‘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
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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.

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
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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.

Sour Cream and Cinnamon Pancakes with Blueberries

Sour Cream and Cinnamon Pancakes with Blueberries

I’ve been making pancakes at the weekends for as long as J can remember.  He loves them; his friends love them; my friends love them. I’ve made them with spelt flour, buckwheat flour, self raising flour, wholewheat flour; I’ve added coconut flakes to the mix and made all sorts of quick fruit compotes to go with them; I’ve cooked them in coconut oil. But in the end, I always return to these ones – they really are the nicest. Simple, straightforward with ingredients that I usually always have on hand.

Sour Cream and Cinnamon Pancakes with Blueberries

Sour Cream and Cinnamon Pancakes with Blueberries

The acid in the sour cream is what makes these so delicious – it produces tender pancakes that are light and moist. If you don’t have any sour cream, you can use buttermilk and if you don’t have buttermilk just add a spoonful of vinegar or lemon juice to milk and leave it to thicken for 15 minutes or so.

Sour Cream and Cinnamon Pancakes with Blueberries

The addition of a little baking soda is really important here – when baking soda meets with an acid (like sour cream, buttermilk, vinegar, etc) there is a chemical reaction which results in the production of carbon dioxide, water and a salt. This reaction happens at room temperature before exposure to any heat and is what makes the pancake batter fluffy while still sitting in the bowl.  Joy the Baker has a really good explanation of baking powder vs baking soda here.

Sour Cream and Cinnamon Pancakes with Blueberries

I tend to buy punnets of blueberries in the height of summer and stash them in the freezer. I just pop them onto the pancakes frozen. By the time the pancakes have been flipped, the blueberries have not only thawed but have heated through completely.

Sour Cream and Cinnamon Pancakes with Blueberries

Because I make them so regularly, I bought a really wide 32 cm non-stick pan which I also use to make cocktail sized blinis for parties. The larger surface facilitates making a lot of pancakes in a shorter space of time.

Sour Cream and Cinnamon Pancakes with Blueberries

Left over pancakes are eaten standing at the fridge, when J comes home from school at the same time as asking when dinner will be ready…for the more civilised among you, these re-heat really well in a low oven or in the microwave.

Sour Cream and Cinnamon Pancakes with Blueberries

Sour Cream and Cinnamon Pancakes with Blueberries

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Best Buttermilk Pancakes Recipe

Makes about 18 x 4 inch pancakes – enough for 3 – 4 servings or double up the recipe for larger portions or more people.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup/125 g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp caster sugar
  • 150 ml sour cream (or buttermilk or mix one teaspoon of vinegar into 150ml of milk and let it sit for 15 minutes until it thickens)
  • 150 ml milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp/30g melted butter in a medium sized bowl and cooled slightly
  • Punnet of  blueberries
  • Butter for the pan
  • Maple syrup to serve

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Measure out and place the first 6 ingredients (which are the dry ones) in a mixing bowl and give it a good whisking to evenly distribute the ingredients and aerate the mixture.
  2. Crack the egg into the cooled melted butter and whisk until it is a uniform creamy mass – I find that this helps the butter to be more evenly distributed.
  3. Loosen the sour cream by pouring in a little milk into it and whisking until smooth. Then pour this into the egg mix and whisk until there are no lumps left, finally add the rest of the milk and whisk thoroughly once more.
  4. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the egg mixture. Using a circular stirring motion, gently stir to draw in the dry ingredients to the middle, being careful not to over mix – a few floury patches are fine. It should be quite thick and a bit lumpy.
  5. SET ASIDE for 1/2 an hour at room temperature or overnight in the fridge.
  6. Once the batter has rested the surface will be covered in holes and  bubbles – this is just how it should be. Don’t, whatever you do, stir the batter at this stage. You just want to scoop out tablespoonfuls, straight into the frying pan.
  7. Pre-heat the oven to 75 C or very low. Get an oven proof dish out and a piece of foil to cover it with.
  8. Put the widest non-stick fry pan  you have, on a medium low heat. If it is too high, the outside burns before the insides are cooked…Once the pan is hot, brush with a little butter (I stick a piece on the end of a table knife and swipe it around the pan, cringing whenever the metal touches the non-stick base).
  9. Using a tablespoon, scoop out and place the batter on the pan – I can get 4 to 5 pancakes going in mine but it is a rather large pan. The batter spreads so just try spacing 3 out to start with.
  10. Once the batter is in the pan, plop 3 or 4 blueberries on the top of each pancake. They will need to cook for 3 minutes or so. Keep checking and also keep an eye on the heat which you may have to keep adjusting. (Just have a peek under the pancake, by lifting a corner with a spatula, to see how it is colouring)
  11. When the tops of the pancakes have lots of holes in them, it is time to flip them over.  If a blueberry escapes, just push it back under. This side will not take as long to cook – about a minute – so keep an eye on them. When they are done, remove them to the ovenproof platter, loosely cover with foil and pop them in the oven. Carry on with the next round, lightly buttering the pan when you need to and keeping an eye on the heat.
  12. Serve with proper Canadian maple syrup.

Substitutions
Bananas. Don’t add the blueberries. After all the pancakes are done, wipe the pan clean with a paper towel and melt a little butter in it. Then slice up a couple of not too squishy bananas straight into the pan and let them caramelise, flipping over once. Serve on top of the pancakes with maple syrup.