Roast Pumpkin and Walnut Squares

Roast Pumpkin and Walnut Squares | Selma's Table

Did you know that 90% of the tea drunk in the UK is a blend of teas, and that tasting and blending tea, like blending whisky or champagne, is a fine art, and takes years of training?

When I read that, I sat up and took notice! Tea is something that I take for granted – I like a cup in the afternoon and I like drinking green tea after dinner. So when I received some Tetley Tea to sample along with a fact sheet, I began to look at tea in a new light. There are over 200 ways to describe tea! It takes 5 years of training to become a Tetley Tea Blender, fluent in the art of tea blending and the vocabulary that comes with it. There are 60 different tea blends sold by Tetley and each blend is taste tested 8 times before it can be judged good enough to called Tetley!  Phew – now that is something to consider as we get through the 165,000,000 cups of tea that are drunk daily in the UK!

These are the top 20 terms used by Tetley’s tea tasters, bearing in mind that there are many more…

  1. Aroma: an important consideration in cupping teas is the smell that is given off. A favourable aroma is most often associated with a flavourful taste.
  2. Black tea: the most commonly consumed tea in the world. One of three major types of tea, the others being Green and Oolong.
  3. Biscuity: a desirable trait usually referring to a well fired Assam.
  4. Bite: a very brisk and “alive” tea liquor.
  5. Blend: a mixture of teas from several different origins blended together to achieve a certain flavour profile.
  6. Body: describes a tea liquor possessing fullness and strength.
  7. Colour: indicates useful depth of color and strength.
  8.  Dust: a term which is used to describe the smallest particles of tea leaf.
  9.  Flat: not fresh. Tea tends to lose its characteristics and taste with age, unlike some wines which mature with age.
  10.  Hard: a desirable quality suggesting pungency, particularly applied to Assam teas.
  11.  Jasmine: a green tea to which Jasmine flowers are added.
  12.  Leaf: a tea where the leaf tends to be on the large or longish size.
  13.  Malty: desirable character in some Assam teas. A full, bright tea with a malty taste.
  14.  Nose: a term used to connote a good aroma of tea.
  15.  Powdery: ‘fine, light dust’ as the tea people say, meaning a very fine, light leaf particle.
  16.  Pungent: describes a tea liquor having marked briskness and an astringent effect on the palate without bitterness.
  17. Sparkle: clarity and purity of colour from grey to pure colour.
  18.  Toasty: a tea which has been slightly overfired during processing. It may be a desirable characteristic in some Darjeeling teas.
  19.  Woody: a characteristic reminiscent of freshly-cut timber. This trait is usually associated with teas processed very late in the season.
  20.  Zing: overall quality impression of the tea on the palette; the balance of character and taste in the tea.

Well, after all the hard work that has gone into producing your blend, you want to be sure to treat that tea with a little respect! Here are Tetley’s Master Blenders’ top tips for the perfect cup…

The tea should be made with boiling water ­ and only once-boiled water with a low mineral content if possible. This is because reboiling reduces oxygen levels and affects the taste, whilst water with a low mineral content allows the tea notes to come through better.

If you’re making black tea, stand by the kettle to ensure you pour as soon as it’s boiled. Black tea tastes best when brewed in water as close to boiling point as possible. That’s why your cuppa may taste different on a plane. In the reduced pressure environment, the boiling point is lowered to 90°.

But if you’ re making green tea, allow the kettle to cool for up to two minutes. This will make sure that your tea doesn¹t over-infuse and develop a bitter taste. Green teas are more delicate after all.

When using a tea bag in a cup, always add your milk after the water, otherwise the milk will cool the water down and hinder the all important infusion process. If using a tea pot, try adding the milk to the cup first. This traditional technique stopped the delicate porcelain cups from cracking.

We advise leaving the bag in for at least two minutes to provide sufficient time to let the flavour of the tea to infuse. This is more of a guideline though; the perfect brew is down to personal preference. But do not poke or prod the bag while it is infusing ­ be patient and let the process happen naturally!

After removing the bag, leave the brew to cool down for around two-three minutes. As the temperature reduces, the flavours will develop for a better quality taste.

If you would like to know more about the art of tea blending, take a look on Tetley’s website for a much more in-depth overview.

In My Kitchen December 2014 | Selma's TableMy recipe for Roast Pumpkin and Walnut Squares compliments and showcases the fruitiness of one of  one of Tetley’s latest blends – Green Tea with Peach and Apricot.

Roast Pumpkin and Walnut Squares | Selma's TableI soaked some sultanas in a very strong brew of the tea which absorbed the fruity flavours perfectly. I roasted the seasonal crown squash that was in my Sutton Community Farm  veg box along with some butter, brown sugar and my Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice mix.

Roast Pumpkin and Walnut Squares | Selma's TableI whizzed up a buttery, oaty, nutty base & topping, layered up and baked it then drizzled the squares with a lemony yogurt glaze. The result reminded me a little of the flavours of a baklava – sweet, spicy and nutty! I found that it sets up best overnight and even tastes better as all the flavours mature.

Roast Pumpkin and Walnut Squares | Selma's TableI am taking these delicious Roast Pumpkin and Walnut Squares over to Angie’s to share with the revellers at her popular Fiesta Friday party – it’s the 45th one – can you believe it?! Our talented first-time co-hosts this week are  Michelle @Giraffes Can Bake (I don’t know about giraffes but Michelle is an extraordinary baker!) and MB @Bourbon & Brown Sugar (MB has some fantastic bakes on her blog but her savoury food is pretty fabulous too!) Welcome to co-hosting, ladies – it is quite the blast!

Roast Pumpkin and Walnut Squares

  • Servings: 16 pieces
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

For the roast pumpkin

  • 300 g crown squash diced into 1  cm pieces (about a ¼ of a squash)
  • 1 tbsp butter cubed
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix

Mix and roast in a single layer  at 200C/400F for 20 minutes, stirring once or twice. The pumpkin pieces should be cooked through but still a little firm. Set aside to cool

For the sultanas

  • 75 g sultanas
  • 1 Tetley’s Peach and Green Tea teabag
  • 1 Tetley Redbush (Rooibos) teabag
  • 1 cup of just boiled water

Make a very strong brew with the two teabags, then remove and stir in the sultanas. Soak for 20 minutes at least. Drain when ready to use.

For the base and topping:

  • 125 g Digestive biscuits (about 8)
  • 20 g walnuts
  • 190 g plain/AP flour
  • 50 g oats
  • 20 g ground almonds/almond meal/almond flour
  • 1 ½  tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix
  • 180 g cold, unsalted butter, cubed
  • 50 g chopped walnuts – reserve for the topping
  • 2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds – reserve for the topping

For the filling:

  • 1 large egg
  • 150 g light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix
  • 300 g roast pumpkin
  • drained sultanas
  • 1 Tbsp ground almonds/almond meal

For the glaze:

  • ½ c golden icing sugar
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla yoghurt
  • 2 tsp Yuzu Citrus Seasoning

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C/350 F. Line a 9 inch square tin with greaseproof paper so that the base and sides are covered – use a few dabs of butter to get the paper to stick to the pan.
  2. Place the walnuts and digestive biscuits in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
  3. Add the flour, oats, ground almonds and pumpkin pie spice mix and pulse a couple of times to combine.
  4. Add the cold butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse, damp sand.
  5. Set aside 1 generous cup of this mixture for the topping and tip the rest into the prepared tin. Pat it level – don’t press down too hard or the base will be tough – then bake for 15 minutes.
  6. While the base is baking, get the filling ready; combine the pumpkin and the sultanas.
  7. Using an electric mixer and a medium sized bowl, whisk the egg,  sugar and pumpkin pie spice mix until thick, coffee coloured and creamy – about 2 minutes. Fold in the pumpkin, sultanas and almond meal..
  8. After the base has been in the oven for 15 minutes, remove it and top with the filling – covering the hot base as evenly as you can with the pumpkin filling
  9. Sprinkle over the reserved topping, walnuts and pumpkin seeds.
  10. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.
  11. Cool completely before glazing.
  12. Combine glaze ingredients together until smooth and drizzle over the top.

Stores brilliantly, covered in the fridge for 4-5 days.

© 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.

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Roasted Pumpkin Pancakes

Roasted Pumpkin Pancakes | Selma's TableI had half a crown squash in my veg box the other day and couldn’t decide what to make with it. Jake’s not a fan of sweet vegetables like parsnips, squashes or sweet potatoes and I didn’t want to end up eating it all myself. So I roasted it off and mashed it,  thinking that I would freeze the puree in ice cube trays so that I could just use a couple when ever I needed to thicken a sauce. Or something. Jake came into the kitchen as I was mashing the squash and just sort of mentioned that we hadn’t had pancakes in a while. Egads!! Brilliant idea!! I used the Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix which I posted last week and also made up the pancake batter the day before cooking as it’s always better after a rest overnight in the fridge. If you can be that organised. Normally I am not.

Roasted Pumpkin Pancakes | Selma's TableI make my pancakes quite small – I use a table spoon to measure them out the batter with and they are only 3 inches wide but I just prefer that as portion control and they are easier to flip too, that the ones than use a half cup measure.

Roasted Pumpkin Pancakes | Selma's TableI’m always looking for ways to speed up preparation or just make things easier in the kitchen generally. I find the least stressful way to roast squash is to slice it in half, remove the seeds, drizzle with a little oil and then roast the squash in it’s skin. Once cooked, the skin simply peels off. In this case, I scooped out the seeds, cut the squash into wedges and roasted them at 200C/400F for 20 minutes until they were tender.

Roasted Pumpkin Pancakes | Selma's TableThese pancakes are not ethereally light and fluffy like my sour cream, cinnamon and blueberry ones – the puree does weigh them down a little but they are absolutely gorgeous! Perhaps separating the egg, whisking the white until the soft peak stage and folding this in would help but we thought they were delicious as they were. The pumpkin sweetens the batter and the spicing warms up the flavour beautifully. I think that a few pumpkin seeds would be nice sprinkled on the top of the pancake batter before they get flipped too. These would go very well with something salty on the side for contrast. Jake mentioned again, the other day, how good the pancakes had been – this was while he was looking at a tray of roasted pumpkin cubes covered in Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix with, however, no desire to taste them!! He really is not a fan of sweet vegetables!

Roasted Pumpkin Pancakes | Selma's Table

I’m a little late to the party this week but I am still sharing these with the revellers at Angie’ of the Novice Gardener’s Fiesta Friday! Angie has made some stunning pancake waffles with a really clever twist on chocolate “sauce”. Also do take a look at the features from last weeks Fiesta Friday – lots of wonderful recipes that you will want to make right now!

This week we are co-hosted by the bubbly Jhuls of The Not so Creative Cook who has made some rather moreish looking twist cookies and reflects on maturing, accepting, forgiving and moving on.  Our second co-host is Margy of La Petite Casserole who has not only made a gorgeous butternut squash and coconut soup but also begs the question, why  do we eat airline food when, each time we fly, we say we won’t – I know I do that!!  A huge thanks to all three of you!

Roasted Pumpkin Pancakes | Selma's Table

If you blog and would like to join the party, you would be most welcome. Click on the button below to join Fiesta Friday and please do read the guidelines before linking up.

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Roasted Pumpkin Pancakes

  • Servings: 15 x 3 inch pancakes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 115g Plain/AP Flour
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Pumpkin Spice Mix
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 15g butter (preferably, unsalted) melted and cooled but still runny
  • 1 large egg at room temperature
  • 150 ml milk
  • 230 g roasted pumpkin puree
  • pumpkin seeds – optional

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place the dry ingredients, (flour through to salt) in a medium sized mixing bowl and whisk to combine and aerate.
  2. Lightly whisk the egg in a measuring jug then which in the cooled melted butter  then finally tup up with the milk. Whisk again.
  3. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the egg mixture. Using a circular stirring motion, gently stir to draw in the dry ingredients to the middle, being careful not to over mix – a few floury patches are fine. It should be quite thick and a bit lumpy.
  4. Stir in the pumpkin puree.
  5. SET ASIDE for 1/2 an hour at room temperature or overnight in the fridge.Don’t, whatever you do, stir the batter after the resting stage. You just want to scoop out tablespoonfuls, straight into the frying pan.
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 75 C or very low. Get an oven proof dish out and a piece of foil to cover it with.
  7. Put the widest non-stick fry pan  you have, on a medium low heat. If it is too high, the outside burns before the insides are cooked…Once the pan is hot, brush with a little butter (I stick a piece on the end of a table knife and swipe it around the pan, cringing whenever the metal touches the non-stick base).
  8. Using a tablespoon, scoop out and place the batter on the pan – I can get 4 to 5 pancakes going in mine but it is a rather large pan. The batter spreads a little so just try spacing 3 out to start with. Top with a few pumpkin seeds if desired.
  9. They will need to cook for  2 or 3 minutes on this side. Keep checking and also keep an eye on the heat which you may have to keep adjusting. (Just have a peek under the pancake, by lifting a corner with a spatula, to see how it is colouring)
  10. When the tops of the pancakes have lots of holes in them, it is time to flip them over.  The second side will not take as long to cook – about a minute – so keep an eye on them. When they are done, remove them to the ovenproof platter, loosely cover with foil and pop them in the oven. Carry on with the next round, lightly buttering the pan when you need to and keeping an eye on the heat.
  11. Serve with proper Canadian maple syrup.

© 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.

 

 

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix | Selma's TableI have been fascinated by the furore that surrounds the Pumpkin Spice Latte from a well known coffee shop chain. You know, the one which claimed that it didn’t make any profit in the UK so didn’t pay any tax. The latest in the drama that seems to surround this business is that there is no pumpkin in their lattes. Cue media outrage and more sales as apparently, all publicity is good publicity. My understanding is that the latte is all about the flavour of the pumpkin pie spice mix and not the actual pumpkin itself.

In the UK pumpkin pie is not a part of our national food history so canned pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice blends are not easily found on the shelves of our grocery stores. So for those of you wishing to recreate a Pumpkin Pie or a  Pumpkin Spice Latte at home, this spice mix is for you. You can easily make pumpkin puree by roasting wedges of pumpkin or squash, pureeing and sieving the result, freezing in ice cube trays and storing the cubes in bags in the freezer.

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix | Selma's Table

Cinnamon, Ginger, Allspice, Cardamom & Nutmeg

The spice mix is so easily made with ingredients you will most probably have in your cupboards, that you will wonder why you left it so long to make your own. It is generally a blend of ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves, in varying quantities. I am not keen on cloves as they can be overpowering in a blend so I use allspice instead. And I have also added cardamom as I love the smell and flavour of it – so comforting, don’t you think? In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit to asking Jake to crush the cardamom seeds in the pestle and mortar. He did a magnificent job; much better than I ever could. He is now the official pestle and mortar man at Selma’s Table!

There are many uses for the Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix – in ravioli, cheesecakes, biscuits, cakes and pies – there are a plethora of recipes that celebrate this festive mix. My favourite thing to do though, is to sprinkle a teaspoon of pumpkin spice mix into a carved pumpkin before lighting at tea light and letting that delicious and seasonal aroma waft around the house!!

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix | Selma's TableI used a 70 ml Kilner Spice Jar to store the mix in and it was half full. If you want to give this as a gift, double the quantities to fill a bottle of that size. I find that the easiest way to fill the little jar is to place the measured ingredients on a piece of baking paper and then use the paper to funnel it into the jar.

I am sharing my Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix with the Fiesta Friday revellers. Generously hosted by Angie of the Novice Gardener who this weekend is celebrating her birthday! Just take a look at her fabulous Naked Cake – it is gorgeous!!

And a huge thanks to our fabulous  co-hosts; Suzanne of A Pug in the Kitchen and Sue of Birgerbird. Both very talented and prolific cooks with blogs that you will not be able to stop scrolling through…

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix

  • Servings: Makes 35 ml or or just over 2 Tbsps
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp grated nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp cardamom powder

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Measure out and place the spices in small airtight jar.
  2. Shake well to mix.

I used a 70 ml Kilner Spice Jar to store the mix in. If you want to give this as a gift, double the quantities to fill the bottle and add a gift tag with the instructions: “For pumpkin pie, add 1 – 1 ½  teaspoons of spice mix to your other ingredients.”

© 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.

 

 

Plum and Cinnamon Cake

Plum and Cinnamon Cake | Selma's TableAs this blog has gathered pace and found it’s feet, so Jake has learned his place in the hierarchy – photos first, then he gets to eat. He always asks before cutting into a cake or digging into a casserole – well, until Sunday just gone. I baked this Plum and Cinnamon Cake, uploaded a quick snap to Instagram with a flippant remark about not being able to wait a day for it to settle and mature and woke up in the morning to find that there was a huge, messily cut piece missing from it!

Plum and Cinnamon Cake | Selma's TableJake had got in late, couldn’t resist the smell or the look of it, didn’t dare try to take the ring off the springform pan so cut it out the best he could. He said he thought I was sleeping which is why he didn’t ask. Well, I’m not one to get upset when it comes to food being eaten so I determined to do the best I could with it, when it came to the photos. A bit of crumb tidying, fruit prodding and a dusting of icing sugar took care of most of it but the missing slice is well and truly missing!!

This recipe was printed every autumn in the New York Times from 1983 until 1995 when Marian Burros, the food columnist (who got the recipe from Lois Levine, co-author of Elegant but Easy) said that it would not be re-printed, so this was the last chance to clip it out. I have seen it numerous times and in various versions around the web but Deb Perleman of Smitten Kitchen, who always manages to make me want to cook anything she makes, posted it recently and I caved.

Plum and Cinnamon Cake | Selma's TableThe batter is quite meagre and you will feel that it won’t be enough, once you spread it out and that maybe an additional egg or more baking powder or a smaller tin…don’t panic, don’t fiddle – it comes out perfectly. The original recipe calls for halved plums skin side up but I quartered mine so that some of flesh got the heat of the oven. And you want to go for tart, ripe ones for the best result. It does seem better the next day – the whole thing softens and the plums get jammy. And the smell – no wonder Jake couldn’t resist helping himself to a slice!!

Plum and Cinnamon Cake | Selma's TableThe cake rises just enough to cushion but not encase the plums and the combination of the sweet, tender, vanilla sponge, the tart juicy, jammy plums and the sugar and cinnamon dusted top is utterly heavenly! I am helping a friend host a Macmillian Coffee Morning fundraiser next week and this is definitely going to be served.

Plum and Cinnamon Cake | Selma's TableI’ve tweaked it a little – I’ve added vanilla to the batter and added less cinnamon to the top. Next time I may reduce the sugar a little too but if the plums are more on the tart side than the sweet sponge is the perfect foil for them. And it’s really easy to make. Quarter the plums and set aside. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and set aside. Cream the softened butter and sugar then add the eggs, one at a time, finally mix in the flour and scrape into the prepared tin. Arrange the plums over the top, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and bake!

Plum and Cinnamon Cake | Selma's Table
Plum and Cinnamon Cake | Selma's Table

Today, Elaine the inspirational blogger behind Foodbod and I are co-hosting Fiesta Friday #34 which is held by the generous, creative and wonderful Angie @ The Novice Gardener. Do take a look at Angie’s latest post – I mean, can food from the garden look any prettier? You can also see who has been featured from last week’s submissions. And what can I say about Elaine – she makes the most delicious looking and sounding food all of which is dairy, wheat and meat free – she also makes and sells her flavour packed dips and goodness bars so do take a look at her blog.

Click on the Fiesta Friday badge below to join the party – you can submit a post (be sure to include a link to Angie  FF#34 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 are new to blogging, Fiesta Friday is a great way to gain exposure and make new friends too.

If you’re new to Fiesta Friday, please read the guidelines.

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Plum and Cinnamon Cake

  • Servings: 8 generous -12 skinny slices
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Adapted from Marian Burros’ Famous Purple Plum Torte  and Deb Perleman’s Smitten Kitchen Purple Plum Torte

INGREDIENTS

  • 140 g plain/AP flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of table salt
  • 150 g of golden, unrefined caster/superfine sugar
  • 115 g softened unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
  • 8 medium ripe, tart plums
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 2 Tbsp Demerara sugar

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C/ 170C Fan assisted/ 350 F and prepare a 9 inch spring form pan by buttering the base and sides or using grease proof paper – see my tips and tricks page (Baking – tip 3) to read how to do this.
  2. Halve the plums and twist to remove the pits, then halve again and set aside.
  3. Place the flour, baking powder and salt in a cereal bowl and hand whisk to incorporate the 3 ingredients throughly.
  4. Place the butter and sugar in a medium sized mixing bowl and cream until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl a couple of times.
  5. Beat in the eggs, one at a time until well incorporated – scrape down the sides after each addition. It may look curdled but if you add a spoonful of the flour mixture all will be well again.
  6. Add the flour mixture and the vanilla paste/extract and beat only just until incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, scrape under to make sure that there is no raw flour and mix in if there is.
  7. Scrape into the prepared tin and smooth it out to cover the base. It will seem very scant but don’t worry – it will be enough!
  8. Arrange the plums from the outside into the middle, keeping it quite tight.
  9. Scatter over the cinnamon and the Demerara sugar and place in the pre-heated oven.
  10. Bake for 40-50 minutes. Insert a tester (toothpick or a bit of dry spaghetti) into the cakey part – if no batter is left clinging to it then it’s done. If there is batter clinging to it then pop it back in for 5 mins increments and keep checking.
  11. Try and make this the night before to let it mellow, covered and at room temperature, when it will be at it’s best.

© 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.