In My Kitchen – February 2015

Emergency Fund Raiser for Kim and Russ Bultman.

The devastating aftermath of the electrical fire which razed the Bultmans’ home to the ground.

I would like to start this post saying how grateful I am to have a kitchen from which to show you my lovely bowls on the window ledge, my favourite pots and pans, my old china, my best knife, my latest foodie discoveries and share with you the joy of my sourdough starter, Twinkle. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to not have any of it. To lose not only the things in my kitchen but everything in my home. To literally only have the clothes that I am standing in. Take a minute and imagine not having your photos, your child’s first shoes, your books, possessions that have been handed down through the family…This happened to fellow blogger, Kim Bultman (of the blog, A Little Lunch) whom I “met” through Celia’s IMK series. She and her husband, Russ lost everything on the day of their wedding anniversary, in November as a result of a devastatingly fast electrical fire which swept through their lakeside home in Oklahoma and razed it to the ground in a matter of an hour. Luckily they are both fine and have been incredibly positive about the whole thing. Their daughter Pamela set up a fund raising site and in an absolute testament to Kim’s selfless nature, she asked her daughter to put off publicising it until after Christmas so as not to affect anyone’s enjoyment of the festive season. They are insured but as you can imagine, the insurance does not cover everything. One of the things that Kim would like to buy with any money raised, is a new cooker/stove. Please do consider donating even a small amount to help Kim and Russ. There are only 20 days left and not even half their goal of $5,000 has been reached. Imagine yourself in their situation and show them some love. This is the link to where the smallest of Paypal donations will make a difference –  Kim & Russ Bultman Fundraiser

In My Kitchen – Elaine (of the blog, foodbod) and I met up in Shepherd’s Bush the other Saturday, as it is a Middle Eastern treasure trove of food shopping and eating. Elaine wrote a fabulous post all about it, which many of you will have read, so I won’t detail it here – take a look at her post if you missed it – it was such a lovely day out with fabulous food and wonderful people!  I did come back with a few goodies!

In my kitchen there are the most fragrant of dried rose petals. The man at the check out asked me what I intended to do with them and, as I mumbled something about harissa, (how could I say they were for pretty pictures?!) he told me that his wife makes something, “even better than what you eat in a 5 star hotel – a little thick yoghurt, a little honey, a few almonds and a few of these petals.” Raising his hand and kissing the tips of his fingertips he proclaimed, “Delicious!” It is.

I also picked up a bottle of a Palestinian first, cold pressed, extra virgin, olive oil by a Fair Trade company called  Zaytoun.  I was touched to think that trees were as old as friendships and a lifeline for the children and was immeasurably moved to read that …”Beyond conflict and upheaval, runs the thread of a vibrant culture and we proudly share its gifts…”

In my kitchen - February 2014 | Selma's TableA friend of mine since Jake’s prep school days has finally started a blog called Happy Street London. Anita has a very popular Instagram feed which led her to blogging. She is one of the most nurturing and caring people I know and her blog is just another way for her to reach more people and share the love. She recently wrote a post about a quinoa salad that just looked and sounded so delicious that when I saw a box of this Black Quinoa, I had to pop it in my basket!

I was just about to walk over to the cashier when I realised that there was a butchery counter in the shop. I stopped to take a look and saw piles of merguez – the North African spiced sausages. I asked if they were made in-house and was told that yes, they were made fresh each day! Bingo! I bought a few of each flavour – Chicken, Spicy and Original. They are wonderful on the barbecue but also fabulous in a Shakshuka which is just what I made the next day for brunch.

We went on to a shop called Nut Case which Elaine had already scouted out – it was filled with lots nut based delicacies including these gorgeous pastries – Ma’amoul are filled with dates and these pistachio ones were not too sweet at all.

In my kitchen - February 2014 | Selma's TableWe rounded off the shopping with a wonderful mezze lunch and all I can say is that I plan on visiting again when I run out of tahini because, as you can see, there is no shortage of it on the Uxbridge Road!

I was asked to review a new cookbook called FIVE by Rachel de Thample and sent a veg box from Able and Cole to come up with a FIVE inspired recipe. The book is just fabulous – there’s not a thing that I wouldn’t make from it and have already ear marked lots of recipes. For my review post, I made a Ruby Chard, Shitake Mushroom and Chestnut Tart. I have a copy of the book to give away and will post this week with all the details and a new recipe too.

IMG_In my kitchen - February 2014 | Selma's TableMy Sutton Community Farm veg boxes have been great this month. I’ve had acorn squash as well as celeriac which we have had as Remoulade as well as roasted under fish.

IMG_In my kitchen - February 2014 | Selma's TableThere has been sweet, crisp purple kohlrabi which I love, cut into batons and served as a healthy vehicle for houmous or to dip into a little EVOO, balsamic vinegar and sea salt.

IMG_In my kitchen - February 2014 | Selma's TableThere have also been rainbow carrots which have an incredibly intense flavour when roasted. Here they surrounded a chicken on a bed of thyme.

From the leftovers of the roast chicken, I made a delicious pot pie, inspired by one of Anita’s posts on Happy Street London.

I was invited to coffee at a friend’s house and offered to bake something. I had seen a recipe for chocolate chip cookie and brownie tarts. Of course, I left it until the last minute to bake them the night before. They were an absolute disaster – the cookie dough was too greasy and filled up the mini tart tins too much. Then when they baked  they were a hot, crumbly mess with no hope in million years of coming out of the tins intact. I tried to make a few in shallow patty pans but again the cookie dough proved to be a problem. By this time, it was far too late to bake anything else so I ended up rather sheepishly buying a couple of toffee muffins from Marks & Spencer as well as taking over a loaf of Twinkle sourdough which I had intended to anyway. Bah!

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

Please remember to donate a little something to Kim and Russ’s emergency fund raiser if you can – if you haven’t already clicked, this is the link –  Kim & Russ Bultman Fundraiser

Have a wonderful February, everyone!

Shakshuka – (Eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce)

shakshuka-eggs-poached-in-a-spicy-tomato-sauceStating the obvious, I know, but weekends are just made for leisurely breakfasts and brunches. Whether meeting friends at a bustling cafe or making something at home, brunch is one of my favourite meals just because it feels so indulgent and decadent in comparison to the usual Monday to Friday grind.

I watched Ottolenghi’s Mediterranean Feast when it first aired a couple of years ago (Dec 2012) and  was struck by the warmth and conviviality that he encountered whether shopping in a market, researching in a backstreet or cooking in restaurants with fellow chefs. The food ranged from traditional to modern and always so fresh – it was a fabulous series. (If you are in the UK, click on the link to take you to Channel 4OD to watch the series.) One dish that really caught my fancy was Shakshuka, a Tunisian dish of eggs, poached in a spicy tomato sauce which he dished up in Tel Aviv under the watchful eye of “The King of Shakshuka”. I’ve been making it ever since…

shakshuka-eggs-poached-in-a-spicy-tomato-sauce

My version is not as spicy and lends itself to being easily converted to a vegetarian meal by omitting the chorizo or merguez sausages and substituting these with mushrooms and red peppers. This recipe is so tasty and so simple to make that I hope it will become a firm favourite in your weekend meal repertoires.

shakshuka-eggs-poached-in-a-spicy-tomato-sauce

shakshuka-eggs-poached-in-a-spicy-tomato-sauce

The eggs are poached…

shakshuka-eggs-poached-in-a-spicy-tomato-sauce

I am taking these over to Angie’s Fiesta Friday #18 which this week, is being co-hosted by Justine@Eclectic odds n sods and Mr Fitz@Cooking with Mr Fitz . With these two party animals in charge, it is going to be a blast!! Justine has been at the champers since the get go and Mr Fitz has been brandishing those super sharp knives of his when things threaten to get out of control…do take a look at their blogs – you are sure to find much to amuse at Justine’s and much to envy at Mr Fitz’…

Angie’s Fiesta Friday is attended by the warmest, most supportive and incredibly creative bunch of people that it has been my pleasure to (virtually) meet. Do take a look at the entries for inspiration and if you blog, feel free to join in. Not only would Angie, Justine and Mr Fitz welcome you with open arms but so will the crowd!

Read the guide lines here – http://thenovicegardener.wordpress.com/fiesta-friday/

Join the party here – http://thenovicegardener.wordpress.com/2014/05/29/going-vegetarian-for-fiesta-friday-18/

Shakshuka

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 banana shallots or one medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 75 g chorizo or merguez sliced into ½ cm chunks (or use mushrooms and red peppers for a vegetarian option)
  • 1 tsp tomato paste/puree
  • 1 tsp Harissa paste (adjust this to your palate and substitute with ½ tsp of chilli flakes if you don’t have any Harissa)
  • 1 can of tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dry roasted cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • ⅓ can of water
  • 4 large, preferably  organic/free range eggs
  • handful of chopped coriander/cilantro leaves (I also used some snipped chives)
  • Greek yoghurt and flat breads or sourdough toast to serve

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan or skillet, over a medium low flame.
  2. Gently sauté the shallots until they have softened and coloured which should take about 4 – 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and the chorizo or merguez and sauté for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring from time to time to cook all sides. I add a splash of water to the pan if I think it’s going to catch and burn.
  4. Add the tomato paste and the Harissa to the pan, stir, and let the rawness cook off for a a minute or so.
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes, smoked paprika, cumin seeds and thyme leaves and ⅓ of the (tomato) can of water. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any delicious caramelisation that will have occurred and let this bubble away , uncovered, for between 5 -8 minutes, reducing to a thick chunky sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
  6. In the meantime, heat up the flat breads or make the toast and set the table…
  7. Make 4 indentations in the sauce and crack an egg into each one. Cover  the pan and turn down the flame to low and cook for between 3 – 5 minutes. The time taken depends on how “done” you like your yolks, how thick or thin the base of the pan is and how hot the element is, so do check on the eggs after the initial 3 minutes are up.
  8. Scatter over the coriander leaves and serve immediately with a dollop of yoghurt and lots of warm flat bread to scoop up the delicious sauce.

© 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.