In My Kitchen – April 2015

In My Kitchen - April 2015 | Selma's TableIn my kitchen, Spring has truly sprung!

Earlier in the month I had a bunch of white tulips and purple hyacinths. Now there is a large bunch of those pretty cream coloured daffodils on the windowsill. If you would like to know more about the rather beautiful handblown glass bowl next to the vase, take a look at my second IMK post for the details.

In My Kitchen - April 2015 | Selma's Table

In my kitchen I have a wonderful new cookbook and some utterly delicious produce. I was thrilled  to receive an invitation to Theo Randall’s launch party for his latest book, My Simple Italian. It was held in his elegant restaurant Theo Randall at the Intercontinental off Park Lane, heaving with friendly, creative, foodie people – well, the ones I met were! As we chattered, the most delicious canapés were being served by his charming and knowledgeable staff who also refilled our glasses with what seemed to be a never ending supply of bubbles. The recipes for the canapés are all to found within the covers of Theo Randall’s book and they all depend on one thing – really good, tasty ingredients. He along with many Michelin starred chefs, get their produce from a company called Natoora, who, luckily for those of us without the expense account, also sell to consumers via their website and Ocado. They carry unusual ingredients like Monk’s Beard, Marinda Tomatoes, Calcott Onions, Speckled Wild Baby Radicchio, Wild Garlic Leaves as well as fish, meat and cheese – their website is well worth a browse. I came home with a Theo Randal jute shopping bag, stuffed full of lemons, blood oranges and a selection of the most savoury tomatoes I have ever eaten. There was also a bag of chocolate truffles and a signed copy of his excellent new book, My Simple Italian.

The recipes are simple yet full of flavour with a wealth of tips gleaned from his travels and years at River Cafe. The photography is stunning – showcasing his gorgeous food in a very simple way.  I cannot wait to get started – I have earmarked lots of pages and I have a pheasant in the freezer that is now destined to be cooked in milk and celeriac as per Mr Randall’s instructions! (Just a reminder – if you click on the first photo, you can see the enlarged version of the picture in the each of the galleries.)

In my kitchen I have some delicious packets of artisan tea from Adagio Tea and their ingenious IngenuiTea tea brewer. The teas are just gorgeous – full of flavour and really unusual too. If you are a tea drinker, I highly recommend a look around their website – from large range of unusual green teas to a vaiiety of rooibos; herbal teas to flavoured ones –  there is such a fabulous and interesting selection. I really like the Blood Orange tea – it’s incredibly fragrant and quite tart – I think it would be wonderful as a cold drink in the hotter weather.

The IngenuiTea brewer is fabulous – after steeping the tea, you place it on top of your cup which releases the valve and the brewed tea pours straight into the cup. I have some recipes which I am going to try out using their blends.

In My Kitchen - April 2015 | Selma's TableIn my kitchen I have a bowl full of gorgeous unwaxed organic lemons from Chegworth Valley Farm Shop in Borough Market. Unwaxed lemons are essential for zesting but don’t keep as long as their waxed ones.

In my kitchen I have a funky tea towel sent by a friend in New Zealand. I feel like I should rename the blog!!

In My Kitchen - April 2015 | Selma's TableHer sister, who lives in London, also brought me back some wonderful Kiwi Manuka honey – it’s so good spread on my home made sourdough bread!

In My Kitchen - April 2015 | Selma's TableIn my kitchen I have mini spatulas and a pretty new jug. I realised the other day, as I was trying to scrape the last of the peanut butter out of the jar that I really, really needed a mini rubber spatula. I popped into TK Maxx and there was a happy little bunch of them waiting for me to take them home! The jug comes from a fabulous new shop on Queenstown Road called Les Sardines –  I couldn’t resist it. It looks wonderful filled with flowers!

In My Kitchen - April 2015 | Selma's TableIn my kitchen I have a new peeler with a ceramic blade. I find these so smooth and efficient – I had my last one for about 8 years so was a little bereft when it snapped. Being ceramic, they are not as robust as metal but with a little care and thought, they last a very long time. I was so pleased to find another one even though it’s a bit wider than I am used to – it does, however, still do a marvellous job.

In My Kitchen - April 2015 | Selma's TableIn my kitchen I have a tub of Dodoni feta cheese. While I was in Cape Town, I observed how feta is sold in large pots rather than the little vacuum packed slabs we are more used to. When I popped into the Mediterranean grocery store around the corner from me, I saw that they sell slices of feta in tubs. It keeps really well in the brine rather than going off in the packet when you have used a bit for a recipe. I used the feta on my Chermoula Spiced Aubergine Wedges and also in my pull apart rolls, below.

In My Kitchen - April 2015 | Selma's TableIn my kitchen I went sourdough crazy and baked up a fruit loaf, a red pesto, feta cheese and olive pull apart rolls and a green pesto and tomato pull apart rolls. It’s the basic overnight dough divided into 2 equal portions, stretched out, filled, rolled up and sliced and baked. Being sourdough, they are chewy rather than soft and fluffy and so full of flavour! Just wonderful with bowl of steaming hot soup.

In My Kitchen - April 2015 | Selma's TableIn my kitchen I had sourdough hot cross buns – inspired and instructed by tweets from Celia! My crosses are very wonky and I also need to work on shaping buns but they were very tasty indeed. I am working on a chocolate chip and espresso version now…

Well, that is it from my kitchen – what’s been going on in yours?

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

Romanesco and Feta Cakes with Za’atar

Romanesco and Feta Cakes with Za'atar | Selma's TableOne of the few benefits of globalisation is the exposure and the availability we now have to a huge variety of fruits and vegetables. In England, garlic, which was once regarded as foreign muck is now as ubiquitous as the humble spud. Blood oranges, native to Italy are now cultivated and eagerly anticipated worldwide. When we moved to Canada in the mid ’70’s coriander leaves were scarce and an exotic luxury – my mother would use them parsimoniously out of necessity. Today, sheaves of them can be bought in the grocery stores. It is easier than ever to eat a huge variety of fruits and vegetables which has so many knock on benefits.

Romanesco and Feta Cakes with Za'atar | Selma's TableI can’t remember when I first saw my first romanesco broccoli (aka romanesque cauliflower) but it was a stunningly beautiful if strange, otherworldly looking vegetable that once brought home, I could not bear to destroy by cooking! Cultivated in Italy since the 15th/16th century, this is another vegetable that is now easily available to us. It has a the nutty, buttery flavour of the more familiar broccoli and cauliflower but without the bitter edge that cauliflower can sometimes have and is much preferred by children for that very reason.  I love the florets in a cauliflower cheese, or pureed to go with a roast or roasted themselves, but these cute little cakes another way to have them that doesn’t take long and can also be assembled ahead of time if necessary. The feta gives them a salty creamy kick and the za’atar picks out the lemony flavours. A hint of earthy, aromatic rosemary pulls it all together.

After steaming the florets, just mix the ingredients together, shape into little patties and bake – what could be easier?

Romanesco and Feta Cakes with Za'atar | Selma's TableI am sharing these with those die-hard party goers at Fiesta Friday, hosted by the talented Angie of The Novice Gardener. This week we have  Suzanne @apuginthekitchen and Sue @birgerbird to thank, as our co-hosts. Both are fantastic cooks and have a wealth of recipes on their sites – do go over and take a look.

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

R e a d e r   G i v e a w a y!

Ruby Chard, Shitake Mushroom & Chestnut Tart | Selma's TableWin a copy of FIVE by Rachel de Thample!

Ever since my son, Jake, began weaning, I have instinctively incorporated more fruits and vegetables into our diet. I always make sure to include at least three fruits/vegetables at meals – usually more if I can. For instance yesterday we had a stir fry of shredded white cabbage, cavalo nero, ruby chard, kale tops, leeks and red onion with some salmon. This is why Rachel de Thample latest recipe book called FIVE which I reviewed last week, appeals so much to me. it shows you how easy it is to eat well and deliciously.  It is full of varied, accessible and delicious recipes that will have you packing away fruits and vegetables without any effort at all. There is a very useful double page spread listing fruits and vegetables and their portion sizes and the recipes clearly state how many portions are in each recipe. And the recipes! There isn’t a single one which I wouldn’t make – from creative breakfast truffles and clever muffins to galettes, latkes, stunning salads, hearty soups, curries, pastries, cakes, puddings, sorbets – and I have one copy to give away to a lucky reader!

All you have to do is follow this blog via email (if you don’t already) and leave a comment below telling me what one of your favourite vegetable dishes is – one of my favourites is  griddled courgette/zuchinni slices, tossed with basil or mint, lemon zest, olive oil, parmesan and toasted almond slivers – so delicious!

Now on to the recipe –

Romanesco and Feta Cakes with Za'atar

  • Servings: makes about 9 small cakes
  • Difficulty: easy
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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 small romanesco cauliflower ( approx. 175 g prepared weight) or substitute broccoli or cauliflower
  • 75 g feta cheese
  • 20 g panko or bread crumbs
  • zest of half a lemon
  • ½ tsp finely chopped rosemary needles
  • ½ tsp vegetable bouillon powder or a good pinch of salt (remembering that the feta is salty)
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1 Tbsp za’atar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp fine semolina

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F
  2. Break up the romanesco into fairly small florets and steam for about 8 minutes. A knife should be able to pierce them easily but they should not disintegrate. Allow to cool a little.
  3. In the meantime, crumble or chop the feta in small cubes,
  4. When the romanesco is cool enough to handle, mix in the remaining ingredients.
  5. Taking walnut sized pieces of the mix, squeeze and shape into balls. Wetting your hands makes them easier to shape.
  6. Lightly oil a baking tray and place the balls on the tray, Flatten them slightly and then drizzle over a little oil. Dust with semolina, Turn over and repeat.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes until tinged with gold.
  8. Serve warm with a dollop of lemony creme fraiche or greek yoghurt.
© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Swiss Chard and Herb Tart

swiss-chard-and-herb-tartMy veg box this week included some beautiful Rainbow Swiss Chard and to celebrate the gorgeous spring weather we have been having, I decided that I wanted to use them in a tart. A quick internet search brought me to a recipe by Ottolenghi which I knew I could adapt without  too much trouble. swiss-chard-and-herb-tartIsn’t rainbow chard beautiful? I read that the coloured shard stalks can bleed into paler colours when cooking but I didn’t find this to be a problem. Chard does need to have a good soak and swish in a sink full of cold water to dislodge any mud that may be clinging in the leaf crevices. The stems have to cook for a little longer than the leaves so do separate them and use them! swiss-chard-and-herb-tart swiss-chard-and-herb-tart The tart was really very delicious – the flaky pastry combined with the greens and cheese reminded me of of that wonderful Greek dish of Spanakoptika. And the textures work really well – slightly crunchy celery and chard stems,  buttery flaky pastry, soft greens and creamy cheese – we had this for a mezze type dinner and Jake, who invariably feels shortchanged if there is no meat, didn’t seem to notice and, unprompted, ate the left overs when he got home from school the next day. A printable recipe follows the photos below so you can scroll straight to that if you prefer not to read my ramblings but for those of you that can bear it, this is how I made the Swiss Chard and Herb Tart. swiss-chard-and-herb-tartFirst, fill the sink with water and swish the chard leaves about. Leave the in the sink for any grit to settle on the bottom and in the meantime slice the onion into half moons and start sautéing them. Slice the celery and add them to the onions. Scoop out the chard leaves and cut out the stems. Slice the chard stems and add to the pan. With lots of water clinging to the chard, slice the chard leaves and chop the herbs and garlic. When the celery has softened a little and become  translucent, stir in the  chard leaves, the herbs and the garlic. Let this cook down, stirring from time to time,  on a gentle heat for about 10 minutes. In the meantime toast the pine nuts (these burn quickly and I find it easier to do in the microwave for a couple of minutes – they don’t brown but get nice and crunchy), crumble the feta, grate the parmesan and zest the lemon. swiss-chard-and-herb-tartTurn the heat off under the pan and stir in the cheeses, zest and nuts. Season with lots of freshly ground pepper. Leave to cool. In the meantime, turn on the oven and beat the eggs. Unfurl the pastry onto a baking sheet and score a 2 cm border around the edge, using the back of a knife. Spread the cooled filling within the borders and crimp the edges of the pastry to form a lip. Brush the edges with the beaten eggs. Season what is left over of the eggs and pour slowly and evenly over the filling. Dot the top with teaspoons full of ricotta and slices of goats cheese. I also added some halved marinated cherry tomatoes and used some of the marinade to drizzle over the tart. This can of course, be substituted with fresh cherry tomatoes and olive oil. swiss-chard-and-herb-tart   Bake for half an hour and serve warm or at room temperature! swiss-chard-and-herb-tart swiss-chard-and-herb-tart 

Swiss Chard and Herb Tart

  • Servings: 4 as a main, 6 as part of a mezze
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adapted from Swiss Chard and Herb Tart by Ottolenghi for Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium red onion, sliced (about 85 g)
  • 4 celery stalks, thinly sliced (about 220 g)
  • 1 bunch of Swiss chard; stalk and leaves separated; both roughly chopped (about 250g)
  • 2 cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbsp mint leaves roughly chopped
  • 3 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 100 g feta cheese crumbled
  • 50 g parmesan, grated
  • 15 g pine nuts toasted
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 x 320 g sheet of ready rolled all butter puff pastry
  • 8 tsp ricotta cheese
  • 50 g (7 or 8 thin slices) of goat’s cheese
  • 5 cherry tomatoes halved (I used the marinated ones from this recipe of mine)
  • 2 beaten eggs

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over a medium low flame and add the sliced onions.
  2. While they cook, slice the celery and stir into the pan.
  3. Remove the stalks from the chard, chop these up and stir into the pan.
  4. Ribbon (chiffonade)  the chard leaves, slice the garlic and chop the herbs.
  5. Once the celery has softened a little, which should take about 5 minutes, stir in the chard, herbs and garlic. Let this cook down for about 10 minutes and take if off the heat.
  6. Stir in the feta, parmesan, lemon zest and pine nuts and season with a little salt  if necessary (the feta and parmesan are very salty) and a good grinding of pepper. Leave to cool.
  7. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.
  8. Unfurl the pastry and score a 2 cm border around the perimeter.
  9. Place the cooled chard mixture within the border and crimp or pinch the edge of the pastry to form a lip.
  10. Dot the top of the chard mixture with the ricotta, goats cheese and cherry tomatoes.
  11. Brush the edges of the tart with the beaten egg and then gently drizzle the remainder over the tart.
  12. Bake for 30 minutes and allow to cool a little before serving

Eat warm or at room temperature. Serves 4 as a light main course with a salad and some cold cuts for the determined carnivores. Or slice into 12 and serve  as mezze for 6.

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Couscous Stuffed Red Peppers

Couscous Stuffed Red Peppers

Couscous Stuffed Red Peppers

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

Halved and cored peppers

Halved and cored peppers

Couscous filling

Couscous filling

Stuffed peppers

Stuffed peppers ready for the oven

Couscous Stuffed Red Peppers

Couscous Stuffed Red Peppers

Couscous Stuffed Red Peppers

Couscous Stuffed Red Peppers

Couscous Stuffed Red Peppers

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

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

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Slice the peppers in half vertically (or just take the tops off if you would prefer to serve one whole pepper per person) and remove the seeds and white membrane. Lay snugly in a roasting tin (you may want to smear the tin with some oil first but I didn’t and they did not stick) and pop in the oven for 15 – 25 minutes or until softened. The time will depend on how fresh and thick the peppers are.  They will go back in to finish off cooking, once stuffed so don’t leave them in there so long that they become totally floppy. Remove them from the oven and set aside while you carry on with the stuffing.
  3. While the peppers are in the oven, place the couscous in a heat resistant bowl (I use a pyrex measuring jug) pour over the hot stock, stir and cover with a plate or piece of cling film. Let that stand and absorb the liquid.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the onion and garlic then gently sauté the onions until golden, giving them a little sprinkle (a pinch really) of salt to help them release their moisture and caramelise more quickly. Stir in the garlic and the chickpeas for a minute or two then add the smoked paprika and stir to mix well. Tip in the couscous and stir again. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the cherry tomatoes, the parsley and the feta cheese. Taste to check for salt. Remember that the feta and the stock cube are salty so you shouldn’t need any more.
  5. Stuff the peppers with as much of the couscous mixture as you can (using the same tin that you cooked them in) but don’t compact the mix – heaping it works much better. Any left over stuffing can be used for lunch the next day. These can now be set aside covered, until you are ready to cook them or you can carry on and cook them in the oven for a further 15 minutes.
© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to

Sweet Red Peppers with Feta and Pesto

Sweet Red Peppers with Feta and Pesto This recipe for Sweet Red Peppers with Feta and Pesto, comes by way of my dear friend C who has a largely vegetarian diet and like everything that she makes, is really full of flavour and utterly delicious. The peppers get slightly charred in the oven, the tomatoes become juicy and intensify their flavour through roasting face down in the pesto and the feta adds a salty, lemony and creamy note. Whenever I need to cut back on the calories, I make these peppers (with a little less cheese) to layer in my lunchbox with lots of salad leaves and also some green lentils which I cook in stock with some chilli flakes and thyme. The juices from the lentils and the peppers means that a dressing is not needed. It is so full of flavour and releases energy slowly so that I don’t feel hungry or unsatisfied.  The peppers are also gorgeous warm with some roast salmon or chicken or as a side to a stew. These are really quick and effortless to make also scaling up easily to make more servings… Sweet Red Peppers with Feta and Pesto Prepare the peppersSweet Red Peppers with Feta and PestoSmear with pestoSweet Red Peppers with Feta and PestoFill with halved cherry tomatoes Sweet Red Peppers with Feta and Pesto Top with feta cheese, trickle over some EVOO and place in the oven.Sweet Red Peppers with Feta and Pesto

Sweet Red Peppers with Feta and Pesto

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 long sweet red peppers (they are sometimes called ‘pointed’)
  • 4 generous tsp pesto
  • 8-10 cherry or mini plum tomatoes
  • 100 g feta cheese
  • Extra virgin olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C/350 F.
  2. Before slicing the peppers in half, take a look at them to determine the most sensible side to do this from – they need to sit flat on the tray. Pointed peppers tend to be sort of flat and wide – they have a narrower side which is where they are best sliced from. I find that if I lay one down so that it lies flat and then give it a quarter turn, that is the best place to slice them in half – it gives me two fairly stable and wide halves. After you have sliced them in half, remove the seeds and the white membrane but try and leave the stems on as they look rather pretty. If there are any rogue seeds, hold the pepper half over the sink, cut side facing down and give it a little tap or two with the flat of the knife and the seeds should fly out. Nestle the prepared peppers in a baking dish which will hold them snugly. The tin that I use is 7″ x 10″ (which is 26cm x 17cm) and comfortably holds 4 halves.
  3. Smear 1 generous teaspoon of pesto into each half. Slice the tomatoes in half and nestle, cut side down into the pesto – put in as many as you can squeeze in. When I can find them I also use a few yellow cherry tomatoes.
  4. Slice the feta into cubes and divide this evenly over the tomatoes.
  5. Trickle over a little EVOO and pop in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
  6. Serve warm as a side with a roast or stew or cold in a lunch box with a salad. This is delicious with a lentil salad and also on toasted slices of baguette…

SUBSTITUTIONS
I have made these with green pointed peppers which went down well despite my not liking the flavour of green peppers in general. They can be topped with grated parmesan cheese instead of the feta. Adding a few slices of anchovy filets, red onion and black olives would be rather lovely.

© 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