Chermoula Spiced Aubergine Wedges with Tahini Sauce and Feta

Spiced Aubergine Wedges | Selma's TableWhile I was in Cape Town, I stayed with friends in their gorgeous villa.  Justin has designed and decorated the house so that it is not only stunning to look at but also very liveable – and while the rooms are classically arranged, there is nothing precious about the house at all except of course, for their gorgeous Labradors who kept me company! Spiced Aubergine Wedges | Selma's TableIn their fabulous kitchen, antique blue and white Spode plates jostle for position on the open shelving with contemporary blue and white bowls and mugs; bone and silver cutlery is stored in earthenware jars, fruit and vegetables are displayed in blue and white bowls on the island and silver and glass cloches are in constant use to cover food which has been prepared. Mixing old and new, marble and wood – the kitchen is just such joy to work in. Spiced Aubergine Wedges | Selma's TableThe evening before the wedding, they had planned to host a “casual” braai (barbecue). We had all had all been to a cocktail party the night before, at the grooms’ (also stunning) house and some of us were feeling a little fragile! Nonetheless, that morning, Justin went off shopping, coming back with bags full of fresh produce, tender beef and cases of bubbles. Jake was arriving that afternoon, flying out straight after finishing his last mock exam and had to be collected. On the way to the airport we discussed the menu and what had to be done. Traffic was horrendous which meant we were running a little late and Justin had some work to do when we got back, so I assumed the role of sous chef and set about chopping ingredients for a salad and marinating the beef for the barbecue.

That evening, the table was covered in a stunning trellis patterned cloth; the centrepiece was a trio of coral Himalayan salt candles surrounded with a swathe of fresh mint from the garden.  Plates and napkins were piled up and salads were laid out under the cloches. Huge wooden platters with bowls of nibbles and cheese circulated around the pool where we mingled before the meal and watched another spectacular sunset over the South Atlantic.

While I was sous-cheffing, I found a pile of glossy, purple aubergines which were to be turned into ‘chips‘. Further enquiry led to the clarification that chips meant wedges, so I tossed them in a spice mix I found int the larder and they were roasted in the oven that evening. The leftovers were sprinkled with feta and parsley and served at room temperature with houmous and were absolutely delicious. Spiced Aubergine Wedges | Selma's TableI couldn’t wait to re-create this when I got back. Chermoula is a North African spice blend consisting of ground cumin and coriander seeds, sumac, chilli, paprika, salt and pepper. It is mixed into a paste with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and coriander before slathering over meat and fish. You can make your own or buy it ready mixed. Google is your best bet! Spiced Aubergine Wedges | Selma's TableI use the chermoula as a dry rub, coating the aubergine wedges after tossing them in olive oil. The wedges are roasted, turning them over halfway through the cooking time and roasting until the edges are crispy and the thicker bits are soft and squidgy. It’s that wonderful combination of flavours and textures; soft and  crispy with a nutty, smokey, tart and salty flavour with the freshness of the chopped parsley and coriander leaves. Delicious with barbecues, as a side to roast lamb or chicken or as part of a mezze.

I am taking this over to Angie’s Fiesta Friday #59 which this week is being co-hosted by the lovely, bubbly Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and  the fabulous Mila @ milkandbun. If you are new to blogging, please do join the party, we would love to see you. 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! Submit a post (please be sure to include the link and a mention, in your post, to Angie’s   Fiesta Friday #59 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! If you’re new to Fiesta Friday, please do take a minute to read the guidelines.

Chermoula Spiced Aubergine Wedges with Tahini Sauce and Feta

  • Servings: 4 side servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 aubergines (eggplants)
  • 2 tsp chermoula dry spice blend
  • 2-3 Tbsp olive oil
  • a good pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 lemon halved and one of the halves, sliced into wedges
  • water to thin
  • 50 g feta
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley and coriander leaves
  • olive oil to drizzle.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F
  2. Slice the aubergines into 12 – 16 wedges each, depending on their size.
  3. Toss wedges in olive oil then sprinkle over the chermoula spice mix and a god pinch of salt and toss again. I do all of this on the baking sheet.
  4. Roast for 20 – 25 minutes, turning them over once, half way. They should be golden, cooked through and a little crispy at the edges.
  5. In the meantime, mix the tahini with the juice of half a lemon which will make it very think. Stir in a little water at a time to get it to a good drizzling consistency and then stir in the garlic and set aside.
  6. Crumble the feta and chop the parsley.
  7. Place the wedges in a serving platter, drizzle with tahini mix and scatter over the feta and parsley. Drizzle over a little olive oil and serve with lemon wedges.

You can omit the tahini and serve these with a scoop of houmous instead.

© 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.

Advertisements

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.

Sensational Meatballs with Lentils

Sensational Meatballs with LentilsI almost didn’t post this recipe, hence the lack of photos, in progress or otherwise! I’ve been making these Sensational Meatballs and Lentils for about 8 years (since 2006 according to my notes) and it was Jake who suggested that I share the recipe here on the blog when I made it the other day. It came about the usual way – picking up a few bits on the way home from work and seeing what was in the cupboards to supplement the ingredients – a bit like Ready Steady Cook! The resultant deeply flavoured, lemony Meatballs and Lentils were so delicious that I wrote up the recipe in my notebook.

This is one of those dishes that wraps you up in a warm blanket and gives you a hug; so comforting on these dark, chilly evenings. The seasonings of smoked paprika, rosemary and cumin seeds give the dish so much depth and flavour and the lemon juice and zest perk it all up.  It’s very quick to prepare, especially if you buy pre-made (raw) meatballs which can be a godsend if you are strapped for time.  Red lentils don’t require pre-soaking and cook very quickly, usually between 15 – 20 minutes and the lemon juice is the perfect complement to them. Stirring in spinach or chard leaves at the end gives it a vegetal boost with the added bonus of not having to prepare a separate side dish. You could also use frozen spinach. adding it a few minutes earlier so that it has a chance to thaw in the pot. Don’t add salt until the end otherwise the lentils stay hard.  This is quick, one pot cooking at it’s best.

Sensational Meatballs with LentilsYou start by rolling the meatballs, then sauté the onions, then the meatballs with the seasonings; stir in the stock, lentils, lemon juice and tomatoes and let the whole lot simmer away while you get the rice on and prepare the spinach which gets stirred in a couple of minutes before the end. That’s it!! I urge you to give the Meatballs and Lentils  a try – the dish is absolutely sensational!

I’m taking these to share with all the Fiesta Friday #46  revellers, so generously hosted by Angie at the Novice Gardener. Today our co hosts are  Margy @La Petite Casserole and Juju @cookingwithauntjuju. – do drop by and say hello to them!

Sensational Meatballs with Lentils

  • Servings: 4 generous portions
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 500 g lean mince beef
  • 1 tsp of salt and a good grinding of the pepper mill
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 2 red onions, diced
  • A good splash of Olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp chopped rosemary
  • 1 tsp whole, dry roasted cumin seeds
  • 1 rounded tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 finely chopped garlic cloves
  • Zest and juice of one lemon
  • 200g dry red split lentils
  • 1 rounded tsp of chicken stock powder stirred into 500 ml of hot water/500ml homemade stock
  • 1 tin of tomatoes or 3-4 medium tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 couple of bay leaves
  • 300 – 400 g fresh spinach or chard

To serve

  • Cooked rice
  • Dollop of greek yoghurt or tzatziki

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Season the minced beef with salt and pepper, stir in parsley and with a light hand, mix well to combine. Wet your hands and roll into walnut sized balls and set aside. If you are in a hurry you can substitute ready made (raw) meatballs but get the premium ones as the cheaper ones have more fat and sometimes, gristle.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onions until soft and a little coloured.
  3. Stir in the rosemary, smoked paprika, garlic and lemon zest, then add the meatballs and sauté until lightly brown on all sides – about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the lemon juice, the lentils, the stock, the tomatoes (break up the tomatoes if you are using whole tinned ones) and bay leaves. Let this simmer gently for about 20 minutes. Keep an eye on it and add a little more water if necessary. It shouldn’t be too thick.
  5. While it’s simmering away, wash the spinach/chard and remove the central rib if thick and fibrous. Save them in the freezer, for the stock pot. Chop the leaves and set aside. Get the rice on.
  6. After 20 minutes, check that the lentils are cooked through and also check the seasoning. Adjust to taste – this is the time to add salt; I also like to add more cumin seeds.
  7. Stir in the spinach/chard leaves and cover the pot to allow the leaves to wilt in the heat.
  8. Serve hot with rice an a dollop of greek yoghurt or tzatziki.
© 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.

Broad Bean, Pea and Ricotta Crostini with Mint

broad-bean-pea-and-ricotta-crostini-with-mintYou all know how much I enjoy my veg box (CSA) from Sutton Community Farm. I just love the quality of the produce and also that it is a not-for-profit organisation which encourages schools, businesses and anyone else to visit the farm, learn all about their organic farming methods and get stuck in too. Well, a couple of weeks ago they hosted their very first Pop-Up VegBox Dinner as part of the fabulous Streatham Food Festival, in the charming new Community Space at The White Lion. With Hix Soho Chef, Joe Fox at the helm, I was really lucky to snaffle a reservation as the event quickly sold out.

It was a lovely warm summer’s evening as we gathered and mingled in the courtyard sipping delicious elderflower champagne which Joris, Head Grower at the farm had brewed in anticipation of his wedding; decorated with freshly foraged elderflowers buds and served in the most adorable 1930’s style champagne coupes, these slipped down effortlessly.  The team were working outside so we  got a sneaky peek at the cooking, prepping and plating up too. Inside, long tables had been set with hessian runners and studded with tomato plant centerpieces, terracotta pots crammed with crudités of baby carrots, radishes and asparagus sprue and served with a fresh wobbly mayo, herb and garlic dip with bread donated by local baker and farm supplier Gaye Whitwham of Sticky Mitts.

The Menu

The Menu

The starter of freshly made ricotta, broad beans which included the shoots and flowers, pickled cucumber, cucumber flowers, salad leaves and croutons, dressed with an organic rapeseed oil was simply stunning. The main course of chargrilled asparagus, served on a bed of crushed Charlotte potatoes and topped with a romano pepper stew was gorgeous – perfectly balanced and seasoned. Pudding was a glorious Mess of farm foraged elderflower and gooseberry compote, meringue, cream and shavings of white chocolate. We also got a brown paper and string tied gift to take home  – inside which was one of their printed cloth shopping bags which now lives in my handbag ready for any purchases I make.

IMG_7959

Starter – Broad Bean, Cucumber, Ricotta & Salad Burnet

An evocative video of the evening has been put together by Asa of Triple A Films which captures the night beautifully. It was a truly wonderful, inspirational and magical evening.

broad-bean-pea-and-ricotta-crostini-with-mintSo, in homage to that wonderful starter and to use up the broad beans in my veg box I made these delicious crostini. When it’s too hot to turn on the oven or spend too long at the stove, this sort of thing is just ideal on a warm evening with a large glass of something crisp and cold!

I am taking them with me to Angie’s popular weekly virtual party – Fiesta Friday #21, so that everyone can feel a little of the magic of that night! This week Angie has also eschewed turning on the oven and has made THE most beautiful salad. So it is only right that the party is co-hosted by Elaine@Foodbod and Julianna@Foodie On Board, both of whom make the most fabulous salads! Thank you ladies!

And since broad beans and the recipe are both Simple and in Season, I’m taking them over to the blog event of the same name graciously hosted by Ren Behan.

broad-bean-pea-and-ricotta-crostini-with-mint

broad-bean-pea-and-ricotta-crostini-with-mint

broad-bean-pea-and-ricotta-crostini-with-mint

Broad Bean, Pea and Ricotta Crostini with Mint

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup of podded broad beans
  • 1 cup of peas (frozen is fine)
  • Zest of a lemon and some juice
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp finely sliced fresh mint
  • 4 thick slices sourdough bread
  • 1 large clove of garlic halved
  • 6-8 Tbsp ricotta cheese
  • Salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Bring a small pot of salted water to the boil then add the broad beans and cook for about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the peas and cook for another couple of minutes.
  3. Drain immediately and run under a cold tap or plunge into an ice bath to cool and set the gorgeous green colours.
  4. Skin the broad beans – give those fleshy skins a little pinch and squeeze the beans out.
  5. Place the broad beans and the peas in a bowl with most of the mint; grate over some lemon zest, squeeze over a little lemon juice and a little olive oil;  season, stir and set aside.
  6. Toast the sourdough and while the slices are still hot, rub one side with the  cut side of garlic cloves. The garlic will disappear into the toast.
  7. Spread the toast thickly with ricotta cheese and season lightly.
  8. Top generously with the broad bean mixture, sprinkle with a little more mint and drizzle over a fruity olive oil.
  9. Serve as part of an antipasti or as a first course.

© 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.

Caesar Dressing

caesar-dressingMy lovely 16 year old son has become a salad eating afficiando – he absolutely loves them and has a huge portion after every meal. Yesterday, I didn’t feel like cooking – we had some left over chicken from the night before but I really fancied a herby Greek salad type meal with lots of chopped cucumber, feta and mint. So when Jake came bounding down the stairs and asked what was for dinner as he couldn’t smell anything (!), I replied “A chopped Greek salad” and waited for him to say “Oh great  – how long until we eat?!”  Instead he paused and then said – “Hey Mum, can we have a chicken Caesar salad instead? It’s my new favourite salad.” Well, how could I refuse?

I used to love Caesar Salads when I lived in Canada – crisp salad leaves, crunchy croutons, grainy parmesan cheese and a dreamy, creamy, pungent sauce – I was in! I was also butterfingers yesterday, managing to drop a fresh roll of paper towels into a sink full of dirty water, which really, really annoyed me! That was just before I knocked over a bottle of oil which dripped onto the smooth tiled kitchen floor, ensuring that I had to stop and have a huge clean up and wipe down. At that point, I didn’t like my chances of ending up Humpty-Dumpty-like, on that floor!

caesar-dressing

Chicken Caesar Salad

I know that the dressing traditionally has a raw egg in it but decided that mayonnaise would be a good substitute as it is already egg and oil based and I have to say that I am quite pleased with the result as was Jake. Don’t miss out the anchovies – they add a deep umami flavour that cannot be replicated by salt alone. You could probably substitute with some fish sauce or anchovy paste – you will have to add a little at a time until you get the flavour you like. This makes quite a lot of dressing but it keeps very well and the recipe can easily be halved too.

From the comments below, a few of you have asked about substitutions;

  •  for mayo – I had a google and Jamie Oliver uses Greek yoghurt – it you try it, do come back and let me know and I will update the post with a credit to you and your blog.
  • vegetarian substitute for anchovies – I suggest tamari or soy sauce – start with one teaspoon and see if that adds enough umami – again, do come back and let me know and I will update the post.
  • vegetarian substitute for the chicken – try marinating firm tofu slices in smoky paprika, a little lemon juice and oil, then griddle or barbecue.

caesar-dressing

Caesar Dressing

  • Servings: 300 ml
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise – don’t skimp on the quality here
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • juice of one lemon – about 50 ml or so – see my Tips and Tricks page on how to get the most juice out of a lemon
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 anchovies preserved in oil
  • freshly ground black pepper – about ½ tsp
  • 120ml/ ½ cup mild olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp oil from the anchovies – optional but good!
  • 35 g parmesan cheese grated

To serve (for 2 people)

  • 1 large slice of  sourdough or ciabatta bread cubed into croutons
  • a little olive oil
  • Half a romaine lettuce, washed and dried
  • 2 cooked  and sliced chicken breasts – barbecued or cooked on the griddle is the tastiest. Ours was room temperature.
  • grated parmesan cheese

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place the mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, garlic, anchovies and black pepper in the bowl of a small food processor and blitz until smooth.
  2. With the motor running, slowly stream in the olive oil and the anchovy oil to emulsify the sauce. Add the oil slowly – this is the key to the dressing emulsifying and not splitting – the mustard really helps with this process in any case.
  3. Taste and adjust the flavour (not the salt though as the parmesan goes in next). More garlic? Add another crushed clove. If it’s too sharp from the lemon, add a little more oil but we found that the above measurements were perfect.
  4. Scrape into a bowl and stir in the parmesan cheese (or you could carry on blitzing in the food processor but I was using my really small one and didn’t have enough space!)
  5. Taste again and make any final adjustments to the flavour.

To serve

  1. Toss the bread cubes in a little olive oil and either cook them in a dry non-stick frying pan or toast in a hot oven for 5 minutes. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to cool.
  2. Tear up the romaine leaves into manageable pieces and place in a large bowl.
  3. Top with the chicken/tofu and croutons.
  4. Add 3 or 4 tablespoons of the dressing and toss well to coat. Add more if you like more dressing on the salad.
  5. Scatter with some grated parmesan cheese, dish up and enjoy, hopefully alfresco with a large glass of cold Sauvignon Blanc!

© 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.

Cook the Books – Demerara Lemon Cake

cook-the-books-demerara-lemon-cakeNigel Slater’s recipes seem to have a resonance that are simultaneously timeless and on trend. It was his ‘Real Fast Food’ to which I first turned when I would come home from a long day at work and it is his ‘Kitchen Diaries” today to which I will always flip through to get inspiration. The cake below is another syrup soaked affair, full of zingy lemon flavour and dense with almonds and eggs. It is perfect as a light pudding with a dollop of thick Greek yoghurt and some strawberries or raspberries.  I been making it since 2010, initially for Jake’s lunch box but now, to occasionally have for unexpected visitors as it also keeps extremely well.

cook-the-books-demerara-lemon-cake

cook-the-books-demerara-lemon-cake

 

cook-the-books-demerara-lemon-cake

It’s not a difficult cake to make as long as you get everything measured out and ready to go. The first thing to do is to make the topping which is merely a matter of  slicing a lemon and simmering it for 5 or 6 minutes in a little water and sugar. This cools as you get on with the cake. Beat the butter and the sugar, then add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. If the batter starts to look curdled you can either add a spoonful of the flour mix with every egg or just ignore it as it all comes together in the end.  Fold in the flour mixture and scrape it into a lined loaf tin. Top with the lemon slices and bake. While it is baking, make the syrup which is just a little water and sugar and pour it over the spiked cake while it is still warm out of the oven. This is the first time I have made it in a conventional oven (as opposed to a fan oven) and the lemon slices sank – this has happened with other bakes too so the next time I try a topped cake, I will be turning the fan on to see if it makes a difference…

cook-the-books-demerara-lemon-cake

Lemon slices after simmering

cook-the-books-demerara-lemon-cake

Ready for the oven

cook-the-books-demerara-lemon-cake

For those of you who have been asking about Demerara sugar, it is a golden, raw cane, large crystal sugar, similar to Turbinado sugar. This is what BBC Food have to say about it;

This pale-coloured and mild-tasting raw cane sugar is named after its place of origin – Demerara, in Guyana – but it is now imported from various other countries, such as Jamaica, Malawi and Mauritius. It has large sparkling golden crystals and a crunchy texture. Traditionally used to sweeten coffee, it’s perfect for sprinkling but can also be used for baking, particularly in things that need extra crunchiness such as crumbles, cheesecake bases, flapjacks and biscuits.

This is what Wikipedia has to say about brown sugar;

Brown sugar is a sucrose sugar product with a distinctive brown color due to the presence of molasses. It is either an unrefined or partially refined soft sugar consisting of sugar crystals with some residual molasses content, or it is produced by the addition of molasses to refined white sugar (so-called Molasses Sugar).

Brown sugar contains from 3.5% molasses (light brown sugar) to 6.5% molasses (dark brown sugar) based on total volume. Based on total weight, regular brown sugar contains up to 10% molasses. The product is naturally moist from the hygroscopic nature of the molasses and is often labelled as “soft.” The product may undergo processing to give a product that flows better for industrial handling. The addition of dyes and/or other chemicals may be permitted in some areas or for industrial products.

And finally, this is what Wikipedia has to say about white sugar;

White refined sugar is typically sold as granulated sugar, which has been dried to prevent clumping and comes in various crystal sizes for home and industrial use:

  • Coarse-grain, such as sanding sugar (also called “pearl sugar”, “decorating sugar”, nibbed sugar or sugar nibs) is a coarse grain sugar used to add sparkle and flavor atop baked goods and candies. Its large reflective crystals will not dissolve when subjected to heat.
  • Granulated, familiar as table sugar, with a grain size about 0.5 mm across.”Sugar cubes” are lumps for convenient consumption produced by mixing granulated sugar with sugar syrup.
  •  Caster (or castor) (0.35 mm), a very fine sugar in Britain, so-named because the grains are small enough to fit through a castor, a form of sieve. Commonly used in baking and mixed drinks, it is sold as “superfine” sugar in the United States. Because of its fineness it dissolves more quickly than regular white sugar and is thus especially useful in meringues and cold liquids. Castor sugar can be prepared at home by grinding granulated sugar for a couple of minutes in a food processor.
  • Powdered, 10X sugar, confectioner’s sugar (0.060 mm), or icing sugar (0.024 mm), produced by grinding sugar to a fine powder.

Demerara Lemon Cake

  • Servings: 8 slices
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

For the topping

  • 1 large lemon
  • 4 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp demerara sugar

For the cake

  • 200 g soft unsalted butter
  • 200 g demerara sugar (I use 100g caster/superfine and 100g soft light brown)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 90 g plain flour
  • 90 g ground almonds or almond meal
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 large lemon, zested

For the syrup

  • The juice from the lemon that has been zested
  • 2 Tbsp demerara sugar

INSTRUCTIONS

For the topping

  1. Place water and sugar in a small pan.  Slice lemon thinly and add to the pan. Bring to the boil and let simmer for about 5 minutes or until most of the water has evaporated.
  2. Set aside to cool while you get the cake ready.

For the cake

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160C/ 325F and line a loaf pan with paper.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. This will take longer with demerara sugar as it is a larger crystal.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. The mixture may look curdled but it will be fine once the dry ingredients are added.
  4. Combine the rest of the (dry)  ingredients in a bowl and whisk to make sure that the mixture is well blended
  5. Fold the dry ingredients into the batter with a large metal spoon to preserve as much of the air as possible.
  6. Scrape into the lined loaf tin and overlap the reserved lemon slices down the middle of the batter.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes.
  8. In the mean time, make the syrup by combing the lemon juice and sugar in a pan (I use the one I have cooked the slices in) and leave to dissolve while the cake bakes.
  9. Check the cake, using a skewer or toothpick – if it comes out clean then it is done – if there is some batter clinging to the then it will need a little  extra time.
  10. Remove the cake from the oven and spike all over with a toothpick. Pour the syrup (not all of the sugar will have dissolved) over the cake slowly and evenly.
  11. Leave to cool in the pan.
  12. Serve with a thick dollop of  yoghurt, cream fraiche or double cream and possibly some fruit such as raspberries or strawberries to make it more of a pudding course.

This damp cake keeps very well for a few days if it lasts that long.

 

 

 

 

 

‘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.