In My Kitchen – June 2014

in-my-kitchen-june-2014At last! June with it’s promise of long sunny days, picnics, barbecues, days out at the seaside and lots of spanking fresh summer produce. The festival season has started and the big thing now is music festivals with fabulous food too; also horse racing and of course the start of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships – oh summer, how we have waited for you.

This month, my kitchen has been full of, among other things,  gorgeous fresh British produce – here, take a look…

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Oven roasted British asparagus finished with parmesan and olive oil

In my kitchen I have British asparagus, which this year have been wonderful – I like to either griddle them or oven roast them and serve very simply with a drizzle of olive oil, some shavings of parmesan and perhaps a squeeze of lemon. The other night we even ate some sprue raw with a dip at a local pop up dinner event put on by Sutton Community Farm for our local food festival. The raw sprue were spectacular.

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Jersey Royal potatoes

In my kitchen, I have Jersey Royal Potatoes. May/June is also  when the incomparable Jersey Royal potatoes are available. They have only been growing for about 130 years on the island of Jersey and have a Protected Designation of Origin. These kidney shaped tubers with their papery skins are fertilised with seaweed for a really unique and delicate flavour. There are only 20 farmers who cultivate and harvest this eagerly awaited potato and the we love the first few bags, simply boiled with a little salt and butter to finish them off – this really allows their unique flavour to shine. They also make the best potato salad…The history of how they were discovered is fascinating too – http://www.jerseyroyals.co.uk/about-jersey-royals/history.aspx

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Red spring onions from my Sutton Community Farm veg box

In my kitchen, I had some of these red spring onions in my veg box which were wonderful in a potato salad. I have also had broad beans, yellow stalked chard, spring carrots and celeriac. This is when the veg box becomes really exciting!!

in-my-kitchen-june-2014In my kitchen I’ve had these beautiful peonies brought over by a friend who came to tea. Peonies (and Casablanca lilies) are my favourite flowers – thank goodness for friends who know me so well! And I thought you might enjoy a photo of those Landscape bowls with the late afternoon sun shining through then…

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In my kitchen I have  the Konditor and Cook by Gerhard Jenne of the gorgeous bakery/cafes in London. I won it (yes, again with winning cookbooks), this time from the lovely people at The Happy Foodie  for my Easter themed Pinterest board. I wasn’t the winner but had an email saying that they liked my board so much that they wanted to send me something and this beautiful book arrived . Konditor and Cook have five shops stocking their legendary cakes and pastries as well as 2 schools in London.

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This is an artisan book – beautiful and well crafted recipes that are made with love and care. I can’t wait to try some of these out and share them with you. If you enjoy cooking and baking, I suggest that you sign up for the Happy Foodie’s newsletter – it is always full of inspirational recipes and stories. You can buy the book using this link  http://www.randomhouse.co.uk/editions/the-konditor-and-cook-book-of-cakes/9780091957599 and it is also available on Amazon UK.  This is Amazon’s  biography of Gerhard Jenne – “I was practically born with a spoonful of Black Forest Cake in my mouth. And from my birthplace, Freiburg the gateway to the Black Forest, I progressed via licking out my mother’s baking bowls and completing an apprenticeship in my brother-in-law’s bakery to an even sweeter career as a Konditor (pastry chef). At first in Munich then in London where I made a name for myself as a celebrity cake maker – for real aristocracy as well as rock royalty.  With Konditor & Cook I was able to create my own set of recipes and contemporary decorative styles and soon the first shop on London’s South Bank was so popular, someone once said: ‘Every street corner should have a Konditor & Cook on it.” Who wouldn’t want to be born with a spoonful of Black Forest Cake in their mouth?!

In my kitchen I have The French Cafe Cookbook, sent over by a friend in New Zealand.

in-my-kitchen-june-2014With gorgeous photography and a very inspirational story charting the journey of the chef and his wife to their popular restaurant in Auckland.

in-my-kitchen-june-2014in-my-kitchen-june-2014This is the sort of book from which to learn restaurant cooking techniques and adapt them for home use.

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Home made lemon oil

I though that I would update you on my home made lemon oil. It has been steeping for nearly 3 weeks now and the lemon flavour is really coming through. A few of you including Celia, have either commented or tweeted that you have started your jars and I hope that you have remembered to open the lids and release the gas from time to time. It is a very simple recipe – unwaxed lemons in a sterilised jar topped up with a mild olive oil and steeped for at least 4 weeks in a cupboard. The original post is here.

Well, that is it from my kitchen this month.What have you been up to? Let me know via the comments box below.

The In My Kitchen series is is hosted by Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial where she is joined by bloggers from all over the world affording us a glimpse of what they’ve been up to. Many thanks to Celia for hosting this lovely series. Pour yourself a cuppa, click on the link and take a look at what others have been up to in their kitchens!

© 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.

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!!

…and to wind down…a couple from Jhuls

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

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

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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
  • Print

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 …