely salad dressing and marinade too. All you have to do is place a few clean unwaxed lemons in a jar, top up with olive oil and store in a cupboard for a month. That is it!. A friend that I had made some for, used to just top up the jar with more oil so that she had a constant supply. The lemons get a bit fizzy while they are steeping so it’s a good idea to open the jar to release the gas every week or so. home-made-lemon-olive-oil-and-dukkahThe second recipe is for Dukkah – a coarse Middle Eastern nut, seed and spice blend that is ridiculously versatile. Traditionally, it is served in a small bowl alongside another of olive oil and some warm flatbread. The bread is dipped in the oil and then in the spice blend. It can also be used to sprinkle over hoummus, fried or boiled eggs, tossed with Mediterranean vegetable before roasting and used to coat tiny tender lamb chops before cooking.  Claudia Roden published the first recipe for Dukkah, outside of Egypt in A Book of Middle Eastern Food, back in 1968. Every family has a different version of this which is kept in a large jar in the pantry. It is just a matter of toasting the nuts, seeds and spices, before grinding coarsely.

I had some beautiful beetroot in my veg box which I roasted, whole and unpeeled, wrapped in foil, at 180C for an hour. When they were cool enough to handle, I peeled and sliced them, drizzled them with a little of the lemon oil and sprinkled them with dukka and some chopped salted pistachio nuts. It made for a really delicious and  healthy lunch!

The submissions for Fiesta Friday #17 are looking pretty spectacular already so do take a look and leave a comment too to say hello! Click the link to take you to Angie’s post then click the purple badge to add your link to the party! http://thenovicegardener.wordpress.com/2014/05/22/fiesta-friday-17/ Hope to see you there!!

Lemon Olive Oil

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 unwaxed lemons (or however many will fit in your jar)
  • Olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Rinse the lemons in warm water and dry thoroughly.
  2. Place in a clean jar with a tight fitting lid.
  3. Top up with olive oil or a blend of olive and vegetable oil.
  4. Keep in a dark place for a month before using,

Dukkah

Original recipe from Claudia Roden

INGREDIENTS

  • 250g sesame seeds
  • 125g coriander seeds
  • 60g hazelnuts
  • 60g ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper

You can also add dried mint,dried oregano, fennel seeds, roasted chickpeas, almonds…

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Put the seeds and nuts on separate trays and roast them in a preheated 250C gas 8 oven for 5 – 10 minutes or until they begin to colour and release an aroma.
  2. Put them together in the food processor with salt and pepper and grind them until they are finely crushed but not pulverised. Be careful not to over blend or the oil from the too finely ground seeds and nuts will form a paste. Dukkah should be a dry crushed mixture, not a paste.
  3. Store in an airtight jar in a pantry cupboard.

© 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.

Thyme & Seed Pide topped with Leek, Celery & Cheese

thyme-and-seed-pide-with-a-leek-celery-and-goats-cheese-toppingIt’s funny how inspiration strikes. Aware that the clock was counting down fast on the deadline for submitting a ‘yeast and herb’ based post for Angie’s first Fiesta Friday Challenge, I found myself dithering over recipes, like a debutante in a dress shop. I cursorily glanced through some of my bread baking books but nothing appealed. I googled “yeast recipes”; still nothing appealed. In the meantime, fabulous dishes were being submitted; Sue with her fabulous fermented kvas as a base for a Russian soup, Michelle with her luscious peach and basil danishes; Angie herself posted a stunning looking Fougasse…tick, tock, tick tock… Oh, what to do? I pop into my local green grocers to pick up some tomatoes and basil for a salad. Checking my purse, there isn’t enough change to cover it so I pull out my card to pay then realise that there is minimum £5 purchase for card transactions. I had been eyeing up a tray of squidgy Mejool dates, so I added them to the basket as Jake loves them. The next day, I wander into the kitchen to make a coffee, idly thinking about the day ahead when my eyes fall on the dates. I think about flavour combinations and imagine that dates and goats’s cheese would work. A quick internet search shows that I am not alone in thinking this. Progress! I plump for a seeded flatbread by bread maestro, Dan Lepard, to which I will add thyme, make tamarind and date sauce and a topping of leeks & celery. I have a moment’s worry as to this flavour combination, so try a teaspoonful of the leek and celery, topped with a cube of goat’s cheese with a dribble of the date and tamarind sauce. Hurrah!! It is delicious! Sharp, tart, grassy, crunchy, earthy, lemony, spicy – it works!! I will go to the ball, I will! thyme-and-seed-pide-with-a-leek-celery-and-goats-cheese-topping thyme-and-seed-pide-with-a-leek-celery-and-goats-cheese-toppingOnce baked, the goat’s cheese has melted and the creamy ricotta is a wonderful counterpoint to the heat from the chilli flakes and the crunch of the seeds. Next time I will add more ricotta (I’ve updated the recipe below to account for this). Angie is being very ably assisted by Catherine @ Catherine Cuisine. Please do go and look at the entries for this yeast and herb based challenge; you will find crumpets, semolina pancakes, pizzas, flat breads and  much, much more – the Creative Fiesta Friday Crew are rising beautifully (see what I did there, Angie and Catherine?) to the challenge! So this is how to make some easy and delicious Turkish inspired Pides – feel free to use different toppings but I have to say that I was really pleased with the combination below. As always, a printable recipe follows the photo tutorials and any musings. thyme-and-seed-pide-with-a-leek-celery-and-goats-cheese-topping Ever since I attended Nina Oortman’s bread making class, I have been coveting the stainless steel counters that make bread kneading, shaping and  clean up so effortless. I came across this rather large stainless steel serving/prep  tray from my catering days, while I was unpacking and had a Eureka! moment. Rather than bestowing the tray on my local charity shop, it could come in useful for pasta and dough making – and it has, as you will note from the photos below… thyme-and-seed-pide-with-a-leek-celery-and-goats-cheese-topping I used a chopstick to roughly mix the dry ingredients into the wet, thanks to a tip from Aneela @ The Odd Pantry and it worked brilliantly. No more sticky dough adhering plaster-like to each finger! The dough is sticky – resist the temptation to add lots of flour when you are working with it. This dough does not require very much handling – hardly any kneading in fact. A light hand and as little additional flour as possible will yield a more tender bread. http://theoddpantry.com/2014/05/07/in-my-kitchen-of-alternative-uses-may-2014/ http://theoddpantry.com/2014/05/07/in-my-kitchen-of-alternative-uses-may-2014/

Thyme and Seed Pide with a Leek, Celery and Goat's Cheese Topping

  • Servings: makes 4 pide
  • Difficulty: easyish!
  • Print
Adapted from Dan Lepard’s Supper Flatbread Recipes in the Guardian INGREDIENTS For the pide:

  • 175 g all plain flour
  • 75 g spelt flour (or wholemeal)
  • 25 g sunflower seeds
  • 25 g pumpkin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp chopped thyme leaves (fresh)
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 175 g warm water (this is the same as 175 ml in volume. Weighing the water is a more accurate measure)
  • 25 g honey
  • 7 g sachet fast acting yeast

For the leek and celery topping:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 100 g diced celery (3 stalks)
  • 2 shallots finely sliced
  • 140 g finely sliced leeks
  • water as required
  • 1 mini sweet red pepper finely diced
  • pinch of chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp finely chopped thyme leaves (fresh)
  • 60 g cubed or crumbled goat’s cheese
  • 12 tsp ricotta cheese
  • salt and pepper

For the tamarind and date sauce:

  • 10 soft pitted dates roughly chopped – soak them if they are dry
  • 1 ½ tsp tamarind concentrate
  • 100 ml water

INSTRUCTIONS For the pide:

  1. Measure out all the dry ingredients (not the yeast though) into a mixing bowl and stir well to combine.
  2. Measure the honey and warm water directly into a mixing bowl set on the scales and mix well to combine
  3. Sprinkle over the yeast and stir in.
  4. Add the dry ingredients and mix until it is a soft, shaggy, sticky dough (I used a chopstick to stir it round and round ).
  5. Cover and let this rest for 10 minutes.
  6. Lightly flour a work surface and very lightly knead the dough for about 10 seconds! It comes together very quickly.
  7. Place back in the bowl, cover and leave to prove for 30 minutes.

For the leek and celery topping:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a frying pain set on a medium low flame.
  2. Add the celery and shallots and sauté gently for 5 minutes to soften a little. Season with a good pinch of salt.
  3. Stir in the leeks. If there isn’t enough oil, add a splash of water to get things going – you may need to do this several times. Cook until floppy then stir in the thyme and red pepper and chilli flakes. Cook for a couple of more minutes, season to taste then take off the heat and leave to cool.

For the tamarind and date sauce:

  1. Place the dates and tamarin in a saucepan set over a medium low flame.  Add the water in splashes, stirring  with a wooden spoon to dissolve the tamarind – mash the dates with the back of the spoon too. Let this reduce to a thick lumpy sauce (mashing and stirring all the while) and take off the heat.
  2. Scrape into a wire mesh strainer and set it back over the saucepan. Using the wooden spoon, stir and press the mixture through the sieve until you are left with just the date fibre in the sieve. Scrape the sauce from the bottom of the sieve and into the pan.

To assemble and bake the pide:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 240C/465F. Prepare 2 baking trays with parchment or silicone paper or dust with flour.
  2. Cut the dough into quarters (I weighed the dough, then divided it by four and tried to get 4 balls fairly equal in weight)
  3. Shape into balls by cupping and pushing the dough to stretch it out and get a smooth top.
  4. Cover and leave for 5 minutes.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each ball into an oval that is about 20 cm x 10 cm. Push at the edges to make a slight lip and lay on the prepared baking sheets.
  6. Spread a 1 ½ teaspoons of the tamarind date sauce on the dough, leaving the edges free.
  7. Top each pide with ¼ of the leek and celery mixture.
  8. Top this with the goat’s cheese and little blobs of ricotta.
  9. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes. Mine were ready in 10 minutes.
  10. Eat warm!
© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013 – 2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

No-churn Raspberry Swirl Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Fino Sherry

no-churn-raspberry-swirl-vanilla-bean-ice-cream-with-fino-sherryThere is a sweet young man who sells all sorts of fruits and vegetable from trestle tables outside a crappy phone shop on the High Street. Most of the produce is in large plastic bowls which he empties straight into your shopping bag or one of his blue plastic ones. Some of the produce is too large for the bowls so sits piled up in crates and others are too delicate and come in their own punnets. Now, this produce is not organic or local and some of it is not at it’s best but this chap is outside no matter what the weather, charging a measly £1 per bowl, seven days a week. I always take a look to see what he has and try and buy something to support him. He is very honest, even going as far as to advise me not to buy any of the pawpaws the other day, as there were not very good!

no-churn-raspberry-swirl-vanilla-bean-ice-cream-with-fino-sherryHis produce is always really fresh on a Saturday. Last week he had fat juicy limes (seven for £1) rambutans (six for £1) loquats (a bowl for £1) and  heaped punnets of raspberries which I assumed were £1 each. Imagine my surprise when he put two in my bag! Jake had a friend coming over to do some revision with him and I was meandering down the High Street, planning what to dish up for dinner later. I decided on ice-cream for which the raspberries were destined, a roast chicken with roast cauliflower and chickpeas (hello Elaine!), the first potato salad of the year and a crunchy green salad. As I was unloading the shopping I remember thinking that I would have to throw out most of the raspberries as they were probably mouldy but other than 3 or 4 which had begun to turn the rest were absolutely fine – what a bargain! I cooked them down with some cinnamon scented icing sugar left over from Christmas baking and swirled some through nearly set vanilla bean ice cream. I served it topped with more of the raspberry coulis – the teens loved it!

no-churn-raspberry-swirl-vanilla-bean-ice-cream-with-fino-sherryNow I know that cinnamon and raspberries seem like an odd combination but it really works! My recipe also uses a fresh vanilla bean. There’s a great article here on how to get the seeds out and what to do with the pod but you can also substitute a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste instead.  The secret to a soft no-churn ice cream is the addition of  a little alcohol. As it has a low freezing point, it helps to keep the ice cream soft. I only had some fino sherry to hand which leant a subtle yet lovely fresh flavour to the ice cream. You can substitute this for vodka which will not add any flavour at all.  I have an ice cream maker which I do love to use but ever since I discovered this quick and easy way to make ice cream, I rarely use it. No more making custard and freezing the lonely egg whites! I first wrote about this when I posted my recipe for Lime Ice Cream in a Ginger Snap Crust  – if you missed that post, do skim through it as it has some interesting information on the magic ingredient and some delicious ingredient combinations too. P.S. What I learnt today – ice cream is really hard to photograph…

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Last week I had the honour of co-hosting Angie’s Friday Fiesta #15 with the lovely Jhuls of Not So Creative Cook. Jhuls was SO much fun to host with even though I did have to start hiding some of the desserts from her!! I was blown away by not only all the creativity out there but also how everyone got into the spirit, warmly commenting on each other’s posts as they hopped from blog to blog visiting each other. This really is such a wonderful virtual community and I am delighted to be a part of this gang!

This week Elaine of foodbod and Stacey of 10 Legs in the Kitchen are co-hosting Angie’s Friday Fiesta #16  – do check out their blogs if you haven’t already. Both of them have very different writing styles and interests in food.

To help cool things down (coz it’s gonna be a scorcher!!) I’m bringing tubs and tubs of this Raspberry Swirl Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Fino Sherry to Angies Fiesta Friday #16.

I am also adding it to the Family Foodies challenge which is “Chill Out” for July hosted by Vanesther @ Bangers and Mash and Lou @ Eat Your Veg.

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So, 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!!

No-churn Raspberry Swirl Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Fino Sherry

  • Servings: 500ml
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

For the Raspberry Coulis:

  • 500g fresh raspberries
  • 5 heaped Tbsp icing sugar (approx 50 g)  (you may have to adjust this depending on how sweet/tart your fruit is)
  • ½ tsp cinnamon powder

For the Vanilla Bean Ice Cream:

  • 300 ml double cream
  • 1 x 397 g can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 Tbsp fino sherry or vodka (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pick over the raspberries and discard any that are mouldy. Place on a medium-low heat, in a heavy bottomed saucepan with the sugar and cinnamon. Stir, allowing it to cook down to a thick syrupy mass – about 5 to 8 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool down. You can sieve out the seeds but I didn’t bother.
  2. Put the double cream in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until it thickens. Scrape out seeds from the vanilla bean as well as the contents of the tin of condensed milk into the mixing bowl. Beat for 2 or 3 minutes, then add the fino sherry and beat to incorporate.
  3. Pour the mix into a 500 ml freezer proof container and place in the freezer for about an hour or so.
  4. Remove from the freezer and top with half of the compote. Mix it in gently and not too thoroughly as you are aiming for swirls rather than amalgamation. Replace in the freezer and freeze for another 4 or 5 hours.
  5. If it has been in the freezer overnight remove 10 minutes or so before serving.
  6. Serve topped with more raspberry coulis.

 

 

Roast Aubergine with Miso & Harissa

roast-aubergine-with-miso-harissaWhen my son turned 16, a few of us met up in a Japanese restaurant in Soho to celebrate. The group included his best friend whom he has known since they were 6  years old and who rather sweetly, follows this blog on Facebook! Jake loves sushi and will devour plates of the otoro (slices of tuna belly) whenever he gets the chance. I prefer salmon sashimi and love it “spicy” but, I digress. Not everyone enjoys raw fish with the unbridled enthusiasm shown by my son, so we decided on a restaurant based on the traditional Japanese Izakaya or food centred around grilled skewers plus sides and salads. And it is all about the grill at Bincho Yakitori – the air is thick with the mouth-watering smell off the brazier and the charming staff in this sleek, modern restaurant are terribly helpful even as they cope with a midweek restaurant full of  clamouring diners. The grilled skewers of meat and fish were gorgeous but the knockout dish for me was the  Nasu Miso Dengaku or Japanese Aubergine with Sweet Miso. Those skinny pale purple aubergines are sliced in half, scored, grilled, smeared with THE most delicious miso paste and grilled again – we ordered a few rounds of those!

roast-aubergine-with-miso-harissaSpurred on by the unopened jar of Miso paste in my pantry and a pot of homemade harissa paste from a local deli, this is my take on them – to be honest, they were nothing like them but are delicious nonetheless. Meltingly savoury with a little kick from the harissa paste, it makes a nice change from Parmigiana!! Serve them with a little pile of steamed rice and a salad with a gingery, sesame seed oil dressing. You can have one or two slices as a light starter or double up on the quantities and have them as a main course perhaps with some teriyaki chicken or salmon…

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roast-aubergine-with-miso-harissa

Roast Aubergine with Miso & Harissa

  • Servings: 2 - 3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large firm and glossy aubergine
  • Olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp miso paste
  • 1 tsp harissa (or to suit your palate)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar (it’s a little sweeter than normal)
  • Coriander leaves, sesame seeds and sliced red chilies to garnish – optional

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Slice the aubergine lengthways into ½ cm slices. I got 7 slices out of mine.
  3. Brush one side of each slice with a little olive oil and place oiled side down on a baking tray.
  4. Mix the miso, harissa, honey and rice vinegar to combine.
  5. Divide the miso mixture between the aubergine slices and using the back of a spoon, spread over each slice to cover with the paste.
  6. Roast for 20 – 30 minutes, depending on how hot your oven gets and how thick/thin you have sliced the aubergine. The flesh should be very soft – almost melting.
  7. Garnish with coriander leaves, sesame seeds and flecks of chill and serve warm with some rice and a green salad, dressed with a little sesame oil, grated ginger and rice vinegar.

Asparagus and Feta Cigars

asparagus-and-feta-cigarsOnce upon a time there was a girl called Angie who accidentally started a blog. She was learning about her garden so decided to call her blog The Novice Gardener. Shortly after she began her accidental blog, she started to write about the food she was making and the thoughts she was thinking. She also took a few very pretty pictures to go with her musings. Before long she had gathered lots of friends from all four corners of the world and decided that they all needed to meet each other. Angie, the accidental blogger, who never does anything by halves, threw the biggest and bestest party ever. She called it Fiesta Friday. Everyone dressed up, brought something with them and were so busy mixing and mingling that the party went on until Wednesday! Now, not everyone could make it to the first party so Angie throws open her doors to host a new Fiesta Friday every week!

This week, I am thrilled to be co-hosting with Jhuls of the Not So Creative Cook – a misnomer if ever there was one! If you have Fiesta’d then you know what to do. If you haven’t, it’s really easy; write a post – it doesn’t have to be about food but it does have to be a new one for the party; add a link to Fiesta Friday #15 on your post and then add your link to the party page – I’m probably not making much sense so read the guidelines here – http://thenovicegardener.wordpress.com/fiesta-friday/ Jhuls and I would be over the moon to see you at our Fiesta. If you are new to blogging, Fiesta Friday is a great way to gain exposure and make new friends too. So, put on your dancing shoes on and join the party!!! Click over to Angie’s post for FF#15 to join the party http://thenovicegardener.wordpress.com/2014/05/08/fiesta-friday-15/

asparagus-and-feta-cigarsSeeing as I am going to be busy keeping an eye on all you lot, I am bringing these Asparagus and Feta Cigars which are quick and easy to make. I first made a feta-less version of them last summer as a canapé for a dinner party after seeing them on Pinterest and noticed that Ottolenghi had featured them in his column for the Guardian last weekend. I combined the two recipes, adding feta cheese for Fiesta Friday but had a bit of a disaster and overcooked them – they were edible but too brown. They were also very greasy from the olive oil. So I made some more and tweaked the ingredients, temperature and timing to get the crisp, non greasy cigars you see pictured.

I am also bringing these over to Fromage Homage’s May’s Cheese Please Challenge which has it’s focus on seasonal ingredients this month…apparently this fits the bill! Do take a look at the recipes submitted for this challenge – there are beignets, tarts, parfaits, gnocchi and the most gorgeous pull apart bread too…there is also some rather fabulous chutney for the winner so get something together and join this challenge!

Fromage Homage

Now, let’s get some choons on and fiesta!!

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…and to wind down…a couple from Jhuls

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So, now, for a quick run through with photos followed by a printable recipe at the end…

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asparagus-and-feta-cigars

Get your ingredients ready – you will need to work quickly once the pastry is out.

asparagus-and-feta-cigars

Slice the sheet in half  and brush with melted butter. Don’t use quite as much butter as pictured – just dab it on all over. One you have 3 layers of pastry, cut the strip into 6 even pieces and lay the a spears on each one section.

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Add the feta and poppy seeds and roll up tightly. Repeat with the remaining sheets, asparagus and feta.

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Lay on a baking sheet, brush the tops with butter and sprinkle over the parmesan and more poppy seeds.

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Bake for 10-12 minutes – keep an eye on them towards the end. Enjoy!!

Click over to Angies Fiesta Friday #15 to join the party – we are waiting for you! http://thenovicegardener.wordpress.com/2014/05/08/fiesta-friday-15/

Asparagus and Feta Cigars

  • Servings: 12 pieces
  • Difficulty: fairly easy
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Adapted from Asparagus Phyllo Appetisers by Rachel Nairns 

These can be assembled a few hours before and then popped into the oven as your guests arrive…

INGREDIENTS

  •  12 asparagus spears
  • 1 package filo pastry – you will not use all it – freeze what is left over.
  • 40 g of melted butter
  • 70 g of feta cheese – crumbled
  • 10 g of parmesan cheese grated (preferably on a fine grater to get long skinny strands)
  • 2 pinches of poppy seeds

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F and place some parchment paper on a baking sheet.
  2. Snap or trim off the woody ends of the asparagus spears.
  3. Fill a pan with a couple of inches of kettle boiled water and set on the hob to come to a boil. Salt generously and add the asparagus. Blanch for 2 minutes then drain and cool under cold running water (or an ice bath). Lay on paper towels to dry, patting the tops with another paper towel.
  4. Remove 3 sheets of filo from the pack. (You need to work quickly as the pastry dries out but if it breaks or crumbles, it is not the end of the world. Butter will hold it together and once it is cooked you can’t tell.) The filo pastry I used was about 12 inches long and 24 inches wide. My asparagus spears were quite short so I cut the pastry in half lengthwise so that I had long strips. Stack up the sheets in a pile of six and cover with a damp tea towel if you wish – I didn’t.
  5. Now, take one sheet of filo and  brush it sparingly with the butter – don’t be too heavy handed otherwise the cigars will be greasy. Top it with another sheet and brush with the melted butter. Top it with a third sheet and brush with a little more butter.
  6. Sprinkle over some poppy seeds and then slice into 6 equal pieces about 3 inches wide.
  7. Place a spear near the edge of each piece, with the tip of the spear overhanging the pastry.
  8. Place a little feta cheese over the spear and fill the bottom of the pastry with some as well. (See photo)
  9. Roll up as tightly and evenly as possible and place seam side down on the papered baking tray. It is easier to do this as an assembly line job – lay the spears out, crumble over the cheese and roll each one up. Leave a little room between each cigar on the baking sheet.
  10. Repeat with the remaining pastry and asparagus.
  11. Brush the tops with melted butter then sprinkle over a little more poppy seeds and the grated parmesan cheese.
  12. Bake for about 10-12 minutes. Do keep an eye on them towards the end.
  13. Serve warm with lots of napkins!

If you want to serve a dip, and I don’t feel that you need one with the feta cheese, then mix up a little creme fraiche with a squeeze of lemon juice and some lemon zest …

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.