Smoked Mackerel Pâté Canapés

Smoked Mackerel Pâté Canapés | Selma's TableEveryone needs a quick, easy to make canapé recipe, especially at this time of year. This Smoked Mackerel Pâté takes minutes to whizz up together and is endlessly versatile; it can be spread it on some thin oven toasted slices of baguette, topped it with grated cheese and grilled – super easy and really tasty too. Or, if you don’t want to be bothered with heating them up, you could just top the baguette toasts with the Mackerel Pâté, place half of a pitted black olive and a sprinkle of parsley on top and voila!

Smoked Mackerel Pâté Canapés | Selma's TableIf you are having a buffet style table of nibbles, you can also serve the pâté in a bowl, surrounded by slices of baguette. I’ve often served it as a casual starter when I’ve had friends round for supper during the week. Everyone gathers round the table with a drink, to chat and whet their appetites on this pâté while I get on with finishing off the main attraction.

Smoked Mackerel Pâté Canapés | Selma's Table

My version includes a little heat from chilli flakes and a warm spicy note from dry roasted cumin seeds – both work so well with the smoky mackerel and the sharpness of the lemon. You can change the spicing to suit your palate, of course.

Smoked Mackerel Pâté

  • Difficulty: easy
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INGREDIENTS

  • 3 fillets (approximately 300 – 350g in total) of smoked and peppered mackerel with the skin removed
  • 1 tsp dry roasted cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • zest and juice of a lemon (unwaxed) Use half the juice to start with and only add more after you have tasted the pâté, if it needs it.
  • 2 Tbsp half fat creme fraiche
  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley

To Serve

  • Baguette cut into ½ cm slices and toasted on a tray in the oven
  • A little grated cheddar cheese

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Break the mackerel into large chunks and place all the ingredients (using just half of the lemon juice to start with) into a food processor. Pulse to combine. Try and keep some of the texture rather than reducing it to a homogenous paste.
  2. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary – you may need more lemon.
  3. Scrape into a container and refrigerate until needed.
  4. Then, turn on the grill/broiler.
  5. Cover the slices of baguettine with the pâté, top with a little grated cheddar and place on a baking sheet. Grill/broil until bubbly and browned.

The Smoked Mackerel Pâté also very nice cold topped with a slice of olive, and as a casual starter with a baguette.

© 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.

Sensational Meatballs with Lentils

Sensational Meatballs with LentilsI almost didn’t post this recipe, hence the lack of photos, in progress or otherwise! I’ve been making these Sensational Meatballs and Lentils for about 8 years (since 2006 according to my notes) and it was Jake who suggested that I share the recipe here on the blog when I made it the other day. It came about the usual way – picking up a few bits on the way home from work and seeing what was in the cupboards to supplement the ingredients – a bit like Ready Steady Cook! The resultant deeply flavoured, lemony Meatballs and Lentils were so delicious that I wrote up the recipe in my notebook.

This is one of those dishes that wraps you up in a warm blanket and gives you a hug; so comforting on these dark, chilly evenings. The seasonings of smoked paprika, rosemary and cumin seeds give the dish so much depth and flavour and the lemon juice and zest perk it all up.  It’s very quick to prepare, especially if you buy pre-made (raw) meatballs which can be a godsend if you are strapped for time.  Red lentils don’t require pre-soaking and cook very quickly, usually between 15 – 20 minutes and the lemon juice is the perfect complement to them. Stirring in spinach or chard leaves at the end gives it a vegetal boost with the added bonus of not having to prepare a separate side dish. You could also use frozen spinach. adding it a few minutes earlier so that it has a chance to thaw in the pot. Don’t add salt until the end otherwise the lentils stay hard.  This is quick, one pot cooking at it’s best.

Sensational Meatballs with LentilsYou start by rolling the meatballs, then sauté the onions, then the meatballs with the seasonings; stir in the stock, lentils, lemon juice and tomatoes and let the whole lot simmer away while you get the rice on and prepare the spinach which gets stirred in a couple of minutes before the end. That’s it!! I urge you to give the Meatballs and Lentils  a try – the dish is absolutely sensational!

I’m taking these to share with all the Fiesta Friday #46  revellers, so generously hosted by Angie at the Novice Gardener. Today our co hosts are  Margy @La Petite Casserole and Juju @cookingwithauntjuju. – do drop by and say hello to them!

Sensational Meatballs with Lentils

  • Servings: 4 generous portions
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 500 g lean mince beef
  • 1 tsp of salt and a good grinding of the pepper mill
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 2 red onions, diced
  • A good splash of Olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp chopped rosemary
  • 1 tsp whole, dry roasted cumin seeds
  • 1 rounded tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 finely chopped garlic cloves
  • Zest and juice of one lemon
  • 200g dry red split lentils
  • 1 rounded tsp of chicken stock powder stirred into 500 ml of hot water/500ml homemade stock
  • 1 tin of tomatoes or 3-4 medium tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 couple of bay leaves
  • 300 – 400 g fresh spinach or chard

To serve

  • Cooked rice
  • Dollop of greek yoghurt or tzatziki

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Season the minced beef with salt and pepper, stir in parsley and with a light hand, mix well to combine. Wet your hands and roll into walnut sized balls and set aside. If you are in a hurry you can substitute ready made (raw) meatballs but get the premium ones as the cheaper ones have more fat and sometimes, gristle.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onions until soft and a little coloured.
  3. Stir in the rosemary, smoked paprika, garlic and lemon zest, then add the meatballs and sauté until lightly brown on all sides – about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the lemon juice, the lentils, the stock, the tomatoes (break up the tomatoes if you are using whole tinned ones) and bay leaves. Let this simmer gently for about 20 minutes. Keep an eye on it and add a little more water if necessary. It shouldn’t be too thick.
  5. While it’s simmering away, wash the spinach/chard and remove the central rib if thick and fibrous. Save them in the freezer, for the stock pot. Chop the leaves and set aside. Get the rice on.
  6. After 20 minutes, check that the lentils are cooked through and also check the seasoning. Adjust to taste – this is the time to add salt; I also like to add more cumin seeds.
  7. Stir in the spinach/chard leaves and cover the pot to allow the leaves to wilt in the heat.
  8. Serve hot with rice an a dollop of greek yoghurt or tzatziki.
© 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.

Smoky, Spicy Roasted Corn Soup

Smoky, Spicy Roasted Corn Soup | Selma's TableI popped into Borough Market on Saturday, just to buy some gnarly heirloom tomatoes – something both Jake and I really enjoy with basil and buffalo mozzarella. The market is uncomfortably busy on a Saturday so I didn’t linger but just made my way to the periphery where there are some brilliant farm vegetable stalls and also came away with these lovely ears of corn.

Smoky, Spicy Roasted Corn Soup | Selma's TableI’ve been craving the East African dish of “Makai Paka” or  “Corn in Coconut” but after a conversation with my mother, realised that I didn’t have a couple of items so decided on making a rustic soup instead. I used a dried chipotle pepper to add a smoky spicy depth to this dish – you could add smoky paprika and some chilli flakes if you don’t have chipotle peppers. After rehydrating it in hot water, I sliced it in half and scraped out the seeds as it was quite hot enough!

Smoky, Spicy Roasted Corn Soup | Selma's TableI had seen a method of slicing off corn kernels that I had been itching to try. which involves a Bundt pan and a sharp knife – it worked! The hole in the middle of the pan supports the cob and the pan itself catches most of the kernels and really contains the ‘scatter and splatter’ that inevitably results when slicing off fresh corn kernels.

Smoky, Spicy Roasted Corn Soup | Selma's Table

When roasting the kernels, don’t over do them – for this soup, they are nicer when they are still quite creamy and tinged gold rather than hard chewy golden nuggets! And don’t throw the corn cobs away – they are needed to make a corn broth for the soup!

This is a lovely dish to enjoy as a light lunch or supper, making the best of the late summer produce that is around! I am taking this over to share with the lovely bloggers over at The Novice Gardener’s, Fiesta Friday #31  which today, is being hosted by Angie herself. Angie is sharing the most delicious spread of bruschetta and crostini and the featured recipes from last week are absolutely mouth watering! Smoky, Spicy Roasted Corn Soup | Selma's Table

Smoky, Spicy Roasted Corn Soup

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Adapted from Fresh Corn Soup by David Lebovitz

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cobs of corn
  • 2 pointed sweet red peppers
  • 4 cloves of garlic in their skins
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 800 ml water
  • 1 medium onion
  • splash of olive oil
  • 150 ml creme fraiche
  • 1 dried chipotle pepper (or 1 tsp smoked paprika and ½ tsp chilli flakes)
  • 1 tsp dry roasted cumin seeds, crushed coarsely
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves or use parsley or chervil instead
  • lemon wedges to serve

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Leave the chipotle pepper to soak in a little hot water.
  2. Preheat oven to 190 C/ 375F
  3. Shuck the corn and slice off the kernels. Set the cobs aside. to make a broth. Slice the red peppers in two and de-seed.
  4. On a large baking tray, mix the kernels, the peppers, the garlic, the salt and the olive oil – spread out and roast for 25 mins, stirring a couple of times. The corn should be tinged gold in places but don’t over-roast – the kernels should still be succulent.
  5. While the kernels are  roasting, snap the cobs into pieces and place in a saucepan. Cover with 800 ml of water and bring to a simmer. Simmer on a low heat for about 30 minutes.
  6. Sauté the onion in a large saucepan until floppy and slightly golden.
  7. When cool enough to handle, chop the sweet red pepper into small pieces.
  8. Drain the chipotle pepper, cut in half and remove the seeds to reduce the heat. Chop  finely and have a little taste to see how hot it is.
  9. Squeeze the garlic out of their skins and add to the onions in the saucepan, along with the kernels and the chopped red pepper. Stir in the chipotle pepper to your taste – I used the whole one. Or add the smoky paprika and the chilli flakes if not using the chipotle pepper. Add a teaspoon of vegetable bouillon and the crushed cumin seeds
  10. Remove the corn cobs from the water and discard. Tip the corn broth into the saucepan and bring to a simmer. Do not boil.
  11. Stir in the creme fraiche and the herbs.

Serve with a lemon wedges which really sharpen the flavour and tone down the heat at the same time.

 

© 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shakshuka – (Eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce)

shakshuka-eggs-poached-in-a-spicy-tomato-sauceStating the obvious, I know, but weekends are just made for leisurely breakfasts and brunches. Whether meeting friends at a bustling cafe or making something at home, brunch is one of my favourite meals just because it feels so indulgent and decadent in comparison to the usual Monday to Friday grind.

I watched Ottolenghi’s Mediterranean Feast when it first aired a couple of years ago (Dec 2012) and  was struck by the warmth and conviviality that he encountered whether shopping in a market, researching in a backstreet or cooking in restaurants with fellow chefs. The food ranged from traditional to modern and always so fresh – it was a fabulous series. (If you are in the UK, click on the link to take you to Channel 4OD to watch the series.) One dish that really caught my fancy was Shakshuka, a Tunisian dish of eggs, poached in a spicy tomato sauce which he dished up in Tel Aviv under the watchful eye of “The King of Shakshuka”. I’ve been making it ever since…

shakshuka-eggs-poached-in-a-spicy-tomato-sauce

My version is not as spicy and lends itself to being easily converted to a vegetarian meal by omitting the chorizo or merguez sausages and substituting these with mushrooms and red peppers. This recipe is so tasty and so simple to make that I hope it will become a firm favourite in your weekend meal repertoires.

shakshuka-eggs-poached-in-a-spicy-tomato-sauce

shakshuka-eggs-poached-in-a-spicy-tomato-sauce

The eggs are poached…

shakshuka-eggs-poached-in-a-spicy-tomato-sauce

I am taking these over to Angie’s Fiesta Friday #18 which this week, is being co-hosted by Justine@Eclectic odds n sods and Mr Fitz@Cooking with Mr Fitz . With these two party animals in charge, it is going to be a blast!! Justine has been at the champers since the get go and Mr Fitz has been brandishing those super sharp knives of his when things threaten to get out of control…do take a look at their blogs – you are sure to find much to amuse at Justine’s and much to envy at Mr Fitz’…

Angie’s Fiesta Friday is attended by the warmest, most supportive and incredibly creative bunch of people that it has been my pleasure to (virtually) meet. Do take a look at the entries for inspiration and if you blog, feel free to join in. Not only would Angie, Justine and Mr Fitz welcome you with open arms but so will the crowd!

Read the guide lines here – http://thenovicegardener.wordpress.com/fiesta-friday/

Join the party here – http://thenovicegardener.wordpress.com/2014/05/29/going-vegetarian-for-fiesta-friday-18/

Shakshuka

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 banana shallots or one medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 75 g chorizo or merguez sliced into ½ cm chunks (or use mushrooms and red peppers for a vegetarian option)
  • 1 tsp tomato paste/puree
  • 1 tsp Harissa paste (adjust this to your palate and substitute with ½ tsp of chilli flakes if you don’t have any Harissa)
  • 1 can of tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dry roasted cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • ⅓ can of water
  • 4 large, preferably  organic/free range eggs
  • handful of chopped coriander/cilantro leaves (I also used some snipped chives)
  • Greek yoghurt and flat breads or sourdough toast to serve

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan or skillet, over a medium low flame.
  2. Gently sauté the shallots until they have softened and coloured which should take about 4 – 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and the chorizo or merguez and sauté for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring from time to time to cook all sides. I add a splash of water to the pan if I think it’s going to catch and burn.
  4. Add the tomato paste and the Harissa to the pan, stir, and let the rawness cook off for a a minute or so.
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes, smoked paprika, cumin seeds and thyme leaves and ⅓ of the (tomato) can of water. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any delicious caramelisation that will have occurred and let this bubble away , uncovered, for between 5 -8 minutes, reducing to a thick chunky sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
  6. In the meantime, heat up the flat breads or make the toast and set the table…
  7. Make 4 indentations in the sauce and crack an egg into each one. Cover  the pan and turn down the flame to low and cook for between 3 – 5 minutes. The time taken depends on how “done” you like your yolks, how thick or thin the base of the pan is and how hot the element is, so do check on the eggs after the initial 3 minutes are up.
  8. Scatter over the coriander leaves and serve immediately with a dollop of yoghurt and lots of warm flat bread to scoop up the delicious sauce.

© 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.

‘Tennis’ Turkey

tennis_turkeyWhen my son was much younger, he, like most children these days, had all sorts of after school activities to attend; Mad Science on a Monday, swimming on a Tuesday, football on a Wednesday and tennis on a Thursday. I would make him an after school snack – usually Vogel seeded bread with either hommous and cucumber or peanut butter and banana –  to keep him going until dinner. We would get home and I would get something cooked  and on the table in record breaking time. ‘Tennis’ Turkey came about when we stopped at the Sainsbury’s Local near the tennis club on the way home and picked up a pack of turkey breast steaks. I got home, took a look at what I had in the cupboards and this dish came together.

It was so tasty, with a depth of flavour which belied it’s short cooking time, that I wrote down what I had done whilst Jake cleared away (he has been setting the table and clearing the dishes for a very long time now – just wish he would show some interest in cooking rather than just eating!). I asked him what he thought the dish should be called and without hesitation, he said ‘Tennis Turkey” and the name has stuck.

tennis_turkeyIt is one of those dishes where prep and cooking harmoniously segue into each other. I start by washing and putting some rice on to cook. Then as the oil in the frypan heats up, I slice the onion and toss that in, with a pinch of salt to help it along. As that cooks, I thump the cumin in the pestle and mortar, slice the turkey into long strips, mince the garlic and chop some herbs.

tennis_turkeyOnce the onions have had about 10 minutes – and cooking them long and slow is what give the dish such a great depth of flavour- I stir in the garlic and then spread the turkey strips out in a layer. While those are cooking on one side, I get the peas, creme fraiche and bouillon out and slice the lemon. Then I  give the strips a stir, add the cumin and cook for a minute or so until there is very little pink visible in the meat.

tennis_turkeyThen I yell up the stairs at Jake to set the table, add the bouillon powder, the creme fraiche and a little water, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any caramelisation and let that bubble and thicken, stir in the peas, squeeze over some lemon and it’s done!

tennis_turkey

Of course you can substitute chicken breasts if you don’t like or can’t find turkey. Both cook really quickly and are ideal for this sort of cooking. Can I also mention this time saving flavour booster?

tennis_turkeyI love these tubs of crispy fried onions – a little sprinkle  adds crunch and a savoury note to things like egg salads, noodle soups and rice – a very short ingredient list (onions,  vegetable oil, wheat flour and salt) and a real time saver…I have seen them in bags in the Indian grocery stores too.

tennis_turkey

Tennis Turkey

  • Servings: 4
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 large onion or 4 shallots
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 500g (or 4 x) turkey breast steaks
  • 2 tsp dry roasted cumin seeds, separated
  • 1 tsp Marigold bouillon powder or a vegetable stock cube, crumbled
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 Tbsp  ½ fat creme fraiche or double cream
  • ¼ of a lemon
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • crispy fried onions (optional)
  • red peppercorns (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Halve and slice onion in half moons and sauté gently  on a medium low heat, in the olive oil with a pinch of salt, until floppy and pale gold. This should take about 10 minutes. If the onions start to catch, stir in a little water and lower the heat
  2. While the onions are cooking, slice the turkey across the grain into 1 cm thick strips, chop the garlic and pound 1 tsp of the cumin seed in a mortar and pestle.
  3. Then stir the garlic into the onions and let this cook for a minute or so.
  4. Add the turkey strips, spreading them out in one layer and let them cook on one side, browning slightly, before stirring to cook on the other side.
  5. Sprinkle on the ground and whole cumin and stir for a minute.
  6. Sprinkle on the bouillon power stir, then add the water and the creme fraiche. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce starts to thicken a little. Squeeze in a little lemon to taste.
  7. Stir in the peas and cook for a couple of minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Stir in the parsley just before serving.
  8. Top with a few crispy fried onions and a few red peppercorns if using.

Serve with rice.

In My Kitchen – April 2014

 

peter_layton_landscape_bowls

“Landscape” bowls by Peter Layton

I can’t quite believe that a month has rolled by so quickly and that it is time to take another look in my kitchen already!

In my kitchen I have 3 beautiful opaque bowls from the Landscape series by glass blower extraordinare, Peter Layton of London Glassblowing. They sit on the window ledge changing colour, hue and intensity depending on the time of day. Many years ago, I read that London Glassblowing were holding an open week and sale in their workshop so took my son to watch the process at their studio in Bermondsey. I remember walking through the historical old streets of Southwark with him, passing by narrow streets with names like Vinegar Yard, Lamb Walk and Crucifix Street. Where once, as far back as medieval times, the area was known for it’s flourishing docks, leather and food processing industries and later, for it’s slums, now the old brick warehouses hold thriving creative and retail studios. When I finally found it because I did get lost (this was in the days of the London A-Z, waaaay before smartphones and GPS ) we found ourselves in a cobbled courtyard  surrounded on all sides by old industrial units. When we located the studio, the contrast between their gallery; sleek and white with the displayed glass objects glowing like jewels and the workshop; hot as Hades, chaotic and with a true industrial vibe, well, it couldn’t have been more stark or wonderful. We watched great globs of liquid glass being blown and pulled and pushed into gorgeous organic shapes by artisans working next to the blistering furnace – Jake was fascinated. Even as his cheeks started to flush and his hair began to dampen and curl with sweat, he did not want to move. We went again with a dear friend, this time armed with my cheque book! On their  huge sale table were all sorts of wonderful glass bowls, vases, bottles and trinkets but I was drawn to these three bowls – I almost think that they chose me. The design is described thus on their website – “Landscape is one of our classic designs, evocative of meadows, spring landscapes and big skies, sometimes stormy, sometimes clear and bright in the English tradition. Soft gentle washes of colour, emulate the English landscape.” If you click on the photo, you will be able to see them enlarged and in more detail. They have been packed away for some years, through numerous moves, but seem to have now found their home on the window ledge in my kitchen.

fresh_garlic

In my kitchen I have fresh, purple tinged heads of “new” garlic – an odiferous harbinger of spring if ever there was one! As I was walking past my local greengrocers the other day, I noticed a box of these and stopped to buy a few. They are so different from the dry garlic we normally see – their skins are moist and pliable and the cloves themselves are much less strident in flavour. Because they are so much younger and moister than dry garlic, practically the entire head can be used. The green tops can be sliced and sautéed, the skins can be sliced and stirred in with shallots or onions; the layer around the actual clove itself can be blanched and then whizzed with olive oil to make a garlic paste that can be stirred into pasta, salad dressings and mayonnaise and the cloves can be thinly sliced and sautéed or added raw to salads.

fresh_garlicNew garlic does have a fairly pungent smell. A few years ago, a group of us went to Cannobio on the shores of Lago Maggiore in Italy for a hen weekend. We had such a brilliant time, exploring the town, eating gelato, drinking bubbly on the terrace of the boys’  apartment (it was a mixed party!) dancing in the town square with the locals, heading over to Switzerland on the ferry, for lunch, just because we could! There was a big market on that weekend and we had the most incredible lunch in a bustling trattoria where all the specials were market fresh. The mushroom pasta with truffles, I have never forgotten. I got a little excited to see fresh garlic (for the first time ever) and bought a few heads to take home. The smell of garlic was so pervasive – and I took it on as hand luggage so you can just imagine the wide berth I got! I always buy some whenever I see them and am instantly transported to those fun filled few days in Italy.

tiny_figs

In my kitchen, I have (had – they are all gone now) a little plate of tiny figs. Passing by the same greengrocer the other day, I noticed a punnet of these figs which were no larger than walnuts in the shell. They were very sweet with an almost rose flavour and we had them without any adornment whatsoever. I thought I had taken some shots of one squeezed open but they either didn’t upload or I had what my brother used to refer to as, a senior moment!

baby_leeks

In my kitchen I have these gloriously muddy, young and slender leeks. I got very excited about my new veg box (CSA) from Sutton Community Farm last month. You may have seen the post about the Mixed Roasted Beets where I waxed lyrical about the scheme. I am getting a small box every fortnight and really enjoying the quality and freshness of the produce with the bonus of it being a cheaper price than in the supermarkets. It is also forcing me out of my comfort zone of always buying the same vegetables which I tend to do if there is nothing inspiring on the shelves. These babies will be blanched then griddled and served with an smokey paprika aioli.

dry_roasted_cumin

In my kitchen I have a small jar of dry roasted cumin seeds. I love the warm, deep, husky flavour of cumin and use it quite liberally and in fairly unorthodox ways. One of my comfort dishes is rice cooked with chickpeas and cumin and eaten with yoghurt. I buy 100g  or 200g packets from the local Indian grocers and dry roast them, in batches, over a medium heat, in  a non stick pan until they are golden and toasted and the kitchen smells amazing. I store them in a small Kilner jar where they keep for a long time. I scatter them whole, rub them between my fingers to break them up or pound them to a powder in a pestle and mortar. Speaking of which…

pestle_and_mortar

In my kitchen I have a ridiculously heavy pestle and mortar. I bought it in the early 90’s when our High St used to have the most brilliant Oriental grocery shop. They stocked everything you could possibly think of –  galangal, lemongrass, holy basil,  fresh noodles, about a hundred varieties of dry noodles, rice, all sorts of sauces from chili to satay, frozen seafood, bamboo steamers…it was like an Aladdin’s cave of Oriental foodstuff in there. This is when I started cooking Thai food – how could I not when all the ingredients were literally on my doorstep! I went past one day and noticed that they had pestle and mortars in the window and bought one. I make sure that it is somewhere accessible on the worktop as I realised that I don’t use as much it if I have to lug it out of a cupboard or off a shelf. It makes short work of grinding dry spices and making pastes out herbs and garlic. I just wish it wasn’t so darn heavy!

in_my_kitchen

Well that’s it from my kitchen this month. In My Kitchen is is hosted by Celia of 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 the series for a little while now, enjoying a little nosey into the kitchen sink dramas of others, everywhere. Thank you to the IMK community for your warm welcome  to my first posting last month – it has been so nice to get to know you and your blogs. And a huge thank you 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 take a look at what other bloggers are up to in their kitchens!

 

An Exotic Carrot Salad

An Exotic Carrot SaladI knew that with carrots as fresh as the ones in my veg box from Sutton Community Farm, a scheme I waxed lyrical about in my last post, I would have to make some sort of salad with them to make the most of their sweet, just picked flavour. I grated the carrots, nestled them reverentially on a handful of rocket leaves and then made up a dressing which was citrus sweet’n’sour, rich with cumin and humming with a little cayenne pepper. It was delicious!

An Exotic Carrot Salad

An Exotic Carrot Salad

An Exotic Carrot Salad

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 carrots, scrubbed. Only peel then if they are not organic or if they are old as the skins can be bitter
  • handful of rocket leaves (or use other salad leaves if you have them)
  • 5 or 6 toasted walnuts halves
  • 1 tsp Za”atar spice mix

For the dressing

  • a pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp ground roasted cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • juice of half an small orange
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 Tbsp EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Grate the carrots and place in a salad bowl on top of a handful of rocket leaves.
  2. Mix together the ingredients for the dressing – it will be a loose affair rather than an emulsified one. Don’t add all the lemon juice at once though – taste as you go along and adjust the flavours/seasoning to your palate.
  3. Pour the dressing over the grated carrots and rocket leaves and toss.
  4. Top with crumbled toasted walnuts and the za’atar and toss again.
  5. Serve immediately.

Extraordinary Roasted Chicken, Potatoes and Chickpeas

Extraordinary-Marinated-Chicken-Potatoes-and-Chickpeas

My 16 year old son, Jake,  has been in Demark visiting friends over the holidays. He is due back later today, having braved an overnight ferry crossing in this hideous weather we have been having. I am really hoping that the weather will have calmed down otherwise the experience will put him off boats and ferries for life. Which would be such a shame. I am also hoping that he has managed to revise for his mock GCSEs which commence this week. I am expecting that he minded his manners, helped out without being asked and didn’t sleep in to the extent he does at home during the holidays.

Well, I am sure that all will be revealed, probably just as soon as he has watched the new, much anticipated BBC drama, Sherlock Holmes – The Empty Hearse. Did I mention that I have already watched it twice? One of my favourite New Years Day tweets was from a good friend who wished everyone a “Happy New Year also known as Happy Sherlock Day!” I think that just about sums it up. I read somewhere that 10 million people tuned in to watch it – that is quite staggering don’t you think? Follow Selma’s Table on Facebook as I will post the update on his trip there.

In the week before Jake left, I discovered Elaine Boddy’s lovely blog, foodbod. Her recipe for Lebanese inspired marinated and roasted chickpeas and potatoes really caught my eye (well it did have chickpeas and potatoes in it – my two favourite food groups) and I actually went out to buy some chicken just so that I could make it.

Oh. My. Goodness.

It is a completely and UTTERLY gorgeous dish. Jake polished off half of it – the recipe serves 4! After it’s stint in the oven, the marinade cooks down to this incredible sticky savouriness around the potatoes and chicken, which when combined with the crispy bits of chickpeas, tender chicken with crispy skin and fluffy, marinade-sodden potatoes, just becomes food heaven on a plate.

I entered the recipe into “Your Best One Pot Meal” contest over on Food52 and was surprised and rather excited to get an email from them saying that I was one of two finalists (out of nearly 200 entries). Voting then started and I was and am, over the moon to have WON!!! Thank you to every one who voted – and a huge thanks to Elaine who inspired it. It’s such a fabulous recipe – I do hope you try it.

This is the link to my  Winners Q & A on the site – http://food52.com/blog/9696-winner-of-your-best-one-pot-meal

This is the link to the recipe on the site where lots of people have tried it and left comments – http://food52.com/recipes/25866-extraordinary-marinated-and-roasted-chicken-potatoes-and-chickpeas

Extraordinary-Marinated-Chicken-Potatoes-and-Chickpeas

This recipe is so easy to make – mix up the marinade; peel and chop the potatoes; rinse and drain the chickpeas and leave it all in the fridge to marinate for a day.

Extraordinary-Marinated-Chicken-Potatoes-and-Chickpeas

Then arrange in a roasting dish, cover and pop into an oven for about an hour. Rustic,  flavourful and  charming enough to be served to supper guests.

Extraordinary-Marinated-Chicken-Potatoes-and-Chickpeas

Elaine cooks it without chicken so I have adapted her recipe to account for this (less oil and the inclusion of buttermilk to further tenderise the chicken) and tweaked the spicing a little too. I think it would be amazing with lamb as well.  I have made it again for Jake’s homecoming.

Extraordinary-Marinated-Chicken-Potatoes-and-Chickpeas

It needs a day to marinate so what are you waiting for?

Extraordinary Roasted Chicken, Potatoes and Chickpeas

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Adapted from  Lebanese inspired marinated and roasted Chickpeas and Potatoes by Elaine Boddy

INGREDIENTS

  • 1  can of chickpeas (400g)
  • 800g floury potatoes  – I used King Edwards the first time and Maris Piper this time – both with excellent results but I preferred the King Edwards
  • 1 whole head of garlic, cloves separated
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (organic/free range preferably)

Marinade

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 lemons
  • 1 ½  tsp sugar (brown has a better flavour)
  • 1 Tbsp buttermilk/yoghurt
  • 1 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp Harissa paste (or adjust this to your taste)
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To finish

  • 2 tsp dry roasted cumin seeds
  • a pack of  coriander leaves, chopped
  • Greek yoghurt or a Tzatziki

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Rinse and drain the chickpeas.
  2. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 2 inch chunks – the size of roast potatoes.
  3. Give the lemons 30 seconds or so in the microwave to help release more juice. Roll, applying a little pressure;  then slice in half and squeeze out as much juice as you can.
  4. Mix the marinade ingredients together in a medium sized bowl. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  5. Place the chicken, chickpeas, potatoes and garlic in a large freezer bag and pour in the marinade. Squeeze out the air and seal the bag. Flop it around a bit to make sure that the marinade gets everywhere. Place on a plate, in a bowl etc. and pop in the fridge to marinade for a day. Turn the bag over whenever you open the fridge over the next 24 hours.
  6. An hour and a half before you are ready to eat; pre-heat the oven to 200C/ 180C fan/ 375 F. Remove the bag from the fridge and tumble the contents into a large roasting dish – large enough for everything to be spread out so that there is a lot of exposed food surface area. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the dish tightly with foil and cook for 1 hour.  Remove the foil and cook for another 15 minutes or so, until the chicken skin and potatoes are crispy and cooked through and the chickpeas get a little crunchy too. Watch like a hawk that the marinade does not go from gooey and delicious to a burnt crisp. Remove from the oven, transfer to a serving platter/dish and scatter over the roasted cumin seeds and chopped coriander.
  7. Serve with a dollop of Greek yoghurt or Tzatziki on the side and prepare to be worshipped.

Copyright – © 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.