Masala Chai Banana Bread with Coconut Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing

Masala Chai Banana Bread with Coconut Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing | Selma's TableThis year’s UK Master Chef series on the television has been fantastic. The final five were all incredibly creative and really put through their paces as the competition ruthlessly progressed. (Don’t worry, there are no spoilers here if you haven’t watched the final episode to crown the winner.)  Of the final five, I was really inspired by Emma whose love of middle eastern spices and modern use of ingredients mirrors the zeitgeist made mainstream by Ottolenghi.

Masala Chai Banana Bread with Coconut Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing | Selma's TableYou may recall that Adagio Tea sent me a sample pack of their gorgeous teas to try. I wrote about their artisan teas in last month’s IMK post. They have a huge range and their green teas alone are worth a look at. Their Masala Chai is quite incredible – it has the deep flavour that I remember from my childhood and is chock full of whole spices like cloves, cinnamon bark, cardamom seeds and ginger as well as black Ceylon tea.

Masala Chai Banana Bread with Coconut Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing | Selma's TableSpurred on by Emma’s creations on Master Chef, a LOT of dangerously dark bananas and Adagio’s Masala Chai, I adapted my go-to recipe for Banana Bread from How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson. It’s a recipe I have been making for years and it never lets me down. It’s particularly devilish and delicious when made with chocolate chips instead of fruit, but that is another story!

Masala Chai Banana Bread with Coconut Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing | Selma's TableBecause I had so many bananas I used them all and in retrospect, it was too much and caused the loaves to become heavy and sink in the middle when cooling. In the recipe below, I have written the amounts as they should be and not as I did this time.

I quite often use frozen bananas but let them thaw and drain off the liquid before mashing and mash the bananas coarsely as this enables the loaves to remain lovely and moist. I prefer to use light brown sugar for a deeper more caramel flavour too.  Steeping the fruit in very a very strong solution of masala chai gives them a haunting flavour when you bite into a plumped up morsel. I have enhanced that with a little cardamom stirred through the batter too.

Masala Chai Banana Bread with Coconut Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing | Selma's TableThe icing. Oh my God, the icing! It’s just sublime. I wanted to compliment the heady banana and masala chai flavours of the loaf and put this icing together. The flavour reminds me of coconut burfi or penda (which my father adored) – Indian sweets as Jake refers to them…

Masala Chai Banana Bread with Coconut Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing | Selma's Table

I really like using coconut powder as you can get the depth of flavour you want and also the thickness by adjusting the liquid to powder ratio. A further rummage in the pantry led me to the gorgeously fragrant rose petals I bought recently on a foray into Shepherd’s Bush with Elaine and a bag of pistachio nuts.

Masala Chai Banana Bread with Coconut Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing | Selma's TableI ended up with a Magic Carpet Banana Bread! I think Emma would approve!

Masala Chai Banana Bread with Coconut Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing

  • Servings: Makes 2 loaves
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Adapted from “Banana Bread” How to Be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson

My loaf tins are standard 900g/2 lb loaf tins. Measurements may vary slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer, but  they should be approximately 23cm x 13cm x 7cm  or 9″ x 5 ½” x 3″.

INGREDIENTS

  • 150 g mixed dried fruit (like berries, cherries, figs and sultanas)
  • 75 ml of very strong brewed Adagio Masala Tea Blend
  • 175 g Plain/AP flour
  • 2 ½  tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp cardamom powder or 2 drops of cardamom essence
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 125 g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 150 g light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 3 medium very ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Coconut, Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing

  • 3 Tbsp coconut powder
  • 1-2 Tbsp warm milk
  • 1 x 180 g pack of cream cheese
  • 1 x 250 g tub of mascarpone cheese
  • 5 – 6 Tbsp icing sugar
  • 3 drops cardamom essence or the powdered seeds of 2 cardamom pods
  • chopped pistachios (optional)
  • edible dried rose petals (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Steep the dried fruit with the hot masala chai for an hour (or microwave on high for 2 minutes and steep for as long as you can)
  2. Pre-heat oven to 170C/325F and either pop a paper case into each of two loaf tins or line with two strips of parchment paper. Put the butter in a heat proof bowl and place in the oven to melt. Check after 3-4 minutes.
  3. Place the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  4. Mash the bananas, coarsely, and set aside.
  5. With an electric mixer, beat together the cooled melted butter and the sugar until creamy and caramel in colour.
  6. Add the eggs, one at a time and make sure to beat well after each one.
  7. Add the bananas and the vanilla extract and mix well and finally, stir in the drained fruit.
  8. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pans and bake for 50 minutes. Test with a wooden skewer which should come out moist but not with batter clinging to it. Let cool completely before icing.
  9. While the loaves are baking, make the icing: stir the coconut powder into warm milk until smooth.
  10. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the cream cheese and the mascarpone with a rubber spatula then add the coconut mixture and stir in. Sift in the icing sugar, mixing well and taste after you had added 4 Tbsp – it may be sweet enough. Stir in the cardamom essence or the powder and set aside in the fridge. When the loaves are cold, spread with the icing and top with the chopped pistachios and rose petals if using them.
© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Crustless Cardamom & Blood Orange Milk Tart

Crustless Cardamom and Blood Orange Milk Tart |Selma's TableBrowsing through Woolworths’ South African website, I came across this intriguing recipe for Milk Tart, which is apparently, the ultimate braai recipe. It’s very unusual in that it is a really liquid batter but it does work and is absolutely delicious.

Crustless Cardamom and Blood Orange Milk Tart |Selma's TableAs a bonus, the house smelt amazing too – cardamom and cinnamon baking together is just such a wonderful smell! I think that this would be a lovely alternative to a chocolate dessert for easter lunch – it can be made a couple of days ahead and refrigerated so is absolutely perfect for entertaining.

Crustless Cardamom and Blood Orange Milk Tart |Selma's TableI must admit that my heart stopped when I realised how much liquid I was dealing with and I gingerly put it in the oven not expecting it to work at all but it did. “Folding” the egg whites into so much liquid was not easy.

Crustless Cardamom and Blood Orange Milk Tart |Selma's TableI think it would work better if the egg whites were folded in to only half the liquid and the rest stirred through. I used the last of the blood oranges to make this but you could of course, use conventional oranges.

Crustless Cardamom and Blood Orange Milk Tart |Selma's TableNot wanting any waste, I made a lovely syrupy orange sauce to go with it using sweet dessert/pudding wine, sugar and orange segments. If you don’t want to use a sweet wine, then just add a little orange juice instead.

Crustless Cardamom and Blood Orange Milk Tart |Selma's TableI am thrilled to be co-hosting Fiesta Friday #61 with the incredibly talented  Margy @La Petite Casserole for Angie of The Novice Gardener. In case you missed it, Fiesta Friday has a new home now – http://www.fiestafriday.net.

If you are new to blogging, please do join the party, we would love to see you. Fiesta Friday is a great way to gain exposure and make new friends too. Be sure to comment, like and follow – Angie has such a friendly crowd at this party that you will come away with lots of new followers (as long as you interact) as well as a lot of inspiration!

Submit a post (please be sure to include the link and a mention, in your post, to Angie’s   Fiesta Friday #61 post – it’s only polite and also ensures that you can be considered for a feature next week!)  or just take a look at others are up to! If you’re new to Fiesta Friday, please do take a minute to read the guidelines.

Click on the purple button below to be taken to the party – you can take a look at what everyone has brought or join in with a post of your own. Enough nattering – let’s fiesta!

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Crustless Cardamom and Blood Orange Milk Tart

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Adapted from Woolworths South Africa

Ingredients

  • 700ml / 3 cups milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 orange, zested (1 large or 2 small) and segmented
  • 4 large free-range eggs, separated
  • 200 g soft brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp soft butter
  • 140 g plain/AP flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • cinnamon sugar, for dusting
  • Sugar
  • Sweet pudding wine

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Line a deep, 25 cm baking tin with baking paper. If it is a springform pan, you may want to also cover the outside with some foil to protect against seepages.
  2. Measure out the milk in a jug then stir in the vanilla paste, cardamom and orange zest and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, sift or hand whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt to mix it all together and set aside
  4. Beat egg whites until stiff and set aside.
  5. Beat the egg yolks, sugar and butter until pale and creamy.
  6.  Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture with a enough of the flavoured milk to make a loose batter.
  7. Gently fold in the stiffly beaten egg whites.
  8. Then slowly stir in the rest of the milk.
  9. Set your prepared pan onto a rimmed baking sheet – it’s easier to move and safe guards against oven disaster.  Pour the very liquid batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with a good dusting of cinnamon sugar, then bake for 1 hour, or until almost set – it should have a lovely golden crust. A quick poke with a wooden skewer will tell you if it is done.
  10. Remove from the oven and leave to cool, then refrigerate until set.
  11. Segment the oranges and place in a pan. Squeeze over any juice from the membranes and sprinkle with a little sugar. Add a splash of booze. Heat until syrupy. Cool and serve with the slices of the tart and a small glass of the remainder of the pudding wine!
© 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.

Almond, Orange and Tahini Biscuits

Almond, Orange and Tahini Biscuits | Selma's TableI was so thrilled when Elaine of foodbod asked me to write a post for her new series, “What would you feed me?” Elaine is the embodiment of healthy eating – she is vegetarian, sugar free, caffeine free and also avoids wheat but doesn’t miss out on any flavour with her punchy Middle East inspired spicing. I discovered her blog when someone re-blogged one of her earliest posts which was for a pavlova – the antithesis of how Elaine eats!  So I set my mind to thinking how I could produce a treat that was true to Elaine’s food ideals. Obviously, it had to have tahini in it – Elaine’s favourite food group!!  Ground almonds to substitute for flour and honey for sugar…I kept thinking about those lovely Chinese Almond Cookies that are made for Chinese New Year. I am rather partial to orange zest and cardamom in baked goods, so in they went too.. Almond, Orange and Tahini Biscuits | Selma's TableThe Almond, Orange and Tahini Biscuits have Elaine’s name written all over them. Wheat free, refined sugar free but chock full of almonds and tahini of course! They are also dairy free and egg free, making them suitable for vegans.  While these do have honey in them they are not very sweet so they won’t kick your sweet cravings into high gear. The orange and cardamom flavours work beautifully with the nutty flavours of the tahini and almonds. The biscuits bake up crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside – just begging to be dunked in a cuppa!  Judging by the response on Instagram, I think that they are a success! Almond, Orange and Tahini Biscuits | Selma's Table If you want to know how to make these ridiculously easy Almond, Orange and Tahini Biscuits please go over to my guest post on Elaine’s blog, foodbod. The post is called, ‘What would you feed me…Selma’ – if you click on the link below, it will take you straight to it. While you are there, take a minute to browse through Elaine’s recipes – you will come away inspired!

https://foodbod.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/what-would-you-feed-me-selma/

 © Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from the 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.

 

 

Cardamom & Orange Syrup Loaf Cake

Cardamom-Orange-Syrup-Loaf-CakeThe other day I got a little excited to see bags of blood oranges in store and put one in my basket to make a salad with mint, beetroot and fennel. I got home to dejectedly realise that I had picked up a bag of normal oranges. I made the salad anyway as I was craving something crunchy, juicy and light and decided to bake a cake to use up the oranges.

Cardamom-Orange-Syrup-Loaf-Cake

I have been making versions of  this rustic Cardamon & Orange Syrup Loaf Cake for many years. The measurements are easy to memorise, all the ingredients are placed in the bowl and mixed in one go – no creaming, no whipping, no sink full of dirty dishes! The proportion of ingredients are based on the classic sponge cake (equal weights of eggs, flour, sugar and butter) even if the method isn’t. You can substitute limes or lemons for the orange; saffron for the cardamom; sprinkle the top with cinnamon sugar before it goes in and use an apple juice syrup – the possibilities are endless. It emerges risen and golden with that characteristic  of Madeira cakes – a crack along the middle which is the perfect place to drizzle the syrup.

Cardamom-Orange-Syrup-Loaf-Cake

Cardamom-Orange-Syrup-Loaf-Cake

Cardamom-Orange-Syrup-Loaf-Cake

Cardamom & Orange Syrup Loaf Cake

  • Servings: 8-10 slices
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Makes one loaf (in a 900g/2 lb tin)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 175 g of plain flour
  • 175 g of golden  caster sugar
  • 175 g of unsalted butter (melted and cooled)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 75ml milk (5 Tbsp)
  • 1 large orange – zested

For the syrup

  • Juice of the large orange
  • 75 g caster sugar
  • 6 cardamom pods

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F
  2. Melt the butter – see my Tips and Tricks page for easy ways to do this – tips 11 and 12.
  3. Prepare the loaf tin with a paper liner or butter the sides and lay a strip of parchment paper to cover the bottom and run up the short sides as handles.
  4. Place your mixing bowl on the scales and measure in the flour and sugar. Add the baking powder and the salt and mix  with a hand whisk to blend and aerate. Zest the orange straight into the bowl.
  5. Add the milk to the melted butter and stir – it also helps to cool the butter down.
  6. Crack the eggs into the bowl, pour in the milk and butter and mix for about 3 or 4 minutes with an electric mixer. It takes no time at all to combine. Do not over beat unless you want a tough crumb!
  7. Scrape into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 35 – 45 minutes. Poke with a wooden skewer at 35 minutes to be on the safe side.
  8. Give each cardamom pod a gentle bash with something heavy – it will crack open, revealing the seeds inside. In a pestle and mortar pound the seeds to a coarse powder. Or using the bottom of a sturdy glass, press on the seeds to break them down.
  9. Juice the orange and add to the sugar and cardamom seeds in a pan. On a low flame, heat until the sugar dissolves and the liquid reduces somewhat – about 3 or 4 minutes. Take off the heat to infuse and cool. If the seeds are a bit on the chunky side, strain the syrup before using.
  10. When the cake is ready, let it cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then take it out and place on a rack. Gently prise away the sides of the loaf paper so that if the syrup runs down the sides it will be contained inside the wrapper and soak back into the cake.
  11. Poke 15 or so holes in the cake using a toothpick; then slowly and gently, pour over the syrup.
  12. Put it back inside the loaf tin until cold.
  13. Slice and enjoy with a cup of tea or glass of fizz!

Cardamom-Orange-Syrup-Loaf-Cake