Ambassador Cupcakes

Ambassador Cupcakes | Selma's TableIt was Jake’s birthday a few weeks ago and I made him these fabulous Ambassador Cupcakes to take to a party that one of his friends was throwing for him. He is not a big fan of chocolate cakes and icing, though he loves chocolate, but when I mentioned that I could make them with a Ferrero Rocher chocolate  inside as well as on top of them, his eyes lit up, so that was that! Ambassador Cupcakes | Selma's TableI’ve been making birthday cakes for Jake, for friends and for their children for quite a long time now. I thought that you might like to see a selection of Jake’s birthday cakes over the years including the train that nearly turned me into a train wreck which I mentioned in my post on the Spiced Honey and Orange Cake. I have a star shaped pan that has come in very useful for celebration cakes in general and I have put it to good use over the years. Ambassador Cupcakes | Selma's Table Ambassador Cupcakes | Selma's TableFor these Ambassador Cupcakes, I was inspired by Michelle’s (Giraffes Can Bake) spectacular Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes but I was up against the clock so needed  to make something simpler and that would also travel well on public transport. So I had a quick trawl of the internet, found a recipe that looked quick and easy and tweaked it a little. Ambassador Cupcakes | Selma's TableThese Ambassador Cupcakes really are a special occasion cupcake. They require 48 Ferrera Rocher chocolates which really ratchets up the cost however, they look fabulous! If you are going to make these and don’t have a piping bag or nozzles, then please, do get some. You can buy a roll of disposable piping bags and a set of basic nozzles inexpensively from most large supermarkets and on-line too. Yes, of course you can scrape the icing on with a spatula or fill a sandwich bag, snip off a corner and squirt it on but if you are going to go to the expense and effort of making these, then for a few pounds more you can make them look really lovely too. I just wish that I had been more organised and ordered gold paper cases – that would have looked stunning and very in keeping with the Ferrero Rocher image!  Remember this TV commercial?

I don’t know about you but my icing techniques leave a lot to be desired. I made the cupcakes the night before and the Nutella buttercream early in the morning – I hurriedly iced a cupcake for Jake to take up to him in bed, with his cards and present and realised that I needed a crash course in icing techniques.

In My Kitchen Oct 2014 | Selma's Table

Jake’s early morning cake

I scoured YouTube and and thought I would share the best one with you! Below is a great video tutorial by Xanthe Milton on 4 icing techniques, including that rose swirl (which would have been too girly for Jake – sigh) which looks so fabulous on larger cakes.

Ambassador Cupcakes | Selma's Table I ended up using the last technique which she likens to an old fashioned swimming hat. My nozzles are quite small in comparison to Xanthe’s – larger ones are on my hit list – but I got a lovely effect, nonetheless! Ambassador Cupcakes | Selma's Table And a little tip; the easiest way to fill a piping bag is to fit the nozzle and coupler if you are using one, onto the piping bag, then set this inside a tall glass, peel back the bag over the glass and fill. Ambassador Cupcakes | Selma's Table

I am taking these to share with the Fiesta Friday revellers. Angie of the Novice Gardener is having a well deserved day off with strict instructions from most of us to not bring anything to the party!! Our co-hosts this week are both Canadians! Globe-trotter Julianna whose blog, Foodie on Board is full of the most delicious global recipes and gorgeous photographs too and Hilda of Along the Grapevine who makes foraging and living off the land aspirational and delicious!! We are in good hands!!

Ambassador Cupcakes | Selma's Table

Ambassador Cupcakes

  • Servings: 24 cupcakes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Adapted from  Ferrero Rocher and Nutella Cupcakes by Cookies, Cupcakes and Cardio INGREDIENTS For the cupcakes

  • 200g plain/AP flour
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 90 g unsweetened cacao powder, sifted
  • 1 Tbsp instant espresso powder
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp fine salt
  • 3 Tbsp light olive oil
  • 180 ml buttermilk (or 180 ml milk plus 1 Tbsp of lemon juice – let this sit for 10 minutes)
  • 180 ml warm water
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 48 Ferrero Rocher chocolates (24 for inside the cupcakes and 24 to decorate them with)

For the Nutella Buttercream

INSTRUCTIONS Fot the cupcakes

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Line a 24 cup muffin/cupcake tin with paper cases. Gold ones would look really stunning.
  3. Remove the wrappers from the chocolates.
  4. Hand whisk all the dry ingredients, from flour through to salt in a large mixing bowl to blend thoroughly.
  5. Make a well in the centre and add all the wet ingredients all at once. Blend on a low speed until well combined. The mixture will be quite liquid.
  6. Take the bowl over to the prepared tins and put one tablespoon of batter into each hole.
  7. Center a Ferrero Rocher chocolate in each one.
  8. Top with one tablespoon of batter – pour it over the Ferrero Rocher chocolate.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes – testing the sides with a toothpick or a piece of dry spaghetti after 18 minutes.
  10. Let them settle for 10 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.

For the Nutella Buttercream

  1. Cream the Baking or butter until light and fluffy.
  2. Beat in the icing sugar (I start this off by hand to keep down the icing sugar cloud) until smooth..
  3. Beat in the Nutella. If the mixture is too stiff, add 1 Tbsp of milk. I didn’t need to.
  4. Fit a piping bag with an icing nozzle of your choice (I used a “star” nozzle ) and set it inside a tall glass. Peel back the bag around the glass and fill it with as much icing as you can comfortably handle. Twist the end closed and set aside in the fridge until you are ready to ice the cakes. You don’t want the icing to be too hard so don’t leave it in there too long.
  5. Ice the cakes and top each with a Ferrero Rocher chocolate.
  6. Store, covered in the fridge for at least ½ an hour, to set the icing.

© 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.

Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Strawberries

cheesecake-stuffed-chocolate-strawberriesWe’ve been having the most glorious summer weather here in London – this historic city is even more beautiful when the sun is shining and you can appreciate the architecture, gardens and cafe society in the golden glow of the summer sun rather than scurrying along under an umbrella, shoulders hunched, looking at the ground to avoid puddles. There is a wonderful campaign of sorts, called “Look up London” which exhorts us to look up and admire the amazing architecture – I always travel on the top decks of  buses just so that I have a better view of the upper sections of the buildings. In fact, when Jake was just a toddler, we used to spend the bus journeys into the West End, on the upper decks, gargoyle spotting. Such fun!

Last weekend, a friend organised a picnic in a private garden square off Sloane Street in Belgravia – the posh bit of Chelsea. “Simply bring yourself!” he exclaimed, when I asked what I should bring; “I just want you to relax and enjoy yourself.” Now, I have been on his picnics before – it’s all silver cutlery, china plates, crystal glasses, linen napkins, gorgeous throws to sit on and  really beautiful food. This picnic was no different – his “prep area” was an arbour set with wooden block seating where the hampers and bottles of wine where kept cool in the shade. Adjacent to this, in the sunshine and next to a lavender edged flower bed, he had spread out one of his enormous throws, scattered with large Indian carpet cushions. Along with a couple of deck chairs, a white linen covered occasional table set with a vase of flowers, a pile of the Sunday papers and a bronze Blackamoor holding out a box of marshmallows, it was akin to  something out of the Days of the Raj – all that was missing was the punkah-wallah to keep us cool!

cheesecake-stuffed-chocolate-strawberriesAnd the food…poached salmon on watercress with an avocado sauce garnished with lemon, prawns and squid rings; a wild rice salad with orange and red peppers, cashew nuts and dried cranberries: a green bean and tomato salad and finally, a vodka marinated cucumber salad with a dill sauce – all immaculately presented, of course. We also had fabulously ripe cheeses brought along by one of the guests, macaroons, the aforementioned marshmallows and I took these Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Strawberries – because I was not going to be able to turn up empty handed! A really splendid afternoon, catching up with old friends and making some new ones, in these beautiful gardens far removed from the hoi-polloi of “barbaric” Chelsea!

These Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Strawberries are a modern, healthy and portable version of a Strawberry Cheesecake. Hollowed out strawberries are filed with a sweetened vanilla cream cheese then dipped in melted chocolate and coated with biscuit crumbs. I saw a version without the chocolate on Pinterest last year but when I made them I found that the biscuit crumbs got soggy from the strawberries as well as the cream cheese. The chocolate forms a barrier  and a really delicious one at that! Feel free to use semi-sweet or milk chocolate instead of dark if you prefer. I made two punnets for the picnic and one for this post. The strawberries for the picnic were much larger and the ones for this post were quite small – you will have to judge how much cream cheese, chocolate and crumbs you will need, depending on the size and amount of the fruit – the recipe below is what I used for the smaller berries. Remember that they don’t take much cream cheese to fill them. These are best at room temperature but do need to be kept in the fridge for the chocolate to firm up. These are perfect for picnics but they are also lovely as a sweet canapé at a summer party.

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cheesecake-stuffed-chocolate-strawberriesI am taking these over to Angie’s for Fiesta Friday #27 – that fabulous weekly party where you will leave completely inspired and blown away by the creativity out there. This week, Angie is ably helped by Aussie power duo,  Saucy @ Saucy Gander and Margot @ Gather and Graze who are in fancy dress – so I’ve come in flapper gear, doing the Charleston and handing out strawberries!

Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Strawberries

INGREDIENTS

  • 400 g punnet of strawberries as even in size as possible
  • 100 g cream cheese
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp sifted icing (confectioner’s) sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract. or paste
  • 70 g of dark or semi sweet chocolate
  • 4 – 5 digestive biscuits or graham crackers

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place the biscuits in a sandwich bag and crush to fine crumbs with a rolling pin or the bottom of a glass. Place  the crumbs in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Blend the cream cheese with 1 tablespoon of the sifted icing sugar and the vanilla – taste and add more sugar if it’s not sweet enough. Taste your strawberries too – you don’t want an overly sweet stuffing if the berries are very sweet.
  3. Fit a large holed nozzle onto a piping bag and fill the bag with the cream cheese mixture. Or fill a sandwich bag with the cream cheese – you can snip off a small bit of the corner when you are ready to stuff the strawberries. Place the bag in the fridge while you get on with the strawberries.
  4. Rinse the strawberries and set aside any that have mushy spots. You can trim those and save them for smoothies, fruit salads etc.
  5. Using a small paring knife, slice off the strawberry hull or calyx – the leaves.
  6. Then, using the tip of the paring knife, hollow out from the base by twisting the knife around in a conical circle.
  7. Place the strawberries on a paper towel lined tray to drain.
  8. Once they are all hulled and hollowed out, pat the tops of the fruit with another paper towel to dry the surfaces.
  9. Fill the strawberries with the cream cheese, using the piping or sandwich bag to fill the fruit neatly.
  10. Either melt the chocolate (in a small bowl) on a low setting in the microwave for 30 second intervals or in a double boiler set-up (a pan of simmering water with the bowl of chocolate set on top but not touching the water). The chocolate should be just melted.
  11. Using a pickle fork or a toothpick or even your fingers if the strawberries are large enough to hold, dip the ends in the chocolate and then in the crumbs.
  12. Set on a tray and pop into the fridge for the chocolate to firm up.
  13. These are best enjoyed at room temperature so take them out at least half an hour before serving. If transporting for picnic then place in a suitable container, packing an icepack underneath the container.

© 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.

Flourless Chocolate and Raspberry Torte

flourless-chocolate-and-raspberry-torteIt’s Friday and time to head on over to the friendliest virtual party going –  Angie’s Fiesta Friday; to catch up with everyone and enjoy the offerings they bring to the party. It’s not just food you know, although admittedly, that is the main thrust – just look at what else we’ve had recently…

  • Pang@CircaHappy brought these utterly stunning floral arrangements – Pang is a talented dynamo; her food is equally as beautiful and her photography is fabulous.
  • Megan@Firebonnet brought these amazing old Ladies Home Journals full of glorious hats from the early 1900’s. Megan has a joyful blog full of happiness, hope and art.
  • Rakhi@BlissBook  told us how she and her brother threw a surprise 30th anniversary party  for their parents, pulling it off magnificently despite her mother’s honed detective skills – a touching post with photos of pure happiness and joy that did make me well up a bit! 
  • Justine@ElecticOddsnSods brought some music to cook by and asked us to share our favourites too. Justine is at heart a writer and has three, yes I said three blogs, written in her inimitable and witty style.
  • Loretta@SafariOfTheMind shared her glorious gardens with us and they are quite something – jaw droppingly spectacular. Loretta has started blogging quite recently and her post on her trip to Kenya is quite the read.

So it’s not all delicious food, decadent puds and glamourous cocktails. Pour yourself an ice cold tall drink enjoy Fiesta Friday #20 which is very ably  hosted this week by Fae@Fae’sTwistandTango and Suzanne@PugintheKitchen. Fae needs little introduction – the original blog mother hen, she has nurtured and encouraged so many whilst maintaing a truly international, inspirational and delicious blog. Suzanne is a very creative and prolific cook who creates recipes for Wholefoods and my favourite website Food52. And how adorable are her pugs? Thank you ladies – it is going to be a blast!

If you blog, please do join in, reading the the guidelines first to get you going.

flourless-chocolate-and-raspberry-torteI, of course, stay true to my nature and bring something for the table. A rather grown up and glorious Flourless Chocolate and Raspberry Torte. A torte is defined as

a sweet cake or tart; from German Torte, via Italian from late Latin torta ’round loaf, cake’. Compare with tortilla

Oh, I do like a little word-history…

flourless-chocolate-and-raspberry-torteInspired by The River Cafe’s Easy Chocolate Nemesis Cake and Nigella’s Chocolate Meringue (which is my dinner party pudding of choice) , this is a dinner party pudding cake. With a crisp meringue exterior and a rich, dense, raspberry studded interior, it is a rather decadent affair. The espresso powder intensifies the chocolate flavour and the tart raspberries offset the sweetness.

flourless-chocolate-and-raspberry-torteWhile the torte is straightforward enough to make, there are a few crucial points that would be remiss of me not to highlight;

  • Take some time to line the sides and base of the tin with waxed paper.
  • The eggs must be at room temperature – they will not whip up to the volume required otherwise.
  • Ensure that the bowl and beaters for the egg whites are scrupulously clean – any bits of grease or egg yolk and they will not whip up as voluminously. Unless you have 2 sets of beaters, start with the whites first and then move onto the yolks.
  • Use large bowls – the whites whip up to 4-5 times their original volume.
  • When you are whipping the whites, add the sugar a little at a time.
  • This is a great article on the various stages of whipping egg whites (and cream)
  • Use a large metal spoon to fold in the egg whites – rubber spatulas destroy the volume.
  • When folding the second and third batches of egg whites, be gentle – don’t knock out the air. The whites are the only leavening agent.

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Flourless Chocolate and Raspberry Torte

  • Servings: 10 - 12 slices
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 50 g (3 Tbsp) butter
  • 200 g (7 oz) 70% cocoa, dark chocolate, broken up
  • 6 large room temperature eggs, yolks and whites separated into 2 large bowls
  • 225 g (1 cup) caster/superfine sugar, divided in half
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp expresso powder
  • ¼ tsp salt (I used Maldon sea salt flakes)
  • 225g ripe raspberries
  • 1 x 23 cm/9″ springform baking tin, sides and bottom lined  with waxed paper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place the butter and the chocolate in a heat proof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water. The water should not  touch the bowl – the steam will heat and melt the chocolate and butter. Stir it every so often until melted, amalgamated and smooth. Alternatively, place in a microwave safe bowl, cover loosely and heat on 50% power, stirring every 30 seconds until melted and smooth – this should take about 2 minutes. I used the microwave. Leave it to cool whilst getting the rest of the ingredients ready.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F.
  3. Line the base and sides of the tin with waxed paper using a little butter to help it stick to the tin.
  4. Whip the egg whites in a large grease free bowl until foamy on a medium setting.
  5. Add the balsamic vinegar and whisk briefly.
  6. Increase the setting to high and start adding half the sugar very gradually. The mixture will start getting glossy and increase greatly in volume. Keep going until you get to the stiff peaks stage – when you pull your beaters out, the mixture forms a peak that doesn’t flop over.  Set aside while you get on with the egg yolks.
  7. Whip the egg yolks with the other half the sugar for about 3 or 4 minutes scraping down the sides of the bowl from time to time – the mixture will turn from gloopy and bright orange to a pale, thick and creamy mass.
  8. Add the espresso powder and the salt and whip to incorporate.
  9. Add the cooled but still liquid chocolate/butter mixture and whip again until it is evenly mixed.
  10. Using a large metal spoon, fold in the egg whites to the yolk/chocolate mixture in 3 batches. The first batch is really to temper or loosen up and lighten the yolk/chocolate mixture; fold in the remaining whites carefully trying to keep as much of the volume as you can.
  11. Scrape  into the prepared pan and top with the raspberries, pushing them in slightly.
  12. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out without any batter clinging to it.
  13. Cool in the pan, on a wire rack – it should collapse in the middle with a crisp meringue like shell and a fudgey centre, studded with raspberries.
  14. Serve in small slices with a little cream and a few fresh raspberries.

© 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.

Nutella Espresso Sticky Buns

nutella_espresso_sticky_bunsIt’s Fiesta Friday over at Angie’s blog The Novice Gardener and we are all invited! I’ve thought long and hard about what I want to bring to the party. A bright and cheeky salad with blood oranges and halloumi? A bold as you dare Thai curry? Perhaps a steady and comforting fish pie…. Nope, I’ve decided to take something tall, dark and handsome to prop me up and look and smell gorgeous while I mix and mingle with all the other party goers.

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When I first made this recipe I remember thinking what an inspired combination the flavours were – coffee and Nutella in a sticky bun! But when I made it, I felt that the dough wasn’t rich enough and well, I just had to tweak it here and there.

I have attached my C.V. and hope that you find that my experience is relevant for this role.  In my current role, I manage operations, oversee projects, run the office and support the Managing Director in both a private and business capacity. I have also worked in a private family office, supporting the Principal and his family. The majority of my experience has been in small offices. I have excellent interpersonal skills and am able to communicate with people at any level. As an experienced administrator, I am able to prioritise and manage my workload effectively and to deadline. I am organised and detail oriented; a team player, willing to support and pitch in as necessary to get a job done.  Please don't hesitate to contact me should you have any questions about my experience and suitability for this role. I would also be grateful if you would keep me in mind for any other roles that you think I may be suitable for. I am available for interview at short notice and would relish the opportunity to discuss my experience with you. Sincerely Selma Jeevanjee Since then, I have taken a bread making class with Nina Oortman where she introduced me to fresh yeast. It doesn’t last more than a couple of weeks but it has no chemicals in it and is super easy to work with. In the UK, you can ask for it from the in-store bakeries or buy it in little blocks from the dairy section in Eastern European grocery shops. It’s called “Drozdze” in Polish.  Store opened packs of fresh yeast in an airtight container in the fridge as otherwise, the smell of yeast will permeate everything.

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Fresh Yeast – 100g packet

To convert recipes which call for active dry yeast, multiply the number of grams by 3 to arrive at how much fresh yeast you will need.  There are 3.5g in a teaspoon. You need 20% more instant yeast than active dry.  (This site explains it in more detail – http://makebread.com.au/fresh-yeast-conversion/) I’ve given measurements and instructions for all three types of yeast in the recipe below.

Please don’t be afraid to work with yeast – it’s so easy that once you try it, you will wonder why you didn’t do so sooner. Kneading dough is actually quite easy – it’s more like stretching the dough. Keep one hand at the base of the dough, use the other to pull it away from you. Then bring it back over on itself, give it a quarter spin and keep going,  There are lots of videos on YouTube if you want a demonstration – as my son told me the other day, “YouTube is your friend, Mum…you should pay it a visit!”

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Cocoa Nibs

I’ve used cocao nibs to take the sweet edge off the sugar and the Nutella – and it’s good for you too. They have quite a bitter flavour and I think they would be wonderful in smoothies, shakes, granola, hot chocolate, biscuits and mole type sauces.

My recipe for Nutella Espresso Sticky Buns can be made in one go – I prefer to make the dough, fill and slice it and then prove it in the fridge overnight. A long, slow prove makes for a tastier dough. Then in the morning, pop them in the oven and hey presto, you have delicious, warm, gooey buns for a decadent mid-morning pick-me-up.

As I prepared the dough  in the evening, the lighting is not the best but the photos below give you an idea as to how easy it is.

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1. Yeast mixed into water and milk
2. Butter, egg, sugar and espresso mix
3. Pour into yeast mix
4. Stir to blend together

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1. Add wet ingredients to the dry
2. Mix in the bowl
3. Scrape onto floured board
4. Kneaded and ready for first proving.

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1. Proved dough doubled in size   2. Without the cling film
3. Scraped out on the lightly floured board   4. Flouring the top

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1. Dough rolled out
2. Covered in Nutella
3. Sprinkled with sugar espresso mix
4. Sprinkled with cocoa nibs

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Rolling up the filled dough

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Before and after the second proving

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1. After overnight proving in the fridge
2. Sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts
3.Sprinkle with remaining brown sugar mixture

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Click on the link to be taken to Angie’s blog The Novice Gardener and join the party! Mix and mingle with the the guests – who knows who you might meet! http://thenovicegardener.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/fiesta-friday-5/

If you blog and would like to join the party, here are the guidelines http://thenovicegardener.wordpress.com/fiesta-friday/

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Nutella Espresso Sticky Buns

  • Difficulty: intermediate
  • Print

adapted from The Pastry Affair and Perfect Cinnamon Rolls

INGREDIENTS

For the dough:

  • 100ml luke warm milk
  • 50ml luke warm water
  • 15 g fresh yeast (or 5 g active dry yeast or 6 g instant yeast)
  • 60 g melted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 45 g/3 tsp golden caster sugar
  • 30 g/ 2tsp espresso powder
  • 250 g plain flour plus extra for dusting

For the filling

  • 30g/ 2 tsp muscovado or brown sugar
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 150g  Nutella
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa nibs
  • chopped roasted hazelnuts

INSTRUCTIONS

YEAST

  • Fresh yeast – place luke warm milk and water in a cereal sized bowl and crumble in the yeast. Stir until yeast has dissolved. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  • For active dry yeast – place milk and water in a bowl and sprinkle over the yeast. Set aside for 5 – 10 minutes until frothy
  • For instant yeast – add straight into dry ingredients

THEN

  1. Melt the butter in a cereal sized  bowl and allow to cool a little; crack the egg into the butter, add the sugar and espresso powder and whisk well to blend. Scrape into the milk/water/yeast bowl and mix.
  2. Measure flour into a large bowl and make a well in it.
  3. Pour in the yeast mixture and using the fingers of your dominant hand, stir in the flour, spinning the bowl round as you go. It is going to be a wet and sticky dough to begin with.
  4. Once the flour is incorporated, start stretching it in the bowl (to develop the gluten) by picking up a bit, stretching it out and then laying it on top. Spin the bowl a quarter turn and keep repeating this until the dough starts to feel like it’s coming together – this should take 4 or 5 minutes – keep going – it will come together!
  5. Scrape it out onto a well floured surface. Scrape all the bits off your fingers onto it. Start to gently knead the dough – it will be sticky and you may have to keep dusting it with small amounts of flour. Try to use as little as possible.  I used an additional 30g (2 Tbsp) of flour. Knead for another 5 minutes or so.
  6. When it feels nice and elastic, form it into a  tight ball,  pop it back into the bowl and cover with cling film. Set aside for  1- 2 hours (depending on how warm your kitchen is) to double in size. Mine took 2 hrs.
  7. Mix sugar and espresso powder for the filling and set aside
  8. Butter a 26cm/10″ cm round baking tin and set aside
  9. Lightly flour your work surface and  measure out 12″ x 16″ on it.
  10. Scrape out the dough onto it using a rubber spatula ad lightly flour the top.
  11. Roll it out gently and evenly, adding a little more flour if it gets stuck or is sticky – but it really won’t be. The dough is  soft and lovely to work with. I sort of  pat it out into a rectangle and then roll it out.
  12. Warm up the Nutella – 30 seconds or so in the microwave should do it. It should be soft enough to spread easily onto the soft dough.
  13. Spread it over the dough, leaving a 1/2″ border around the edge.
  14. Sprinkle over ⅔ of the sugar and espresso mixture
  15. Sprinkle over the cocoa nibs
  16. Start rolling up, as tightly as you can, from the long side of the dough.
  17. Cut into 1 ½” slices – I got 11 because I didn’t trim off the ends – all that lovely dough!!.
  18. Arrange in the baking tin, cover with cling film and pop in the fridge to prove overnight. Or you can leave the tin in  warm place for 45 – 60 mins to rise.
  19. Pre heat oven to 190C 375F
  20. Remove the tin from the fridge and sprinkle the top with some chopped hazelnuts and the remaining sugar mix.
  21. Bake for 15-20 minutes and enjoy them 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.

Chocolate and Beetroot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Beetroot and Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese FrostingA friend of mine has been planning to make a Chocolate and Beetroot Cake all spring and then all summer but circumstances conspired against him and he didn’t get a chance to make one.

Beetroot and Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese FrostingSo when he organised an intimate drinks party round his to celebrate his birthday earlier this week, I knew what I was going to make for him – Chocolate and Beetroot Cupcakes… He cooks the most delicious food, always beautifully presented and outdid himself with the gorgeous canapés that kept on coming that night. We rounded off the evening with a cupcake each and I was so pleased that they were just what he had been craving for the better part of this year!

Beetroot and Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese FrostingThe beetroot keeps the cake moist and gives it a lovely deep red colour. I made another  batch of these today and took then as a reward for my friends who were cold water swimming at Tooting Bec Lido this morning and managed to convert someone’s husband who apparently can’t even look at beetroot. Admittedly he had no idea what he was eating until it was too late – he looked absolutely horrified at the thought of having eaten beetroot but then decided that it wasn’t so bad after all. You really cannot taste the beetroot.

Beetroot and Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese FrostingThe cream cheese frosting is one I have developed – it is not too sweet but nice and tangy which is as it should be.

Beetroot and Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I am entering this recipe in the Family Foodies January Challenge – Hidden Goodies. If you want to see how other clever parents are  hiding and incorporating nutrient dense vegetables, nuts and pulses in their children’s meals then  read all about it on the Bangers and Mash blog by clicking on the link.  Eat Your Veg is another great resource for feeding your children the good stuff, so do go over and take a look at what is happening there.

family-foodies1

I am linking this recipe to the Tasty Tuesdays Valentine’s Party hosted by the Anyonita Nibbles – go over and take a look at her amazing blog!

– See more at: http://www.anyonita-nibbles.co.uk/2014/01/tasty-tuesdays-valentines.html#sthash.H0CR8tWe.dpuf

Chocolate and Beetroot Cupcakes

  • Servings: 12 cupcakes
  • Difficulty: easy
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INGREDIENTS

  • 120g flour
  • 60g cacao powder sifted
  • 170g golden caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 170g cooked beetroot (not pickled!)
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 140ml vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste/extract

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 200g cold cream cheese
  • 100g soft butter
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g caster sugar

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/325F and line 12 muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. Place a large mixing bowl directly on the scales and set the scales to zero.  One spoonful at a time, measure out the cacao powder into a sieve and sift it straight into the mixing bowl. Keep an eye the weight – 60g is usually about 4 tablespoonfuls. Then re-set the scales to zero and add the flour and then do the same for the sugar. Measure in the baking powder and salt then give everything a really good whisk to mix it well an also aerate it.
  3. Place the beetroot in a food processor and blitz for 30 seconds or so. Scrape down the sides and add in the eggs and vanilla paste/extract and blitz again for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides again and with the motor running, pour in the oil and process for about one minute.
  4. Scrape out the beet mix onto the top of the dry ingredients and stir with a spatula until it is just blended – do not overwork the batter.
  5. Evenly spoon the batter between the 12 paper cases.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, turning the tray around half way through if you oven has hot spots like mine does. To check that it is done, poke a toothpick or wooden skewer into the centre of one of the middle cakes – it should not have any batter clinging to it. If it does, pop it back in for another 5 minutes and check again.
  7. FROSTING : Beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy – probably 5 minutes or so. Add the vanilla and beat again. Finally add the cream cheese an beat until just combined. Do not over-beat the cream cheese as this will make the frosting runny.
  8. Spoon into a piping bag and frost the cakes or just smear it on with a spoon and knife.

Quick Peanut Butter and Chocolate Squares

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Squares | Selma's Table

Photo by James Ransom for Food52

My recipe for  Quick Peanut Butter and Chocolate Squares was a Community Pick over on one of my favourite food sites – Food52!  This is what they said about it –

Food52 Review: This recipe takes the classic chocolate and peanut butter pairing and turns it into a no-bake bar cookie. It’s the perfect dessert recipe to have in your back pocket for bake sales, picnics, large gatherings of any kind, or just when you need a sugar fix — stat.– A&M

And it was so beautifully photographed by the amazing James Ransom too! Lots of lovely comments and helpful tips in the comment section as well.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate SquaresThese Peanut Butter and Chocolate Squares are really quick to make and are delicious pick-me-up with a mid-morning espresso.  I think that they would be rather lovely with a glass of milk too. They are not too sweet, with that unmistakeable savoury peanut butter flavour; chocolatey with a little hit of  salt. The body is given by the Saltines which are an American cracker with a light sprinkling of salt on them. Saltines are very dry and very crisp –  in fact a Saltine Cracker Challenge exists, to eat 6 crackers in one minute without any water – easy to crunch up but very hard to swallow! I remember getting them, wrapped in their cellophane with a bowl of soup at The Hudson’s Bay in-store diner where I used to escape to during my lunch hour when I worked in retail. Saltines are available to buy on-line in the UK here but if you don’t want to wait, I have found that Sainsburys sell an Italian version called Doriano which is what I used for this recipe.

Saltine Cracker substitute

Saltine Cracker substitute

Bookmark my recipe for Peanut Butter and Chocolate Squares, for the festive season if you have a peanut butter loving friend; popped into one of those cellophane bags, this makes a lovely gift with the added bonus of being quick to make during the time constrained weeks leading up to the big day!

PB and Choc Sqs

These are so simple to make; blitz the crackers, melt the butter with the sugar and milk; pour onto crackers and peanut butter; mix and pat into a pan; cool, then cover with melted chocolate and sprinkle with flaky salt.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Squares | Selma's Table

Quick Peanut Butter and Chocolate Squares

  • Servings: 16 squares
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 450 g/2 cups caster sugar
  • 12o ml/ ½ cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons/45g butter
  • 240 g Doriano crackers/Saltine crackers, finely blitzed in a food processor or crushed in a plastic bag with a rolling pin
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 340 g smooth peanut butter
  • 200g dark chocolate broken up into small pieces (use semi sweet or milk chocolate if making for children)
  • 45ml/3tbsp double cream
  • Flaky sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Line a 9 inch square pan with parchment paper or non-stick foil. I have a really easy way to do this in Tips and Tricks – in the baking section. Leave a little overhang so that you can pull up on it later.
  2. Blitz or crush the crackers into fine crumbs, depending on how much texture you want in your squares. Doing this in a food processor took me about 2 minutes, pulsing for the last 30 seconds to check on progress.
  3. Empty into a large mixing bowl then scrape out the peanut butter and dump it on top of the crumbs.
  4. Place the sugar, milk, and butter in a saucepan over medium low heat, stirring from time to time. It needs come to a boil slowly. Once it comes to a full boil, set the timer for 1 minute. The mixture will froth and foam so don’t panic and take it off the heat.
  5. When the minute is up, carefully pour the extremely hot sugar mixture over the crackers and peanut butter.
  6. Add the vanilla and then stir with a spatula until it is really well combined.
  7. Scrape it into the prepared pan, pat it in and smooth it out and leave it to cool for about an hour.
  8. Slowly heat the cream in a pan until it just comes to a boil. Take it off the heat and stir in the pieces of chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted and it’s all looking lovely and glossy.  Pour onto cooled peanut butter mix and cover, using a spatula to even it out.
  9. Sprinkle with sea salt while the chocolate is still warm.
  10. Pop into the fridge to allow it to set, then remove from the tin and using a large knife, cut into 16 squares  or whichever size you like.

© 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.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Squares