In My Kitchen – March 2015

Thank goodness that February is a short month – it brings those of us in the Northern Hemisphere just a little closer to Spring! Nonetheless, I’ve had a lot going on in my kitchen despite also spending two glorious weeks in Cape Town to attend the wedding of one of my oldest friends. I thought that you might like to see some photos of the stunning table setting and the food which was divine. The last photo above, is of the first course. I brought back our name cards as a momento. (If you click on the first photo, you can see the enlarged version of each picture in the gallery.)

In my kitchen there have been blood oranges, cavolo nero and fregola from which I made a salad because earlier in the month, I together with some friends, visited a fabulous shop called Vallebona which I wrote about here. It’s full of gourmet Sardinian groceries. These are some of the goodies I brought back.

IMK March 2015 | Selma's Table

Olive oil, truffle honey, grape must

We sampled the honey with white truffle on cheese and I tried some blue cheese with the grape juice must which were both wonderful. They both went into my basket! Vallebona sell a very thin cracker that comes in huge sheets which you just break off to eat – it’s called Carta Musica and lasts forever. I also bought the green tea with cherry blossom which is lovely.

I popped into a couple of local charity shops and came away with more china bargains. It’s becoming a bit of an obsession now – how did I go from shoes to plates?

I had this beautiful purple savoy type cabbage in my Sutton Community Farm veg box – unfortunately there was no time to make anything with it before I left, so I gave to a friend.

Cape Town has a fantastic food culture and I always look forward to seeing what they are up to. This time, a friend took me to a tiny award winning restaurant called Chefs Warehouse and Canteen run by a chef Liam Tomlin and his wife Jan.  They serve a very popular tapas style menu which is what we had. Wow – such incredible food – balanced, intense flavours and beautifully presented. There are more photos on my Instagram feed.

There is also a small but well curated shop attached, full of professional cookware, ceramics, ingredients and cookbooks. I bought a gorgeous glazed tapas dish just like the one we were served calamari in and a couple of packets of fruity buttery toffees – Sour Fig and Orange and Pomegranate. I really wish that I had bought a copy of his “Tapas” book but I just can’t justify another cookbook at the moment.

The friends we were staying with took us to the Oranjezicht City Farm Market which is held on the grounds of the Premier Helen Zille’s official residence, Leeuwenhof. Every Saturday, she opens up the gardens and the pool to the general public and independent local farmers and artisanal food producers. Apparently it’s the equivalent of David Cameron opening up Chequers to the hoi polloi! The fresh produce is fantastic and I was very surprised at how delicious the cheeses were too. There was a separate tent full of stall holders making and selling gorgeous and healthy food to eat.

I bought some intensely deep flavoured honey which took me right back to my childhood in Nairobi. This honey is similar to the Arabian Sidr Honey. I also bought a bottle of fig and grape must chutney.

A couple of days after returning to London, I received a lovely Welcome Home card and pack of black garlic from Elaine of foodbod which was such a surprise and had me squealing in delight.

Well, that is it from my kitchen this month – huge thanks to the lovely Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial who hosts this monthly event – peeking into everyone’s kitchens all over the world is so inspiring!  Make yourself a cuppa and have a little browse – all the links to the participating blogs are on the right hand side of Celia’s post. I have linked her post to her blog name so click and take a little tour!

Before you take your leave, feast your eyes on this amazing sunset – a display that Capetonians enjoy most evenings!

Sunset over the South Atlantic Ocean

Sunset over the South Atlantic Ocean from Seapoint, Cape Town

In My Kitchen – March 2014

in_my_kitchen_march_13

In My Kitchen 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 that month. I have been following (silently – sorry Ceila!) the series for a little while now, enjoying a little nosey into the kitchen sink dramas of others, everywhere. Well, I am taking the plunge today and  giving you a peek  into my kitchen, in what I hope will be a regular monthly post.

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In my kitchen, I have two, much loved, Le Creuset cast iron, ridiculously heavy pans. Many years ago we had an old, romantic, overgrown Victorian garden. It was a magnificent garden, in which we discovered a covered-up-with-years-and-years-worth-of-leaves-and-twigs, big rectangular pond complete with a fountain, which was overhung by a beautiful weeping willow tree – the source of much of the muck. A couple of weekends were spent clearing it out, fixing the fountain and filling it up with water, koi and aquatic plants. The garden was also full of all sorts of fruit trees – apple, pear, walnut, plum and cherry – it really was a magical place. One year we harvested more plums than we could eat so I decided to make a chutney. I took out my large, old faithful Le Creuset dutch oven and proceeded with the recipe. I left it burbling gently on the hob, wandered into the garden to skim leaves off the surface of the pond and got chatting to our neighbour who convivially produced a glass or two of wine. By the time I got back into the kitchen, the chutney had cooked down and burnt to a cinder- the sugar had carbonised and was welded to the bottom of the pot completely destroying my beloved Le Creuset. No amount of scrubbing, soaking, or scraping over the next few weeks could lift off that burnt-on mess. I shed tears throwing out Old Faithful. I was overjoyed to receive a new one as a gift the following Christmas, and have since acquired a smaller oval one — but I have never made a chutney again!

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In my kitchen I have a handmade utility knife from the Japanese Knife Company. It is completely handmade by a small group of highly skilled artisan nokaji whose skills have been passed down for 4 generations. It is my favourite kitchen tool. I bought it 17 years ago it from a very knowledgeable elderly gentleman  at a food show, who really impressed me with his calm and serene manner. I  have remembered him often and have never forgotten how he thinly and quickly pared an apple using only a simple little paring knife. Twelve years later, I attended a knife skills course and was surprised and delighted to find that he was teaching it. In the literature that they give you before starting the course, we were asked to bring in our knives so that we could learn how to use them properly and also have them sharpened. When I handed him mine, he recognized it immediately (despite the fact that it has no markings on it anywhere) and even knew the Japanese artisan who had made it – how amazing is that?!

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In my kitchen I have sourdough bread, handmade by Duncan, who cycles over to me every week, to drop off one of his artisan loaves of bread. Last summer, I volunteered to help out at our local Food Festival and met some wonderful local people and producers as well as the talented husband and wife team behind The Elephant Bakehouse. They ran a tasting workshop as well as a stall and I am happy to say that the stall sold out well before the festival was over. They produce the most delicious varieties of artisan sourdough bread using local (as much as possible)  organic flour.The flavours are complex and the texture dense, chewy and so, so satisfying – no comparison can be made to the flabby mass produced sliced loaves which have never been touched by human hand. Duncan makes the bread himself and his wife looks after the rest of the business – they are both really passionate about their bread and with every reason. They are in the process of securing local premises from which to start baking for the greater community. My son takes two slices, toasted, spread with peanut butter and carefully wrapped in tinfoil on his way out the door in the morning, to eat on his way to school.

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In my kitchen I have a jar of pretty pink beetroot sea salt. In October, I visited Cape Town, staying with close friends. I had an amazing time, visiting lots of fabulous restaurants and shops. One of the places that Alex took me to was Babylonstoren. It describes itself as a Cape Dutch Farm with vineyards and orchards surrounded by the mountains of the Drakenstein Valley. It is a stunning working organic farm with fabulous restaurants, shops, a spa and tastefully furnished whitewashed cottages for guests to stay in.

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1. Gorgeous chickens running free
2. The Drakenstein Mountains
3. Babelstoren

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1. Beautifully presented salad and sandwich at The Greenhouse
2. The cured meat room in the Farm Shop Barn
3. A view of the gardens

It oozes style, charm, beauty and character everywhere you look and no wonder as it is owned by Karen Roos who used to be the editor of the South African edition of Elle Decoration. We met up with a friend of his, Simon, who is a passionate and knowledgeable gardener. It didn’t surprise me to hear that no expense had been spared to make Babylonstoren what it is today. The “Farm Shop”,  unlike anything you have seen before, is housed in a series of rooms in one of the barns from where I came away with this stunning beetroot sea salt. I love pinching some over a buffalo mozzarella and watching the pretty pink colour stain the milky white cheese.

in_my_kitchen_march_13In my kitchen I have a jar of delicious home made jam. As I don’t make chutneys or jams, I am always grateful to receive homemade versions from friends. My friends from Cape Town visited London just before Christmas and brought me a jar of this amazing Plum, Chilli and Cherry Jam which Rob had made. It is fabulous with goat’s cheese. Don’t you just love the adorable jar with the chalkboard label?

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In my kitchen I have fridge magnets. Not any old magnets, mind but words with which to compose all sorts of messages. I love these because they are food related. They have been packed away and then in storage for quite a few years so it has been a delight to get them out again.

in_my_kitchen_march_13This is what my son put up on the fridge the other day – should I be worried?

Well that’s it for this month. Many thanks to Celia for coming up with this series and hosting it. This is the link to take you to the archives http://figjamandlimecordial.com/in-my-kitchen/ Please do go over and look at what other bloggers are up to in their kitchens!

Couscous Stuffed Red Peppers

Couscous Stuffed Red Peppers

Couscous Stuffed Red Peppers

These Couscous Stuffed Red Peppers are a lovely side to make for a roast or as light lunch with a salad as the recipe can be pre-prepared until the final blast in the oven while the roast is resting. The smoked paprika gives the couscous a very savoury flavour so do try and get some if you can. Amazon has some here.  I made these to go with the Braised Stuffed Rolled Shoulder of  Springbok or Venison the other day,  in Cape Town.

Halved and cored peppers

Halved and cored peppers

Couscous filling

Couscous filling

Stuffed peppers

Stuffed peppers ready for the oven

Couscous Stuffed Red Peppers

Couscous Stuffed Red Peppers

Couscous Stuffed Red Peppers

Couscous Stuffed Red Peppers

Couscous Stuffed Red Peppers

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 large, sturdy red bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup couscous (I used a chilli and coriander flavoured one because it was there but you could use a plain one and add chilli flakes and more herbs if you wish)
  • 1/2 chicken/veg stock cube dissolved in 1 cup of hot water or use 1 cup of  homemade stock if you have it.
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp of smoked paprika
  • 1 can of chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • A handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 100g of feta cheese, cubed
  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Slice the peppers in half vertically (or just take the tops off if you would prefer to serve one whole pepper per person) and remove the seeds and white membrane. Lay snugly in a roasting tin (you may want to smear the tin with some oil first but I didn’t and they did not stick) and pop in the oven for 15 – 25 minutes or until softened. The time will depend on how fresh and thick the peppers are.  They will go back in to finish off cooking, once stuffed so don’t leave them in there so long that they become totally floppy. Remove them from the oven and set aside while you carry on with the stuffing.
  3. While the peppers are in the oven, place the couscous in a heat resistant bowl (I use a pyrex measuring jug) pour over the hot stock, stir and cover with a plate or piece of cling film. Let that stand and absorb the liquid.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the onion and garlic then gently sauté the onions until golden, giving them a little sprinkle (a pinch really) of salt to help them release their moisture and caramelise more quickly. Stir in the garlic and the chickpeas for a minute or two then add the smoked paprika and stir to mix well. Tip in the couscous and stir again. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the cherry tomatoes, the parsley and the feta cheese. Taste to check for salt. Remember that the feta and the stock cube are salty so you shouldn’t need any more.
  5. Stuff the peppers with as much of the couscous mixture as you can (using the same tin that you cooked them in) but don’t compact the mix – heaping it works much better. Any left over stuffing can be used for lunch the next day. These can now be set aside covered, until you are ready to cook them or you can carry on and cook them in the oven for a further 15 minutes.
© 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

Braised Stuffed Rolled Shoulder of Springbok or Venison

Braised and Stuffed Shoulder of Springbok

Braised and Stuffed Shoulder of Springbok with Couscous Stuffed Red Peppers and Roasted Asparagus

To say that I am having a wonderful time in Cape Town would be an understatement! The glorious scenery and the fabulous weather aside, the food culture is fantastic. There are so many artisanal producers, independent shops and eclectic cafes, bistros and restaurants, all as a matter of course, that it is somewhat of a gastronomic wonderland.

My favourite restaurant has been the Pot Luck Club & Gallery which is housed in a glass box on top of an old silo at the old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock.

The Pot Luck and Gallery housed in a glass box on the sixth floor of an old silo at the Biscuit Mill in Woodstock

The Pot Luck & Gallery housed in a modern glass box on the sixth floor of an old silo at the Biscuit Mill in Woodstock.

The Biscuit Mill in Woodstock

The Biscuit Mill in Woodstock

Brain child of award winning chef Luke Dale-Roberts of The Test Kitchen downstairs, the aim to to offer tasting plates of Asian influenced food which make the most of what is on offer in the market. The food is sensational – beautifully presented and intensely flavoured. The smoked beef fillet with black pepper and truffle “café au lait” sauce was sublime. The mushrooms served on brioche with sherry vinaigrette, grated lemon, parmesan and porcini dust were gorgeous as were the  calamari in a curry flavoured batter, the oysters with a ponzu jelly, the duck spring rolls…gorgeous cocktails, friendly and helpful service and wonderful company.

Oysters with Ponzu Jelly at Pot Luck Club

Oysters with Ponzu Jelly at Pot Luck Club

And the butchers here are quite something as well. Take a look at The Butcher Man. They have an eat-in/take away grill bar, a biltong bar, a deli, pre packed and gourmet meat as well as a glassed in butchery section at the back where you can see the two professional butchers originally from Yorkshire at work. Visiting this butchery inspired me to cook springbok shanks but on the day I wanted to cook them, they were not in available. So after ringing round, we ended up with a shoulder of Springbok from Frankie Fenners Meat Merchants who have just moved to new premises. And what premises they are! Painted black, with another glassed in butchery area, serving coffee and with an alcohol licence, sourcing and selling ethically produced meat and charcuterie…it is quite simply stunning. Having spoken to Andy on the phone they had prepared the shoulder by boning and rolling and had it waiting for us to collect.

Even the butchers paper from Frankie Fenner's is fab

Even the butchers paper from Frankie Fenner is fab

When cooking with game a little sweetness is desirable and Andy advised that I add some apricots to the stuffing and braise the meat for a couple of hours. I am not a fan of fruit with meat but I did as he suggested and and found it delicous.

I do something similar with lamb shoulder which I simply roast. As game does not have the fat that lamb has, braising it slowly is the way to go.

It is easy to make especially if the meat has been prepared for you. All you have to do is make the paste, smear it on the meat, cover with the stuffing ingredients, roll up, secure, cover and braise, adding more water after an hour if it has evaporated.

Butterflied springbok shoulder - so lean...

Butterflied springbok shoulder – so lean…

Shoulder with stuffing spread on it

Shoulder with stuffing spread on it

Rolled and tied Springbok shoulder

Rolled and tied Springbok shoulder

Meat resting on the board

Meat resting on the board

Arty shot of the Stuffed Shoulder of Sprinkbok

Arty shot of the Stuffed Shoulder of Sprinkbok

Jus with additional wine and blueberry coulis bubbling on the hob

Jus with additional wine and blueberry coulis bubbling on the hob

Ready to carve

Ready to carve. Beautiful 5 year old wine in the background, all dusty from the cellar!

Carving

Carving

The first slice

The first slice

Braised and Stuffed Shoulder of Springbok

Braised Stuffed Rolled Shoulder of Springbok

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 1kg of rolled shoulder of springbok or venison
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tbsp chopped rosemary
  • 6 anchovy fillets
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup bulgar wheat or couscous
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup chopped black olives
  • 1/4 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 4-5 sprigs of rosemary
  • half a dozen cloves of unpeeled garlic
  • 400ml of hot water with half a stock cube dissolved in it
  • 1/3 bottle of red wine
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp blueberry or redcurrant jelly
  • 1/4 – 1/3 more red wine

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160C.
  2. Open out the rolled (butterflied) shoulder of game. Check carefully for shot and and trim away any bruising and connective tissue that the butcher may have left behind.
  3. Whizz together the garlic, rosemary, anchovies and oil so that you have a creamy paste and smear all over the inside of the shoulder.
  4. Sprinkle over the (raw) bulgar wheat or couscous
  5. Cover this with the chopped apricots, olives and tomatoes.
  6. Lay as many pieces of string as you think you will need in your oven dish – we used 6 or 7 –  then roll up the meat, lay on top of the string and secure. Tuck in any fallen bits of stuffing back into the roll where ever you can.  You might find that you need to secure the roll with more string.
  7. Tuck the sprigs of rosemary under the meat and scatter round the unpeeled cloves of garlic. Drizzle the top of the meat with a small amount of olive oil and season with pepper. Do not add any salt as there is plenty in the anchovies and the stock. Pour round the stock and the red wine. Cover tightly and cook in the oven for 2 hours. Check after an hour and replenish liquid with hot water from the kettle if  much has evaporated.
  8. After 2 hours, remove the meat to a board and cover loosely with foil. Leave to rest for 20/30 mins. If you making any roasted vegetables, this is the time to turn up the heat and put them into the oven. I oven roasted some lightly oiled asparagus for 15 minutes and finished off the Couscous Stuffed Red Peppers while the meat was resting.
  9. You should have a small amount of unctuous, deeply savoury jus in the roasting dish. Pick out the rosemary and pour in the additional wine. Place on the hob and bring to a boil, stirring all the while. Reduce for at least 5 minutes to burn off the alcohol. Stir in the jelly, tasting as you do so to balance the flavour.
  10. Cut off the string and carve the shoulder into 1 cm-ish slices.
  11. Serve with the delicious slightly sweet and savoury jus, making sure that everyone gets some of the garlic as well.
© 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

Enriched Milk and Butter Loaf topped with Floppy Onions and Cheese

Enriched Bread topped with Floppy Onions and Cheese

Enriched Bread topped with Floppy Onions and Cheese

I am in Cape Town, staying with my friends A and R who really make the most of this beautiful city they call home. They live in a gorgeous Victorian villa in Sea Point, perched high on the slopes of Signal Hill with a panoramic view of the suburb below and the Atlantic Ocean.

View from the deck

View from the deck

As you may imagine, the sunsets have been simply stunning.

Sunset over Sea Point

Sunset over Sea Point

Sunset from the deck

Sunset from the deck

The people I have met on this visit have been so friendly and so sociable and seem to pack so much into their days. The magnificent landscape probably has a lot to do with this as well as not having to waste hours commuting on a packed train to and from work.  The days and evenings have been spent  meeting up with or hosting friends in that warm, hospitable Capetonian manner, enjoying the gorgeous wines and eating beautiful food. There is an incredible food scene here about which I will post more another time.

Sundowner on the deck

Sundowners on the deck

We spent last weekend at their stunning holiday home in Greyton where R cooked up a storm.

The garden at Greyton and Lily the springer spaniel

The garden at Greyton and Lily the springer spaniel

Saturday was spent walking their adorable dogs, wandering around the Saturday market in Greyton, lunching at Searle’s and then back to the house for a marathon cooking session.

Searle's

Searle’s

Searle's

Searle’s

A stunning cake was baked and iced.

THAT cake!

THAT cake!

Bread was baked (recipe below), fillet was stuffed and trussed and salads were made. For dinner that night, a group of us feasted on the braaied (barbecued) fillet and boerewors, potato wedges, salad with flowers from the garden, palm hearts dressed with white balsamic and parmesan cheese, tomato and mint couscous, the bread and finished off with a slice of that cake.

Feasting at Greyton

Feasting at Greyton

This bread needs a little elbow grease but is completely worth it.

Dough before second proofing

Dough before second proving

Dough after second proving

Dough after second proving

Bread before topping

Bread before topping

Topping with floppy onions

Topping with floppy onions

Topping with cheese

Topping with cheese

Ta da!

Ta da!

Enriched Milk and Butter Loaf topped with Floppy Onions and Cheese

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: intermediate
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g bread flour
  • 10g instant yeast (10ml)
  • 10g salt
  • 350ml tepid milk
  • 50g softened butter

Topping:

  • 1/2 a large white onion sliced in half moons and one clove of chopped garlic, fried in a little olive oil until translucent but not caramelised
  • 100 g grated cheddar cheese

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place the flour yeast and salt in a bowl and slowly pour in the tepid milk, 100 ml at a time. The milk must not be too hot as it can kill off the yeast. (24-28 degrees)
  2. Stir with your fingers until it comes together. You may not need all the milk so don’t pour it all in.
  3. Turn out onto a lightly  floured surface and start to knead, incorporating the butter, one spoonful at a time. Or, if your butter isn’t quite soft enough, cube it and add it in a few cubes at a time. Knead until the dough is elastic, smooth and glossy – this may take up to 20 minutes. It is quite a wet dough so it does take some time to come together. The dough should be fairly firm and not sticky to touch.
  4. Oil a bowl and place dough in it turning it around in the oil and cover with tea towel or cling film ad leave it to rise until doubled. Knock back (deflate) and then weigh dough. Slice off approximately 100g lumps of dough and roll and shape each one by placing on your worktop (you should not need any flour) Cup your hand over it and start work in a circular motion, tucking with with your thumb and fingers – the finished ball will have a smooth top with the crease underneath.
  5. Place in a round tin – we used a non-stick one, cover and leave to rise again for about an hour. It should double in size, filling in any gaps.
  6. Bake in a oven preheated to 230 C /450 F for 1/2 an hour. Scatter over the floppy onions and then the grated cheese and place back in the oven for another 15 minutes or so. Cool on a rack for about 5 mins and then turn it out of the tin.
  7. The bread is ready when it is golden brown and sounds hollow when you rap the base with your knuckles.

Enriched Bread topped with Floppy Onions and Cheese

Enriched Bread topped with Floppy Onions and Cheese