Blood Orange, Cavalo Nero and Fregola Salad

Blood Orange, Cavalo Nero and Fregola Salad | Selma's TableA couple of times a year, four of us get together and spend the day wandering around a food market, shopping and then repairing to one of our homes to cook a tasting style menu. Usually, friends and family will turn up later on for dinner – it’s such a lovely and convivial day – I wrote about it in a little more detail, last year.  I suppose it is an echo of days gone by when families, friends and neighbours would gather to celebrate a harvest, cooking and eating together. Blood Orange, Cavalo Nero and Fregola SaladThis time, M suggested that we visit a Sardinian store called Vallebona, to which she had taken me before. I am not sure that I can find the words to describe the Vallebona experience but I will try. It’s like stumbling upon the most wonderful secret and realising that you have just joined the best club ever. It is family owned and run with great, enthusiasm, knowledge and style – visiting is just an utter delight and pleasure. Blood Orange, Cavalo Nero and Fregola Salad | Selma's TableVallebona in the middle of an industrial estate in Wimbledon, so finding it is the first challenge. Upon pulling up, it’s all forbidding burgundy coloured steel doors with only the signage to indicate that you are in the right place.

Upon pressing the buzzer to gain entry,  the door swings open into a stunning white space, filled with stylishly arranged Sardinian groceries and wine. The rooms have a distinct warehouse vibe with white painted brick walls and vintage shelving and accessories.

Blood Orange, Cavalo Nero and Fregola Salad | Selma's Table

Nibbles in wooden cones

You are pretty much handed a glass of wine and a few nibbles shortly after walking in which makes it a very enjoyable way to browse through the stunningly arranged warehouse rooms.

There is the most fabulous climate controlled cheese and meat room and also a kitchen from which they produce samples of their food to try and where they also cater for lunches and dinners.

Vallebona have recently started stocking fresh fruit and vegetables so it was the perfect food destination from which to make up our menu.

There were recipe suggestions galore so we decided on Spicy Sausage and Fregola main dish, a fabulous selection of cheeses and this gorgeous Blood Orange, Cavalo Nero and Fregola Salad. Blood Orange, Cavalo Nero and Fregola Salad | Selma's TableFor this recipe, you will need to segment oranges. It is really easy to do so give it a go if you haven’t tried this before. The video below shows how easy it is.

Fregola is similar to the giant Israeli couscous except that it is lightly toasted so has a wonderful flavour. Cavalo Nero is related to kale and cabbage and is used to make the classic Tuscan Ribollita Soup.

Blood Orange, Cavalo Nero and Fregola Salad | Selma's Table

Dan Lepard’s Rye Crackers

I always make something to take with me and this time I made Dan Lepard’s Rye Crackers to have with the cheese that I knew we would buy. They were delicious and easy to make but really showed up the hot spots in my oven! The recipe is in his book Short and Sweet which I highly recommend if you enjoy baking.

This Blood Orange, Cavalo Nero and Fregola Salad is a delicious marriage of flavours; sharp, sweet, salty, toasty and green. and perfect with fish too. If you can’t find blood oranges, use regular ones instead. Walnuts would also be the perfect substitution for the toasted sliced almonds. I am taking this to the virtual table at Fiesta Friday #58, hosted by the talented Angie of The Novice Gardener. Last week was sugar fuelled so a salad like this is sure to balance things out! This week we have Caroline @Caroline’s Cooking and Elaine @foodbod to thank, as our co-hosts. Both are fantastic cooks and have a wealth of recipes on their sites – do go over and take a look. If you blog, please do join in, reading the the guidelines first to get you going.

Blood Orange, Cavalo Nero and Fregola Salad

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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adapted from Vallebona’s recipe for Cavalo Nero, Blood Orange and Almond Salad

INGREDIENTS

  • 100g dried weight fregola,
  • 2 blood oranges
  • 1 lemon
  • 200 g Cavalo Nero (also known as Black Kale or Black Cabbage)
  • 1 tsp flakey sea salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • handful of sliced almonds

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Soak the Cavalo Nero in plenty of cold water.
  2. Cook the fregola in lots of boiling, salted water for 10 minutes; drain, rinse and set aside.
  3. in the meantime, segment the oranges by slicing off the top and bottoms, then vertically running a knife between the flesh and the pith, following the curve of the orange. Then segment by slicing out the flesh from between the membrane. Cut these segments into 2 or 3 pieces each and set aside.
  4. Squeeze all the juice out of the membranes into a separate bowl. Juice the lemon into this bowl too and set aside.
  5. Drain the Cavalo Nero and remove the stalks and discard. Slice the leaves into 1 inch pieces then chop a couple of times.
  6. Sprinkle the salt and sugar over the Cavalo Nero then pour over the combined juices. Massage (squelch) the leaves with the mix of salt, sugar and citrus juices for 4 or 5 minutes to break down the fibres and soften the leaves. Pour over the olive oil and massage again for a minute or so then set aside for 15 – 20 minutes.
  7. Toast the almond slices until golden brown.
  8. When ready to eat, toss the Cavalo Nero with the blood orange pieces, the cooked fregola and the toasted almond slices. Toss and serve.
© 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.

Almond, Orange and Tahini Biscuits

Almond, Orange and Tahini Biscuits | Selma's TableI was so thrilled when Elaine of foodbod asked me to write a post for her new series, “What would you feed me?” Elaine is the embodiment of healthy eating – she is vegetarian, sugar free, caffeine free and also avoids wheat but doesn’t miss out on any flavour with her punchy Middle East inspired spicing. I discovered her blog when someone re-blogged one of her earliest posts which was for a pavlova – the antithesis of how Elaine eats!  So I set my mind to thinking how I could produce a treat that was true to Elaine’s food ideals. Obviously, it had to have tahini in it – Elaine’s favourite food group!!  Ground almonds to substitute for flour and honey for sugar…I kept thinking about those lovely Chinese Almond Cookies that are made for Chinese New Year. I am rather partial to orange zest and cardamom in baked goods, so in they went too.. Almond, Orange and Tahini Biscuits | Selma's TableThe Almond, Orange and Tahini Biscuits have Elaine’s name written all over them. Wheat free, refined sugar free but chock full of almonds and tahini of course! They are also dairy free and egg free, making them suitable for vegans.  While these do have honey in them they are not very sweet so they won’t kick your sweet cravings into high gear. The orange and cardamom flavours work beautifully with the nutty flavours of the tahini and almonds. The biscuits bake up crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside – just begging to be dunked in a cuppa!  Judging by the response on Instagram, I think that they are a success! Almond, Orange and Tahini Biscuits | Selma's Table If you want to know how to make these ridiculously easy Almond, Orange and Tahini Biscuits please go over to my guest post on Elaine’s blog, foodbod. The post is called, ‘What would you feed me…Selma’ – if you click on the link below, it will take you straight to it. While you are there, take a minute to browse through Elaine’s recipes – you will come away inspired!

https://foodbod.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/what-would-you-feed-me-selma/

 © Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from the author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Crunchy Pickled Radish Slices

Crunchy Pickled Radish Slices | Selma's Table

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

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

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

Click on the Fiesta Friday badge below to join the party – you can submit a post (please be sure to include the link and a mention, in your post, to Angie’s  FF#50 post – it’s only polite and also ensures that you can be considered for a feature next week!)  or just take a look at others are up to!

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

If you are new to blogging, Fiesta Friday is a great way to gain exposure and make new friends too. Be sure to comment, like and follow – Angie has such a friendly crowd at this party that you will come away with lots of new followers (as long as you interact) as well as a lot of inspiration!

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

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Crunchy Pickled Radish Slices

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 bunch of radishes

Brine

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

Spices

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

INSTRUCTIONS

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

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

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013 – 2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original post.