Chicken and Halloumi with Honey and Thyme

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you are new to blogging, please do join the party, we would love to see you. Fiesta Friday is a great way to gain exposure and make new friends too. Be sure to comment, like and follow – Angie has such a friendly crowd at this party that you will come away with lots of new followers (as long as you interact) as well as a lot of inspiration! Submit a post (please be sure to include the link and a mention, in your post, to Angie’s   Fiesta Friday #51 post – it’s only polite and also ensures that you can be considered for a feature next week!)  or just take a look at others are up to! If you’re new to Fiesta Friday, please do take a minute to read the guidelines.

Right, lets party!

Chicken and Halloumi with Honey & Thyme

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Inspired by Donna Hay

INGREDIENTS

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

To serve

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

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F and lightly oil a baking dish
  2. Place the chicken breasts and the halloumi in an oven safe dish that will fit everything snugly.
  3. Scatter around the shallots and garlic.
  4. Mix the olive oil, honey and pomegranate molasses with most of the thyme leaves, in a small bowl and spoon it over the chicken, halloumi, shallots and garlic. Scatter over the remaining thyme and black pepper. You won’t need salt as halloumi is quite a salty cheese.
  5. Roast in the oven for 35 – 40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the halloumi is golden. Baste with the pan juices once or twice in that time.
  6. Serve on a handful of salad leaves using the pan juices as a salad dressing.
© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013 – 2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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.

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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.

Feta, Sundried Tomato and Thyme Scones

Feta, Sundried Tomato and Thyme SconesIt’s International Scone Week and I am joining Celia over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial where she will be hosting a scone recipe round up at the end of the week. She started this 3 years ago as she and her friends found themselves baking scones at about the same time and it has now become a rather wonderful tradition. As I was too busy to join in with Celia’s monthly In My Kitchen series (even though I have some wonderful things to share with you so will save them for next month) I made it a point to join this round up when I saw Celia’s post on Instagram, which was followed swiftly by her blog post – http://figjamandlimecordial.com/2014/08/11/international-scone-week-2014

Feta, Sundried Tomato and Thyme SconesIt is also my first anniversary here on the blog. It’s been a wonderful year, a huge learning curve with the bonus of  getting to know so many of you. I have met Elaine of Foodbod and had a super time in Borough Market with her. Tina of Mademoiselle Gourmande is coming to London in  September and we are deciding on whether to have Afternoon Tea or Dim Sum when we meet – either way, I cannot wait! I regularly meet friends of friends who follow and read my blog which is always wonderful as well as being a little scary too – so much to live up to! Thank you all, for your support and friendship and for following me on so many different social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest – where I do try and keep the majority of my posts different so that I don’t bore you with the same photos and posts!) Thank you for sharing my posts, retweeting them, favouriting them, commenting on them and re-pinning them. It has been fabulous having you all along on this journey.

Feta, Sundried Tomato and Thyme Scones

Mr Fitz  is always going on about Mrs Middleton’s Cold-Pressed Rapeseed Oil on his blog. He recently re-tweeted a post of theirs that said they were sending out samples to interested chefs and bloggers. I immediately emailed then, told them that I had heard of them from Mr Fitz (‘Ah, good old Mr Fitz’, was their reply!) and received a very chic bottle of their rather gorgeous oil. Let me tell you, I can see what all the fuss is about now. The seeds are grown on the family farm in Bedfordshire and each batch of oil is labelled with the name of the field where the seed was grown so that you can track where your oil has come from! Cold pressed below 40C and filtered once after the residues have settled, this glowing golden oil has a rounded mellow and slightly nutty flavour profile. It’s been wonderful in salad dressings and I plan to try it in a mayonnaise next.

I have just found out that the oil (as well as their Stone Ground Flour) has been awarded stars by the Guild of Fine Food in the Great Taste Awards! You can buy this delicious award winning oil, directly from Mrs Middleton’s website (they have some offers on at the moment) or from stockists which they list on their site – http://www.mrsmiddleton.co.uk

 

Feta, Sundried Tomato and Thyme SconesRapeseed oil (also known as Canola oil in Canada and the States) has less unhealthy saturated fat than all other cooking oils and fats and is high in beneficial monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats omega 3, 6 and 9 and anti-oxidants. It also has a high smoke point which is very useful for oven roasting, pan and deep frying. In Britain, there are no commercially grown GMO rapeseed crops which is not always the case in other countries. I feel like I have waited far too long to start using this oil!

Feta, Sundried Tomato and Thyme SconesAnyway, I have been wanting to showcase Mrs Middleton’s rather lovely oil and developed a delicious savoury scone recipe, which is really moist yet crumbly.  Unlike most scone recipes, there is no rubbing in of butter or even any addition of eggs. The grated cheese and the oil provide the moisture. Traditionally, self raising flour is used but I have run out so if you would prefer to use self raising flour then only add 1 tsp of baking powder to the flour.  These are wedge scones and bake together therefore these do take a little longer to bake than the scones that are stamped out. And remember that the less you handle the dough, the crumblier and shorter your scones will turn out.

Feta, Sundried Tomato and Thyme Scones

Feta, Sundried Tomato and Thyme Scones

Feta, Sundried Tomato and Thyme Scones

*Disclaimer – I was sent a bottle of Mrs Middelton’s Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil to try out but the opinions expressed in this piece are entirely my own.*

Feta, Sundried Tomatoes and Thyme Scones

  • Servings: 8 scone wedges
  • Difficulty: easy
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Adapted from Rape Seed Oil Benefits

INGREDIENTS

  • 225 g plain flour/ AP flour
  • 1 Tbsp (15g) baking powder
  • 1 tsp Essential vegetable stock powder
  • 75 g strong cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves chopped, save a few whole ones for garnish
  • 60 g sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 125 ml milk
  • 50 ml Mrs Middleton’s cold pressed rapeseed oil
  • 50 g feta cheese, cut into small cubes
  • a little extra milk to glaze

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 225 C/ 440F. Line baking sheet with baking parchment and sprinkle over a little flour.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and vegetable stock powder, three times to thoroughly incorporate all three ingredients.
  3. Using an table knife, mix in the cheddar and thyme leaves to coat with the flour.
  4. Make a well in this mixture and pour in the milk and rapeseed oil. Add ¾ of the chopped sun dried tomatoes.
  5. Using the table knife and a light hand, mix in the bowl until the flour has been incorporated.
  6. Lightly flour or oil your fingers and push into a ball shape in the mixing bowl then turn out straight onto the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Pat down gently into a circular shape until it is 1 inch in height.
  8. Using a pizza wheel or a knife, cut into 8 triangles.
  9. Scatter over the feta cheese and the reserved sun dried tomatoes and press into the dough. Scatter over the reserved thyme leaves.
  10. Brush the top only, with a little milk.
  11. Bake for 20- 25 mins. Test after 20 minutes – you don’t want it over baked – under baked is better as it continues to cook in the middle as it is cooling down.

© 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.

black-summer-truffle-pesto-roast-chicken

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.

Thyme & Seed Pide topped with Leek, Celery & Cheese

thyme-and-seed-pide-with-a-leek-celery-and-goats-cheese-toppingIt’s funny how inspiration strikes. Aware that the clock was counting down fast on the deadline for submitting a ‘yeast and herb’ based post for Angie’s first Fiesta Friday Challenge, I found myself dithering over recipes, like a debutante in a dress shop. I cursorily glanced through some of my bread baking books but nothing appealed. I googled “yeast recipes”; still nothing appealed. In the meantime, fabulous dishes were being submitted; Sue with her fabulous fermented kvas as a base for a Russian soup, Michelle with her luscious peach and basil danishes; Angie herself posted a stunning looking Fougasse…tick, tock, tick tock… Oh, what to do? I pop into my local green grocers to pick up some tomatoes and basil for a salad. Checking my purse, there isn’t enough change to cover it so I pull out my card to pay then realise that there is minimum £5 purchase for card transactions. I had been eyeing up a tray of squidgy Mejool dates, so I added them to the basket as Jake loves them. The next day, I wander into the kitchen to make a coffee, idly thinking about the day ahead when my eyes fall on the dates. I think about flavour combinations and imagine that dates and goats’s cheese would work. A quick internet search shows that I am not alone in thinking this. Progress! I plump for a seeded flatbread by bread maestro, Dan Lepard, to which I will add thyme, make tamarind and date sauce and a topping of leeks & celery. I have a moment’s worry as to this flavour combination, so try a teaspoonful of the leek and celery, topped with a cube of goat’s cheese with a dribble of the date and tamarind sauce. Hurrah!! It is delicious! Sharp, tart, grassy, crunchy, earthy, lemony, spicy – it works!! I will go to the ball, I will! thyme-and-seed-pide-with-a-leek-celery-and-goats-cheese-topping thyme-and-seed-pide-with-a-leek-celery-and-goats-cheese-toppingOnce baked, the goat’s cheese has melted and the creamy ricotta is a wonderful counterpoint to the heat from the chilli flakes and the crunch of the seeds. Next time I will add more ricotta (I’ve updated the recipe below to account for this). Angie is being very ably assisted by Catherine @ Catherine Cuisine. Please do go and look at the entries for this yeast and herb based challenge; you will find crumpets, semolina pancakes, pizzas, flat breads and  much, much more – the Creative Fiesta Friday Crew are rising beautifully (see what I did there, Angie and Catherine?) to the challenge! So this is how to make some easy and delicious Turkish inspired Pides – feel free to use different toppings but I have to say that I was really pleased with the combination below. As always, a printable recipe follows the photo tutorials and any musings. thyme-and-seed-pide-with-a-leek-celery-and-goats-cheese-topping Ever since I attended Nina Oortman’s bread making class, I have been coveting the stainless steel counters that make bread kneading, shaping and  clean up so effortless. I came across this rather large stainless steel serving/prep  tray from my catering days, while I was unpacking and had a Eureka! moment. Rather than bestowing the tray on my local charity shop, it could come in useful for pasta and dough making – and it has, as you will note from the photos below… thyme-and-seed-pide-with-a-leek-celery-and-goats-cheese-topping I used a chopstick to roughly mix the dry ingredients into the wet, thanks to a tip from Aneela @ The Odd Pantry and it worked brilliantly. No more sticky dough adhering plaster-like to each finger! The dough is sticky – resist the temptation to add lots of flour when you are working with it. This dough does not require very much handling – hardly any kneading in fact. A light hand and as little additional flour as possible will yield a more tender bread. http://theoddpantry.com/2014/05/07/in-my-kitchen-of-alternative-uses-may-2014/ http://theoddpantry.com/2014/05/07/in-my-kitchen-of-alternative-uses-may-2014/

Thyme and Seed Pide with a Leek, Celery and Goat's Cheese Topping

  • Servings: makes 4 pide
  • Difficulty: easyish!
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Adapted from Dan Lepard’s Supper Flatbread Recipes in the Guardian INGREDIENTS For the pide:

  • 175 g all plain flour
  • 75 g spelt flour (or wholemeal)
  • 25 g sunflower seeds
  • 25 g pumpkin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp chopped thyme leaves (fresh)
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 175 g warm water (this is the same as 175 ml in volume. Weighing the water is a more accurate measure)
  • 25 g honey
  • 7 g sachet fast acting yeast

For the leek and celery topping:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 100 g diced celery (3 stalks)
  • 2 shallots finely sliced
  • 140 g finely sliced leeks
  • water as required
  • 1 mini sweet red pepper finely diced
  • pinch of chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp finely chopped thyme leaves (fresh)
  • 60 g cubed or crumbled goat’s cheese
  • 12 tsp ricotta cheese
  • salt and pepper

For the tamarind and date sauce:

  • 10 soft pitted dates roughly chopped – soak them if they are dry
  • 1 ½ tsp tamarind concentrate
  • 100 ml water

INSTRUCTIONS For the pide:

  1. Measure out all the dry ingredients (not the yeast though) into a mixing bowl and stir well to combine.
  2. Measure the honey and warm water directly into a mixing bowl set on the scales and mix well to combine
  3. Sprinkle over the yeast and stir in.
  4. Add the dry ingredients and mix until it is a soft, shaggy, sticky dough (I used a chopstick to stir it round and round ).
  5. Cover and let this rest for 10 minutes.
  6. Lightly flour a work surface and very lightly knead the dough for about 10 seconds! It comes together very quickly.
  7. Place back in the bowl, cover and leave to prove for 30 minutes.

For the leek and celery topping:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a frying pain set on a medium low flame.
  2. Add the celery and shallots and sauté gently for 5 minutes to soften a little. Season with a good pinch of salt.
  3. Stir in the leeks. If there isn’t enough oil, add a splash of water to get things going – you may need to do this several times. Cook until floppy then stir in the thyme and red pepper and chilli flakes. Cook for a couple of more minutes, season to taste then take off the heat and leave to cool.

For the tamarind and date sauce:

  1. Place the dates and tamarin in a saucepan set over a medium low flame.  Add the water in splashes, stirring  with a wooden spoon to dissolve the tamarind – mash the dates with the back of the spoon too. Let this reduce to a thick lumpy sauce (mashing and stirring all the while) and take off the heat.
  2. Scrape into a wire mesh strainer and set it back over the saucepan. Using the wooden spoon, stir and press the mixture through the sieve until you are left with just the date fibre in the sieve. Scrape the sauce from the bottom of the sieve and into the pan.

To assemble and bake the pide:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 240C/465F. Prepare 2 baking trays with parchment or silicone paper or dust with flour.
  2. Cut the dough into quarters (I weighed the dough, then divided it by four and tried to get 4 balls fairly equal in weight)
  3. Shape into balls by cupping and pushing the dough to stretch it out and get a smooth top.
  4. Cover and leave for 5 minutes.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each ball into an oval that is about 20 cm x 10 cm. Push at the edges to make a slight lip and lay on the prepared baking sheets.
  6. Spread a 1 ½ teaspoons of the tamarind date sauce on the dough, leaving the edges free.
  7. Top each pide with ¼ of the leek and celery mixture.
  8. Top this with the goat’s cheese and little blobs of ricotta.
  9. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes. Mine were ready in 10 minutes.
  10. Eat warm!
© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013 – 2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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
  • Print

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.

Goats’ Cheese, Onion and Potato Bread with Thyme

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Photo by Stuart Ovenden

I had a big birthday recently. Ok, so it was two years ago recently. Knowing full well my passion for food, my dissatisfaction with my job and my hive inducing reaction to big changes in my life, my dear friends N and J sent me on a food styling course at Leith’s Food and Wine in west London in the hopes that I might find a truer calling and stop the whining I was subjecting them to.

It was an amazing experience run by the lovely Sarah Cook, Deputy Food Editor of BBC Good Food magazine. One of our first tasks was to try and recreate the “money shot” on a ready meal using a pack of M&S lasagne. Well that was an eye opener. In the UK, one cannot use more food in the photo than is in the ready meal itself. So in order to make the lasagne look fuller as in the pack photo, the pasta was separated from the ragout and the sauce as best as we could manage. Then paper towels were scrunched up and strategically centred on the pasta whilst filling in the edges with what now looked to be a terribly generous portion of ragout. Apparently, we could have used cardboard to level the floppy pasta sheets. We also got to make and style a Greek salad and a fruit trifle, using our own props, both of which were challenging! The course culminated with a professional photo shoot using food we had made. Sarah brought in some amazing props which she has been collecting, magpie like over the course of her career and we got to work with the uber talented Stuart Ovenden Food/Lifestyle Photographer & Deputy Art Editor, Good Food Magazine at BBC Worldwide.

I realised fairly early on in the course that placing bits of parsley with a set of tweezers was not for me – I like a more natural finish which is not to say that I don’t appreciate a beautifully styled shot – I just don’t have the patience for it and can drive myself to distraction agonising over which berry should be at the front of the shot. So when it came time to decide what to make for the shoot I remembered a Delia Smith bread recipe that I had earmarked from a long time ago and thought I would give it a try. I mean, why make something I had tried before right? Luckily I had had some sort of foresight to buy extra chèvre because of course the first loaf, delicious as it was, looked a complete and hideous mess. The second one turned out beautifully but as I was now running late, I had to pack it (and its ugly older sister), still warm, loosely wrapped in its parchment paper into a basket along with some props which I thought we could use and schlep across London on Sunday public transport to the school. The Tube has never smelt so delicious as I sat there pretending that it had nothing to do with me!

The ugly sister

The ugly sister

Second loaf prior to baking

Second loaf prior to baking

My photo of the second loaf

My photo of the second loaf

I fretted all the way there worrying that I had done something too basic – it wasn’t even a yeasted bread…and when I got to the shoot, my worst fears were confirmed. One person had prepared a trio of beautiful tarts complete with chocolate decorations. Another had made a meze of three or four Lebanese dishes – from scratch. Someone else  had caramelised a pear and made a ginger pudding with chocolate sauce…a fourth was doing some fantastic wizardry with a sugar candy machine to make candy floss “ice cream” cones.

I sheepishly laid out my props on one of the tables and pulled out the loaf , smoothing out the parchment paper to let it finish off cooling.  Sarah came over and said how wonderful it smelled and looked, Stuart came over, smiled and asked if he could have a piece of the ugly sister to eat and went back to shooting and before I knew it, most of the ugly sister had been eaten by people coming over to take a look. Still feeling a little sheepish when it was my turn I hesitantly took it over to the table where Stuart was working. He practically snatched it out of my hands and told me that he wanted to shoot it as it was, on the parchment it had been baked in and transported on and that props really would not be necessary as it was such a beautiful thing on its own.  I was speechless. Can I tell you that I’m ridiculously proud that he included it on his gorgeous blog appledrane, here some time later?

Below are some of the images that were shot on the day. Aren’t they gorgeous?

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Looks aside, this is a really delicious bread, which smells wonderful. It is quick as no yeast is involved and goes well with a soup or with cold cuts. Yet another good candidate for a picnic.

GOAT'S CHEESE, ONION AND POTATO BREAD WITH THYME

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

Adapted from Delia Smith
Makes one delicious loaf which will serve 4-6 people

INGREDIENTS

  • 180g log of firm goats cheese (chèvre)
  • 4 spring onions finely sliced
  • 1 spring onion coarsely sliced for the top
  • 175g (approx) red potato which is about a medium one
  • 1 generous Tbsp of chopped thyme leaves as well as a couple of sprigs for the top
  • 175g self raising flour plus a little more to sprinkle on the top
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp (30ml) milk
  • 1 heaped tsp of grain mustard

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
  2. Lay a piece of parchment paper on a sturdy baking tray and butter a 6 inch loaf shaped area onto it.
  3. With a sharp knife, remove the rind as best as you can from the chèvre. Don’t worry if there are a few bits left on here and there. Then slice it into half inch cubes. Set aside about a 1/3 for the top.
  4. Sift the flour, salt and cayenne pepper into a bowl. I have found that I can get the same effect by putting all the ingredients into a bowl and using a balloon whisk to mix and aerate it.
  5. Peel the potato and coarsely grate it into the flour mixture. Tip in the finely sliced spring onions and 2/3’s of the cheese and mix it all together with a palette knife.
  6. Gently whisk the egg with the milk and mustard, then pour the mixture onto the dry ingredients. Using the palette knife, Bring it all together to a form a loose, rough dough.
  7. Tumble it onto the buttered parchment paper on the baking sheet and gently form it into a 6 inch (15 cm) rough loaf. Lightly press the rest of the cheese over the surface as well as the coarser chopped spring onion. Dust with a little flour and scatter over the small sprigs of thyme.
  8. Bake the bread on the middle shelf of the oven for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown. Remove it to a cooling rack and serve it still slightly warm if possible.

Makes one delicious loaf which will serve 4-6 people

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

Courgette, Feta and Thyme Bake

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Pinterest is the rabbit hole of the internet for me. It has led me to many a new discovery; from art to icons, amazing interiors and gardens and food of course. If there is one thing that can be said about Pinterest is that it is absolutely bursting at the seams with food pictures from pinners all over the world.

We have had an amazing summer this year and the courgettes have been absolutely delicious. Whilst I love them raw, shredded and dressed with lemon, olive oil with shavings of parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of fresh mint or griddlled and added to a couscous, I am always on the lookout for new recipes. So when I came across this pin which led me to this recipe, I knew that it would become a summer regular at my table. It is light and lemony with depth from the golden onions, salty with feta and with a wonderful herbal note from the thyme. It is absolutely delicious!

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You gently sauté an onion until it is golden, stir in some minced garlic and thyme leaves then sauté courgette slices until they have just started to soften and are coated in the delicious flavoured oil.

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You take a couple of eggs; and these are some of the most delicious eggs I have ever eaten, from a biodynamic farm in Sussex that I get from our local Farmers Market.

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Whisk them lightly, then stir in lemon juice, sour cream, grated parmesan and feta cheese.

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Layer a scant half of the courgettes in the bottom of a well buttered baking dish

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and cover with a really scant half of the egg mixture, spreading it as necessary to cover the courgettes.

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Then do the same again, finishing with a handful of halved cherry tomatoes.

After baking, let it cool down a little to have warm with some seared salmon or roast chicken or have as a lovely light lunch with a salad. It would also be terrific to take on a picnic.

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I had half a pack of feta left over which I find always goes off before I can use it. So this time I cubed and packed it into a tiny little jar with thyme and covered the cubes with olive oil and popped it in the fridge.  Use in salads or when roasting red peppers…

Courgette, Feta and Thyme Bake

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

Adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 4 medium courgettes
  • 1-2 Tbsp worth of fresh thyme leaves depending on how much you like thyme
  • 1 Tbsp mild olive oil (don’t waste extra virgin on frying)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 150g sour cream which is half a tub
  • 100g feta cubed or crumbled
  • 2 Tbsp grated parmesan which you can judge by eyeballing the pile
  • 1/2 a lemon
  • A handful of cherry tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees C.
  2. Start by warming the olive oil in the pan on a medium heat. Peel, halve and slice the onion into half moons and tip into pan, sprinkling with a little salt to help release the water in the onions. Wash the courgettes and slice into rounds that are about as thick a pound coin. Keep an eye on the onions, stirring from time to time so that they don’t catch and burn. Stir in the garlic and the thyme leaves. I added a splash of water to help keep everything going at this point. Then tip in the sliced courgettes and sauté for about 4 or 5 minutes – long enough to only just soften them and coat them in the lovely oil. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. Lightly whisk the eggs then stir in the sour cream, parmesan, feta, the juice from squeezing that lemon half and some cracked black pepper. It will feel thick and look a little curdled from the lemon juice. The cheeses are both quite salty so you shouldn’t need any additional salt.
  4. In a well buttered ovenproof dish, layer a scant half of the courgettes and cover with a very scant half of the egg mix. Repeat, finishing with a scattering of the halved cherry tomatoes.
  5. Bake for 25- 30 minutes. The original recipe call for 40 minutes but that is much too long in my oven that seems super hot. I checked after 20 minutes and it was almost done so I took it out after 30 minutes.
  6. Let it cool a little before serving warm.

Serves 6 as side dish or 4 as a light lunch with salad

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