In My Kitchen – June 2014

in-my-kitchen-june-2014At last! June with it’s promise of long sunny days, picnics, barbecues, days out at the seaside and lots of spanking fresh summer produce. The festival season has started and the big thing now is music festivals with fabulous food too; also horse racing and of course the start of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships – oh summer, how we have waited for you.

This month, my kitchen has been full of, among other things,  gorgeous fresh British produce – here, take a look…

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Oven roasted British asparagus finished with parmesan and olive oil

In my kitchen I have British asparagus, which this year have been wonderful – I like to either griddle them or oven roast them and serve very simply with a drizzle of olive oil, some shavings of parmesan and perhaps a squeeze of lemon. The other night we even ate some sprue raw with a dip at a local pop up dinner event put on by Sutton Community Farm for our local food festival. The raw sprue were spectacular.

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Jersey Royal potatoes

In my kitchen, I have Jersey Royal Potatoes. May/June is also  when the incomparable Jersey Royal potatoes are available. They have only been growing for about 130 years on the island of Jersey and have a Protected Designation of Origin. These kidney shaped tubers with their papery skins are fertilised with seaweed for a really unique and delicate flavour. There are only 20 farmers who cultivate and harvest this eagerly awaited potato and the we love the first few bags, simply boiled with a little salt and butter to finish them off – this really allows their unique flavour to shine. They also make the best potato salad…The history of how they were discovered is fascinating too – http://www.jerseyroyals.co.uk/about-jersey-royals/history.aspx

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Red spring onions from my Sutton Community Farm veg box

In my kitchen, I had some of these red spring onions in my veg box which were wonderful in a potato salad. I have also had broad beans, yellow stalked chard, spring carrots and celeriac. This is when the veg box becomes really exciting!!

in-my-kitchen-june-2014In my kitchen I’ve had these beautiful peonies brought over by a friend who came to tea. Peonies (and Casablanca lilies) are my favourite flowers – thank goodness for friends who know me so well! And I thought you might enjoy a photo of those Landscape bowls with the late afternoon sun shining through then…

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In my kitchen I have  the Konditor and Cook by Gerhard Jenne of the gorgeous bakery/cafes in London. I won it (yes, again with winning cookbooks), this time from the lovely people at The Happy Foodie  for my Easter themed Pinterest board. I wasn’t the winner but had an email saying that they liked my board so much that they wanted to send me something and this beautiful book arrived . Konditor and Cook have five shops stocking their legendary cakes and pastries as well as 2 schools in London.

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This is an artisan book – beautiful and well crafted recipes that are made with love and care. I can’t wait to try some of these out and share them with you. If you enjoy cooking and baking, I suggest that you sign up for the Happy Foodie’s newsletter – it is always full of inspirational recipes and stories. You can buy the book using this link  http://www.randomhouse.co.uk/editions/the-konditor-and-cook-book-of-cakes/9780091957599 and it is also available on Amazon UK.  This is Amazon’s  biography of Gerhard Jenne – “I was practically born with a spoonful of Black Forest Cake in my mouth. And from my birthplace, Freiburg the gateway to the Black Forest, I progressed via licking out my mother’s baking bowls and completing an apprenticeship in my brother-in-law’s bakery to an even sweeter career as a Konditor (pastry chef). At first in Munich then in London where I made a name for myself as a celebrity cake maker – for real aristocracy as well as rock royalty.  With Konditor & Cook I was able to create my own set of recipes and contemporary decorative styles and soon the first shop on London’s South Bank was so popular, someone once said: ‘Every street corner should have a Konditor & Cook on it.” Who wouldn’t want to be born with a spoonful of Black Forest Cake in their mouth?!

In my kitchen I have The French Cafe Cookbook, sent over by a friend in New Zealand.

in-my-kitchen-june-2014With gorgeous photography and a very inspirational story charting the journey of the chef and his wife to their popular restaurant in Auckland.

in-my-kitchen-june-2014in-my-kitchen-june-2014This is the sort of book from which to learn restaurant cooking techniques and adapt them for home use.

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Home made lemon oil

I though that I would update you on my home made lemon oil. It has been steeping for nearly 3 weeks now and the lemon flavour is really coming through. A few of you including Celia, have either commented or tweeted that you have started your jars and I hope that you have remembered to open the lids and release the gas from time to time. It is a very simple recipe – unwaxed lemons in a sterilised jar topped up with a mild olive oil and steeped for at least 4 weeks in a cupboard. The original post is here.

Well, that is it from my kitchen this month.What have you been up to? Let me know via the comments box below.

The In My Kitchen series is is hosted by Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial where she is joined by bloggers from all over the world affording us a glimpse of what they’ve been up to. Many thanks to Celia for hosting this lovely series. Pour yourself a cuppa, click on the link and take a look at what others have been up to in their kitchens!

© 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 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.

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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.

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Quick summer pickle – Sweet and Sour Courgettes

Sweet & Sour Courgettes

Sweet & Sour Courgettes

As the halcyon days of summer slowly but inevitably draw to a close, it is with mixed emotion that I look towards the autumn days which are fast approaching. J will be back at school and studying hard, I hope, for his GCSEs (formerly known as “O” levels) while I try my best not to worry that he is not doing enough. On the other hand there are birthday celebrations to plan, trips to look forward to and game and autumn harvests to anticipate. It has been a wonderful summer of glorious weather, new beginnings, re-connecting with family and old friends and making some lovely new ones along the way. I never look forward to the cold weather but will try to appreciate more the events that it heralds.

Now is the time to preserve what you can of summer’s bounty. We are very lucky to have wonderful neighbours who have planted a vegetable patch from which they have been kind enough share their courgettes. Which I love! I came across a recipe for a quick summer pickle in an in-store magazine and straight away had to make it, tinkering with the flavourings of course.

Chilli flakes, fennel seeds and turmeric. (Missing from the photo are the coriander seeds)

Chilli flakes, fennel seeds and turmeric. (Missing from the photo are the coriander seeds) The gorgeous little spice bottles are from Ikea.

The turmeric gives the courgettes a glowing golden hue and the fennel and the coriander seeds contribute a warm herbal note.

Sweet and Sour Courgettes

Sweet and Sour Courgettes

The sweet and sour pickle juice is delicious too – use in salad dressings and marinades; douse hot potatoes with it and then add a little mayo and chopped up pickles for a delicious salad. And the sweet and sour pickle juice fantastic in a Bloody Mary! There is a wonderful article on Food52 about the uses of pickle juice. Pickleback shot anyone?

Cheese, Crackers and Sweet & Sour Courgettes

Cheese, Crackers and Sweet & Sour Courgettes

The courgettes retain their crunch whilst the onions mellow in the brine

I am entering this recipe in the Shop Local Challenge hosted by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary. Do go over and take a look at her blog – there are some wonderful recipes there.

Shop Local

Shop Local hosted by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary

Sweet and Sour Courgettes

  • Servings: Makes 1 x 500ml or 2 x 250ml jars
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g courgettes (or thereabouts)
  • 1 red onion
  • 2Tbsp flaky sea salt like Maldon (substitute  about 1Tbsp regular table salt if you don’t have the flaky sea salt). Kosher or pickling salt is the best but I don’t think it is easily found here in the UK – or maybe I just haven’t noticed it!

Sweet Brine:

  • 400ml white wine or cider vinegar
  • 200g sugar (use white sugar as golden muddies the colour of the brine syrup)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes (you can increase this to 1 tsp if you like a little more heat)
  • 1tsp fennel seeds
  • 1tsp *dry roasted coriander seeds

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Trim the ends then slice the courgettes into 1/2cm coins.
  2. Peel and slice the red onion into thin rings
  3. Layer in a bowl and sprinkling with salt as you go
  4. Cover and place in the fridge for about an hour or cover with ice for the same time. Keeping them cold helps to keep the courgettes firm.
  5. In the meantime, place all the sweet brine ingredients into a (non-reactive) saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let the brine cool to room temperature. You might want to open all your windows and turn on all extractor fans when you make the brine – the smell of boiling vinegar is quite pungent to say the least.
  6. Layer the courgettes and onions (do not rinse off the salt) into a sterilised jar, pour over the sweet brine, cover and refrigerate. Ready after a 24 hour steep and still tastes delicious 6 weeks later.

*To dry roast seeds like cumin and coriander, pop them into a non-stick pan on medium high heat for about 5-8 minutes, stirring or shaking the pan from time to time to ensure that all sides are being roasted. You can smell them as they begin to toast – but do keep as eye on them as they can burn easily. I usually do a small jar full at a time as they keep for a long time. Dry roasting really intensifies the flavour and adds more depth to the finished dish.

USES

  • Cheese plate
  • Roast beef or tuna or cheese sandwiches
  • Chopped up in a potato salad also using the brine to douse the hot potatoes before adding  mayonnaise
  • In an egg salad
  • With cold cuts
  • In burgers
  • Serve as a condiment at a barbecue
© 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.

Cheese plate

Cheese plate