In My Kitchen – March 2015

Thank goodness that February is a short month – it brings those of us in the Northern Hemisphere just a little closer to Spring! Nonetheless, I’ve had a lot going on in my kitchen despite also spending two glorious weeks in Cape Town to attend the wedding of one of my oldest friends. I thought that you might like to see some photos of the stunning table setting and the food which was divine. The last photo above, is of the first course. I brought back our name cards as a momento. (If you click on the first photo, you can see the enlarged version of each picture in the gallery.)

In my kitchen there have been blood oranges, cavolo nero and fregola from which I made a salad because earlier in the month, I together with some friends, visited a fabulous shop called Vallebona which I wrote about here. It’s full of gourmet Sardinian groceries. These are some of the goodies I brought back.

IMK March 2015 | Selma's Table

Olive oil, truffle honey, grape must

We sampled the honey with white truffle on cheese and I tried some blue cheese with the grape juice must which were both wonderful. They both went into my basket! Vallebona sell a very thin cracker that comes in huge sheets which you just break off to eat – it’s called Carta Musica and lasts forever. I also bought the green tea with cherry blossom which is lovely.

I popped into a couple of local charity shops and came away with more china bargains. It’s becoming a bit of an obsession now – how did I go from shoes to plates?

I had this beautiful purple savoy type cabbage in my Sutton Community Farm veg box – unfortunately there was no time to make anything with it before I left, so I gave to a friend.

Cape Town has a fantastic food culture and I always look forward to seeing what they are up to. This time, a friend took me to a tiny award winning restaurant called Chefs Warehouse and Canteen run by a chef Liam Tomlin and his wife Jan.  They serve a very popular tapas style menu which is what we had. Wow – such incredible food – balanced, intense flavours and beautifully presented. There are more photos on my Instagram feed.

There is also a small but well curated shop attached, full of professional cookware, ceramics, ingredients and cookbooks. I bought a gorgeous glazed tapas dish just like the one we were served calamari in and a couple of packets of fruity buttery toffees – Sour Fig and Orange and Pomegranate. I really wish that I had bought a copy of his “Tapas” book but I just can’t justify another cookbook at the moment.

The friends we were staying with took us to the Oranjezicht City Farm Market which is held on the grounds of the Premier Helen Zille’s official residence, Leeuwenhof. Every Saturday, she opens up the gardens and the pool to the general public and independent local farmers and artisanal food producers. Apparently it’s the equivalent of David Cameron opening up Chequers to the hoi polloi! The fresh produce is fantastic and I was very surprised at how delicious the cheeses were too. There was a separate tent full of stall holders making and selling gorgeous and healthy food to eat.

I bought some intensely deep flavoured honey which took me right back to my childhood in Nairobi. This honey is similar to the Arabian Sidr Honey. I also bought a bottle of fig and grape must chutney.

A couple of days after returning to London, I received a lovely Welcome Home card and pack of black garlic from Elaine of foodbod which was such a surprise and had me squealing in delight.

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

Before you take your leave, feast your eyes on this amazing sunset – a display that Capetonians enjoy most evenings!

Sunset over the South Atlantic Ocean

Sunset over the South Atlantic Ocean from Seapoint, Cape Town

In My Kitchen – February 2015

Emergency Fund Raiser for Kim and Russ Bultman.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a wonderful February, everyone!

Ruby Chard, Shitake Mushroom & Chestnut Tart

Ruby Chard, Shitake Mushroom & Chestnut Tart | Selma's TableRachel de Thample is a woman after my own heart. A food writer, forager and advocate for seasonal and local produce, she has worked in the kitchens of Marco Pierre White, Peter Gordon and Hester Blumenthal. She was  Commissioning Editor for Waitrose Food Illustrated, contributed to two Borough Market cookbooks and wrote a fabulous book called Less Meat, More Veg a few years ago. Did I mention that she is also a fellow South Londoner? Ruby Chard, Shitake Mushroom & Chestnut Tart | Selma's TableRachel is the Food Editor for one of the pioneers of the UK organic veg box schemes, Abel & Cole. She writes the most delicious, weekly seasonal recipes for them and also meets with food buyers to look at the ethical aspects of sourcing food.  Her second book, called FIVE has just been published. It is full of varied, accessible and delicious recipes that will have you packing away fruits and vegetables without any effort at all. There is a very useful double page spread listing fruits and vegetables and their portion sizes and the recipes clearly state how many portions are in each recipe. And the recipes! There isn’t a single one which I wouldn’t make – from creative breakfast truffles and clever muffins to galettes, latkes, stunning salads, hearty soups, curries, pastries, cakes, puddings, sorbets…mouthwatering and while heavy on the fruit and vegetables, there are recipes which include fish and meat. Ruby Chard, Shitake Mushroom & Chestnut Tart | Selma's TableI have a copy of FIVE to give away to a lucky reader which I will tell you about in another post but in the meantime just get your tastebuds going with some of these recipe titles – Mexican Roast Pumpkin Soup with Lime; Lemony Scrambled Eggs with Indian Spiced Spinach and Mushrooms; Sassy Cherry and Watercress Salad with Crushed Pistachios; Athenian Rissoles with Pavlos’ Sauce; Summer Veg Patch Gumbo with Chorizo and Crab; Honeyed Aubergine, Feta and Walnut Borek; Honey Blossom Peaches; Mulled Figs with Mascarpone…doesn’t it all sound delicious? Ruby Chard, Shitake Mushroom & Chestnut Tart | Selma's TableIn the meantime, inspired by the premise of the book and my complimentary Able and Cole veg box as well as my Sutton Community Farm veg box, I came up with a recipe which I hope Ms De Thample would approve of!

It is full of seasonal ingredients like ruby chard, mushrooms, leeks  and one of my favourite winter ingredients – chestnuts; gently sautéed together with celery, garlic and thyme and a little lemon to sharpen the flavours, spread onto flakey puff pastry and topped with Barber’s delicious cheddar cheese.

My recipe has been featured over on the Happy Foodie website along with four other bloggers – take a look at what they have to say and what they made here – http://thehappyfoodie.co.uk/articles/number-five-challenge

Ruby Chard, Mushroom & Chestnut Tart

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

INGREDIENTS

  • Bunch of ruby chard or swiss chard or spinach (approximately 250g)
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 punnet shitake mushrooms
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 1 leek
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 75g vacuum packed cooked chestnuts
  • 2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp vegetable stock powder ilke Essentials or Marigold
  • 1 good handful of grated Barbers Vintage Reserve Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 x 320 g sheet of ready rolled, all butter puff pastry
  • 2 eggs beaten with a tablespoon of milk

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Fill the sink with cold water and swish the chard around in it to loosen any soil. Leave the chard in the water to let any grit settle on the bottom of the sink. Carefully lift the chard out of the water, without disturbing the sediment on the bottom of the sink and gently shake off the excess water. Trim off the ends and cut out the stalks. Slice the stalks, on the diagonal into 3 cm pieces. Slice the leaves into wide ribbons. Keep them separate.
  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Dice the onions and slice the mushrooms and add these to the hot oil. Sprinkle with a little salt, squeeze over the juice of half a lemon then stir and cook until the onions are soft, floppy and golden and the mushrooms have caramelised. You may need to add a little more oil if the mushrooms soak it all up.
  3. While this is going on, finely dice the celery and and slice the leeks into 1 cm rings; coarsely chop the chestnuts – add to the pan with the chard stems and stir. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes.
  4. Finely chop the garlic and add to the pan along with the chard and thyme leaves. Stir and cook for a couple of minutes or until the chard has wilted.
  5. Sprinkle over the stock powder and add a splash of water – just enough to deglaze any caramelisation on the bottom of the pan and get everything nice and juicy but not wet! Turn the heat right down and let this simmer for a minute or two. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Turn off the heat, stir in the parsley and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.
  7. Unroll the pastry and score a 2 cm border around the perimeter. Transfer onto a parchment lined baking sheet/tray.
  8. Place the cooled chard mixture within the border and scatter over the grated cheddar cheese.
  9. Brush the edges of the tart with the beaten eggs and then gently drizzle the remainder of the egg mixture over the tart.
  10. Bake for 25-30 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 part of a 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.

Tomato & Chard Crostata with Barber’s Cheddar

Slow Roasted Tomato & Chard Galette with Barber's Cheddar Cheese | Selma's TableCharlie Barber is by all accounts, a pretty good cook. I wish I had to thought to ask him more about what and how he likes to cook but quite honestly, last week at the BBC Good Food Show, I had cheese goggles on and only had eyes for the cheese – that judging room for the World Cheese Awards is my idea of heaven! Those of you who know me, know how much I LOVE cheese – my favourite course at any dinner is the cheeseboard; I love having people round for a meal because it gives me an excuse to buy some extra special cheese. One Christmas, I remember eating far too much of the preceding courses and couldn’t manage a scrap of cheese. I was so cross with myself – we had bought some gorgeous cheeses that year.  Anyway, when Charlie threw down a challenge to come up with a recipe using my local produce and their delicious Barber’s 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar, I wasn’t going to refuse!

Slow Roasted Tomato & Chard Galette with Barber's Cheddar Cheese | Selma's TableI’ve been wanting to make one of those free form open crostatas for some time with a lovely flaky, buttery pastry;  pastry and cheese is always delicious so there was the start of the recipe. Our veg box (CSA) from Sutton Community Farm, is full of seasonal produce which has been grown locally without the use of pesticides. I had some of their beautiful late season Rainbow Chard that was begging to be used as well as some of their onions.

Chard, onions and Barber's 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar

Chard, onions and Barber’s 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheese

I also had some large slicing tomatoes from the local greengrocers but they would need to be roasted, low and slow to get rid of a lot of their moisture. The tomatoes may have been a subconscious thing because Elaine had tried some sundried tomatoes from one of the many small producer food stands at the Good Food Show and said how delicious they were…Slow roasting them this way really intensifies the tomato flavour and is great way to treat tomatoes that may not have the flavour they should. I like to make batches of them and store them in oil to use in sandwiches, pasta dishes and sauces.

Slow Roasted Tomatoes | Selma's Table

Slow roasting the tomatoes

I love tarragon with tomatoes and it goes well with the earthiness of beetroot too. Chard is a member of the beet family so it seemed like a natural combination. Nonetheless, before I added in the tarragon, I conducted a little taste test with a spoonful of cooked chard, caramelised onion and a sprinkle of cheddar just to make sure and it did work really well together. That aniseed flavour does not appeal to everyone so replace it with rosemary, thyme or even basil if you are so inclined.

Slow Roasted Tomato & Chard Galette with Barber's Cheddar Cheese | Selma's TableThis recipe is best made over two days. Slow roast the tomatoes, caramelise the onions and make the dough on the first day. The smell of the slowly roasting tomatoes and caramelising onions will drive you and anyone else around, mad with unrequited sensory hunger so I suggest having something strongly flavoured to snack on! On the second day, sauté the chard, roll out the dough then assemble and bake the crostata.

Layering galette | Selma's Table

Layering galette

The pastry is a basic shortcrust pastry using half fat to flour, a pinch of salt (I used vegetable stock powder to give it a more savoury flavour) and just enough iced water to make it come together. The trick is to cut the cold unsalted butter into quite small cubes with a small sharp knife and put these back into the fridge. The butter needs to be really cold so that you can rub – well, slide really,  the butter between your fingers, into the flour and into flakes without it melting. Stir in the iced water a little at a time. Once the dough has come together, wrap it in cling film and pop it in the fridge overnight or for at least an hour.

A very flaky shortcrust pastry | Selma's Table

Making the dough

Roll it out between two sheets of baking paper using one of the sheets to transfer it onto the baking sheet. This produced a really seriously flaky pastry that even Jake commented on.

A very flaky shortcrust pastry | Selma's Table

Rolling out the shortcrust dough between two sheets of parchment paper

This crostata is full of flavour with the intensely flavoured slow roasted tomatoes, the caramelised onions, the earthy chard, the aniseed of tarragon and Barber’s superb Vintage Reserve cheddar cheese. It is wonderful as a light lunch or supper dish or as part of a mezze style table.

Slow Roasted Tomato & Chard Galette with Barber's Cheddar Cheese | Selma's Table

I’m taking this Tomato and Chard Crostata with Barber’s Cheddar to the party animals over at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #44. Today she has made some stunning sandwiches with leftovers from Thanksgiving. Only Angie can take a bit of roast turkey and some bread and make it look like something from a magazine spread! Co-hosting today are two of my favourite story tellers –  Prudy @Butter, Basil and Breadcrumbs and Jess @Cooking Is My Sport. Their posts are always inspirational, touching and funny. Their amazing recipes are a bonus!!

Tomato & Chard Crostata with Barber's Cheddar

  • Servings: 4 as a main or 6 - 8 slices as part of a tapas
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

For the Slow Roasted Tomatoes

  • 600 g tomatoes (cherry, plum, slicing, heirloom)
  • 30ml/ 2Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbps finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • salt and pepper

For the Caramelised Onions

  • 1 large or 2 medium white onion, finely sliced
  • 30ml/ 2Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • pinch of salt

For the Shortcrust Pastry

  • 160g flour
  • ½ tsp vegetable stock powder or ¼ tsp of salt
  • 80 g cold unsalted butter
  • 3 – 5 Tbsp iced water

To finish

  • 200g chard, leaves and stems
  • 1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp butter
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 Tbsp creme fraiche
  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves
  • 100 g Barber’s 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar
  • 1 egg mixed with 1 tbsp of milk

INSTRUCTIONS

For the Slow Roasted Tomatoes

  1. Preheat the oven to 100C/200F.
  2. If the tomatoes are large, slice them horizontally into 4 slices. If they are cherry or plum tomatoes, slice them vertically, into halves or quarters, depending on their size.
  3. Place them on a baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil, season and sprinkle with the chopped rosemary.
  4. Roast for between 2 – 6 hours. The time really depends on how much moisture they have and how thick the slices are. My slices took 4 hours. I checked every hour after the first two looking for the slices to be fairly dry but still soft. Once they have cooled off, use a slice to lift them off and place in a bowl scraping the gorgeous concentrated tomato juice and oil off the sheet and over them. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

For the Caramelised Onions

  1. Heat the butter and oil in a small saucepan over a medium heat and stir in the finely sliced onions.
  2. Stir in a pinch of salt and when the onions are coated in the oil and butter, turn the heat down to low and let this cook down for about an hour. Stir from time to time – the onions should cook down to a pale gold sticky mass. Cool and refrigerate until needed.

For the Shortcrust Pastry

  1. Place the flour and stock powder or salt in a medium sized mixing bowl and whisk well to combine.
  2. Toss the cold butter cubes through the flour to coat them; then working quickly, slide them (as if you were clicking your fingers and thumb) between your fingers and thumb into the flour, over and over again – you want flat, flour-coated shards of butter flakes as well as the usual coarse sand type mixture.
  3. Using a fork, stir in 2 – 3 Tbsp of water. Then, use your fingertips to bring the dough together – handle it as lightly and as little as possible. If you need additional water to bring it together, then add it one table spoon at a time. I needed 4 Tbsp. Keep it in the bowl as you bring it together into a ball – remember to handle it lightly and as little as possible. Press lightly into a disc then wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 3 days.

To finish and assemble

  1. Fill the sink with water and swish the chard leaves about. Leave them in the sink for any grit to settle on the bottom.
  2. In the meantime, finish off the onions by stirring through the creme fraiche and the tarragon and set aside. Grate the cheese and set aside. Remove the slow roasted tomatoes from the fridge and set aside. Whisk the egg and milk together in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Carefully scoop the chard out of the sink and cut out the stems. I fold them in half along the stem and use a pair of scissors to snip them out quickly. Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. While it is heating, slice the chard stems into 1 cm pieces stir into the pan together with the fennel seeds. With lots of water clinging to the chard leaves, roughly chop them. Once the stems have softened a little – 3 or 4 minutes, stir in the chopped leaves, season lightly and let these cook down for about a minute. Then turn off the heat and let this cool while you get on with the pastry.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 190C/375F.
  5. Roll out the pastry between two sheets of parchment paper, flipping it over from time to time until it is about 30 cm/12 inches in diameter. It will be quite thin. You can also roll it out on a lightly flour dusted work surface (no need to flip) but rolling it out between parchment paper makes the process so much easier. Once it is approximately the right size, peel off the top parchment paper and use the bottom one to transfer it onto a baking sheet, leaving the parchment underneath it.
  6. Leaving a 3 cm/1 inch border around the edge, sprinkle over half the cheese. Spread the onion mixture on top of the cheese and cover this with the cooked chard. Sprinkle over most of the remaining cheese then top with the tomatoes and a final sprinkle of cheese. Drizzle over any oily tomato juices which may have collected then fold over the border, pleating the pastry as you go along. Brush the pastry with the egg wash.
  7. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the pastry is golden and cooked through. Cool on a rack and serve in wedges, warm or at room temperature.
© 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.

In My Kitchen July 2014

It has been a wonderful month for all things food related – do come in and  take a look… In my kitchen IMK_july_2014is this amazing Black Summer Truffle Pesto by Sacla. My lovely, vivacious and gorgeous friend, Jo Picard, sent me a totally unexpected text saying that there were two complimentary tickets for me at the box office for the foodie heaven that is Taste of London. She was presenting and hosting the Stubbins Kitchen Garden Demonstration stand and  my friend C and I, got to see her taking Michelin starred chef, Bruno Loubet through his dish of Savoury Sweet Potato Waffle which was pretty amazing. The top left photo below is of Bruno Loubet with Jo on the far right of the photo. IMK July 2014In a nutshell, Taste of London gathers together some of London’s most iconic and famous restaurants and gives us the opportunity to taste sample sized portions of a few of their most well known dishes. Along with the restaurant stands, there are workshops, cookery theatres, artisanal produce and producers, wine tastings, drinks stands, a bandstand…it’s a fabulous event. I have linked their website so do take a look if you would like to know more. IMK July 2014 IMK July 2014Sacla were there too, passing round samples of some of their pestos spread onto mini crostinis. This one – the Black Summer Truffle Pesto just made us stop dead in our tracks, widen our eyes and rush back to find out what it was. We made sure not to leave without going back to buy some. It is wonderful spread on sourdough and topped with a poached egg and we had it with roast chicken the other day – I will posting that recipe very soon – it was fantastic. If you like truffles, you will love this spread so keep an eye out for it the next time you are in the shops. (Finally managed to post the recipe – here is the link – https://selmastable.wordpress.com/2014/07/22/black-summer-truffle-pesto-roast-chicken/ ) IMK July 2014 In my kitchen, are compotes. With the abundance of luscious summer fruit comes the propensity to buy more than we can consume before they start to spoil in the heat. So, I have been making simple rustic compotes to spoon over granola and Greek yoghurt for breakfast. The compotes seem to keep for weeks in the fridge without spoiling. I stew them gently and briefly in a pan with a tiny bit of demerara sugar, some used vanilla pods  and a dash of rosé wine. In the collage above, clockwise from top left is apricot, raspberry and strawberry. Jake has liked the strawberry the most. IMK_july_2014 The cherries this summer have been amazing – these barely lasted a day. (If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen quite a few of these photos already). The shallow  bowl is an old eBay bargain – it’s known as transferware and the pattern is Asiatic Pheasant.IMK_july_2014 My Sutton Community Farm veg (CSA) box has been wonderful – gorgeous broad broad beans, all sorts of varieties of kale and beautiful salads with edible flowers as well as courgettes, cucumbers, carrots, spring onions…I was lucky enough to attend their fabulous “Pop-Up Veg Box Dinner” during our local Food Festival. You can read my review, watch a brilliant, short video and see my quick and easy recipe for Broad Bean, Pea and Ricotta Crostini if you click on the link. I recently made Ottolenghi’s Meatballs with Broad Beans, but used the entire bean – pod and all as they were so young and tender. IMK_july_2014Shortly after we moved in here, earlier this year, I lent my juicer to a friend who was a little run down. She and her husband loved it and now have their own, so she dropped it back the other day and it has been really nice to juice again for breakfast. In the glass above is apple, beetroot, kale, carrot, ginger and lemon. Power breakfast! I have to say that this is a really good juicer  – it has been developed for Philips by the man known as the Juice Master, Jason Vale. The drop chute is really wide so most things don’t have to be sliced (or peeled for that matter). The micro mesh filter is extremely efficient and easy to clean; also, if you line the pulp container with a plastic bag, it makes for a quick and easy clean up. I got this last year; there are newer models around so if you are thinking of getting a juicer but have been put off by memories of lots of prep, wet pulp and washing up, I am here to tell you that times have changed! And see the retro straws? I just couldn’t resist them when I saw them in Peter Jones and good thing too as I have just had my teeth cleaned and polished so the straws protect  from beetroot stains and acid erosion too. And they look rather fabulous! Shallow? Moi? Well, that is it from my kitchen this month.What have you been up to? Let me know via the comments box below. The In My Kitchen series 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. Many thanks to Celia for hosting this lovely series. Pour yourself a cuppa or something cold, click on the link and take a look at what others have been up to in their kitchens! © 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.

Broad Bean, Pea and Ricotta Crostini with Mint

broad-bean-pea-and-ricotta-crostini-with-mintYou all know how much I enjoy my veg box (CSA) from Sutton Community Farm. I just love the quality of the produce and also that it is a not-for-profit organisation which encourages schools, businesses and anyone else to visit the farm, learn all about their organic farming methods and get stuck in too. Well, a couple of weeks ago they hosted their very first Pop-Up VegBox Dinner as part of the fabulous Streatham Food Festival, in the charming new Community Space at The White Lion. With Hix Soho Chef, Joe Fox at the helm, I was really lucky to snaffle a reservation as the event quickly sold out.

It was a lovely warm summer’s evening as we gathered and mingled in the courtyard sipping delicious elderflower champagne which Joris, Head Grower at the farm had brewed in anticipation of his wedding; decorated with freshly foraged elderflowers buds and served in the most adorable 1930’s style champagne coupes, these slipped down effortlessly.  The team were working outside so we  got a sneaky peek at the cooking, prepping and plating up too. Inside, long tables had been set with hessian runners and studded with tomato plant centerpieces, terracotta pots crammed with crudités of baby carrots, radishes and asparagus sprue and served with a fresh wobbly mayo, herb and garlic dip with bread donated by local baker and farm supplier Gaye Whitwham of Sticky Mitts.

The Menu

The Menu

The starter of freshly made ricotta, broad beans which included the shoots and flowers, pickled cucumber, cucumber flowers, salad leaves and croutons, dressed with an organic rapeseed oil was simply stunning. The main course of chargrilled asparagus, served on a bed of crushed Charlotte potatoes and topped with a romano pepper stew was gorgeous – perfectly balanced and seasoned. Pudding was a glorious Mess of farm foraged elderflower and gooseberry compote, meringue, cream and shavings of white chocolate. We also got a brown paper and string tied gift to take home  – inside which was one of their printed cloth shopping bags which now lives in my handbag ready for any purchases I make.

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Starter – Broad Bean, Cucumber, Ricotta & Salad Burnet

An evocative video of the evening has been put together by Asa of Triple A Films which captures the night beautifully. It was a truly wonderful, inspirational and magical evening.

broad-bean-pea-and-ricotta-crostini-with-mintSo, in homage to that wonderful starter and to use up the broad beans in my veg box I made these delicious crostini. When it’s too hot to turn on the oven or spend too long at the stove, this sort of thing is just ideal on a warm evening with a large glass of something crisp and cold!

I am taking them with me to Angie’s popular weekly virtual party – Fiesta Friday #21, so that everyone can feel a little of the magic of that night! This week Angie has also eschewed turning on the oven and has made THE most beautiful salad. So it is only right that the party is co-hosted by Elaine@Foodbod and Julianna@Foodie On Board, both of whom make the most fabulous salads! Thank you ladies!

And since broad beans and the recipe are both Simple and in Season, I’m taking them over to the blog event of the same name graciously hosted by Ren Behan.

broad-bean-pea-and-ricotta-crostini-with-mint

broad-bean-pea-and-ricotta-crostini-with-mint

broad-bean-pea-and-ricotta-crostini-with-mint

Broad Bean, Pea and Ricotta Crostini with Mint

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup of podded broad beans
  • 1 cup of peas (frozen is fine)
  • Zest of a lemon and some juice
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp finely sliced fresh mint
  • 4 thick slices sourdough bread
  • 1 large clove of garlic halved
  • 6-8 Tbsp ricotta cheese
  • Salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Bring a small pot of salted water to the boil then add the broad beans and cook for about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the peas and cook for another couple of minutes.
  3. Drain immediately and run under a cold tap or plunge into an ice bath to cool and set the gorgeous green colours.
  4. Skin the broad beans – give those fleshy skins a little pinch and squeeze the beans out.
  5. Place the broad beans and the peas in a bowl with most of the mint; grate over some lemon zest, squeeze over a little lemon juice and a little olive oil;  season, stir and set aside.
  6. Toast the sourdough and while the slices are still hot, rub one side with the  cut side of garlic cloves. The garlic will disappear into the toast.
  7. Spread the toast thickly with ricotta cheese and season lightly.
  8. Top generously with the broad bean mixture, sprinkle with a little more mint and drizzle over a fruity olive oil.
  9. Serve as part of an antipasti or as a first course.

© 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.

In My Kitchen – June 2014

in-my-kitchen-june-2014At last! June with it’s promise of long sunny days, picnics, barbecues, days out at the seaside and lots of spanking fresh summer produce. The festival season has started and the big thing now is music festivals with fabulous food too; also horse racing and of course the start of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships – oh summer, how we have waited for you.

This month, my kitchen has been full of, among other things,  gorgeous fresh British produce – here, take a look…

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Oven roasted British asparagus finished with parmesan and olive oil

In my kitchen I have British asparagus, which this year have been wonderful – I like to either griddle them or oven roast them and serve very simply with a drizzle of olive oil, some shavings of parmesan and perhaps a squeeze of lemon. The other night we even ate some sprue raw with a dip at a local pop up dinner event put on by Sutton Community Farm for our local food festival. The raw sprue were spectacular.

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Jersey Royal potatoes

In my kitchen, I have Jersey Royal Potatoes. May/June is also  when the incomparable Jersey Royal potatoes are available. They have only been growing for about 130 years on the island of Jersey and have a Protected Designation of Origin. These kidney shaped tubers with their papery skins are fertilised with seaweed for a really unique and delicate flavour. There are only 20 farmers who cultivate and harvest this eagerly awaited potato and the we love the first few bags, simply boiled with a little salt and butter to finish them off – this really allows their unique flavour to shine. They also make the best potato salad…The history of how they were discovered is fascinating too – http://www.jerseyroyals.co.uk/about-jersey-royals/history.aspx

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Red spring onions from my Sutton Community Farm veg box

In my kitchen, I had some of these red spring onions in my veg box which were wonderful in a potato salad. I have also had broad beans, yellow stalked chard, spring carrots and celeriac. This is when the veg box becomes really exciting!!

in-my-kitchen-june-2014In my kitchen I’ve had these beautiful peonies brought over by a friend who came to tea. Peonies (and Casablanca lilies) are my favourite flowers – thank goodness for friends who know me so well! And I thought you might enjoy a photo of those Landscape bowls with the late afternoon sun shining through then…

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In my kitchen I have  the Konditor and Cook by Gerhard Jenne of the gorgeous bakery/cafes in London. I won it (yes, again with winning cookbooks), this time from the lovely people at The Happy Foodie  for my Easter themed Pinterest board. I wasn’t the winner but had an email saying that they liked my board so much that they wanted to send me something and this beautiful book arrived . Konditor and Cook have five shops stocking their legendary cakes and pastries as well as 2 schools in London.

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This is an artisan book – beautiful and well crafted recipes that are made with love and care. I can’t wait to try some of these out and share them with you. If you enjoy cooking and baking, I suggest that you sign up for the Happy Foodie’s newsletter – it is always full of inspirational recipes and stories. You can buy the book using this link  http://www.randomhouse.co.uk/editions/the-konditor-and-cook-book-of-cakes/9780091957599 and it is also available on Amazon UK.  This is Amazon’s  biography of Gerhard Jenne – “I was practically born with a spoonful of Black Forest Cake in my mouth. And from my birthplace, Freiburg the gateway to the Black Forest, I progressed via licking out my mother’s baking bowls and completing an apprenticeship in my brother-in-law’s bakery to an even sweeter career as a Konditor (pastry chef). At first in Munich then in London where I made a name for myself as a celebrity cake maker – for real aristocracy as well as rock royalty.  With Konditor & Cook I was able to create my own set of recipes and contemporary decorative styles and soon the first shop on London’s South Bank was so popular, someone once said: ‘Every street corner should have a Konditor & Cook on it.” Who wouldn’t want to be born with a spoonful of Black Forest Cake in their mouth?!

In my kitchen I have The French Cafe Cookbook, sent over by a friend in New Zealand.

in-my-kitchen-june-2014With gorgeous photography and a very inspirational story charting the journey of the chef and his wife to their popular restaurant in Auckland.

in-my-kitchen-june-2014in-my-kitchen-june-2014This is the sort of book from which to learn restaurant cooking techniques and adapt them for home use.

in-my-kitchen-june-2014

Home made lemon oil

I though that I would update you on my home made lemon oil. It has been steeping for nearly 3 weeks now and the lemon flavour is really coming through. A few of you including Celia, have either commented or tweeted that you have started your jars and I hope that you have remembered to open the lids and release the gas from time to time. It is a very simple recipe – unwaxed lemons in a sterilised jar topped up with a mild olive oil and steeped for at least 4 weeks in a cupboard. The original post is here.

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

The In My Kitchen series 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. Many thanks to Celia for hosting this lovely series. Pour yourself a cuppa, click on the link and take a look at what others have been up to in their kitchens!

© 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.

In My Kitchen – April 2014

 

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“Landscape” bowls by Peter Layton

I can’t quite believe that a month has rolled by so quickly and that it is time to take another look in my kitchen already!

In my kitchen I have 3 beautiful opaque bowls from the Landscape series by glass blower extraordinare, Peter Layton of London Glassblowing. They sit on the window ledge changing colour, hue and intensity depending on the time of day. Many years ago, I read that London Glassblowing were holding an open week and sale in their workshop so took my son to watch the process at their studio in Bermondsey. I remember walking through the historical old streets of Southwark with him, passing by narrow streets with names like Vinegar Yard, Lamb Walk and Crucifix Street. Where once, as far back as medieval times, the area was known for it’s flourishing docks, leather and food processing industries and later, for it’s slums, now the old brick warehouses hold thriving creative and retail studios. When I finally found it because I did get lost (this was in the days of the London A-Z, waaaay before smartphones and GPS ) we found ourselves in a cobbled courtyard  surrounded on all sides by old industrial units. When we located the studio, the contrast between their gallery; sleek and white with the displayed glass objects glowing like jewels and the workshop; hot as Hades, chaotic and with a true industrial vibe, well, it couldn’t have been more stark or wonderful. We watched great globs of liquid glass being blown and pulled and pushed into gorgeous organic shapes by artisans working next to the blistering furnace – Jake was fascinated. Even as his cheeks started to flush and his hair began to dampen and curl with sweat, he did not want to move. We went again with a dear friend, this time armed with my cheque book! On their  huge sale table were all sorts of wonderful glass bowls, vases, bottles and trinkets but I was drawn to these three bowls – I almost think that they chose me. The design is described thus on their website – “Landscape is one of our classic designs, evocative of meadows, spring landscapes and big skies, sometimes stormy, sometimes clear and bright in the English tradition. Soft gentle washes of colour, emulate the English landscape.” If you click on the photo, you will be able to see them enlarged and in more detail. They have been packed away for some years, through numerous moves, but seem to have now found their home on the window ledge in my kitchen.

fresh_garlic

In my kitchen I have fresh, purple tinged heads of “new” garlic – an odiferous harbinger of spring if ever there was one! As I was walking past my local greengrocers the other day, I noticed a box of these and stopped to buy a few. They are so different from the dry garlic we normally see – their skins are moist and pliable and the cloves themselves are much less strident in flavour. Because they are so much younger and moister than dry garlic, practically the entire head can be used. The green tops can be sliced and sautéed, the skins can be sliced and stirred in with shallots or onions; the layer around the actual clove itself can be blanched and then whizzed with olive oil to make a garlic paste that can be stirred into pasta, salad dressings and mayonnaise and the cloves can be thinly sliced and sautéed or added raw to salads.

fresh_garlicNew garlic does have a fairly pungent smell. A few years ago, a group of us went to Cannobio on the shores of Lago Maggiore in Italy for a hen weekend. We had such a brilliant time, exploring the town, eating gelato, drinking bubbly on the terrace of the boys’  apartment (it was a mixed party!) dancing in the town square with the locals, heading over to Switzerland on the ferry, for lunch, just because we could! There was a big market on that weekend and we had the most incredible lunch in a bustling trattoria where all the specials were market fresh. The mushroom pasta with truffles, I have never forgotten. I got a little excited to see fresh garlic (for the first time ever) and bought a few heads to take home. The smell of garlic was so pervasive – and I took it on as hand luggage so you can just imagine the wide berth I got! I always buy some whenever I see them and am instantly transported to those fun filled few days in Italy.

tiny_figs

In my kitchen, I have (had – they are all gone now) a little plate of tiny figs. Passing by the same greengrocer the other day, I noticed a punnet of these figs which were no larger than walnuts in the shell. They were very sweet with an almost rose flavour and we had them without any adornment whatsoever. I thought I had taken some shots of one squeezed open but they either didn’t upload or I had what my brother used to refer to as, a senior moment!

baby_leeks

In my kitchen I have these gloriously muddy, young and slender leeks. I got very excited about my new veg box (CSA) from Sutton Community Farm last month. You may have seen the post about the Mixed Roasted Beets where I waxed lyrical about the scheme. I am getting a small box every fortnight and really enjoying the quality and freshness of the produce with the bonus of it being a cheaper price than in the supermarkets. It is also forcing me out of my comfort zone of always buying the same vegetables which I tend to do if there is nothing inspiring on the shelves. These babies will be blanched then griddled and served with an smokey paprika aioli.

dry_roasted_cumin

In my kitchen I have a small jar of dry roasted cumin seeds. I love the warm, deep, husky flavour of cumin and use it quite liberally and in fairly unorthodox ways. One of my comfort dishes is rice cooked with chickpeas and cumin and eaten with yoghurt. I buy 100g  or 200g packets from the local Indian grocers and dry roast them, in batches, over a medium heat, in  a non stick pan until they are golden and toasted and the kitchen smells amazing. I store them in a small Kilner jar where they keep for a long time. I scatter them whole, rub them between my fingers to break them up or pound them to a powder in a pestle and mortar. Speaking of which…

pestle_and_mortar

In my kitchen I have a ridiculously heavy pestle and mortar. I bought it in the early 90’s when our High St used to have the most brilliant Oriental grocery shop. They stocked everything you could possibly think of –  galangal, lemongrass, holy basil,  fresh noodles, about a hundred varieties of dry noodles, rice, all sorts of sauces from chili to satay, frozen seafood, bamboo steamers…it was like an Aladdin’s cave of Oriental foodstuff in there. This is when I started cooking Thai food – how could I not when all the ingredients were literally on my doorstep! I went past one day and noticed that they had pestle and mortars in the window and bought one. I make sure that it is somewhere accessible on the worktop as I realised that I don’t use as much it if I have to lug it out of a cupboard or off a shelf. It makes short work of grinding dry spices and making pastes out herbs and garlic. I just wish it wasn’t so darn heavy!

in_my_kitchen

Well that’s it from my kitchen this month. In My Kitchen is is hosted by Celia of 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. I have been following the series for a little while now, enjoying a little nosey into the kitchen sink dramas of others, everywhere. Thank you to the IMK community for your warm welcome  to my first posting last month – it has been so nice to get to know you and your blogs. And a huge thank you to Celia for coming up with this series and hosting it. This is the link to take you to the archives http://figjamandlimecordial.com/in-my-kitchen/ Please do go over and take a look at what other bloggers are up to in their kitchens!

 

Mushroom and Onion Marmalade Tarts

Mushroom_and-Onion_Marmalade_TartsThese Mushroom and Onion Marmalade Tarts are something I made when I catered cocktail parties. Those parties were a lot of work but also a lot of fun – lengthy discussions on menus, researching and brain storming recipes, finalising menus, compiling shopping and prep lists, food ordering and shopping, scouring charity shops and department stores for serving props, prepping, cooking, serving and enjoying the party later! I used to do this around my son’s nursery  and bedtime schedules and had to be so incredibly organised – lists were my best friends! Always requested as the first canapé to every party were the Bloody Mary Cherry Tomatoes – vodka and worcestershire sauce infused cherry tomatoes served with a rosemary dipping salt – it was a real ice-breaker and got everyone mingling. I would blithely churn out things like seafood stuffed rice paper rolls with a dipping sauce, hot and sour lamb with peanuts on cucumber, lettuce cups with Thai inspired beef salad, saffron mussels on garlic bread, pear and blue cheese galettes, garlic  mushrooms with lemon risotto, mini Christmas puds, lemon curd tartlets  – all made impossibly tiny, dainty and beautifully presented. A friend recently requested this recipe (from a party that took place 12 years ago!) and I was so pleased that I still had some gorgeous mushrooms left in my veg box from Sutton Community Farm to make them with.

Mushroom_and-Onion_Marmalade_Tarts

Mushrooms cooked with garlic and thyme with a squeeze of lemon is one of my favourite ways to eat them which I do so rarely because my son is really not a fan of the fungi. This recipe is a riff on that together with some gooey caramelised onions with a topping of melted gruyere cheese ensconced in a crisp, buttery bread case.

They are quite easy to put together and can be made ahead earlier in the day to pop in the oven just as your guests arrive. The Mushroom and Onion Marmalade Tarts also re-heat successfully as I found out when I took this batch round to a friend’s house last night. If you are making huge quantities of them for a party, then use a food processor to chop the onions and mushrooms (separately) to speed things up. Don’t be alarmed at the mountain of chopped mushrooms – these will swiftly cook down. You need that squigdy white sandwich bread for the bases – because that type of bread is so soft, it crisps up beautifully in the oven. You should get 2 bases out of each slice – going over the bread a couple of times with a rolling pin helps to stretch out the slices if they are just a little too small. These tarts are best made in mince pie tins as these are shallow and wide.

First the onion are caramelised, then the mushrooms are added and cooked down. While this is going on, the bread bases get stamped out and buttered and placed in the tin. Once the mixture is ready, the cases are filled, topped with cheese and baked for 10-15 minutes. They are very tasty indeed!

Mushroom_and-Onion_Marmalade_Tarts

Mushroom and Onion Marmalade Tarts

  • Servings: makes 12 tartlets
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Adapted from a recipe by Celia Brooks Brown for the Independent Magazine

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion sliced fairly thinly into half moons
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 175g mushrooms chopped quite finely
  • 1 tsp of fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • 6 slices of large white sandwich bread
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter
  • 75 – 100g gruyere cheese, grated

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a wide heavy bottomed frying pan over medium low flame and fry the onions gently until they start to colour.
  3. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the sugar.
  4. Add the tablespoon of butter and then the mushrooms and thyme. Fry gently until mushrooms are soft and have released their moisture. They will reduce down quite a fair amount.
  5. Stir in the parsley and garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  6. Squeeze over a little lemon juice, taste and adjust the seasoning.
  7. Stamp out two 3 inch circles from each slice of bread. If the slices aren’t big enough, go over them a couple of times with a rolling pin.
  8. Brush one side with melted butter and place buttered side down in a mince pie tin.
  9. Press into the pan – I use the end of a rolling pin to do this but anything small and flat will work like the bottom of a small jar or glass, for instance.
  10. Divide the mixture evenly between the bases- approximately 1 ½  – 2 tsp per tart.
  11. Top with the grated gruyere cheese  (they can be made ahead to this point) and bake for 10-15 mins until golden and bubbly.
  12. Remove from the tin and place on kitchen paper to absorb any excess butter. The buttered bottoms lend themselves to slipping out very easily from the tins.
  13. Serve warm as a canapé or as part of a tapas style first course.

 

 

 

 

An Exotic Carrot Salad

An Exotic Carrot SaladI knew that with carrots as fresh as the ones in my veg box from Sutton Community Farm, a scheme I waxed lyrical about in my last post, I would have to make some sort of salad with them to make the most of their sweet, just picked flavour. I grated the carrots, nestled them reverentially on a handful of rocket leaves and then made up a dressing which was citrus sweet’n’sour, rich with cumin and humming with a little cayenne pepper. It was delicious!

An Exotic Carrot Salad

An Exotic Carrot Salad

An Exotic Carrot Salad

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 carrots, scrubbed. Only peel then if they are not organic or if they are old as the skins can be bitter
  • handful of rocket leaves (or use other salad leaves if you have them)
  • 5 or 6 toasted walnuts halves
  • 1 tsp Za”atar spice mix

For the dressing

  • a pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp ground roasted cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • juice of half an small orange
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 Tbsp EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Grate the carrots and place in a salad bowl on top of a handful of rocket leaves.
  2. Mix together the ingredients for the dressing – it will be a loose affair rather than an emulsified one. Don’t add all the lemon juice at once though – taste as you go along and adjust the flavours/seasoning to your palate.
  3. Pour the dressing over the grated carrots and rocket leaves and toss.
  4. Top with crumbled toasted walnuts and the za’atar and toss again.
  5. Serve immediately.

Mixed Roasted Beets with Goat’s Cheese, Honey and Mint

Mixed Roasted Beets with Goat's Cheese, Honey and MintI’ve always coveted having an organic-oh-so-good-for-you-and-the-enviroment veg box delivery. For years, I’ve looked longingly at the flyers that land on my doormat then stalked their websites, imagining what size box I would need; sighing over the fabulous fresh, muddy vegetables available, all the time acutely aware, that in my bit of London, a safe  delivery spot, if I am not in, is non-existent. If not filched by human hand then the cats, foxes, squirrels or mice would inflict their damage. I was, therefore, thrilled to discover Sutton Community Farm. They not only deliver to homes but also to local pick-up points so that one may collect said muddy vegetables, on the way home from work. Within seconds of finding this out, I had followed them on Twitter, liked them on Facebook and registered on their website. I did not want to miss out…

Sutton Community Farm describe themselves thus; “We are London’s largest community farm, a not-for-profit social enterprise growing fresh vegetables using organic principles, as well as providing a shared space for the local community to cultivate skills.” And they make deliveries in a van powered by London’s waste cooking oil. How utterly wonderful – please do take a look at their website to see if they cover your area I cannot recommend this scheme highly enough…  http://suttoncommunityfarm.org.uk

Just look at what I got in my small veg box…

Mixed Roasted Beets with Goat's Cheese, Honey and Mint

Purple sprouting broccoli, onions,  carrots, muddy(!) golden and red beets, crisp, firm mushrooms, gorgeous salad leaves plus they stock my favourite eggs. I am so thrilled to have found SCF and plan to order fortnightly.

Mixed Roasted Beets with Goat's Cheese, Honey and Mint

How lovely that these delicious salad leaves were grown happily, without chemicals! We enjoyed them for lunch at the weekend.

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And these are my favourite eggs – they taste like the eggs of my childhood and I wrote about them in my first ever recipe post     https://selmastable.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/courgette-feta-and-thyme-bake/ ‎Alas, the farmers market from where I used to get the eggs,  is no-more so I am really pleased to have found them at SCF. We had the eggs for brunch on Sunday, poached with some steamed purple sprouting broccoli and a little hollandaise sauce.

Mixed Roasted Beets with Goat's Cheese, Honey and MintThe beets –  beautiful and glowing jewel-like once scrubbed.  If you follow Selma’s Table on Facebook, you will have seen me enthusiastically posting some of these photos.

Beetroot can be boiled, steamed and even thinly sliced and eaten raw. They are also wonderful juiced raw, with a couple of apples and  carrots, a nugget of ginger and half a lemon. I find that roasting them intensifies the natural sweetness and transforms them to soft silky slivers that are wonderful in salads.  Once cooked, they keep for days in the fridge (so you may as well prepare quite a few)  which makes lunch boxes and salads so much more exciting. I like to start them off in a sealed foil packet and then, towards the end of the cooking time, open them out to the direct heat of the oven to caramelise.

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Mixed Roasted Beets with Goat's Cheese, Honey and MintIf your beets are really fresh, they should have quite a thin skin. The red beets from the SCF were so fresh, that we did not need to peel the skins at all once they were cooked.

Mixed Roasted Beets with Goat's Cheese, Honey and Mint

And just a reminder that red beets will stain everything porous…

Mixed Roasted Beets with Goat's Cheese, Honey and Mint

Waterlogue’d

My recipe for Mixed Roasted Beets with Goat’s Cheese, Honey and Mint is a great balance of flavours; warm beets with melting cubes of goats cheese and a sweet and sour dressing topped with mint.

Mixed Beets with Goat's Cheese and Mint

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

  • 4 small to medium sized Golden Beets
  • 4 small to medium sized Red Beets
  • Honey
  • Salt
  • leaves from 3 or 4 Thyme sprigs
  • 80 g firm  Goat’s Cheese/Chevre, cubed
  • A small handful of  chopped mint leaves
  • Olive Oil
  • ¼ – ½ of a Lemon

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200C/400F
  2. Scrub the beets well – I use one of those green plastic scouring pads to get all the mud off.
  3. Peel the golden beets but leave the skins on the red ones to avoid staining everything
  4. Halve the beets then slice each half into 3 or 4 wedges depending on how large they are. Keep the two beets separate to preserve the colour of the golden ones.
  5. Tear off 2 sections of foil, large enough to wrap each pile of the beet wedges in.
  6. Pop the wedges on the foil, drizzle over a little honey and olive oil, scatter over a little thyme and sea salt, then wrap the foil to make a couple of packets.
  7. Roast for 30 – 40 minutes; depending on their size, they may need longer.
  8. Once soft, open out the foil, spoon over the juices to baste the wedges and pop back into the oven to caramelise for about 10 minutes.
  9. If the skins are tough on the red beets, remove them – they should slip off easily once they are cooked.
  10. Arrange on a serving plate, top with the goat’s cheese, squeeze over a little lemon juice, drizzle with honey and EVOO then strew with chopped mint leaves.