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
  • Print

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.

Poached Saffron and Citrus Pears with Vanilla Mascarpone

Poached Saffron and Citrus Pears with Vanilla Mascarpone | Selma's TableIt’s Part 2 of the Fiesta Friday Anniversary Block Party Celebrations which I am thrilled to be co-hosting with the talented Nancy of Feasting with Friends. If you are a long time reader, you will know that the lovely Angie of The Novice Gardener hosts a virtual party every Friday where bloggers swap recipes and stories. It’s been a whole year since Angie grew the amazing community that is Fiesta Friday so it was only fitting to celebrate with a 2 week long party!  Last week was all about cocktails, canapés and appetisers – and there certainly was no dearth of creative and delicious recipes made specially to celebrate Angie’s fabulous party by the appreciative Fiesta Friday crowd. In fact the submissions were just so fabulous that Angie is going to write a post specifically to highlight the best ones.

This week, Fiesta Friday is about special occasion main courses and desserts and I can’t wait to see what everyone brings to the party. You are most welcome if this is your first time visiting  Fiesta Friday – here are a few guidelines to get you started. To join the party, all you have to do is click on the purple “Fiesta Friday” badge just before the printable recipe, below. Please don’t be shy and drop and dash – we would love to get you know you, so mix and mingle by visiting the other blogs and leaving some likes and comments!

Poached Saffron and Citrus Pears with Vanilla Mascarpone | Selma's TableTo mark this special event, this week I wanted to make something that would look elegant, taste spectacular but also not be too heavy. After cocktails, canapés, appetisers and a main course there may not be much room for a heavy dessert. And, not that I am greedy or anything, but I will want a few slivers of cheese to round off this special meal! So the ingredients had to be light but luxurious and to fit in with busy lifestyles, the dessert should be able to be made a day earlier. Pears have been calling my name for a few months now – I have a real thing for them in the winter and I love poached pears. So I decided to poach the in a orange and lemon juice mixture, warmed up by bay leaves, cardamoms and the haunting flavour of saffron. A little honey took the edge off the sauce. The mascarpone tastes just like vanilla ice-cream when a little vanilla paste is beaten into it, and the crunchy pistachio nuts add a much need crunchy texture to each blissful mouthful.

Poached Saffron and Citrus Pears with Vanilla Mascarpone | Selma's TableThese Poached Pears with Saffron Mascarpone are an elegant sweet course that can be served warm or cold depending on the weather and your time constraints. Either way, they can be prepared the day before and plated just before serving. Gently heat through the pears in the poaching syrup if you are serving this warm and then plate them up. To make this an even more healthy option, substitute greek yoghurt for the mascarpone. If you don’t want to fan slice the pears, then you could just cut the in quarters too. They are very easy to make and to eat! Angie has opened the party so let’s the festivities begin!

Poached Saffron and Citrus Pears with Vanilla Mascarpone | Selma's Table

Please click on the Fiesta Friday badge below, to either take a look at all the other submissions or to enter your specially created main course or dessert recipe post to the party.

fiesta-friday-badge-button-click-to-join1

Poached Saffron and Citrus Pears with Vanilla Mascarpone

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 x oranges
  • 4 x lemons
  • 400 ml sweet dessert wine
  • 3 bruised cardamom pods –
  • 4 bay leaves
  • pinch of saffron strands
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 4 ripe Conference pears
  • 200 g mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste or the seeds from one pod
  • 2 Tbsp chopped pistachio nuts

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Juice the oranges and lemons – the juices should come to about 700ml and pour into a large shallow pan together with the sweet wine, cardamom, bay leaves and the saffron. Heat gently for 20 minutes or so – don’t let it boil as the froth spoils the appearance of the sauce. Stir in the honey and taste – the honey should soften the sharp citrus notes. Let this heat for another 10 minutes or until the mixture is nice and syrupy but not too thick.
  2. In the mean time, peel the pears and slice in half. Remove the cores with a teaspoon. Lay each half, face down and slice 4 or 5 times without going all the way to the top.
  3. Beat the mascarpone with the vanilla paste until it is smooth and set aside.
  4. Add the pears to the pan and poach for 5-10 minutes; spooning the syrup over them from time to time. The poaching time will depend on how ripe the pears are.
  5. Remove the pears once they are soft and set aside.
  6. The poaching liquid should be thick and syrupy. If it’s not, keep heating it until it reduces but don’t let the liquid boil. Fish out the bay leaves and the cardamom pods.
  7. Spoon some of the sauce onto 4 plates, Top with a good spoonful of the vanilla mascarpone. Drape two pear halves on top of the vanilla mascarpone on each plate and scatter over the chopped pistachios.
© 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.

Crunchy Pickled Radish Slices

Crunchy Pickled Radish Slices | Selma's Table

After the excesses of festive season, January bears the brunt of cutting back whether it be shopping, alcohol and/or food. The feasting seems to start from the beginning of December so come January, we do crave simpler, lighter food. The trouble is that sometimes it can seem a little bland. These crunchy, pickled radish slices will perk up all sorts of things from salads to steamed vegetables, steamed fish to simply cooked meats. And of course they are superb with cheese and crackers, in sandwiches,  in burgers; anywhere you need a crunchy, spicy, floral, acidic hit of flavour.

They are ridiculously easy to make – combine the spices, slice the radishes and layer in a heatproof jar. Boil the brine to dissolve the sugar and salt and pour over the radishes. That’s it! You can eat them as soon as they have cooled or refrigerate them for later – they keep for a few weeks. I hope you find that they add a little pizzaz to some of your January meals!

I am so thrilled to be co-hosting The Novice Gardner’s Fiesta Friday with the incredibly talented Sue of Birgerbird. If you are not familiar with her work – please do take a look – her photography will blow you away and then when you see the gorgeous award winning food she cooks too – wow! She now sells her award winning pork pies so if you are lucky enough to be in the Santa Monica area, give her a yell! We are co-hosting Angie’s 50th Fiesta Friday and we can’t wait to see what you are bringing to the party!

Click on the Fiesta Friday badge below to join the party – you can submit a post (please be sure to include the link and a mention, in your post, to Angie’s  FF#50 post – it’s only polite and also ensures that you can be considered for a feature next week!)  or just take a look at others are up to!

Speaking of features, there were some stunners last week! I still can’t get over Lily’s Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream and Naina’s Firecracker Shrimps look fantastic. And how about a Lemon Meringue Pie Cocktail from Dini to kick things off with? Then for pudding we have Pecan-Bacon Squares A’ La Mode from Judi! Wowsers!!

If you are new to blogging, Fiesta Friday is a great way to gain exposure and make new friends too. Be sure to comment, like and follow – Angie has such a friendly crowd at this party that you will come away with lots of new followers (as long as you interact) as well as a lot of inspiration!

If you’re new to Fiesta Friday, please do take a minute to read the guidelines.

fiesta-friday-badge-button-click-to-join1

Crunchy Pickled Radish Slices

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 bunch of radishes

Brine

  • 200 ml white wine or apple cider vinegar
  • 200 ml water
  • 3Tbsp sugar, honey or maple syrup
  • 2 tsp salt

Spices

  • ½ – 1 tsp chilli flakes depending on how spicy you like it
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp red peppercorns
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Trim off the tops and tails of the radishes. then, using a sharp knife or a mandolin, slice very finely into rounds.
  2. Mix the spices together and place half in the bottom of a heat proof jar.
  3. Fill the jar with the sliced radishes and top with the remaining spices.
  4. Bring the brine ingredients to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  5. Pour over the radishes and let this cool to room temperature before serving or storing in the fridge.

The radishes will last for a few weeks in the fridge.

© 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 post.

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
  • Print

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.

Basic Buttermilk Muffins with Variations

basic-buttermilk-muffins-with-additionsI am always surprised at how many people buy those cakey muffins at coffee shops to take back to their desks, either in the morning or at break times. Or the people who buy them in packs from the supermarkets – you know the ones full of preservatives and correspondingly long sell by dates. Muffins are so easy to make with the added bonus of being fresh and with ingredients that you are able to control and can pronounce the names of. In less than 45 minutes you can be sitting down to a warm freshly baked muffin and a cuppa, smug in the knowledge that you have 11 more to pack into lunch boxes or dish up as an after school snack with a glass of milk for the kids. They can be as healthy or as sinful as you like. It’s entirely up to you and what you have in your larder/pantry. I haven’t tried to freeze them, mainly because they don’t last that long – I used to always pack extra for Jake to share with his lunchtime gang. If you try freezing them, let me know in the comments and I will edit this post to include your thoughts, with a credit to you of course!

basic-buttermilk-muffins-with-additionsI haven’t made muffins recently but I had three very ripe bananas that needed using up and found myself pulling out the muffin pan…these ones are banana, cinnamon and chocolate chip.

This recipe is one that I have been using for many years – I have tweaked it and tweaked it over time to suit all the ingredient changes that I have made. Adding buttermilk or the more easily available yoghurt keeps the crumb really moist.

All you need by way of kitchen equipment is;

  • a regular 12 hole muffin tray and cupcake liners
  • two mixing bowls plus a smaller heatproof one to melt the butter in
  • electronic scales – if you don’t have one, please, please add it to your wish list as it is the most accurate way to measure out ingredients, especially for baking. If you set your mixing bowl on the scales and set it to zero then you can just keep adding your dry ingredients to it (re-setting to zero each time) which keeps the washing up to a minimum too.
  • a small hand whisk
  • a measuring teaspoon
  • a rubber spatula
  • a large spoon to scoop out the dry ingredients with and then to fill the muffin cups with.

The basic premise is to put all the dry ingredients into the larger mixing bowl and whisk well to aerate and combine. I add any dried fruit or chocolate chips at this stage too as the flour coating helps them not to sink to the bottom. Use a smaller mixing bowl for the wet ingredients. I mash my very ripe bananas straight into this bowl after whisking the egg. The buttermilk comes in a 300ml carton, and if you decide to use a yoghurt pot then just use that to fill the milk up in it – no need for a measuring jug! Pour the wet ingredients onto the dry ingredients. Stir lightly – streaks (but not large pockets) of flour are desirable. Scoop into muffin cups. Top with seeds or nuts if using. Bake. Cool and enjoy!

basic-buttermilk-muffins-with-additions

I am taking these over to the friendliest party around – Angie’s Fiesta Friday #26. Today we have two talented co-hosts who are not only fabulous and creative cooks but who can also spin a yarn or two. Prudy @ Butter Basil and Breadcrumbs and Jess @ Cooking Is My Sport.  Let’s party!!

Basic Buttermilk Muffins with Variations

  • Servings: 12 Muffins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 250 g plain/AP flour
  • 150 g golden caster/superfine sugar – you can just use the normal white version too
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp table salt
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 300 ml buttermilk (or 125 ml yoghurt/creme fraiche/ sour cream plus 125ml milk)
  • 80 g melted unsalted butter

Delicious variations- not ALL at the same time!!

General additions and subs:

  • sunflower seeds, walnuts, pecans- as a topping
  • 125 g blueberries/raisins/ chopped dried apricots/chopped dates etc
  • 25 g coconut flakes – reduce flour by 25 g
  • 100 g spelt or buckwheat flour – reduce flour by 100 g
  • 50 g jumbo oats – reduce flour by 50 g

Banana and Chocolate Chip Muffins

  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 80 g chocolate chips

Blueberry, Lemon and Poppy Seed Muffins (Lovely with a little lemon and icing sugar glaze)

  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp poppy seeds
  • 125 g blueberries

Carrot Cake Muffins (Delicious with a little honeyed cream cheese topping)

  • 125 g grated carrot
  • 80 g soaked and drained sultanas or raisins
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • Replace butter with 80 ml of oil

Coconut, Raspberry and White Chocolate Chip Muffins

  • 125 g raspberries
  • 25 g coconut flakes – reduce flour by 25 g
  • 80 g white chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F/. Prepare a 12 hole muffin tin with liners or grease them well
  2. Pop the butter in a heat proof bowl and place in the oven for 5 minutes (set the timer!!) while it is heating up.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, hand whisk the egg. If you are going to add bananas, add them now and mash with a fork – I like to leave them a little chunky . Add the buttermilk or yoghurt/creme fraiche/sour cream and milk mixture and whisk to combine everything.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, measure out the flour, the oats and or coconut if using, the sugar, the baking powder , the  salt and chocolate chips or raisins or cinnamon or lemon zest and poppy seeds if using. Whisk well to aerate and to combine all the ingredients. Make a well in it and set aside.
  5. Slowly pour in the melted butter onto the egg/buttermilk mixture, whisking all the while to mix in the butter evenly which will begin to solidify as it hits the cold liquid.
  6. Pour in the wet ingredients onto the dry and stir to mix. Do not over mix – leave some streaks of flour but not huge pockets of it!
  7. Stir in any delicate berries at this point.
  8. Divide the mixture between the 12 muffin cups and top with the seeds or nuts if using.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Test with a wooden skewer (or a piece of uncooked spaghetti!) – if there is any batter clinging to it, pop the tray back in for a 2 or 3 minutes.
  10. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool off completely.

© 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.

 

Sweet Potato, Courgette and Paneer Baked Fritters

sweet-potato-courgette-and-paneer-baked-fritters The lovely people over at Savera Paneer sent me some of their paneer to play with. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you will have seen the bloggers pack I came home to last week. Inside the large saffron hued box were a bag of cumin seeds, a bag of turmeric powder, a branded water bottle and a really cute yellow and blue lunch box containing an ice pack and two packs of paneer made from skim milk thus containing only 8% fat. There were also a couple of delicious sounding recipe cards  which had been developed by the talented  food writer, Deena Kakaya who is probably familiar to many of you as she visits so many of our blogs, commenting and encouraging.sweet-potato-courgette-and-paneer-baked-fritters Well, the lunch box came in really handy as Jake started work experience at a law firm this week, which he has really enjoyed. He’s been to court nearly every day and also written official letters to clients detailing progress on their cases. Not bad for someone who has to be reminded 3 times to take the rubbish out!

I had not cooked with paneer before this so I had a little research to do before I started experimenting. Paneer, an Indian cheese,  is traditionally made at home from the curds formed when lemon juice is mixed with hot milk. It’s a fresh, bland, unsalted cheese which can be substituted with Queso Blanco or Fresco. It is quite crumbly, an excellent source of protein and absorbs flavours beautifully. It really is a cheese to cook with rather than eat as is and is most often found cubed, sautéed and added to spicy vegetable based sauces and gravies.

There are hundreds and hundreds of Indian recipes which use paneer so, I really wanted to use it in a different way. And as Savera had gone to the trouble of developing a low fat cheese, I wanted to make something fairly healthy. No frying or rich sauces but lots of  vegetables and flavourings. At the green grocers, a bag of sweet potatoes caught my eye and which made me think about latkes and so idea for these Sweet Potato, Courgette and Paneer Baked Fritters was born. sweet-potato-courgette-and-paneer-baked-fritters Keeping in mind the tips I had gleaned on how to use it, I grated and seasoned the paneer and set it aside to absorb the flavours. Honestly, I was a bit hesitant when I saw how crumbly the paneer looked but it grated easily and absorbed the flavours of the spices absolutely perfectly. sweet-potato-courgette-and-paneer-baked-fritters I also grated the sweet potato and courgette and left them to drain separately. When it came time to assemble the fritters, I mixed them all together with a light hand then added a little flour and some raw couscous and stirred in a beaten egg. Set on a lightly oiled baking sheet, and brushed with a little more oil, the fritters baked up beautifully. sweet-potato-courgette-and-paneer-baked-frittersThe Sweet Potato, Courgette and Paneer Baked Fritters were light and crunchy with a lovely smoky flavour from the paprika and cumin. I had wanted to add fresh mint to the mixture but realised that I didn’t have any when I started cooking – I think it would be a lovely addition. Serve with a wedge of lemon and a little tzatziki and some salad leaves and you have a delicious light lunch or first course. sweet-potato-courgette-and-paneer-baked-fritters   sweet-potato-courgette-and-paneer-baked-frittersA big thank you to Savera Paneer for introducing me to this lovely product! I have a few more recipes to make and post in the coming days.

As it is Friday, I am taking these over to that fabulous party over at Angie’s – Fiesta Friday. Crowd control aka co-hosts this week are Elaine @ foodbod and Prudy @ Butter Basil and Buttercrumbs.

Courgettes are in season so I am also entering them into the Simple and In Season hosted by Ren @ Renben and guest-hosted this month by Sally @ My Custard Pie.

ssbadge300

Please do take a look at their fabulous blogs – you will come away chock full of great ideas for recipes to take you through the summer and beyond! And, don’t be shy – visit as many of the blogs as you can, follow the ones that are new to you, leave comments and tuck in!!

Sweet Potato, Courgette and Paneer Baked Fritters

  • Servings: makes 12 fritters
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium sized sweet potato/kumara – about 200g
  • 1 medium sized courgette/zucchini – about 200g
  • 125 g grated Saveera Paneer
  • 1 clove of garlic grated or crushed
  • ½ tsp smoked paprkia
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • juice of ¼ of lemon
  • ¼ cup parsley
  • 50 g flour
  • 1 Tbsp raw couscous
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Peel the sweet potato and grate – try and get long strands. Place in a colander sprinkle with a little salt, mix and leave to drain for at least half an hour.
  2. Grate the courgette – try and get long strands. Place in a separate colander sprinkle with a little salt, mix and leave to drain for at least half an hour.
  3. Grate the paneer. Sprinkle over the garlic, smoky paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin powder, coriander powder and squeeze over the lemon. Using a fork, toss to mix and leave to marinate for at least half an hour.
  4. When you are ready to cook, pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F.
  5. Line a baking tray with parchment and spray with an olive oil cooking spray or smear with a little olive oil.
  6. Squeeze out as much liquid as you can from both the sweet potato and the courgette and place in a mixing bowl.
  7. Add the chopped parsley and the paneer and using a fork, toss to mix well but lightly. Have a taste of the mixture at this point to see if it needs any salt. I found that the salt I used during draining was enough.
  8. Sprinkle in the flour and couscous and again, using a fork, toss to mix.
  9. Stir in the lightly beaten egg and mix.
  10. Mound about 1 ½ Tbsp of the mixture on the prepared tray and press down with a fork to flatten and make a rustic looking fritter. You should get about 12 portions from the mixture. I baked six at a time in two batches.
  11. Drizzle with a little olive oil and bake for 10 minutes. Flip them over and bake for 5 minutes more or until golden brown and crispy
  12. Serve hot, with a wedge of lemon and a dollop of Greek yoghurt mixed with a little mint.

© 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.

© 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.

Cook the Books – Swiss Chard with Tahini, Yoghurt and Buttered Pine Nuts

Swiss_Chard_with_Tahini,_Yoghurt_and_Buttered_Pine_Nuts If you have read my profile  you may recall that I learned to bake in Canada by reading magazines and that I learned to cook in England by reading books. I started cooking with Margaret Costa’s Four Seasons Cookery Book and Marcella Hazan’s The Classic Italian Cookbook. Both taught me to shop and eat in season and I haven’t looked back. I now have a rather large collection of cookbooks which I have amassed over the years, some from joining a book club (a mistake) many from scouring second hand bookshops and others that I have received as gifts. I have many tried, tested and loved recipes from these books which I make over and over again. I also have some newer books from which I haven’t had the chance to make anything. I thought that it would be rather nice to start a regular post to  feature recipes which I have cooked from my embarrassingly extensive collection, noting any changes or suggestions along the way and this is the first of the Cook the Books series.

If you have a favourite cookbook or recipe from one, please do drop me a line in the comments box below. It’s always a pleasure to discover new recipes.

The other day, I noticed beautiful bunches of leafy dark green Swiss Chard at my local greengrocers which looked as though they belonged in a vase. Without knowing what I was going to do with them, I snatched up a bunch to bring home.  On my way back, I remembered that Ottolenghi had a few recipes for Swiss Chard in his book, Jerusalem and I was pleased to find that I had most of the ingredients in for this particular dish.

Swiss_Chard_with_Tahini,_Yoghurt_and_Buttered_Pine_Nuts

Swiss_Chard_with_Tahini,_Yoghurt_and_Buttered_Pine_Nuts

I have made this recipe for Swiss Chard with Tahini, Yoghurt and Buttered Pine Nuts three times now and it is absolutely delicious. The balance of sharp from the wine, green from the leaves, creamy, garlicky umami from the tahini  with the juicy stems and crunchy pine nuts is  simply divine. The last time I made it, I served the chard as a side to roasted salmon fillets which I had doused in a mixture of harissa, cumin seeds and lemon juice. It was the perfect girlie supper for me and my friend who gave me this book at Christmas!

Swiss chard is nature’s own two-for-one bargain. There are the dark green, deeply veined  leaves and the crisp, juicy white (or brightly coloured) stalks both of which need slightly different cooking times. They are easy to prepare – you start by filling the sink with water so that they can be easily cleaned of the grit and dirt that may have accumulated on them. Then, trim a little off the ends of the stalks and cut them out to separate them from the leaves. Swish both about in the water and then leave them in the sink for any grit or dirt to settle on the bottom. Then they are ready to be scooped out, sliced and used as needed with the stalks needing a couple of minutes more cooking time. The leaves can also be blanched and stuffed just like cabbage leaves and of course they are excellent in quiches and pies.

Swiss_Chard_with_Tahini,_Yoghurt_and_Buttered_Pine_Nuts

Tahini, yoghurt and garlic sauce

Swiss_Chard_with_Tahini,_Yoghurt_and_Buttered_Pine_Nuts

Swiss_Chard_with_Tahini,_Yoghurt_and_Buttered_Pine_Nuts

Swiss Chard with Tahini, Yoghurt and Buttered Pine Nuts

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

from Jerusalem by Ottolenghi and Tamimi

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.3 kg Swiss Chard
  • 40 g unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil plus extra to serve
  • 40 g pine nuts
  • 2 small garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 60ml dry white wine (I used stock the first time but it is much better with the wine reduction)
  • sweet paprika to garnish (I forgot this!)
  • salt and black pepper

Tahini and Yoghurt Sauce

  • 50g light tahini paste
  • 50g greek yoghurt (I used 0% fat)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 garlic glove, crushed
  • 2 Tbsp water

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Trim 1 cm off the bottom of the stalks and discard. Fill the sink with cold water. Cut out the thick wide central stalks and place these and the green leaves in sink to remove any traces of grit.
  2. Fill the kettle and put it on to boil.
  3. Make up the sauce by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisking until the sauce is smooth and semi stiff. Set aside.
  4. When the water boils, fill  deep saucepan with it, cover and set on the hob to come to a boil again.
  5. Remove the stalks from the sink and slice into 2 cm pieces.  Do the same with the green leaves. Keep them in separate piles.
  6. Place the stems in the boiling water and set the timer for two minutes. Then add the leaves, which you may have to force under the water, for one minute. Drain and rinse well under cold water. Drain and use your hands to squeeze the chard until it is quite dry.
  7. Heat 2 Tbsp of oil and half the butter in a large frying pan, over a medium heat. Add the pine nuts and toss in the pan until golden which should take about 2 minutes. They burn quickly so keep an eye on them. Remove using a slotted spoon and set aside.
  8. Now add the garlic to the pan and cook for about a minute until golden.
  9. Carefully pour in the wine – it will spit! Leave it to reduce to about ⅓ which should take a minute or so.
  10. Add the chard and the rest of the butter and toss to heat through and get coated in the the buttery, garlicky juices for  a two or three minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  11. Place in a serving bowl, top with a little sauce,  the pine nuts and a sprinkle of paprika. Drizzle with a little EVOO and serve with  additional sauce  in a separate bowl.

Baked Fruit and Oatmeal

Baked-fruit-and-oatmealOatmeal is not something I enjoyed as a child. My memories of porridge is that it was quite thin and watery and not very tasty at all – which is quite at odds with the delicious food I grew up with. When I began baking in my teens, I found that oatmeal was brilliant to make chewy chocolate chip cookies with.  I also discovered those packets of flavoured instant oats which bolstered me up during what felt like endless sessions of binge revision. As a mother of a school age child, I knew how nutritious and sustaining porridge is for those dark, cold, wintery school mornings and set about making it delicious as well. I don’t know if this is how you make it but I put a cup of oats in a pan and toast them slightly, I then add 2 cups of milk and one of water and stir over a medium low heat until thick and creamy. I ladle a portion into a shallow rimmed bowl, shake over some cinnamon and sprinkle it with 1 dessert spoonful of Demerara  sugar which goes syrupy. I peel a tangerine or a clementine and arrange the segments around the lip of the bowl like chubby rays of sunshine. Sometimes, I add some frozen blueberries to the bottom of bowl before ladling in the porridge. By the time my son gets to the table, dressed for school, the porridge has cooled down sufficiently to not delay him and I am quietly smug in the knowledge that he’s not going to be experiencing that mid morning sugar crash AND that I’ve managed to get 1 or 2 portions of fruit in him already. At the weekends, breakfasts are a more leisurely affair; eggs and sausages or french toast or pancakes but oatmeal doesn’t figure.

Until now, that is. I saw a photo for Oatmeal Casserole (which sounds a little grim, don’t you think?) on Pinterest and then surfed through several recipes for Baked Oatmeal, many of which included chocolate. This is my version which is full of healthy ingredients and tastes absolutely delicious. It’s warm, fruity, nutty and chewy. It takes about 15 minutes to put together and needs half an hour in the oven, filling the kitchen with gorgeous aromas as it bakes. It is ideal for a weekend breakfast. Left overs can be taken into to work or frozen in portions and warmed up in the microwave. You can chop and change the fruit and nuts to suit your palate or take into account what is in your cupboards. This is also something that you could bake in the evening during the week, to effortlessly have ready for the following morning.

Baked-fruit-and-oatmealPlace the oats, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, walnuts, dried fruit and half the blueberries in a large bowl.

Baked-fruit-and-oatmealGrate in the orange zest and mix thoroughly.

Baked-fruit-and-oatmealSlice one banana and arrange on the bottom of the oven safe dish. Cover with the dried mixed ingredients (which I forgot to photograph!)

Baked-fruit-and-oatmealJuice the orange.

Baked-fruit-and-oatmealWhisk the wet ingredients together in the same mixing bowl you used for the dry ingredients. (If you want to substitute honey or agave syrup for the sugar, add it now, to the wet ingredients.) I find that it is best to “temper” melted butter by slowly whisking in a little cold milk into it and then adding it to everything else. Otherwise, the melted butter just solidifies into fat globules that float on top.

IMG_6150Slowly and gently, pour the wet mixture over the oatmeal mix.

Baked-fruit-and-oatmealScatter over the remaining blueberries and the coconut flakes. (If you wish to use desiccated coconut instead, mix it in with the dry ingredients.) Slice the second banana and arrange over the top and bake for half an hour. (A scattering of pumpkin or sunflower seeds would be nice too.)

Baked-fruit-and-oatmeal

Baked-fruit-and-oatmealServe warm with a dollop of yoghurt.

I have included some vegan options for the dairy and egg but these are untested by me. Thanks to Susan Edelman of watchhatchfly for the information!

Baked Fruit and Oatmeal

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups oats (anything but instant or quick cook)
  • 1/4 cup muscavodo (or brown) sugar plus enough for a sprinkle later
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • zest of 1 orange
  • ½ cup walnut pieces – broken up to make them smaller
  • ½ cup dried mixed fruit like cranberries and cherries or apricots and raisins or dates
  • 1 cup of blueberries divided into two portions
  • 2 large ripe bananas
  • 3tbsp/45g  melted butter (or vegan soy spread/coconut oil)
  • 2 cups milk ( or soy milk/almond milk/rice milk)
  • 1 large egg ( or applesauce/mashed banana/vegan egg replacer/ground chia and flax seeds)
  • Juice of one orange
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup coconut flakes
  • yoghurt to serve (or coconut milk or soy milk yoghurt)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190C/375F.
  2. Butter or oil an oven safe dish (mine is 28 x 20cm/11″x 8″).
  3. Thoroughly mix the first 9 ingredients (using only half the blueberries)  in a large bowl to distribute everything evenly.
  4. Slice one banana and arrange on the bottom of the dish.
  5. Cover with the dry mixed ingredients.
  6. In the same bowl that you used for the dry ingredients, lightly whisk the egg.
  7. Slowly whisk a a cup of milk into the cooled butter to amalgamate it and pour it and the second cup of milk onto the whisked egg together with the vanilla and the orange juice and whisk again.
  8. Slowly and evenly pour the wet mixture over the dry ingredients.
  9. Scatter over the remaining portion of blueberries and the coconut flakes (some seeds would be nice too).
  10. Top with the slices from the second banana.
  11. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until bubbling and golden brown.
  12. Sprinkle a little more brown sugar over the top and leave to cool a little.
  13. Serve warm with yoghurt.

Warm Chicken Noodle Salad with a Spicy Tahini Sauce

warm-chicken-noodle-salad-with-spicy-tahini-sauceThis time last week, I was getting ready to meet fellow blogger, Elaine Boddy of foodbod at Borough Market. We hadn’t met before but within minutes of meeting I felt that I had always known her. She asked a young woman to take a photo of us, cautioning her not to run off with her phone – I just knew we would get on! We had  a cuppa and a natter to begin with and then started our meander round the market, stopping to take pictures and exclaim over the produce. We sampled and tasted all sorts of delicious morsels, had a cheese tasting at Neal’s Yard Dairy and then shared a delicious Indian dosa and spicy chickpeas from Horn OK Please and also a fantastic Lebanese mezze from The Arabica Food and Spice Company. All the while we did not stop talking! It was a wonderful day and I can’t wait to do it again – very soon. warm-chicken-noodle-salad-with-spicy-tahini-sauce   warm-chicken-noodle-salad-with-spicy-tahini-sauce After Elaine left to catch her train home, I suddenly realised that I did not have anything for dinner. I went back  in and bought a lovely chicken which I roasted with potatoes and parsnips knowing full well that there would be lovely left overs for later in the week. The sauce for this Warm Chicken Noodle Salad is absolutely gorgeous! It is nutty, spicy, sour, sweet and so moreish! Please do adjust the piquancy of the sauce to your palate. If tahini is not something you buy, use peanut butter in its place but do make a note to get a jar – it is a fabulous ingredient.

warm-chicken-noodle-salad-with-spicy-tahini-sauce

Spicy Tahini Sauce

This would also work well with other types of oriental noodles like soba, udon, rice and vermicelli. Just please, don’t overcook them. You could also boost the vegetable content of the salad by including shredded carrots and finely sliced green beans. warm-chicken-noodle-salad-with-spicy-tahini-sauce If you don’t have any cooked chicken knocking about,  poach a couple of chicken breasts in a vaguely oriental stock – add things like a dash of soy sauce, a star anise, a few slices of ginger etc to the water to infuse a little extra flavour into the chicken. The trick to poaching is not to let the water boil once the protein is in it- keep it barely simmering. Check the breasts after ten minutes by slicing the thickest part with a sharp knife. Pop it back in if it needs a few more minutes otherwise, shred when cool enough to handle. (Sliced or shredded poached chicken breasts are great to have in the freezer to speed up after work/school meals. Just sayin’…) warm-chicken-noodle-salad-with-spicy-tahini-sauce

Warm Chicken Noodle Salad with a Spicy Tahini Sauce

  • Servings: two generously
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Adapted from Easy Cold Sesame Noodles with Shredded Chicken by Yasmin Fahr on Serious Eats INGREDIENTS

  • 400g fresh egg noodles
  • 300g cooked, shredded chicken (or lower a couple of chicken breasts into a pan of simmering water to which you have added some star anise, a few slices of ginger and a dash of soy sauce;  poach for 10 minutes in barely simmering water. Drain, let cool slightly and shred)
  • 100g shredded cabbage (not Savoy or the red ones – you can use Chinese, Bok Choy, Sweetheart etc.)
  • 50g bean sprouts
  • 6 stalks of chopped coriander leaves
  • 6 stalks of chopped mint leaves
  • a handful of roasted and salted peanuts
  • 2 lime wedges

For the sauce

  • ¼ c tahini sauce (mix it up really well if has separated in the jar, before measuring out)
  • 2 Tbsp soy or tamari sauce
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar/white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sweet chilli dipping sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil (I used pumpkin seed oil)
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp grated ginger

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Put the kettle on to boil.
  2. If you are poaching chicken, now is the time to do it.
  3. Make the sauce by whisking all the ingredients together. Taste and adjust the sweet, savoury, salty, spicy and sour balance to to your taste. Taste it again before you serve as the flavours develop a little as it sits.
  4. Crush the peanuts coarsely (in a pestle and mortar; or place on a chopping board; cover with baking paper/cling film and go over with a rolling pin; or place in a plastic bag and bash gently with a rolling pin or bottom of a sturdy glass).
  5. Pour the water from the kettle into a saucepan and let it come to the boil again. Add a little salt to the water and drop in the shredded cabbage. Blanch for one minute then add the egg noodles for one minute. Set a timer – there’s nothing worse than soggy noodles!
  6. Drain the noodles and the cabbage and mix with the bean sprouts and the shredded chicken.
  7. Arrange on two plates. Top with 2 or 3 spoonfuls of the sauce; sprinkle over the coriander and mint leaves and finish with a spoonful of crushed peanuts.
  8. Squeeze over the lime wedges and eat immediately. Keep the sauce to hand and pass round as needed – you will want more!

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.

warm-chicken-noodle-salad-with-spicy-tahini-sauce

Kale and Chickpea Soup with Lemon

kale-and-chickpea-soup-with-lemonAfter all the feasting and merriment comes the overwhelming urge to eat lightly and healthfully. I picked up a bag of kale and thought to make some sort of virtuous salad from it. But outside, it’s blowing a gale and a salad just doesn’t cut it – I wanted something warm and filling. Just not rich. A quick inspection of my cupboards revealed a tin of chickpeas and a soup was born. Warm, filling, with a slight bite and a sharp edge.  I don’t like using too many ingredients in a pureed vegetable soup as it sort of muddies the flavour. I suppose you could swirl in a spoonful of creme fraiche or a little double cream but I don’t think it needs it. The blitzed chickpeas makes it quite creamy in any case. This Kale and Chickpea Soup with Lemon is perfect to take to work in a flask or spill proof container to heat up in the microwave for lunch. Delicious, virtuous and thrifty!

Thrilled to stay that his recipe is a Community Pick over on Food52!     http://food52.com/recipes/25867-kale-and-chickpea-soup-with-lemon

 

kale-and-chickpea-soup-with-lemonYou could substitute other beans like butter beans or cannellini beans too. You could also use thyme leaves instead of the rosemary and omit the chilli flakes and use freshly ground pepper instead. This is one of those recipes that you can use as a base – use half the stock to make it more of a thick puree than a soup and serve with a nice thick slice of oven roasted (responsibly sourced) cod or halibut atop for instance…

Kale and Chickpea Soup with Lemon

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Prep time 15 minutes. Cook time 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 banana shallots (or one onion)
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 2 stalks of rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ tsp of chilli flakes
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 410g tin of chickpeas drained and throughly rinsed
  • 200g bag of chopped kale
  • 800ml hot stock (a cube or powder is fine – I used a combination of Marigold powder and vegetable stock)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt to taste

To Serve:

  • Paper thin lemon slices
  • Grated parmesan cheese (omit if vegan)
  • Toasted crusty bread (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Set a dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat, pour in the olive oil.
  2. Finely dice the shallots and add to the pan, stirring to coat with the oil.
  3. Make 4 or 5 long horizontal slices in the celery stalk and dice. Add this to the pan and stir.
  4. Finely chop the rosemary leaves and stir into the pan together with the bay leaf and the chilli flakes.
  5. Peel the garlic clove and using the flat of your knife and the heel of your hand, crush so that it is still whole and add to pan.
  6. Add the chickpeas and the kale and stir. Pour in the hot stock, let it come to a boil and turn down the heat.
  7. Let it simmer for 20 minutes until the kale is tender. Squeeze in  the juice of half a lemon. Check the seasoning and adjust to taste. You might want more lemon or salt – it all depends on what you have used for the stock.
  8. Working in batches or in the pan itself if you have a stick blender, blitz until you have the texture you like. I like mine to still have a few chickpeas and pieces of kale through it so I set aside a couple of ladlefuls and used a stick blender to blitz the rest.
  9. Serve hot, floating a couple of slices of lemon on top of each serving and pass round the parmesan cheese for everyone to help themselves. Lovely with toasted crusty bread.

© 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.

kale-and-chickpea-soup-with-lemon

Breakfast Bars

Breakfast BarsMade these lovely Breakfast Bars yesterday inspired by a twitter link from Nigella Lawson. Other than the condensed milk, the ingredients are super healthy and these bars taste much nicer that the cereal ones that you can buy.  I had lots of seeds left over from making the Seeded Spelt Crackers which were perfect for this recipe.

Breakfast BarsFeel free to use the recipe as a template. You could use varied types of nuts and dried fruits, chocolate chips (not so healthy then) and even add cinnamon or drizzle the top with chocolate. These Breakfast Bars come together in minutes and bake for an hour – who could ask for more?!

Breakfast Bars

Breakfast

  • Servings: 16 bars
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Breakfast Bars 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 x 397 g can caramel condensed milk (or use plain)
  • 250 g rolled oats (not instant)
  • 75 g shredded coconut
  • 100 g dried berry mix – mine had raisins, cranberries and cherries
  • 125 g mixed seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, linseed, sesame)
  • 100 g flaked almonds

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 130°C/250ºF and oil a 23 x 33 x 4cm / 9 x 13 inch baking tin, or use one of those disposable foil trays if you have one lurking around from the summer which is what I did.
  2. Measure out all the dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix well to distribute evenly.
  3. Heat the caramel condensed milk in a large pan and when it is warm, give it a good stir and take if off the heat.
  4. Stir in the dry ingredients and give it a good mix.
  5. Scrape it out into the prepared pan and  pat it out as evenly as you can.
  6. Bake for one hour, checking after 50 minutes.
  7. Let cool for 15 minutes then, using a long knife, slice into four long bars, then give it a quarter turn and slice into four again.
  8. Store in an air tight tin.