Masala Chai Banana Bread with Coconut Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing

Masala Chai Banana Bread with Coconut Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing | Selma's TableThis year’s UK Master Chef series on the television has been fantastic. The final five were all incredibly creative and really put through their paces as the competition ruthlessly progressed. (Don’t worry, there are no spoilers here if you haven’t watched the final episode to crown the winner.)  Of the final five, I was really inspired by Emma whose love of middle eastern spices and modern use of ingredients mirrors the zeitgeist made mainstream by Ottolenghi.

Masala Chai Banana Bread with Coconut Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing | Selma's TableYou may recall that Adagio Tea sent me a sample pack of their gorgeous teas to try. I wrote about their artisan teas in last month’s IMK post. They have a huge range and their green teas alone are worth a look at. Their Masala Chai is quite incredible – it has the deep flavour that I remember from my childhood and is chock full of whole spices like cloves, cinnamon bark, cardamom seeds and ginger as well as black Ceylon tea.

Masala Chai Banana Bread with Coconut Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing | Selma's TableSpurred on by Emma’s creations on Master Chef, a LOT of dangerously dark bananas and Adagio’s Masala Chai, I adapted my go-to recipe for Banana Bread from How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson. It’s a recipe I have been making for years and it never lets me down. It’s particularly devilish and delicious when made with chocolate chips instead of fruit, but that is another story!

Masala Chai Banana Bread with Coconut Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing | Selma's TableBecause I had so many bananas I used them all and in retrospect, it was too much and caused the loaves to become heavy and sink in the middle when cooling. In the recipe below, I have written the amounts as they should be and not as I did this time.

I quite often use frozen bananas but let them thaw and drain off the liquid before mashing and mash the bananas coarsely as this enables the loaves to remain lovely and moist. I prefer to use light brown sugar for a deeper more caramel flavour too.  Steeping the fruit in very a very strong solution of masala chai gives them a haunting flavour when you bite into a plumped up morsel. I have enhanced that with a little cardamom stirred through the batter too.

Masala Chai Banana Bread with Coconut Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing | Selma's TableThe icing. Oh my God, the icing! It’s just sublime. I wanted to compliment the heady banana and masala chai flavours of the loaf and put this icing together. The flavour reminds me of coconut burfi or penda (which my father adored) – Indian sweets as Jake refers to them…

Masala Chai Banana Bread with Coconut Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing | Selma's Table

I really like using coconut powder as you can get the depth of flavour you want and also the thickness by adjusting the liquid to powder ratio. A further rummage in the pantry led me to the gorgeously fragrant rose petals I bought recently on a foray into Shepherd’s Bush with Elaine and a bag of pistachio nuts.

Masala Chai Banana Bread with Coconut Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing | Selma's TableI ended up with a Magic Carpet Banana Bread! I think Emma would approve!

Masala Chai Banana Bread with Coconut Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing

  • Servings: Makes 2 loaves
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Adapted from “Banana Bread” How to Be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson

My loaf tins are standard 900g/2 lb loaf tins. Measurements may vary slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer, but  they should be approximately 23cm x 13cm x 7cm  or 9″ x 5 ½” x 3″.

INGREDIENTS

  • 150 g mixed dried fruit (like berries, cherries, figs and sultanas)
  • 75 ml of very strong brewed Adagio Masala Tea Blend
  • 175 g Plain/AP flour
  • 2 ½  tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp cardamom powder or 2 drops of cardamom essence
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 125 g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 150 g light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 3 medium very ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Coconut, Cream Cheese and Cardamom Icing

  • 3 Tbsp coconut powder
  • 1-2 Tbsp warm milk
  • 1 x 180 g pack of cream cheese
  • 1 x 250 g tub of mascarpone cheese
  • 5 – 6 Tbsp icing sugar
  • 3 drops cardamom essence or the powdered seeds of 2 cardamom pods
  • chopped pistachios (optional)
  • edible dried rose petals (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Steep the dried fruit with the hot masala chai for an hour (or microwave on high for 2 minutes and steep for as long as you can)
  2. Pre-heat oven to 170C/325F and either pop a paper case into each of two loaf tins or line with two strips of parchment paper. Put the butter in a heat proof bowl and place in the oven to melt. Check after 3-4 minutes.
  3. Place the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  4. Mash the bananas, coarsely, and set aside.
  5. With an electric mixer, beat together the cooled melted butter and the sugar until creamy and caramel in colour.
  6. Add the eggs, one at a time and make sure to beat well after each one.
  7. Add the bananas and the vanilla extract and mix well and finally, stir in the drained fruit.
  8. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pans and bake for 50 minutes. Test with a wooden skewer which should come out moist but not with batter clinging to it. Let cool completely before icing.
  9. While the loaves are baking, make the icing: stir the coconut powder into warm milk until smooth.
  10. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the cream cheese and the mascarpone with a rubber spatula then add the coconut mixture and stir in. Sift in the icing sugar, mixing well and taste after you had added 4 Tbsp – it may be sweet enough. Stir in the cardamom essence or the powder and set aside in the fridge. When the loaves are cold, spread with the icing and top with the chopped pistachios and rose petals if using them.
© 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.

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.

In My Kitchen – December 2014

I was MIA from this series last month, but it’s been a busy couple of months in my kitchen – come and take a look..

In My Kitchen December 2014 | Selma's Table

Blue and White serving dishes

In my kitchen, I have scored some bargains! I love scouring charity and thrift shops for tableware – most of the time there is nothing but sometimes, there be gold… The first two dishes in the top row,  I spotted locally for a grand sum of £4 and the last one I found on eBay – starting price £1.99 and no one else bid!

In My Kitchen December 2014 | Selma's Table

Silver servers

Another eBay find – I was looking for salad servers and came across these, being sold as a pair of salad servers. Obviously they aren’t – I think that they are most probably cake or pie servers – what do you think? Both are silver plate from the 1920’s, the ivory handle is bone and the brown handle is bakelite. Again, no-one bid for them so I got the pair for the starting price of £3.99! I just love the detail on them.

In My Kitchen December 2014  | Selma's Table

Elaine of foodbod’s spice blends

In my kitchen, I’ve had some incredibly generous gifts from my fellow bloggers. Elaine of foodbod sent  me a a selection of her homemade spice blends. I recently used her foodbod #1 blend in scrambled eggs, which turned out quite delicious!

In My Kitchen December 2014  | Selma's Table

Tina of Madamoiselle Gourmande’s cutlery wrap

Then, Tina of Mademoiselle Gourmande sent me the most stylish cutlery wrap (for picnics, said her note!) which she made herself. Isn’t it lovely? What a thoughtful and clever thing to make and send me – I am very touched.

In My Kitchen December 2014  | Selma's TableI’ve been sent some wonderful Tetley’s Green Tea to try out – I had no idea how involved the whole process of tea blending is. I’ve written a post about it with information that is sure to surprise you! These green teas are just lovely – for me, the trick is not to let the teabags steep for too long otherwise the resultant tea is just too bitter. The fruity Peach and Apricot Green Tea is also fantastic for steeping dried fruit for bakes and the Mint is very refreshing.

In My Kitchen December 2014  | Selma's Table

Barber’s 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar and Wookey Hole Goats Cheese

Elaine and I went to the BBC Good Food Show as guests of Barber’s 1833, England’s oldest cheesemaker who use live cultures to make their cheeses.  I’ve written a post about their cheese making process which is steeped in history and tradition; their fabulous cheese which can be bought in Australia as well as the States and really shouldn’t be missed if you get the opportunity to get your hands on some.

In My Kitchen December 2014  | Selma's Table

Holy Lama Spice Drops

While we were at the show, I picked up a few things – of course! These Spice Drops were actually samples from the press room (we had press passes – swanky or what?). The Mulled Wine is very nice in a cuppa and I am looking forward to using the cardamom in baking and in rice too.

In My Kitchen December 2014  | Selma's Table

Lime Leaves

I bought a bag full of lime leaves – the dried ones – which are just so lovely in any Thai style dish, especially anything with coconut or shellfish in it. I pull out the central rib or stem and finely slice the leaves before stirring them in to the sauce to simmer and impart that gorgeous perfume.

In My Kitchen December 2014  | Selma's Table

Dakos from the Olive Branch

I also stopped by the Olive Branch stand to say hello and got my hands on a bag of Dakos – these are the hard rye biscuits that Ottolenghi loves and uses in his salads.

In My Kitchen December 2014  | Selma's Table

Win a copy of Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi

Speaking of Ottolenghi, I’ve been sent a copy of his eagerly awaited and much coveted book, Plenty More for one of my readers to win. It is full of the most wonderful recipes; inventive and so full of flavour that you don’t even realise that they’re vegetarian.  The competition ends on Tuesday Dec 09  – take a look at the post for more details on how to enter the draw.

In My Kitchen December 2014  | Selma's Table

Dried Limes

One of the ingredients Ottolenghi uses is dried limes – you cook them whole in sauces where they lend and musky deep lime flavour to the dish. I found a bagful in my local Mediterranean shop and I just wish you could smell them – absolutely gorgeous. I can see how Jo Malone was inspired to come up with the fragrance for her iconic Lime Basil and Mandarin Cologne, to which I am addicted!

In My Kitchen December 2014 | Selma's Table

Vietnamese Cinnamon

In my kitchen and very appropriate for this time of year, I have a large bottle of Cinnamon – and this is one of my favourites. It just has such a lovely flavour. I stock up on it whenever I see it at TK Maxx as I do get through quite a bit with all the baking I do.

In My Kitchen December 2014  | Selma's TableIn my healing kitchen…..I may have arthritis in my ankle – I will find out next week what the results of all the tests and scans are but in the meantime, I have taken matters into my own hands to effect a cure. Years ago, I was told that drinking a mug of hot water into which had been stirred a spoonful of organic apple cider vinegar (ACV) and a little honey was a fantastic remedy for arthritis. In those days, my finger joints used to get achy especially if the weather was changing. I started to drink a mug of this every morning and I have never suffered from achy fingers since. Even Ralph Fiennes, the intrepid explorer, champions this drink. I did stop drinking this at some point but the minute I heard that my foot may be affected, I hunted down a bottle of organic ACV and have started to drink this again.

In My Kitchen December 2014  | Selma's Table

In Wholefoods the other day, they had some fresh turmeric root in which I bought. This is meant to be an anti-inflammatory and since my ankle has been swelling up as well as aching I’ve been making Turmeric Tea which consists of 1 tsp of grated turmeric root and 1 tsp of grated ginger simmered in 1 cup of water for 10 minutes. Strained into a cup with a little honey and a splash of ACV, it is actually really delicious! And it has done an incredible job in keeping the swelling down. My fingernails look like I smoke 4 packs a day – grating turmeric will do that but it is well worth it!

A little round up of some of the food I’ve made, remembered to snap but haven’t blogged….I made some delicious spicy Butter Beans – recipe on Instagram if you are interested!  I bought a happy chicken from our local Streatham Farmer’s Market and we had it simply, stuffed with thyme and lemon and roasted surrounded by potatoes and garlic – a recipe of sorts is on Instagram – good ingredients just need to be cooked simply to let their flavours shine. These mussels are a bit of a favourite – cook the spaghetti for a couple of minutes less than you would normally and let it finish cooking in the mussel juices. I used some Elaine’s  Creole blend to spice it up and they were delicious! I made a dairy and egg free chocolate cake but didn’t like the texture enough to blog about it – this one needs some tinkering but doesn’t it look gorgeous?! A lovely way to enjoy tomatoes at this time of year, is to slow roast them so that their tomato flavour intensifies. I made a second batch the other day for sandwiches and salads – they are gorgeous in a toasted cheese too!

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 on it and take a little tour!

Have a wonderful December, everyone!

 

Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi – Christmas Giveaway!

Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi - Giveaway! | Selma's TableHow would you like to get your hands on a copy of one of this year’s eagerly awaited and most coveted recipe books? Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi has made it onto all the must-have Christmas gift guides and this is your chance to either cross that foodie off your Christmas shopping list or keep it for yourself as an early Christmas pressie from which you can prepare gorgeous dishes for friends and family – truly, the gift that keeps giving!  The lovely people at The Happy Foodie have sent me a copy of Plenty More to give to one lucky reader.

Plenty More picks up where Plenty left off, with 150 more dazzling vegetable-based dishes, this time organised by cooking method. Grilled, Baked, Simmered, Cracked, Braised or Raw, the range of recipe ideas is stunning. With recipes including Alphonso Mango and Curried Chickpea Salad, Membrillo and Stilton Quiche, Buttermilk-crusted Okra, Lentils, Radicchio and Walnuts with Manuka Honey, Seaweed, Ginger and Carrot Salad, and even desserts such as Baked Rhubarb with Sweet Labneh and Quince poached in Pomegranate Juice, this is the cookbook that everyone has been waiting for…Ebury Publishing

I’ve had my copy for a couple of months now and have made numerous recipes from it, all of which have been utterly delicious – this is a book which has already become a stalwart in my kitchen.  Here is a short video of the great man himself, recipe testing and talking about his inspirations and processes – oh how I would love to be working in that “under the arches” test kitchen of his!!

With unreserved apologies to my many and cherished international readers, this giveaway is limited to UK and EU addresses only. As a consolation to them and to whet your appetite, you can download a handful of the recipes from the Ebury Press website.

You  have up to 3 chances to win!!

1. You can enter up to 3 times via the following platforms;

2. The deadline for entries is 9pm (GMT), Tuesday 09 December 2014.

3. I will plug all the entries into a bit of software called The Hat which will randomly choose a winner.

4. The winner will be announced and contacted on Wednesday 10 Dec 2014 and I will mail the book out as soon as I have your postal details.

5. Remember – UK and EU addressees only!

Good luck everyone and get commenting!!

In My Kitchen – October 2014

In My Kitchen Oct 2014 | Selma's TableIn my kitchen, I have cheese. One of my favourite cheese stalls in London’s Borough Market, is Une Normade a Londres. Run by two brothers from Normandy, these boys really know their cheese. This time I came away with a little rondel of Pérail de Brebis, a ewe’s milk cheese  – seriously savoury and creamy from Aveyron in the Mid Pyrenees in France. The land the sheep graze on is rich in floral growth and this is very evident in the mellow but rich flavour of this cheese. In My Kitchen Oct 2014 | Selma's TableThe enormous variety of goats cheeses they have on display is something to behold – they always have plenty of cheese available to sample – if you are in the area, drop by and see what takes your fancy – I don’t think you will come away empty handed! In My Kitchen Oct 2014 | Selma's TableIn my kitchen I have this award winning, liquid gold, which I was sent to sample, from Olive Branch, a company specialising in Greek produce. Olive Branch’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is cold pressed using only Cretan Koroneiki olives, which makes it a single varietal EVOO. It’s quite floral – more grassy and fruity than peppery though there is little bite of pepperiness towards the end. In My Kitchen Oct 2014 | Selma's TableOlive Branch work with a the local co-op as well as neighbouring farmers to partially produce this low acidity (0.3%) EVOO on their farm. Using early ripening olives and cold pressing them within hours of harvest also ensures that the oil is fresh, aromatic and full of nutrients and anti-oxidants. It is absolutely gorgeous – just look at that stunning colour! It has been wonderful on the last of the flavourful summer tomatoes and drizzled over pasta too. In My Kitchen Oct 2014 | Selma's TableI made a lovely salad with sliced fennel, cherry tomatoes, black grapes, walnuts and bee pollen (the bee pollen featured in my September IMK post)  and this oil was the perfect complement to it.

Greek Inspired Roast Chicken with Bread | Selma's Table

Greek Inspired Roast Chicken with Bread

I also made a Green Inspired Roast Chicken with Bread which was delicious with their oil. Do try the oil if you get the chance – it makes a lovely addition to the peppery EVOO that we are more used to. A little tidbit for you – they supply Ottolenghi with Dakos, that crispy bread he is so fond of! In My Kitchen Oct 2014 | Selma's TableSpeaking of Ottolenghi, I was completely overexcited to receive my copy of the long awaited Plenty More. I have made the wonderful tomato and pomegranate salad, the slow cooked chickpeas, the sweet and sour leeks with goats cheese and the corn fritters – all have been delicious!! The book is divided into chapters by method (Tossed, Steamed, Blanched, Braised, Mashed, Grilled etc…) and is vegetarian but you wouldn’t even notice. Nonetheless, there are plenty of suggestions for the carnivore too. Desperately hoping that he returns to London (he is in Australia on his book tour) with a few more dates for book signings… In My Kitchen Oct 2014 | Selma's Table In my kitchen, Jake cooked dinner – the first time in a long while. He gets invited to dinner at least once a week where he and his friends do the cooking. At least that is what I think is going on! A few times, I have called him and he is in Sainsburys with one or two of his friends, buying groceries to make dinner with. I can’t hear the tell tale sound of clinking bottles in the basket….Anyway, he announced that he was going to cook dinner – he made this delicious pasta dish, sautéing onions and garlic and adding sundried tomatoes, left over roast chicken, a pinch of smoky paprika and some creme fraiche. The pasta was perfectly al dente too. I was so impressed.

In my kitchen there were fancy, schmancy cupcakes because Jake turned 17. For the past few years, I either take him and a couple of his friends out for dinner or a group of us go out – this year, one of his friends threw him a surprise party. We spun him a tale and made him believe that I was taking him and this friend out to lunch and that afterwards they were going to go to the park and maybe meet up with a couple of friends (because “everyone is away”). I bailed at the last minute, but made him take the Ambassador Cupcakes that I had made in case anyone turned up to the park. He didn’t suspect a thing and got such a surprise when he got to his friend’s house and found everyone there!! I made the cupcakes the night before and the icing, early in the morning. I took him up one hastily and hideously iced and assembled cake with a candle in it, all his birthday cards and his present. Then I watched some icing videos on YouTube and iced the rest in a slightly more professional manner!! The recipe for these Ambassador or Double Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes with Nutella Icing is on the blog – they went down a treat! In My Kitchen Oct 2014 | Selma's Table In my kitchen, I have Lurpak’s Cook’s Range. I was sent a couple of packs of ‘Baking‘ of and a bottle of ‘Cooking Liquid‘. ‘Baking’ is simply amazing for baking and icing – a blend of butter and rapeseed (canola) oil, it is soft from the fridge so that within a few seconds of beating it looks like this – In My Kitchen Oct 2014 | Selma's TableI used ‘Baking’ to make the Nutella icing for the Double Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes and also used some to make my Carrot and Apple Cake Cheesecake (more about that later) and I think it is pretty amazing. I’ve used the ‘Cooking Liquid’ which is also a blend of butter and rapeseed oil, to sauté onions and brown meat – it does the job brilliantly. There is also a mist and a clarified butter in the range which I would love to try. I have been very impressed with both the products. If you bake a lot, Baking would be a great asset in the kitchen. Lots of recipes on their website as well as a very clever shopping tool which links to your on-line grocery store! In My Kitchen Oct 2014 | Selma's TableIn my kitchen I made a Carrot & Apple Cake Cheesecake. My friend Rupert, was hosting a Coffee Morning fundraiser for Macmillan and asked me to help – not that I did much other than bake this cake and bank the money raised. In true Rupert fashion, there was a mouthwatering array of hot and cold savoury bites, Bucks Fizz  in Vera Wang crystal flutes and Jasmine tea in a Coalport tea service. There was no selling of anything, just very generous donations from everyone instead – it was lovely and so much fun! He raised a good sum of money too, which was the whole point! The recipe for the Carrot & Apple Cake Cheesecake is now on the blog.

Well, that is it from my kitchen – huge thanks to Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial who hosts this monthly event – peeking into everyone’s kitchens all over the world is quite the eye opener sometimes!  Pour yourself a drink and take a little browse – all the links to the participating blogs are on the right hand side of Celia’s post. I have linked the page to  her blog name so click on it and take a little tour! Have a wonderful October, 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
  • Time: 25 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
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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.

Swiss Chard and Herb Tart

swiss-chard-and-herb-tartMy veg box this week included some beautiful Rainbow Swiss Chard and to celebrate the gorgeous spring weather we have been having, I decided that I wanted to use them in a tart. A quick internet search brought me to a recipe by Ottolenghi which I knew I could adapt without  too much trouble. swiss-chard-and-herb-tartIsn’t rainbow chard beautiful? I read that the coloured shard stalks can bleed into paler colours when cooking but I didn’t find this to be a problem. Chard does need to have a good soak and swish in a sink full of cold water to dislodge any mud that may be clinging in the leaf crevices. The stems have to cook for a little longer than the leaves so do separate them and use them! swiss-chard-and-herb-tart swiss-chard-and-herb-tart The tart was really very delicious – the flaky pastry combined with the greens and cheese reminded me of of that wonderful Greek dish of Spanakoptika. And the textures work really well – slightly crunchy celery and chard stems,  buttery flaky pastry, soft greens and creamy cheese – we had this for a mezze type dinner and Jake, who invariably feels shortchanged if there is no meat, didn’t seem to notice and, unprompted, ate the left overs when he got home from school the next day. A printable recipe follows the photos below so you can scroll straight to that if you prefer not to read my ramblings but for those of you that can bear it, this is how I made the Swiss Chard and Herb Tart. swiss-chard-and-herb-tartFirst, fill the sink with water and swish the chard leaves about. Leave the in the sink for any grit to settle on the bottom and in the meantime slice the onion into half moons and start sautéing them. Slice the celery and add them to the onions. Scoop out the chard leaves and cut out the stems. Slice the chard stems and add to the pan. With lots of water clinging to the chard, slice the chard leaves and chop the herbs and garlic. When the celery has softened a little and become  translucent, stir in the  chard leaves, the herbs and the garlic. Let this cook down, stirring from time to time,  on a gentle heat for about 10 minutes. In the meantime toast the pine nuts (these burn quickly and I find it easier to do in the microwave for a couple of minutes – they don’t brown but get nice and crunchy), crumble the feta, grate the parmesan and zest the lemon. swiss-chard-and-herb-tartTurn the heat off under the pan and stir in the cheeses, zest and nuts. Season with lots of freshly ground pepper. Leave to cool. In the meantime, turn on the oven and beat the eggs. Unfurl the pastry onto a baking sheet and score a 2 cm border around the edge, using the back of a knife. Spread the cooled filling within the borders and crimp the edges of the pastry to form a lip. Brush the edges with the beaten eggs. Season what is left over of the eggs and pour slowly and evenly over the filling. Dot the top with teaspoons full of ricotta and slices of goats cheese. I also added some halved marinated cherry tomatoes and used some of the marinade to drizzle over the tart. This can of course, be substituted with fresh cherry tomatoes and olive oil. swiss-chard-and-herb-tart   Bake for half an hour and serve warm or at room temperature! swiss-chard-and-herb-tart swiss-chard-and-herb-tart 

Swiss Chard and Herb Tart

  • Servings: 4 as a main, 6 as part of a mezze
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adapted from Swiss Chard and Herb Tart by Ottolenghi for Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium red onion, sliced (about 85 g)
  • 4 celery stalks, thinly sliced (about 220 g)
  • 1 bunch of Swiss chard; stalk and leaves separated; both roughly chopped (about 250g)
  • 2 cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbsp mint leaves roughly chopped
  • 3 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 100 g feta cheese crumbled
  • 50 g parmesan, grated
  • 15 g pine nuts toasted
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 x 320 g sheet of ready rolled all butter puff pastry
  • 8 tsp ricotta cheese
  • 50 g (7 or 8 thin slices) of goat’s cheese
  • 5 cherry tomatoes halved (I used the marinated ones from this recipe of mine)
  • 2 beaten eggs

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over a medium low flame and add the sliced onions.
  2. While they cook, slice the celery and stir into the pan.
  3. Remove the stalks from the chard, chop these up and stir into the pan.
  4. Ribbon (chiffonade)  the chard leaves, slice the garlic and chop the herbs.
  5. Once the celery has softened a little, which should take about 5 minutes, stir in the chard, herbs and garlic. Let this cook down for about 10 minutes and take if off the heat.
  6. Stir in the feta, parmesan, lemon zest and pine nuts and season with a little salt  if necessary (the feta and parmesan are very salty) and a good grinding of pepper. Leave to cool.
  7. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.
  8. Unfurl the pastry and score a 2 cm border around the perimeter.
  9. Place the cooled chard mixture within the border and crimp or pinch the edge of the pastry to form a lip.
  10. Dot the top of the chard mixture with the ricotta, goats cheese and cherry tomatoes.
  11. Brush the edges of the tart with the beaten egg and then gently drizzle the remainder over the tart.
  12. Bake for 30 minutes and allow to cool a little before serving

Eat warm or at room temperature. Serves 4 as a light main course with a salad and some cold cuts for the determined carnivores. Or slice into 12 and serve  as mezze for 6.

© 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.