Roast Pumpkin and Walnut Squares

Roast Pumpkin and Walnut Squares | Selma's Table

Did you know that 90% of the tea drunk in the UK is a blend of teas, and that tasting and blending tea, like blending whisky or champagne, is a fine art, and takes years of training?

When I read that, I sat up and took notice! Tea is something that I take for granted – I like a cup in the afternoon and I like drinking green tea after dinner. So when I received some Tetley Tea to sample along with a fact sheet, I began to look at tea in a new light. There are over 200 ways to describe tea! It takes 5 years of training to become a Tetley Tea Blender, fluent in the art of tea blending and the vocabulary that comes with it. There are 60 different tea blends sold by Tetley and each blend is taste tested 8 times before it can be judged good enough to called Tetley!  Phew – now that is something to consider as we get through the 165,000,000 cups of tea that are drunk daily in the UK!

These are the top 20 terms used by Tetley’s tea tasters, bearing in mind that there are many more…

  1. Aroma: an important consideration in cupping teas is the smell that is given off. A favourable aroma is most often associated with a flavourful taste.
  2. Black tea: the most commonly consumed tea in the world. One of three major types of tea, the others being Green and Oolong.
  3. Biscuity: a desirable trait usually referring to a well fired Assam.
  4. Bite: a very brisk and “alive” tea liquor.
  5. Blend: a mixture of teas from several different origins blended together to achieve a certain flavour profile.
  6. Body: describes a tea liquor possessing fullness and strength.
  7. Colour: indicates useful depth of color and strength.
  8.  Dust: a term which is used to describe the smallest particles of tea leaf.
  9.  Flat: not fresh. Tea tends to lose its characteristics and taste with age, unlike some wines which mature with age.
  10.  Hard: a desirable quality suggesting pungency, particularly applied to Assam teas.
  11.  Jasmine: a green tea to which Jasmine flowers are added.
  12.  Leaf: a tea where the leaf tends to be on the large or longish size.
  13.  Malty: desirable character in some Assam teas. A full, bright tea with a malty taste.
  14.  Nose: a term used to connote a good aroma of tea.
  15.  Powdery: ‘fine, light dust’ as the tea people say, meaning a very fine, light leaf particle.
  16.  Pungent: describes a tea liquor having marked briskness and an astringent effect on the palate without bitterness.
  17. Sparkle: clarity and purity of colour from grey to pure colour.
  18.  Toasty: a tea which has been slightly overfired during processing. It may be a desirable characteristic in some Darjeeling teas.
  19.  Woody: a characteristic reminiscent of freshly-cut timber. This trait is usually associated with teas processed very late in the season.
  20.  Zing: overall quality impression of the tea on the palette; the balance of character and taste in the tea.

Well, after all the hard work that has gone into producing your blend, you want to be sure to treat that tea with a little respect! Here are Tetley’s Master Blenders’ top tips for the perfect cup…

The tea should be made with boiling water ­ and only once-boiled water with a low mineral content if possible. This is because reboiling reduces oxygen levels and affects the taste, whilst water with a low mineral content allows the tea notes to come through better.

If you’re making black tea, stand by the kettle to ensure you pour as soon as it’s boiled. Black tea tastes best when brewed in water as close to boiling point as possible. That’s why your cuppa may taste different on a plane. In the reduced pressure environment, the boiling point is lowered to 90°.

But if you’ re making green tea, allow the kettle to cool for up to two minutes. This will make sure that your tea doesn¹t over-infuse and develop a bitter taste. Green teas are more delicate after all.

When using a tea bag in a cup, always add your milk after the water, otherwise the milk will cool the water down and hinder the all important infusion process. If using a tea pot, try adding the milk to the cup first. This traditional technique stopped the delicate porcelain cups from cracking.

We advise leaving the bag in for at least two minutes to provide sufficient time to let the flavour of the tea to infuse. This is more of a guideline though; the perfect brew is down to personal preference. But do not poke or prod the bag while it is infusing ­ be patient and let the process happen naturally!

After removing the bag, leave the brew to cool down for around two-three minutes. As the temperature reduces, the flavours will develop for a better quality taste.

If you would like to know more about the art of tea blending, take a look on Tetley’s website for a much more in-depth overview.

In My Kitchen December 2014 | Selma's TableMy recipe for Roast Pumpkin and Walnut Squares compliments and showcases the fruitiness of one of  one of Tetley’s latest blends – Green Tea with Peach and Apricot.

Roast Pumpkin and Walnut Squares | Selma's TableI soaked some sultanas in a very strong brew of the tea which absorbed the fruity flavours perfectly. I roasted the seasonal crown squash that was in my Sutton Community Farm  veg box along with some butter, brown sugar and my Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice mix.

Roast Pumpkin and Walnut Squares | Selma's TableI whizzed up a buttery, oaty, nutty base & topping, layered up and baked it then drizzled the squares with a lemony yogurt glaze. The result reminded me a little of the flavours of a baklava – sweet, spicy and nutty! I found that it sets up best overnight and even tastes better as all the flavours mature.

Roast Pumpkin and Walnut Squares | Selma's TableI am taking these delicious Roast Pumpkin and Walnut Squares over to Angie’s to share with the revellers at her popular Fiesta Friday party – it’s the 45th one – can you believe it?! Our talented first-time co-hosts this week are  Michelle @Giraffes Can Bake (I don’t know about giraffes but Michelle is an extraordinary baker!) and MB @Bourbon & Brown Sugar (MB has some fantastic bakes on her blog but her savoury food is pretty fabulous too!) Welcome to co-hosting, ladies – it is quite the blast!

Roast Pumpkin and Walnut Squares

  • Servings: 16 pieces
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS

For the roast pumpkin

  • 300 g crown squash diced into 1  cm pieces (about a ¼ of a squash)
  • 1 tbsp butter cubed
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix

Mix and roast in a single layer  at 200C/400F for 20 minutes, stirring once or twice. The pumpkin pieces should be cooked through but still a little firm. Set aside to cool

For the sultanas

  • 75 g sultanas
  • 1 Tetley’s Peach and Green Tea teabag
  • 1 Tetley Redbush (Rooibos) teabag
  • 1 cup of just boiled water

Make a very strong brew with the two teabags, then remove and stir in the sultanas. Soak for 20 minutes at least. Drain when ready to use.

For the base and topping:

  • 125 g Digestive biscuits (about 8)
  • 20 g walnuts
  • 190 g plain/AP flour
  • 50 g oats
  • 20 g ground almonds/almond meal/almond flour
  • 1 ½  tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix
  • 180 g cold, unsalted butter, cubed
  • 50 g chopped walnuts – reserve for the topping
  • 2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds – reserve for the topping

For the filling:

  • 1 large egg
  • 150 g light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix
  • 300 g roast pumpkin
  • drained sultanas
  • 1 Tbsp ground almonds/almond meal

For the glaze:

  • ½ c golden icing sugar
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla yoghurt
  • 2 tsp Yuzu Citrus Seasoning

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C/350 F. Line a 9 inch square tin with greaseproof paper so that the base and sides are covered – use a few dabs of butter to get the paper to stick to the pan.
  2. Place the walnuts and digestive biscuits in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
  3. Add the flour, oats, ground almonds and pumpkin pie spice mix and pulse a couple of times to combine.
  4. Add the cold butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse, damp sand.
  5. Set aside 1 generous cup of this mixture for the topping and tip the rest into the prepared tin. Pat it level – don’t press down too hard or the base will be tough – then bake for 15 minutes.
  6. While the base is baking, get the filling ready; combine the pumpkin and the sultanas.
  7. Using an electric mixer and a medium sized bowl, whisk the egg,  sugar and pumpkin pie spice mix until thick, coffee coloured and creamy – about 2 minutes. Fold in the pumpkin, sultanas and almond meal..
  8. After the base has been in the oven for 15 minutes, remove it and top with the filling – covering the hot base as evenly as you can with the pumpkin filling
  9. Sprinkle over the reserved topping, walnuts and pumpkin seeds.
  10. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.
  11. Cool completely before glazing.
  12. Combine glaze ingredients together until smooth and drizzle over the top.

Stores brilliantly, covered in the fridge for 4-5 days.

© 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.

Ginger Berry Nutty Crisp

Ginger, Berry, Nutty Crisp | Selma's TableI rather love September – not only because my favourite (!) son was born towards the latter end of the month but also because it’s full of new beginnings. A new school year begins with high hopes and  all the paraphernalia that goes with it – uniform, school shoes, pens and pencils, geometry sets, books, teachers and classmates. Only this year, as Jake enters what is known as Sixth Form (the last two years of school before University) there is no “uniform” other than the Sixth Form tie. All the boys must wear a suit (navy, charcoal or black), a white shirt and black shoes. He does go off to school looking terribly smart!

Ginger, Berry, Nutty Crisp | Selma's TableMeaning to make a crumble to showcase a pretty bowl (I know, how shallow am I?), I bought some lovely blackberries and raspberries from the market. But making a crumble seemed akin to admitting that the summer was over – which I am not quite ready to do! The weather has been warm in that September sort of way and the trees seem determined to hang onto their verdant hues though there are a few on the turn too.

Ginger, Berry, Nutty Crisp | Selma's TableIt didn’t seem right somehow to be making a winteresque pudding so I adapted the Peach and Amaretti Crisp I made last week to make a Ginger Berry Nutty Crisp. I used a spicy biscuit called Speculoo, added some ground ginger and walnuts to the base and topping and included that gorgeous Japanese citrus flavour called Yuzu in the icing. I used a golden icing sugar which is unrefined – it gives the icing a gorgeous caramel colour and flavour too. Any spicy biscuit will do – by spicy I mean with ginger or cinnamon – not chilli!! And if you can’t get ahold of Yuzu seasoning (please do look out for it – it is amazing in dips and with fish as well as cocktails) then use a couple of teaspoons of lemon juice along with some zest.

Ginger, Berry, Nutty Crisp | Selma's TableA quick word on preparing pans for baking. I don’t think that enough emphasis is placed on it but it is essential to do this well so that your delicious and lovingly prepared bakes are easy to turn out and present. If you bake frequently, it is completely worth buying pre-cut circles, strips and rolls of baking paper. In the UK, Lakeland and John Lewis are great resources as are eBay and Amazon. It’s not necessary to grease and paper the tins but do use a few dabs of butter so that the paper sticks to the tin and doesn’t move about.

How to line a baking tinAnd how to easily paper a square or rectangular tin? You can either cut out two long strips that are as wide as the tin so that they cover the base as well as the sides or you can do what I do which is to turn the tin over then drape and cut off enough paper to fit over it. Make a neat pleat at the corners- as if gift wrapping then turn the tin over and the paper should slip straight in. For a circular tin, cut out a strip which is a little longer than the length of the circumference. Then make a narrow fold along the length of it and snip along it at an angle. Dab a little butter along the sides of the tin and place the strip along it with the snipped section flat against the base of the pan. Place a circle of paper on the base on top of the snipped section and you are good to go.  I have lots of tips that you might find interesting on my TIps and Tricks page. If you go over and take a look, do leave your best tips in the comments box. I will include them with a credit to you.

Ginger, Berry, Nutty Crisp | Selma's TableI’m taking my Ginger Berry Nutty Crisp along to Angie of the Novice Gardener’s Fiesta Friday #32 – the weekly virtual get-together where we share fabulous stories and recipes from all over the world. Please do join in by seeing what is on offer or sharing a post. This week (as well as last week) Hilda from Along the Grapevine is helping Angie as a co-host. Hilda lives on a rather idyllic 7 acre property in Ontario, where she shares her stories and recipes of all the things she grows and forages on her land – this week it’s her incredible tomatoes – sigh! And Angie has brought a delicious Chilli con Carne – one of my favourite dishes! A huge thanks to both Angie and Hilda for hosting!!

Ginger, Berry, Nutty Crisp | Selma's TableClick on the Fiesta Friday badge below to join the party – you can submit a post (be sure to include a link to Angie and Hilda’s FF#32 posts – 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!

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Ginger Berry Nutty Crisp

  • Servings: 16 pieces
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

For the base and topping:

  • 80 g Speculoo biscuits (a spicy biscuit)
  • 20 g walnuts
  • 190 g plain/AP flour
  • 50 g oats
  • 20 g ground almonds/almond meal/almond flour
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 150 g cold, unsalted butter, cubed
  • 50 g chopped walnuts – reserve for the topping

For the filling:

  • 275 – 300 g mixed soft berries I used raspberries and blackberries
  • 1 large egg
  • 100 g light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ground almonds/almond meal

For the glaze:

  • ½ c golden icing/super fine sugar
  • 2 Tbsp crème fraîche
  • 2 tsp Yuzu Citrus Seasoning

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C/350 F
  2. Line a 9 inch square tin with greaseproof paper so that the base and sides are covered – use a few dabs of butter to get the paper to stick to the pan.
  3. While the oven is heating up, place the 20 g of walnuts on a tray and toast for 5 – 8 minutes. Cool, then place in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Don’t take it too far otherwise you will have a nut paste rather than a nut flour. Set aside.
  4. Place the Speculoo biscuits in a food processor and blitz to fine crumbs.
  5. Add the flour, oats, ground almonds, the ground walnuts and ginger and pulse a couple of times to combine.
  6. Add the cold butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse, damp sand.
  7. Set aside 1 cup of this mixture for the topping and tip the rest into the prepared tin. Pat it level – don’t press down too hard or it will be tough – then bake for 15 minutes.
  8. While the base is baking, get the filling ready; sort through the fruit and discard any mouldy ones.
  9. Using an electric mixer and a medium sized bowl, whisk the egg and sugar until coffee coloured and creamy – about 2 minutes. Then add the almond meal and salt and whisk again. Fold in the berries.
  10. After the base has been in the oven for 15 minutes, remove it and top with the filling – covering the hot base as evenly as you can with the fruit.
  11. Sprinkle over the chopped walnuts and the reserved topping.
  12. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.
  13. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then using the lining paper as handles, lift out and place on a wire rack to cool completely before glazing.
  14. Combine glaze ingredients together until smooth and drizzle over the top.

Stores brilliantly, covered in the fridge for 4-5 days.

© 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.

Peach & Amaretti Crisp

Peach & Amaretti Crisp | Selma's TableWhen I first began baking, all those years ago in Canada, my Mum would always exhort me to to cut back on the amount of sugar that was called for. Invariably there was a lot of sugar in those recipes for cakes, cookies and bakes so reducing it was not too much of a hardship. It is something that I still do today. Even though I would like to think that modern recipes have dialled this down somewhat, I still find that I can usually cut back a little on sugar. I bake a lot but Jake has never needed a filling in his nearly seventeen years on this sugar mad planet. He doesn’t have a dentist phobia either!! When he was a baby, I used to make all his food – steaming, pureeing and freezing vegetables in ice cube trays – no added sugar, salt or preservatives! When he was a toddler, sweets were for Sundays and as he got older and developed a liking for fizzy drinks, they were reserved for occasions like restaurant meals or birthdays. I like to think he got off to a good start even though he does love a Mars bar!

Peach & Amaretti Crisp | Selma's TableTrying to cut back on sugar meant that I almost didn’t post this recipe for Peach and Amaretti Crisp. I didn’t think the squares of Crisp were sweet enough but Jake had a friend round for dinner on Monday and they both thought that the squares were perfect. I didn’t add any sugar to the base as I thought the sugar in the Amaretti was enough (I had a taste of the dry mix just to make sure – the things I do for you, dear Reader..) but when I tasted a square without the glaze I came to the conclusion that my quest had gone too far. But  once they were glazed, they were absolutely delicious – just sweet enough to bring out the flavours of the peaches and the almonds.

Peach & Amaretti Crisp | Selma's TableThe amaretti are such a visual treat. These ones come in such a pretty tin, wrapped in papery twists; some with fringed edges. When I was married, we used to frequent a local Italian restaurant and they used to serve these with the coffee. My husband, replete with excellent food and Saint-Emillion, would roll the paper into a column place it on the tablecloth and set it alight. I, heart in mouth, would watch with a combination of terror and childish delight, as it would rise, flaming, off the table and burn to an ash.

Peach & Amaretti Crisp | Selma's TableThis Peach and Amaretti Crisp is quite a simple thing to make. Blitz the base which is also the topping, together, reserving a cup full for the topping and pat the rest into the prepared cake tin and bake for 15 minutes. While it is baking, make the peach filling which is essentially whisked egg, sugar and almond meal into which you fold the chopped peaches. The hot base is covered with the peach filling and the reserved topping is sprinkled over with some flaked almonds. While that finishes baking, the glaze can be prepared to be drizzled over the Peach and Amaretti Crisp when it is cold. You end with a mouthful of crisp, gooey, crunchy fruity, almondy deliciousness that is perfect with an espresso. So make the most of the seasonal peaches as the summer segues into autumn and make these – they make a very nice after school snack too!

Peach & Amaretti Crisp | Selma's Table

Peach & Amaretti Crisp

  • Servings: 16 pieces
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Adapted from Peaches ‘n’ Cream Bars by Sally’s Baking Addiction

INGREDIENTS

For the base and topping:

  • 80 g amaretti biscuits (9 biscuits)
  • 190 g plain/AP flour
  • 50 g oats
  • 40 g ground almonds/almond meal/almond flour
  • 150 g cold, unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 Tbsp flaked almonds

For the filling:

  • 3 tasty peaches
  • 1 large egg
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ground almonds/almond meal

For the glaze:

  • ½ c icing/super fine sugar
  • 2 Tbsp crème fraîche
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C/350 F
  2. Line a 9 inch square tin with baking parchment so that the base and sides are covered – use a few dabs of butter to get the paper to stick to the pan.
  3. Place the amaretti biscuits in a food processor and blitz to a fine powder.
  4. Add the flour, oats and almond meal and pulse a couple of times to combine.
  5. Add the cold butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse, damp sand.
  6. Set aside 1 cup of this mixture for the topping and tip the rest into the prepared tin. Pat it level – don’t press down too hard or it will be tough – then bake for 15 minutes.
  7. While the base is baking, get the filling ready; peel, pit and chop the peaches into 1 cm chunks.
  8. Using an electric mixer and a medium sized bowl, whisk the egg and sugar until pale and creamy – about 2 minutes. Then add the almond meal and salt and whisk again. Fold in the peaches.
  9. After the base has been in the oven for 15 minutes, remove it and top with the filling – covering the hot base as evenly as you can with the peaches.
  10. Sprinkle over the reserved topping and scatter over the slivered almonds.
  11. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.
  12. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then using the lining paper as handles, lift out and place on a wire rack to cool completely before glazing.
  13. Combine glaze ingredients together until smooth and drizzle over the top.

Stores brilliantly, covered in the fridge for 4-5 days.

© 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.

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.