Devilled Eggs on Sourdough

Devilled Eggs on Sourdough | Selma's Table The bastion of all things butter, Lurpak, commissioned a study into lunches and found that we are creatures of habit, eating the same things pretty much everyday. Other than food bloggers (who seem to eat the most amazing meals, if Instagram is anything to go by), most people seem to eat sandwiches, usually cheese and/or ham. Sandwiches do make a very easy option at lunch time but the filings don’t have to be so mundane. 10 minutes of preparation the night before ensures that you have a tasty, nutritious and delicious lunch for the next day that you will be really looking forward to. And probably eating at 11 a.m. because you can’t think of anything else! Devilled Eggs on Sourdough | Selma's TableFillings can be made on Sunday or in the evening after work and the sandwiches assembled in the morning or even at your desk/office kitchen. To stop sandwiches going soggy, butter your bread (with Lurpak, naturally) but pop your filing into a small container. The container can go into the fridge at work, while the bread can stay at room temperature. Then all you have to do is a quick assembly job before tucking into a freshly made and delicious sandwich. Below are some easy but tasty fillings. When Jake used to take a packed lunch, I used to make his sandwiches in the morning. It was usually a small baguette stuffed with one of the fillings below and lots of salad leaves too. At least once a week, by request, I also used to make one for one of his best friends – I don’t think his mum ever knew…

  • Fry off or roast some red and yellow peppers with a couple of sliced onions and keep them in the fridge. Spread a wrap generously with soft goats cheese, strew with the peppers, a little freshly chopped mint and rocket leaves and roll up, slice in half and wrap. (The cooked peppers and onions keep for 5 days at least, well covered, in the fridge.
  • Chop up a packet of pre-cooked prawns, a couple of spring onions, a little bundle of chives, half a mango, a few fresh coriander leaves. Include tiny squares of finely chopped red chilli if you like a little heat. Squeeze over some lemon juice and grind over some pepper. Taste to adjust seasoning. Take in a container along with a few whole baby gem lettuce leaves. Spoon the mixture into each lettuce leaf for a carb free lunch! (Fish and shellfish do not keep well so make this the night before.)
  • Chop up a portion of left over roast chicken (or roast off some thighs) and stir in a spoonful of pesto and a little creme fraiche or mayonnaise. Stuff into a buttered baguette and top with sliced tomatoes and a few basil leaves. (Roast chicken keeps for 3 or 4 days in the fridge)
  • Chop up a packet of chicken tikka pieces and stir through a little tzatziki and fresh mint. Spread a little mango chutney on a wrap, top with the chicken mix and a few salad leaves. Roll, slice and wrap.
  • Homous, shredded left over roast lamb and mâche lettuce are delicious in a wrap. You can substitute shredded carrot for the lamb to make it vegetarian and vegan.
  • A tin of well drained tuna and a finely chopped stick of celery, mixed with a really small amount of mayonnaise, lots of freshly ground black pepper and lemon juice can be put in a container along with a handful of cucumber slices and buttered bread of your choice. Assemble just before eating.

If you are avoiding carbs, most of these fillings can be eaten using lettuce leaves as the “bread” or just dolloped on top of lots of salad leaves and slices of cucumber. Elaine has a lovely recipe for mayonnaise on her blog, foodbod, if you want to have a go at making it yourself. Devilled Eggs on Sourdough | Selma's TableThese smoky devilled eggs are a favourite and the mixture keeps well for a couple of days in the fridge. Buy the best eggs you can afford – battery eggs taste of nothing – please don’t buy them. Look at the deep yellow colour of the yolks of these…

Eggs are a soft in texture and benefit from something crisp and salty on top. I had mine with salmon but Jake had his with crispy fried turkey bacon and it was a much nicer contrast in textures. Devilled Eggs on Sourdough | Selma's TableThe sharp, lemony beetroot or radish slices make a welcome contrast to the richness of the eggs. Devilled Eggs on Sourdough | Selma's TableThis is the crumb shot of my home made sourdough loaf made with my starter, Twinkle.

Devilled Eggs on Sourdough

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 large fresh eggs – organic or free range at room temperature
  • 3 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp smoky paprika
  • ¼ – ½ tsp cayenne pepper – adjust this to your palate or leave it out if there are young children involved.
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • lots of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley and or chives
  • 4 slices of sourdough bread
  • Lurpak butter

TOPPINGS

  • smoked salmon
  • crisp fried shallots or
  • crispy bacon/turkey bacon (chop and fry in a non stick pan with no added fat) or
  • chorizo cubes (fry in a non stick pan with no added fat, stirring frequently until it’s oil runs and the edges crisp up)
  • thinly sliced raw chioggia beetroots or radishes, tossed in a little lemon juice and salt.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place the eggs in a small lidded pot and cover with cold water. (If the eggs are fridge cold, cover with tap-hot water for 5 minutes then drain. The shells will crack otherwise) Place over medium low heat and bring to a boil. Let them boil for 1 minute then remove from the heat and let them sit, covered in the pot for 9-10 minutes. Drain and fill the pot with cold water to stop them cooking any further. Crack the shells (I give the fat end a bash in the sink) and put back in the cold water. The water gets between the membrane and the egg and makes it very easy to peel.
  2. While the eggs are cooking;  1. Put the shallots or bacon or chorizo on to fry. 2. Whisk together the mayo, smoky paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper in a medium sized bowl. 3. Slice the chioggia beetroot or radishes as thinly as you can and toss in lemon juice. 4. Chop the parsley/chives.
  3. Chop the boiled eggs  (smaller that in my photos as they are less likely to fall off the bread than chunky pieces) and stir into the mayonnaise mixture together with the parsley/chives. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. I don’t like too much mayonnaise but feel free to add more if you like your fillings creamier.
  4. Butter the bread and top with the eggs and crispy topping of your choice and a few slices of the lemony chioggia or radish slices on the side.
© 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.

Warm Blue Cheese Tartlets with Candied Walnuts

Warm Blue Cheese Tartlets with Candied Walnuts | Selma's TableIt’s hard to believe that a whole year has gone by since Angie dreamt up Fiesta Friday. I remember how she said that she wanted us all to mix and mingle with each other because it was a party. I must admit that I was sceptical – I had tried various linky parties which made me feel like a virtual wallflower – hardly anyone visited, and the few that did, never commented or liked what I shared. So, when Fiesta Friday started, I stood on the sidelines for a few weeks, popping by to see what was going on and couldn’t believe how fabulous Angie’s bash was. People were submitting gorgeous recipes and they were all mingling like mad! The comments were so supportive, encouraging  and some were very funny too. It quickly became apparent that some people were super bubbly and had to be kept away from the sweets – and I am not naming any names here! So, I really pushed the boat out and made a batch of Nutella Espresso Sticky Buns. Well, the WordPress app on my phone didn’t stop pinging all weekend – people were commenting, following my blog and generally doing exactly what should be happening at linky parties. I felt like the fabled swan when Angie featured my post the following week! So Angie, congratulations on such a successful event and a huge thank you for hosting a brilliant party and gathering these lovely bloggers to your fold.

Warm Blue Cheese Tartlets with Candied Walnuts | Selma's TableThese Blue Cheese Tartlets with Candied Walnuts are something that I have been wanting to make for some time. I watched one of the contestants on Masterchef making something similar with roasted tomatoes and basil oil and the idea of an individual savoury cheesecake really made an impression on me. Also, I bought half a dozen cute little fluted tart tins from the dollar store in Winnipeg when I was there last and keep looking for an excuse to use them. I thought that walnuts would be a much better flavour match for blue cheese so dressed my tarts with the candied walnuts and the walnut dressing.

Making a “crust” with buttery bread crumbs couldn’t be easier and the cheesecake filling comes together so easily with a little whizz in the food processor.

Warm Blue Cheese Tartlets with Candied Walnuts | Selma's TableThis recipe is worth it just for the candied walnuts alone – you will not be able to stop eating them so I suggest you make twice as many. Just sayin’.

Warm Blue Cheese Tartlets with Candied Walnuts | Selma's TableThe tarts are gorgeous – the rich cheese filling with the crispy, crumbly breadcrumb crust, the peppery rocket leaves and the sharp nutty dressing topped off with the sweet and slightly spicy crunchy walnuts – perfect dinner party fodder if you ask me!

I am taking this over to Angie’s Fiesta Friday Anniversary Part 1 which this special week is being co-hosted by my two of my favourite Canadian bloggers,  Hilda @Along The Grapevine and Julianna @Foodie On Board – the original two co-hosts for the first few Fiesta Fridays.

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 Anniversary Part 1 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 read the Fiesta Friday guidelines and invitation post for helpful hints.

It’s been my great pleasure to co-host Fiesta Friday several times and I am so honoured that Angie has asked me to co-host  the Fiesta Friday Anniversary Part 2 with  Nancy @ Feasting With Friends next week. The theme is mains and puddings/sweets next week, so best wear loose clothing! Jhuls, I will bring lots of camomile tea with me! I look forward to seeing what you lovely people bring this week and next. Happy Anniversary Fiesta Friday!

Blue Cheese Tartlets with Candied Walnuts

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Inspired by MasterChef

INGREDIENTS

For the Candied Walnuts

  • 150 g of walnut halves or pieces
  • 100 g of caster sugar
  • 15 g butter
  • a few shakes of cayenne pepper

For the Walnut Dressing

  • 1 Tbsp/15 ml white wine/apple cider vinegar
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tsp French mustard
  • 2 Tbsp/30 ml walnut oil
  • 1 Tbsp/15 mi extra virgin olive oil

For the Blue Cheese Tartlets

  • 100 g white bread (trimmed of the crusts)
  • 50 g butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 100g full fat cream cheese
  • 75 g blue cheese
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp flour
  • 1 Tbsp double cream/creme fraiche

To serve

  • Rocket leaves

INSTRUCTIONS

For the Candied Walnuts

  1. Place all the ingredients into a nonstick pan and stir over a medium heat.
  2. Keep stirring until the sugar turns to caramel and starts to coat the nuts. This takes between 3 to 5 minutes. Don’t let the caramel burn – just keep stirring it.
  3. Once the caramel is a toffee brown, pour the mixture onto a silicone sheet or parchment paper – be careful as the caramel is very hot – and using a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon, separate the nuts making sure that there is caramel on each one.
  4. Let cool, then store, out of sight, in a lidded jar to avoid eating the whole lot.

For the Walnut Dressing

  1. Place the vinegar and sea salt in a small bowl and whisk to dissolve the salt.
  2. Whisk in the mustard then slowly whisk in the oils. You can also just put the lot in a lidded container and shake hard but I like the rounded airy fullness that whisking gives to a dressing.
  3. Set aside.

For the Blue Cheese Tartlets

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F. Butter/spray the bases and sides of 4 x 8cm/3in fluted, loose bottomed flan tins.
  2. Whizz the bread in a food processor to fine crumbs. Melt the butter and tip in the crumbs, stirring to combine. Season with a little salt and pepper.
  3. Divide into 4 then press the mixture on the base and up the sides of the prepared tins. Use the back of a teaspoon to even out the base.
  4. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 10- 12 minutes or until the bases are golden but keep an eye on them as they can catch quite quickly.
  5. Beat the rest of the ingredients together and divide between the tins. I did this in the mini processor in which I whizzed the bread crumbs.
  6. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until the tops are golden and just set – a little wobble in the middle is desired.
  7. Cool for a few minutes then remove carefully from the tins.
  8. Serve warm or at room temperature on a few rocket leaves, drizzling the dressing around the plate and garnishing with the candied walnuts.
© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013 – 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.

Chicken and Halloumi with Honey and Thyme

Chicken and Halloumi with Honey and Thyme | Selma's TableI have a real aversion to buying chicken breast meat. It’s easy to overcook, bland and expensive. I would much rather buy a whole chicken or those packs of legs and thighs and anyway, I don’t really like to cook in individual portions, and with chicken breast meat, it has to be individual portions, unless you are cutting it up for curries, skewers or goujons. What if someone is really hungry? It doesn’t sit comfortably with my ethos of passing round a generous platters of food for everyone to help themselves from.

A few years ago, I watched Donna Hay on television, cooking and baking hew way to exquisite looking food. I was mesmerised as much by the incredble view of the sea outside her kitchen window as by her effortless styling of the food on the plates.  She cooked some chicken breasts and halloumi together with a drizzle of honey and it stuck in my mind. Despite my reservations about breast meat, I’ve made this a few times with a few tweaks, here and there.

I’ve added shallots and garlic for a deeper flavour and included a dash of pomegranate molasses to balance the sweetness of the honey. You end up with the salty halloumi, the warmth of the thyme, the sweet honey and the sharp pomegranate molasses which are the perfect foil to the breast meat.

I’ve made this with both skin on and skinless chicken breasts and prefer it with the skin left on. It protects the meat from drying out and also adds a crispy note to the textures. The version below is skinless only because that is what I unearthed when rummaging in the freezer, wondering what to cook for dinner later!

It could not be simpler to throw together – all in the one dish that you can also bring to the table. It’s a brilliant mid week family supper, just make extra to make me feel better!

I am taking this over to Angie’s Fiesta Friday #51 which this week is being co-hosted by the lovely, bubbly Jhuls @The Not So Creative Cook and  supercook Juju @cookingwithauntjuju.

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 #51 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.

Right, lets party!

Chicken and Halloumi with Honey & Thyme

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Inspired by Donna Hay

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 chicken breasts, skin on
  • 4 x 1 inch slices of halloumi cheese
  • 2 x banana shallots or 1 small onion, quartered
  • 2 cloves of garlic, halved
  • 10-15 stalks of thyme, leaves stripped
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses or lemon juice
  • Black pepper

To serve

  • salad leaves
  • steamed green vegetables like green beans or broccoli.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F and lightly oil a baking dish
  2. Place the chicken breasts and the halloumi in an oven safe dish that will fit everything snugly.
  3. Scatter around the shallots and garlic.
  4. Mix the olive oil, honey and pomegranate molasses with most of the thyme leaves, in a small bowl and spoon it over the chicken, halloumi, shallots and garlic. Scatter over the remaining thyme and black pepper. You won’t need salt as halloumi is quite a salty cheese.
  5. Roast in the oven for 35 – 40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the halloumi is golden. Baste with the pan juices once or twice in that time.
  6. Serve on a handful of salad leaves using the pan juices as a salad dressing.
© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013 – 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.

Crunchy Pickled Radish Slices

Crunchy Pickled Radish Slices | Selma's Table

After the excesses of festive season, January bears the brunt of cutting back whether it be shopping, alcohol and/or food. The feasting seems to start from the beginning of December so come January, we do crave simpler, lighter food. The trouble is that sometimes it can seem a little bland. These crunchy, pickled radish slices will perk up all sorts of things from salads to steamed vegetables, steamed fish to simply cooked meats. And of course they are superb with cheese and crackers, in sandwiches,  in burgers; anywhere you need a crunchy, spicy, floral, acidic hit of flavour.

They are ridiculously easy to make – combine the spices, slice the radishes and layer in a heatproof jar. Boil the brine to dissolve the sugar and salt and pour over the radishes. That’s it! You can eat them as soon as they have cooled or refrigerate them for later – they keep for a few weeks. I hope you find that they add a little pizzaz to some of your January meals!

I am so thrilled to be co-hosting The Novice Gardner’s Fiesta Friday with the incredibly talented Sue of Birgerbird. If you are not familiar with her work – please do take a look – her photography will blow you away and then when you see the gorgeous award winning food she cooks too – wow! She now sells her award winning pork pies so if you are lucky enough to be in the Santa Monica area, give her a yell! We are co-hosting Angie’s 50th Fiesta Friday and we can’t wait to see what you are bringing to the party!

Click on the Fiesta Friday badge below to join the party – you can submit a post (please be sure to include the link and a mention, in your post, to Angie’s  FF#50 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!

Speaking of features, there were some stunners last week! I still can’t get over Lily’s Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream and Naina’s Firecracker Shrimps look fantastic. And how about a Lemon Meringue Pie Cocktail from Dini to kick things off with? Then for pudding we have Pecan-Bacon Squares A’ La Mode from Judi! Wowsers!!

If you are new to blogging, 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!

If you’re new to Fiesta Friday, please do take a minute to read the guidelines.

fiesta-friday-badge-button-click-to-join1

Crunchy Pickled Radish Slices

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 bunch of radishes

Brine

  • 200 ml white wine or apple cider vinegar
  • 200 ml water
  • 3Tbsp sugar, honey or maple syrup
  • 2 tsp salt

Spices

  • ½ – 1 tsp chilli flakes depending on how spicy you like it
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp red peppercorns
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Trim off the tops and tails of the radishes. then, using a sharp knife or a mandolin, slice very finely into rounds.
  2. Mix the spices together and place half in the bottom of a heat proof jar.
  3. Fill the jar with the sliced radishes and top with the remaining spices.
  4. Bring the brine ingredients to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  5. Pour over the radishes and let this cool to room temperature before serving or storing in the fridge.

The radishes will last for a few weeks in the fridge.

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013 – 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 post.

Quick Brown Butter and Creme Fraiche Cake with Cocoa Nibs

quick-brown-butter-and-creme-fraiche-cake-with-cocoa-nibsAt this time of year we are all so busy making the most of the summery weather and produce that baking can take a back seat – who wants to switch on the oven when it is so hot? Well, this unassuming looking cake  is one that I love to make early in the morning before the day has had a chance to heat up – it is quick to come together and only takes 25 minutes in the oven. The creme fraiche keeps it moist and the nutty browned butter gives it a wonderful depth of flavour that is caramel like with the brown sugar.

quick-brown-butter-and-creme-fraiche-cake-with-cocoa-nibsBrilliant to take on a picnic or take to a barbecue. This is also a wonderful cake to have as a pudding too if you have people over – gently sauté some banana slices with a little butter and sugar (and perhaps a dash of orange juice or Cointreau) until caramelised and serve with a slice of the cake, a scoop of vanilla ice-cream and perhaps a drizzle of chocolate sauce.

On another note; do you find that sometimes when you bake, your biscuits/cookies either brown too much or not enough even though you have followed instructions carefully? Blamed the recipe? Blamed the oven? Well, I came across this article on King Arthur Flour twitter feed – The Secret to Perfectly Browned Cookies. It’s all about the finish on your baking sheets and no, you don’t need to buy new ones; just adjust the timing once you have identified your sheets.

Well, I hope you are ready to party! I am co-hosting Fiesta Friday #24 today along with Indu @ Indu’s International Kitchen and Hilda @ Along the Grapevine. Indu has some truly amazing Keralan recipes as well as a host of healthily ones on her blog. Hilda lives on an idyllic 7 acre property, forages and documents her tasty results on her blog. Do pay them a visit and say hello!

If you would like to join, we would love to have you! Please do read the guidelines here, which are very simple. Well, let’s Fiesta!

quick-brown-butter-and-creme-fraiche-cake-with-cocoa-nibs

Quick Brown Butter Cake with Cocoa Nibs

  • Servings: 8 slices
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 55g unsalted butter
  • 135g soft brown sugar
  • 60 ml creme fraiche (or yogurt/sour cream/buttermilk)
  • 60 ml milk
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 1 tsp vanlla
  • 165g plain/AP flour
  • ¾ tsp table salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3Tbsp cocoa nibs

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F. Line the bottom of 9 or 10 inch non stick pan.
  2. Measure out the brown sugar into a large mixing bowl, rub out any lumps and set aside.
  3. Measure out the flour salt and baking powder into a medium sized bowl; give it a light whisk to aerate and combine and set aside.
  4. Get the rest of the ingredients to hand – not something I do normally but this cake comes together so quickly that it is best to do so.
  5. Over a medium low heat, melt the butter in a small stainless steel saucepan (the lighter colour of the pan means that you can see when the butter is brown). It will start by getting frothy and then really foam up. The butter starts to brown when it starts smelling nutty. Do not walk away from the pan at this stage; lift the pan off the heat and swirl to settle the foam and see what the colour of the butter is keep it over the heat but not on it while you are doing this.
  6. Pour it over the sugar, scraping in all the nutty brown sediment that will have settled at the bottom of the pan.
  7. Whisk with a handheld mixer until the sugar look like damp sand – about 2 minutes.
  8. Add the creme fraiche, the milk and the 2 eggs and whisk, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice. The mixture will not thicken but it will be very liquid – make sure that it is well mixed about 2 or 3 minutes in total.
  9. Stir in the flour mixture and with a light hand, stir to combine – do not over mix.
  10. Gently stir in the cocoa nibs .
  11. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes until golden. Test by inserting a toothpick or wooden skewer – it there is any batter clinging to it, pop the cake back in for another couple of minutes.
  12. Cool in the tin for 15 minutes then remove from the pan and finish cooling on a wire rack.
  13. Lovely plain with a cuppa or served as a pudding with pan-fried bananas, a scoop of vanilla ice-cream and a drizzle of chocolate 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.

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.

Couscous Stuffed Red Peppers

Couscous Stuffed Red Peppers

Couscous Stuffed Red Peppers

These Couscous Stuffed Red Peppers are a lovely side to make for a roast or as light lunch with a salad as the recipe can be pre-prepared until the final blast in the oven while the roast is resting. The smoked paprika gives the couscous a very savoury flavour so do try and get some if you can. Amazon has some here.  I made these to go with the Braised Stuffed Rolled Shoulder of  Springbok or Venison the other day,  in Cape Town.

Halved and cored peppers

Halved and cored peppers

Couscous filling

Couscous filling

Stuffed peppers

Stuffed peppers ready for the oven

Couscous Stuffed Red Peppers

Couscous Stuffed Red Peppers

Couscous Stuffed Red Peppers

Couscous Stuffed Red Peppers

Couscous Stuffed Red Peppers

  • Servings: 4-6 side servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 large, sturdy red bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup couscous (I used a chilli and coriander flavoured one because it was there but you could use a plain one and add chilli flakes and more herbs if you wish)
  • 1/2 chicken/veg stock cube dissolved in 1 cup of hot water or use 1 cup of  homemade stock if you have it.
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp of smoked paprika
  • 1 can of chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • A handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 100g of feta cheese, cubed
  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Slice the peppers in half vertically (or just take the tops off if you would prefer to serve one whole pepper per person) and remove the seeds and white membrane. Lay snugly in a roasting tin (you may want to smear the tin with some oil first but I didn’t and they did not stick) and pop in the oven for 15 – 25 minutes or until softened. The time will depend on how fresh and thick the peppers are.  They will go back in to finish off cooking, once stuffed so don’t leave them in there so long that they become totally floppy. Remove them from the oven and set aside while you carry on with the stuffing.
  3. While the peppers are in the oven, place the couscous in a heat resistant bowl (I use a pyrex measuring jug) pour over the hot stock, stir and cover with a plate or piece of cling film. Let that stand and absorb the liquid.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the onion and garlic then gently sauté the onions until golden, giving them a little sprinkle (a pinch really) of salt to help them release their moisture and caramelise more quickly. Stir in the garlic and the chickpeas for a minute or two then add the smoked paprika and stir to mix well. Tip in the couscous and stir again. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the cherry tomatoes, the parsley and the feta cheese. Taste to check for salt. Remember that the feta and the stock cube are salty so you shouldn’t need any more.
  5. Stuff the peppers with as much of the couscous mixture as you can (using the same tin that you cooked them in) but don’t compact the mix – heaping it works much better. Any left over stuffing can be used for lunch the next day. These can now be set aside covered, until you are ready to cook them or you can carry on and cook them in the oven for a further 15 minutes.
© 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

Sweet Red Peppers with Feta and Pesto

Sweet Red Peppers with Feta and Pesto This recipe for Sweet Red Peppers with Feta and Pesto, comes by way of my dear friend C who has a largely vegetarian diet and like everything that she makes, is really full of flavour and utterly delicious. The peppers get slightly charred in the oven, the tomatoes become juicy and intensify their flavour through roasting face down in the pesto and the feta adds a salty, lemony and creamy note. Whenever I need to cut back on the calories, I make these peppers (with a little less cheese) to layer in my lunchbox with lots of salad leaves and also some green lentils which I cook in stock with some chilli flakes and thyme. The juices from the lentils and the peppers means that a dressing is not needed. It is so full of flavour and releases energy slowly so that I don’t feel hungry or unsatisfied.  The peppers are also gorgeous warm with some roast salmon or chicken or as a side to a stew. These are really quick and effortless to make also scaling up easily to make more servings… Sweet Red Peppers with Feta and Pesto Prepare the peppersSweet Red Peppers with Feta and PestoSmear with pestoSweet Red Peppers with Feta and PestoFill with halved cherry tomatoes Sweet Red Peppers with Feta and Pesto Top with feta cheese, trickle over some EVOO and place in the oven.Sweet Red Peppers with Feta and Pesto

Sweet Red Peppers with Feta and Pesto

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 long sweet red peppers (they are sometimes called ‘pointed’)
  • 4 generous tsp pesto
  • 8-10 cherry or mini plum tomatoes
  • 100 g feta cheese
  • Extra virgin olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C/350 F.
  2. Before slicing the peppers in half, take a look at them to determine the most sensible side to do this from – they need to sit flat on the tray. Pointed peppers tend to be sort of flat and wide – they have a narrower side which is where they are best sliced from. I find that if I lay one down so that it lies flat and then give it a quarter turn, that is the best place to slice them in half – it gives me two fairly stable and wide halves. After you have sliced them in half, remove the seeds and the white membrane but try and leave the stems on as they look rather pretty. If there are any rogue seeds, hold the pepper half over the sink, cut side facing down and give it a little tap or two with the flat of the knife and the seeds should fly out. Nestle the prepared peppers in a baking dish which will hold them snugly. The tin that I use is 7″ x 10″ (which is 26cm x 17cm) and comfortably holds 4 halves.
  3. Smear 1 generous teaspoon of pesto into each half. Slice the tomatoes in half and nestle, cut side down into the pesto – put in as many as you can squeeze in. When I can find them I also use a few yellow cherry tomatoes.
  4. Slice the feta into cubes and divide this evenly over the tomatoes.
  5. Trickle over a little EVOO and pop in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
  6. Serve warm as a side with a roast or stew or cold in a lunch box with a salad. This is delicious with a lentil salad and also on toasted slices of baguette…

SUBSTITUTIONS
I have made these with green pointed peppers which went down well despite my not liking the flavour of green peppers in general. They can be topped with grated parmesan cheese instead of the feta. Adding a few slices of anchovy filets, red onion and black olives would be rather lovely.

© 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

Quick Peanut Butter and Chocolate Squares

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Squares | Selma's Table

Photo by James Ransom for Food52

My recipe for  Quick Peanut Butter and Chocolate Squares was a Community Pick over on one of my favourite food sites – Food52!  This is what they said about it –

Food52 Review: This recipe takes the classic chocolate and peanut butter pairing and turns it into a no-bake bar cookie. It’s the perfect dessert recipe to have in your back pocket for bake sales, picnics, large gatherings of any kind, or just when you need a sugar fix — stat.– A&M

And it was so beautifully photographed by the amazing James Ransom too! Lots of lovely comments and helpful tips in the comment section as well.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate SquaresThese Peanut Butter and Chocolate Squares are really quick to make and are delicious pick-me-up with a mid-morning espresso.  I think that they would be rather lovely with a glass of milk too. They are not too sweet, with that unmistakeable savoury peanut butter flavour; chocolatey with a little hit of  salt. The body is given by the Saltines which are an American cracker with a light sprinkling of salt on them. Saltines are very dry and very crisp –  in fact a Saltine Cracker Challenge exists, to eat 6 crackers in one minute without any water – easy to crunch up but very hard to swallow! I remember getting them, wrapped in their cellophane with a bowl of soup at The Hudson’s Bay in-store diner where I used to escape to during my lunch hour when I worked in retail. Saltines are available to buy on-line in the UK here but if you don’t want to wait, I have found that Sainsburys sell an Italian version called Doriano which is what I used for this recipe.

Saltine Cracker substitute

Saltine Cracker substitute

Bookmark my recipe for Peanut Butter and Chocolate Squares, for the festive season if you have a peanut butter loving friend; popped into one of those cellophane bags, this makes a lovely gift with the added bonus of being quick to make during the time constrained weeks leading up to the big day!

PB and Choc Sqs

These are so simple to make; blitz the crackers, melt the butter with the sugar and milk; pour onto crackers and peanut butter; mix and pat into a pan; cool, then cover with melted chocolate and sprinkle with flaky salt.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Squares | Selma's Table

Quick Peanut Butter and Chocolate Squares

  • Servings: 16 squares
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 450 g/2 cups caster sugar
  • 12o ml/ ½ cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons/45g butter
  • 240 g Doriano crackers/Saltine crackers, finely blitzed in a food processor or crushed in a plastic bag with a rolling pin
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 340 g smooth peanut butter
  • 200g dark chocolate broken up into small pieces (use semi sweet or milk chocolate if making for children)
  • 45ml/3tbsp double cream
  • Flaky sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Line a 9 inch square pan with parchment paper or non-stick foil. I have a really easy way to do this in Tips and Tricks – in the baking section. Leave a little overhang so that you can pull up on it later.
  2. Blitz or crush the crackers into fine crumbs, depending on how much texture you want in your squares. Doing this in a food processor took me about 2 minutes, pulsing for the last 30 seconds to check on progress.
  3. Empty into a large mixing bowl then scrape out the peanut butter and dump it on top of the crumbs.
  4. Place the sugar, milk, and butter in a saucepan over medium low heat, stirring from time to time. It needs come to a boil slowly. Once it comes to a full boil, set the timer for 1 minute. The mixture will froth and foam so don’t panic and take it off the heat.
  5. When the minute is up, carefully pour the extremely hot sugar mixture over the crackers and peanut butter.
  6. Add the vanilla and then stir with a spatula until it is really well combined.
  7. Scrape it into the prepared pan, pat it in and smooth it out and leave it to cool for about an hour.
  8. Slowly heat the cream in a pan until it just comes to a boil. Take it off the heat and stir in the pieces of chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted and it’s all looking lovely and glossy.  Pour onto cooled peanut butter mix and cover, using a spatula to even it out.
  9. Sprinkle with sea salt while the chocolate is still warm.
  10. Pop into the fridge to allow it to set, then remove from the tin and using a large knife, cut into 16 squares  or whichever size you like.

© 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.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Squares

Quick summer pickle – Sweet and Sour Courgettes

Sweet & Sour Courgettes

Sweet & Sour Courgettes

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

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

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

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

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

Sweet and Sour Courgettes

Sweet and Sour Courgettes

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

Cheese, Crackers and Sweet & Sour Courgettes

Cheese, Crackers and Sweet & Sour Courgettes

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

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

Shop Local

Shop Local hosted by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary

Sweet and Sour Courgettes

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

INGREDIENTS

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

Sweet Brine:

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

INSTRUCTIONS

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

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

USES

  • Cheese plate
  • Roast beef or tuna or cheese sandwiches
  • Chopped up in a potato salad also using the brine to douse the hot potatoes before adding  mayonnaise
  • In an egg salad
  • With cold cuts
  • In burgers
  • Serve as a condiment at a barbecue
© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Cheese plate

Cheese plate