Agnello e Patate al Forno (Apulian Shepherd’s Pie)

Agnello e Patate al Forno (Apulian Shepherd's Pie) | Selma's TableApulia is the southern Italian region which makes up the “heel” of the boot after which the country of Italy is likened. The area was once known as the Wine Cellar of Europe and today, their olive oils are much coveted by the cognoscenti . Their food espouses that wonderful Mediterranean diet of olive oil, fresh vegetables, fresh fish and shellfish, pasta and regional cheeses. The meat of choice is lamb or kid which is grilled, roasted or baked which brings me to this recipe for Agnello e Patate al Forno which translates to Lamb and Potatoes of the Oven or an Italian version of Shepherd’s Pie!

Agnello e Patate al Forno (Apulian Shepherd's Pie) | Selma's TableIt’s from a wonderful book called Italian Country Cooking by Susanna Gelmetti which I have had for many more years than I care to remember.  Over those years, I have made many a recipe from it but this is the one that gets made time and time again. Italian cooking is cooking from the heart. It is all about excellent quality ingredients generally cooked simply and without fuss and this ethos completely appeals to me. This recipe depends on flavoursome lamb, tasty fresh tomatoes, good pecorino cheese, good wine and fresh herbs. I have made it with and without wine – it is better with, of course. I tend to use lamb neck fillet as despite being tender, it has a lot of flavour and cooks a little more quickly than other cuts. The dish comes together in about 15 minutes and cooks for 1 – 1.5 hours depending on the cut of meat used.

Agnello e Patate al Forno (Apulian Shepherd's Pie) | Selma's TableI start by pre-heating the oven to 200C/400F and placing a couple slices of bread in it to toast for the bread crumbs. I set the timer for 5 minutes too so that I don’t forget about them! Then I place the garlic, the cheese and the herbs in a small processor and blitz until the mixture resembles green crumbs, which is set aside. Once the bread is out and has cooled, I tear this up and blitz it too and mix it into the cheese and herb mixture. I peel and cut up the potatoes, dice the tomatoes and chop the lamb. A little olive oil is judiciously poured into a baking dish, into which the lamb, potatoes and tomatoes are tumbled about, seasoned and covered with the herbed breadcrumb mixture. A little wine is poured in and a little water to come halfway up the potatoes. At this point I like to pull up bits of lamb to poke through so that the tops get nice and crispy while the underneath braises in the delicious wine and tomato juices and gets melting tender. A little olive oil is then lightly drizzled over the top and it goes into the oven to cook, undisturbed for an hour or so.  In the past, I have used stock for all the liquid if wine was not at hand and also added lemon zest to herb mixture and the juice to the liquid. It smells amazing as it cooks and benefits from resting for a few minutes after coming out of the oven. Served with a peppery rocket salad, it’s a lovely meal at this time of the year.

Agnello e Patate al Forno (Apulian Shepherd's Pie) | Selma's Table

Agnello e Patate al Forno (Apulian Shepherd's Pie)

  • Servings: serves 3 people or 2 generously, with left overs
  • Difficulty: easy
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Adapted from  Italian Country Cooking by Susanna Gelmetti

INGREDIENTS

  • 35g pecorino cheese
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary – about 5g of needles
  • 25g fresh parsley including the stalks
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • pepper
  • 25g fresh bread crumbs
  •  500g potatoes (floury or waxy – both types are fine here)
  • 400g – 500g lamb neck fillet or lean lamb
  • 5 ripe tomatoes
  • salt
  • 100ml approx of white or red wine
  • 100ml approx of water or stock
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh parsley and pecorino cheese to serve.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F. If you are making your own bread crumbs, which I recommend, then place the bread slices in the oven to dry out for 5 minutes while the oven is heating up. In my experience, it is best to set a timer so that you don’t forget about them!
  2. Chop the pecorino into cubes, peel the garlic and strip the needles off the rosemary. Place in a small processor and blitz until it’s crumbly. Add the parsley and oregano and blitz again. Scrape out and set aside. When the bread has been in the oven for 5 minutes, remove to cool, then tear up and blitz into crumbs. Stir into the herb and cheese mixture and grind over lots of freshly milled pepper. Mix well.
  3. Smear the bottom of an oven proof dish with a little olive oil. Mine is about 9″ x 5″.
  4. Peel and chop the potatoes into smaller chunks that you would for a roast. So the larger ones into about 8 equal sized pieces and smaller ones into 4 and place in the dish. Cut the lamb, across the grain in similar sizes to the potatoes. Dice the tomatoes keeping them chunky. Tumble the lot into the dish and season with a good sprinkle of salt. Arrange so that bits of lamb and potato are poking through.
  5. Carefully pour in the wine and water, tilting the dish so that the liquid is evenly distributed. It should come halfway up the potatoes.
  6. Shake over the breadcrumb mixture to cover the top evenly and drizzle over a little olive oil.
  7. Cook in the oven for 1 – 1½ hours or until the potatoes are cooked through. Let rest for 5 minutes then sprinkle over some fresh parsley and shaved pecorino before serving.
© 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.
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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
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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.

A Sublime Rolled Roast Shoulder of Lamb & Potatoes

A Sublime Rolled Roast Shoulder of Lamb & Potatoes | Selma's TableA Roast Chicken and Other Stories by Simon Hopkinson is a cookbook which took my cooking and palate to another level in the mid ’90’s. A grown up’s cookbook and later voted The Most Useful Cookbook’ in 2005, chef and writer, Simon Hopkinson makes absolutely no compromises when it comes to technique or quality of ingredients and is very no-nonsense in his classic approach to cooking which is unpretentious and full of flavour. He has headed the kitchens at Hilaire (where I was fortunate enough to have dined when he was cooking) and then Bibendum; has written a food column for the Independent and also made some wonderful TV programmes; some of which are still available on the 4OD catch up service if you are in the UK. It was he who introduced me to cooking a roast chicken at a very high temperature for the first 15 minutes to tighten skin and start rendering the fat, before lowering it for the rest of the roasting time. It was also he who introduced me to the the flavour sensation that is anchovy, rosemary, garlic stuffed into slits made into a leg of lamb – that first mouthful was unforgettable – the anchovy had broken down and mellowed into an intense savouriness while the garlic and rosemary had perfumed the lamb. I rarely cook a leg of lamb any other way.

10 years later, I am watching Jamie Oliver roast a leg of lamb directly on the oven rack with a roasting tin full of potatoes underneath to catch all the fat and juices. Both he and Nigella Lawson send my kitchen OCD tendencies completely into overdrive – they are both so MESSY but perhaps I would be too if I had a brigade of assistants to wipe down every jar, utensil, surface and handle I touch. I digress. I was very taken with the idea of the potatoes roasting under the lamb, cooking in the lamb fat and absorbing all the lamby juices but there was absolutely no way that I was going to put myself through cleaning the oven afterwards.

One Sunday, few weeks later and in a hurry, I bought some lamb and potatoes, thinking I would do my usual but got home to find that I had bought a boned and rolled shoulder of lamb. I thought of Jamie Oliver’s roasting method and remembered that I had a wire rack which had feet – it could sit in a roasting tin, a few inches above the base.  So I improvised on my “usual” by making a paste out of the anchovy/rosemary/garlic trinity and added a spoonful of mustard. I unrolled the lamb and smeared it with the paste, re-rolled it using the stretchy butchers string that it came rolled in and set it on that wire rack, over a few peeled potatoes, to roast. Best. Meal. Ever.

Intensely savoury and juicy meat; potatoes which were crisp on the bottom and full of the flavours of lamb – eaten alongside some plain green beans and washed down with a glass or two of a smooth red – it really was sublime. It is not a dish I make often though – this really is a treat to have once in a while, after a long brisk walk or perhaps for a special occasion when dietary concerns can be put aside…

A Sublime Rolled Roast Shoulder of Lamb & Potatoes | Selma's Table

Roasted and ready to rest

This time round I included thyme leaves and a little harissa too – it was wonderful. Of course, you can leave out the harissa if you wish or substitute chill flakes and paprika but please do try it with the anchovy – the heat of the oven changes the flavour completely with no fishy taste, just a lot of big savoury flavour. And do remove the lamb from the fridge for at least an hour beforehand, to get the meat up to room temperature. It will cook more evenly this way.

A Sublime Rolled Roast Shoulder of Lamb & Potatoes | Selma's Table

Today, Elaine the inspirational blogger behind Foodbod and I are once again co-hosting Fiesta Friday #36 which is held by the generous, creative and wonderful Angie @ The Novice Gardener. Do take a look at Angie’s latest post – I mean, who else can take a draft post and some left over mole and come up with this mouthwatering dish for Crepas di Mole? You can also see who has been featured from last week’s birthday-centric submissions. And, on to my co-host,  Elaine – she makes the most delicious looking and sounding food all of which is dairy, wheat and meat free. Take a look at  The foodbod range where you can order some of her flavour packed dips and goodness bars if you are lucky enough to live locally to her.

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  FF#36 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 are new to blogging, Fiesta Friday is a great way to gain exposure and make new friends too.

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

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

A Sublime Rolled Roast Shoulder of Lamb & Potatoes

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy-moderate
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INGREDIENTS

  • 6 medium floury potatoes
  • 750-900g boned and rolled shoulder of lamb
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

For the paste

  • 2 stems of rosemary leaves
  • 1 good Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 4 anchovies (in oil)
  • 1 tbsp of the anchovy oil or olive oil
  • 1 tsp Djion mustard
  • ½ – 1 tsp Harissa paste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Peel and halve the potatoes lengthwise. Toss in a little olive oil and salt and place in a roasting tin, cut side up.
  3. Pop in the oven to start roasting while you get on with the lamb.
  4. Unroll the lamb, fat side down. Save the stretchy butchers string, unless you have kitchen string that you can use.
  5. Blitz the paste ingredients together – it should be quite thick. Add a little more oil if necessary. Taste and adjust the seasoning – it shouldn’t need salt as there is plenty in the anchovy.
  6. Smear the paste on the meat, getting into all the cracks and crevices. Roll up the lamb (fat on the outside) and secure with the stretchy butchers string. Push in any paste which escapes and coat the ends of the lamb with it too.
  7. Take the tin out of the oven and turn the potatoes over so that the cut sides are face down. Bunch them up (in one layer) so that you can place the rack so that it will cover as many of them as possible.
  8. Lay the lamb on the rack, anoint the fat with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Any potatoes which are not directly under the lamb should have a tiny bit of olive oil drizzled over them too. As the lamb roasts, the fat and the lamb juices will run down onto the potatoes and infuse them with a huge amount of flavour.
  9. Roast for 1 – 1 ¼ hours then remove the lamb and set aside loosely covered with foil, to rest for at least 20 minutes. Keep the potatoes warm under some foil while you get on with any other vegetables – I love green beans with this.
  10. Remove the string and carve into juicy slices – the thickness is up to you – I prefer ½ cm thick slices – not too thin and not too thick either. The paste will have formed a sublime sauce of sorts, inside the lamb which will ooze out as you carve – make sure that everyone gets a little!

© 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.

The Recipe Wheel Challenge – Roast Chicken

the-recipe-wheel-challenge-roast-chickenThe lovely people over at the Happy Foodie asked what I could do with a Roast Chicken – they obviously knew that I am the Queen of cooking roast chickens, every which way – it is something that I make most weeks as I love having left overs to play with for a few days afterwards.

The idea of the challenge comes from Rosie Ramsden, a self described painter, cook and food stylist. Her new book, The Recipe Wheel, published by Random House, takes a core ingredient which sits at the centre of the wheel and then develops this into recipes which fit into different categories. In this case, the categories are Night In, Left Overs, Impress, No Frills, Friends and Creative. I’ve had a quick look at the book on-line and have to say that it is absolutely beautiful. The wheel for fish is made up of beautifully coloured fish shapes just as the chicken wheel shapes could be cockscombs – you can really see how she has cast and applied her painterly eye over the entire concept.

Inspired by Rosie’s beautiful wheels but having a very basic software package to work from, I decided to use eggs in which to place the recipes titles. You can see my wheel above. The links to the six recipes are below, in the titles – I hope that some of them are ones that you may not have seen before but they have all been published on my blog previously. This post , together with a little write-up about me, has been featured in the latest on-line edition of the the Happy Foodies Newsletter, together with posts from other bloggers using the wheel with different core ingredients – take a look at it here – http://thehappyfoodie.co.uk/articles/the-recipe-wheel-challenge

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Impress –  Black Summer Truffle Pesto Roast Chicken

 summer-pasta-salad-with-chicken-and-broad-beans

Creative – Summer Pasta Salad with Chicken and Broad Beans 

 

sticky-spicy-chicken

Night In – Sticky Spicy Chicken 

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Left Overs – Warm Chicken Noodle Salad & Spicy Tahini Sauce

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Friends – Extraordinary Roasted Chicken, Potatoes and Chickpeas

  • This recipe was a contest winner on Food52 – links are in the post

Chicken Mac 'n' Cheese with Rosemary

No Frills – Chicken Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Rosemary

 

© 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.

Black Summer Truffle Pesto Roast Chicken

black-summer-truffle-pesto-roast-chickenA few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to attend Taste of London’s fabulous food and restaurant event in Regent’s Park. The weather was glorious and the event was well attended but didn’t feel crowded at all. Amongst all the Michelin starred chefs demonstrating on live stages and 5* restaurants selling taster sized portions of  their most loved dishes, were lots of producers, artisans and brands selling their wares. IMK July 2014I blogged about the event in this post  with lots of photos – https://selmastable.wordpress.com/2014/07/10/in-my-kitchen-july-2014/  and promised to post a recipe using the new Black Summer Truffle Pesto which I bought from Sacla who had a stand at the event.

black-summer-truffle-pesto-roast-chickenThe pesto is amazing (if you like truffle) and I urge you to seek it out while it’s available as it may be a limited edition. Simply spread on toasted sourdough and topped with a poached egg, breakfast the next day was a little bit of  food heaven on a plate…

black-summer-truffle-pesto-roast-chickenI love to spatchcock chicken. Spatchcock is the term used to refer to cutting out the backbone which opens out and flattens the bird – it’s so easy to do, really cuts down on cooking time and makes carving very easy too. It also makes it very easy to separate the skin from the flesh so that seasoning,herbs, pastes or lemon slices can be stuffed under the skin, as the skin is no longer stretched taut over the flesh. My poultry shears have seen better days so I normally use my the heel and point of my sharp chef’s knife to cut out  the backbone. Skewering it is great if you are barbecuing and need to flip the chicken over a few times but when roasting in the oven, it is unnecessary. This is a brilliant video showing how to spatchcock a chicken, presented by the lovely Sarah Cook who also ran the Food Styling course I took at Leith’s a few years ago – http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/technique/how-spatchcock-chicken

Do save the backbone by popping it in a bag and into the freezer – it does make a great stock when you add to the other chicken bones you have been saving. You don’t have to get fancy with a simple basic chicken stock for risottos, pastas or casseroles. I always strip any meat from a roast chicken carcass to save for quick suppers, salads and sandwiches. Then, I snap the leg bones and the carcass so that they will fit in a pot later  and put these in a freezer bag together with any roasted carrots, herbs and sticky bits (but not lemons as these make the stock bitter)  and in the freezer if not making stock straight away. Place (frozen) in a large saucepan with a lid, cover with water, bring to a gentle boil and immediately turn down the heat to as low as you can and simmer for 2 hours – one hour if you are pushed for time. Strain and use straightaway or let it cool and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.

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This is wonderful with some parboiled, crushed and roast new potatoes and a pile of green beans finishing with and a mustardy green salad to mop up the juices on the plate. I apologise for the quality and lack of more photos but it was getting late so the light was low and tummies were rumbling!

Black Summer Truffle Pesto Roast Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Moderate
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Adapted from the Sacla website

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 x 1.5 kg chicken – free-range or organic preferably especially if you are going to make a stock with the bones.
  • ½ jar of Sacla’s Black Summer Truffle Pesto (or whizz together some parmesan cheese, pine nuts and truffle oil into a paste)
  • unpeeled cloves from ½ a garlic bulb
  • Lots of sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 x lemon, cut in half and one half cut into 4 wedges
  • Salt and pepper
  • wine glass full of dry white wine
  • 50 g of finely grated parmesan cheese

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F.
  2. Get your roasting tin out. and place a good handful of thyme sprigs on it as a bed for the chicken.
  3. Remove ½ of the pesto from the jar and place it in a small bowl or plate – this will stop any contamination – something that I am a little obsessive about. Divide the paste into quarters to make it easy to use once you get going.
  4. Get a good pinch of sea salt onto a small plate and a good grinding of black pepper too – see note 2 about contamination!
  5. Spatchcock the chicken. Remove from packaging, undo the trussing or string and discard. Turn the chicken over onto it’s breast and cut along either side of the backbone, starting at the Parson’s nose (tail). Flip it over, open it out and with the heel of your hand, press onto the breasts, while you lean into it to give it some weight – this will help to flatten it out.
  6. Flip it onto it’s breast again and using your fingers, spread with ¼ of the truffle pesto. Season with a little salt and pepper and place onto the roasting dish.
  7. Starting at the neck/breast end of the chicken, using your fingers and hands, gently, being careful not to tear the skin, separate and ease the skin away from the flesh  – go all the way to the top of the legs. You will have to get your hands right under the skin – not great if you are squeamish!  Place half the truffle pesto on the flesh, under the skin and spread it as evenly as you can, as far as the  tops of  the legs. I find it easier to do one side of the chicken at a time. Pull and adjust the skin so that it is in place and covering the very top of  chicken  and wipe off any excess paste that is clinging onto your hands onto the chicken skin. Squeeze over the juice from half the lemon. Sprinkle on a little salt and pepper.
  8. Now go and thoroughly wash your hands. With hot water and soap and get someone to turn the taps on for you – did I mention I was obsessive about contamination?
  9. Scatter the unpeeled garlic cloves around the chicken. Dribble the cloves and the chicken with a little olive oil. Pour in the wine around the edge of the tin. and place in the oven. Set the timer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, turn the heat down to 180C/350F and continue roasting for another 20 minutes.
  10. Remove tin from the oven and turn up the heat to 200C/400F. Using a spatula, spread the remaining truffle pesto onto the skin and sprinkle over the parmesan cheese. Place back in the oven for 10 more minutes. Check to make sure that it is cooked through – no blood running in the section between the leg and the body and remove chicken and garlic to a serving plate, loosely covering with foil and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
  11. In the meantime, drain off any oil in the roasting tin leaving behind all the lovely juices. Place tin on the hob/stove top. Bring to a boil then simmer, scraping down the sticky bits from around the sides and bottom of the tin with a wooden spoon. Let this reduce until you have a enough for a little jus or gravy. If you are making green beans, get them on now.
  12. Serve with lemon wedges, parboiled and crushed roasted new potatoes, green beans and a salad. The caramelised garlic just pops out of their skins and is wonderful spread on the potatoes or bits of chicken as you eat.

© 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.

Roast Aubergine with Miso & Harissa

roast-aubergine-with-miso-harissaWhen my son turned 16, a few of us met up in a Japanese restaurant in Soho to celebrate. The group included his best friend whom he has known since they were 6  years old and who rather sweetly, follows this blog on Facebook! Jake loves sushi and will devour plates of the otoro (slices of tuna belly) whenever he gets the chance. I prefer salmon sashimi and love it “spicy” but, I digress. Not everyone enjoys raw fish with the unbridled enthusiasm shown by my son, so we decided on a restaurant based on the traditional Japanese Izakaya or food centred around grilled skewers plus sides and salads. And it is all about the grill at Bincho Yakitori – the air is thick with the mouth-watering smell off the brazier and the charming staff in this sleek, modern restaurant are terribly helpful even as they cope with a midweek restaurant full of  clamouring diners. The grilled skewers of meat and fish were gorgeous but the knockout dish for me was the  Nasu Miso Dengaku or Japanese Aubergine with Sweet Miso. Those skinny pale purple aubergines are sliced in half, scored, grilled, smeared with THE most delicious miso paste and grilled again – we ordered a few rounds of those!

roast-aubergine-with-miso-harissaSpurred on by the unopened jar of Miso paste in my pantry and a pot of homemade harissa paste from a local deli, this is my take on them – to be honest, they were nothing like them but are delicious nonetheless. Meltingly savoury with a little kick from the harissa paste, it makes a nice change from Parmigiana!! Serve them with a little pile of steamed rice and a salad with a gingery, sesame seed oil dressing. You can have one or two slices as a light starter or double up on the quantities and have them as a main course perhaps with some teriyaki chicken or salmon…

roast-aubergine-with-miso-harissa

roast-aubergine-with-miso-harissa

roast-aubergine-with-miso-harissa

Roast Aubergine with Miso & Harissa

  • Servings: 2 - 3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large firm and glossy aubergine
  • Olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp miso paste
  • 1 tsp harissa (or to suit your palate)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar (it’s a little sweeter than normal)
  • Coriander leaves, sesame seeds and sliced red chilies to garnish – optional

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Slice the aubergine lengthways into ½ cm slices. I got 7 slices out of mine.
  3. Brush one side of each slice with a little olive oil and place oiled side down on a baking tray.
  4. Mix the miso, harissa, honey and rice vinegar to combine.
  5. Divide the miso mixture between the aubergine slices and using the back of a spoon, spread over each slice to cover with the paste.
  6. Roast for 20 – 30 minutes, depending on how hot your oven gets and how thick/thin you have sliced the aubergine. The flesh should be very soft – almost melting.
  7. Garnish with coriander leaves, sesame seeds and flecks of chill and serve warm with some rice and a green salad, dressed with a little sesame oil, grated ginger and rice vinegar.

In My Kitchen – May 2014

Another month has flown by with lots of lovely produce making an appearance at the greengrocers which is always such a pleasure to see! swiss-chard-and-herb-tartIn my kitchen I have Rainbow Swiss Chard – I’ve recently discovered this vegetable and now cannot get enough of it. These beautiful leaves arrived in my vegetable box which was bursting at the seams with all sorts of goodies. I made a delicious Swiss Chard and Herb Tart which went down a storm. Click on the link to see the recipe if you missed it last week. in-my-kitchen-may-2014In my kitchen I have rambutans. These prehistoric looking tropical fruits are in season now and are native to Indonesia and Malaysia. I got them from a a young man who sets up trestle tables outside a shop on the high street. His produce isn’t always in the best shape but he sells bowls full of all sorts of fruit and vegetable for a £1 and I do like to support him – he is out there every day of the week no matter what the weather. Rambutans have a thick but soft shell which splits easily to reveal a large opalescent fruit with a large woody seed in the middle. The fruit looks similar to the more familiar lychee but is not quite as juicy and tastes more like a grape. These are lovely in fruit salads. in-my-kitchen-may-2014In my kitchen I have another exotic fruit – loquats,  bought from the same vendor. I buy these more for their nostalgic value than anything else as both my grandfather and great uncle had trees in their Nairobi gardens. I have fond memories of sitting outside in my great uncle’s front garden; there would be a great many aunties and cousins milling around, enjoying a gossip and a catch-up. Trays of samosas, chutney, tea, home made cakes and biscuits would appear from the kitchen, passed round as the afternoon wore on. And these loquats which my cousin brother would have climbed up the tree to shake down for us, amidst much shouting to be careful and to watch our heads! My great uncle also had some enormous ferns growing in pots and invariably, older school boys would stop at the gate and ask if they could have a couple of seed filled fronds for their classwork…they always left clutching a samosa too! These fruit are at their sweetest when very soft. Othewise they are quite tart (hello salsa!) and with their high pectin levels, are brilliant in chutneys and jams. In Japan, the dried leaves are used to brew an anti-inflammatory tea which combats eczema and asthma… in-my-kitchen-may-2014In my kitchen I have the most adorable bottle of Limoncino, a lemon zest liqueur, given to me by friend who just got back from Italy. He travels a lot for work and pleasure and I am tasked with keeping an occasional eye on his business premises. For this hardly onerous task, he rewards me with wonderful food gifts from where ever he has been. The flavour of Limoncino or as it is more commonly known, Limoncello, really depends on the quality of the fruit. This is a really good article which illustrates brilliantly the passion Italians have when it comes to their produce – http://www.capri.net/caprireview/article.php?cod=49&lang=it&tr=1

“ the lemon makes the difference … Femminiello from Massa Lubrense (oval in shape, smooth skin, very juicy) and Sfusato from Amalfi (tapered shape, large with a thick, yellow peel and almost no seeds) are … characterized by the intense aroma of essential oils that it inherits from the environment. The unique nature of these fruits depends on the microclimate, the proximity of the sea and protection from the cold winds thanks to the use of traditional pagliarelle (straw matting) covering the groves and held up with chestnut poles”  The flavour also depends on when the lemons are picked. The first blossoming lemons, picked at dawn have the most concentrated flavours. Limoncino is best sipped, near frozen, in shot glasses.

in-my-kitchen-may-2014In my kitchen I have not one but two books which I won separately! Roast is a busy restaurant in London’s Borough Market and the book is full of the most mouthwatering photos and recipes. I won this by joining a competition on FaceBook. The Creamery Kitchen has brilliant recipes on converting milk into dairy products and I can’t wait to try some of the recipes out. I won this one through a Twitter campaign! Social media does have it’s good points!!

in-my-kitchen-may-2014In my kitchen I have a delicious Japanese Green Tea with Brown Rice. As much as I adore coffee, I find that if I have one after 3 pm in the afternoon, I am unable to get to sleep until the wee hours – and I mean the wee hours – 2 or 3 in the morning! In fact, I was out for dinner the other night and asked for a decaf expresso to round off the meal. It tasted so good that I just knew it wasn’t decaf, then promptly forgot about it until I was in bed wondering why I wasn’t tired! I was introduced to this tea at a wonderful local cafe – I asked for a pot of green tea (it was 3pm!) and was asked if I would like to try the brown rice version. It tastes like popcorn, has a mild green tea flavour and is very moreish indeed. Now, my son, is a Japanophile and has been since he was 8, loves going off to Soho to buy proper Japanese Sencha tea from a little shop on Brewer Street called Arigato. Arigato is an Aladdin’s Cave of Japanese foodstuffs – fresh, packaged and prepared. They have even carved out a little space where you can sit and eat their sushi, salads, gyoza and kare-age. I happened to be passing by and was pleased to find this tea, which Jake informs me has always been there!

Well that is it from my kitchen this month.What have you been up to? Let me know via the comments box below.

In My Kitchen is is hosted by Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial where she is joined by bloggers from all over the world affording us a glimpse of what they’ve been up to that month. Many thanks to Celia for hosting this series. Pour yourself a cuppa, click on the link and take a look at what others have been up to in their kitchens!

This week, I am so thrilled to be co-hosting Angie’s Friday Fiesta with Jhuls  of The Not So Creative Cook –  we would love to see you – it’s a fantastic way to read new blogs, make new friends and gain followers too! All you have to do is write a post for specifically for the party and  link up to Angie’s Fiesta Friday #15 post (you can post up until the following Wednesday) to join the party . The post can be about anything you like – food, travel, musings, photography – do join us – it is going to be so much fun! The guidelines are here… http://thenovicegardener.wordpress.com/fiesta-friday/ …