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!

In My Sourdough Kitchen – Jan 2015

In My Sourdough Kitchen | Selma's Table Happy New Year to you all! I hope that you all had a wonderful time over the festive season and have set some achievable intentions for the coming year. It’s always good to have goals, right? In My Sourdough Kitchen | Selma's TableI (together with several others) received THE most brilliant gift over the holidays – a sachet of dried sourdough starter from Celia. For those of you who don’t know, Celia is a prolific bread maker and has the most wonderful sourdough starter called Priscilla. As in Priscilla, Queen of the Refrigerator! When Celia offered to send me some, I was quite beside myself with excitement – I have always wanted to have a go making a starter but was put off by how long it took to get one going. In My Sourdough Kitchen | Selma's TableIn anticipation, I pulled out my two bread baking  books to read up on the history, methods and recipes and before I knew it, an envelope covered in colourful Australian stamps landed on the doormat – I could not get to it fast enough! So holiday food aside, this is what has been going on in my kitchen.

Several types of bread making flours have been purchased. White bread flour, organic spelt flour, organic rye flour, organic white bread flour and organic wholemeal bread flour…

The flours have been decanted into large air tight jars which are awaiting the new chalkboard stickers. A few years ago, I had a kitchen with a terrible damp problem which rendered the cupboards useless. So I used to keep everything out on a large 4 tier steel rack. One day, I noticed a few tiny white specks on a box of cereal – when I took a closer look, I could see that EVERYTHING on the rack was covered in these tiny white bugs – I felt sick as I threw out a huge amount of food – really, waste makes me very upset. I washed and disinfected everything and all the while, I had the heebie-jeebies – honestly, it felt as if my hair was standing on end! I went straight for a shower after I finished. I also placed a large order for airtight bottles in various sizes so that I would never have to go through it again. Apparently, the bugs come into one’s home on the packaging from the shelves in the shops/storerooms/transport etc.

I’ve named my starter Twinkle as she’s just so shiny and bubbly and I love anything with a sparkle. Twinkle came to life much to the delight of Celia, who followed, encouraged and cooed via our Twitter conversations. In My Sourdough Kitchen | Selma's Table In My Sourdough Kitchen | Selma's TableThis was my first loaf with Twinkle *chest swells with pride* I have been using Celia’s method and half the recipe from her Overnight Sourdough Tutorial.

Then I tried a 50% spelt loaf and also a 50% wholemeal loaf. The spelt loaf was quite heavy but still really tasty. The wholemeal loaf was sensational!

There is always left over starter from all the feeding so I made sourdough pancakes. I added cinnamon to Celia’s recipe and also made a fresh blueberry compote to go with them.

While a lidded pot isn’t essential, it does give the loaf a great shape. I’ve been using my 26 cm oval Le Creuset but the high heat has been staining the enamel which I’m not particularly happy about, considering how much those babies cost. So I’ve bought a 30 cm Lidded Enamel Oval Roaster. It’s only just arrived so I haven’t had a chance to use it but I know that it is what Celia uses for her breads. It will stain from the heat but I’m not going to mind as it’s less than a tenth of the cost of my beloved Le Creuset!

I’ve dried some of the left over Twinkle and revived her to make sure she worked and she did. I shall be spreading the love and sending out sachets to a few of my friends as well as keeping some as a back up in case of a starter-disaster!

Well, that is it from my kitchen – huge thanks to the lovely 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 on it and take a little tour! Have a wonderful January, everyone!