Selma‘s passing reminded me of two seemingly contrary things simultaneously. It reminded of how much goes on beyond the blog. Some share more than others but a blog can only reveal a few facets of a persons life. And yet from all the dear friends that Selma has made, it also reminded me how evident it is that blogs also contain the incredible power to touch and connect to others. Selma’s blog, a blog that I had only been following for a few months before hearing the news, was exceptional in this way.
She brought all her readers, friends and the casual peruser, to her table, set them down, and told them a story over a bite, a meal or a sweet treat.
I’m a bit late to this tribute, as I was, unfortunately, in getting to know Selma. This is what this tribute will be about for me–coming to learn a little bit more about an amazing blogger who has touched so many lives.
As a food blog tributes go, making some food is often appropriate. It took a while to decide what I would make; at first I considered making a sourdough bread after reading about Twinkle and her many children that Selma shared.
But in the end I decided to do something I don’t do often enough: I decided to try one of Selma’s own recipes. I’d like to call it a trust exercise: a slightly uncertain foray the first time around, where you set off a bit blindly, relying only on another’s ability to convey their expertise in written directions…but perhaps that’s getting a bit melodramatic. However, it is certainly a way of getting to know a bit about someone.
We already learn so much about someone from just reading their posts. It might be the ingredients they choose, the methodology, or even the way the steps are explained and the recipe is written. All of Selma’s recipes come with a story–conversational, witty and effortless to read. But you can go one step further– because sometimes you come to understand this story even better when you make the recipe yourself.
Selma not only excelled at flavourful and creative vegetable dishes but also heartier and meatier fare and sweet desserts. I chose a quick bread–it sounded stunning in its description and somehow managed to look even better.
Selma described this loaf as a humble one, and it is humble in its majesty. It produces a very unpretentious and rugged freeform loaf, generously topped with spring onions, thyme and chunks of goat cheese. It is rich with the generous amount of cheese and forthcomingly flavourful.
I love the generous amount of cheese in the loaf, especially that one third is saved for the top. It browns and crisps and tastes lovely toasted, whereas the cheese in the loaf itself stays soft and creamy.
I made only a couple changes, using the soft unripened goat cheese I had in place of the more ripened cheese Selma used, and substituting part spelt flour and a zucchini in place of the potato.
zucchini, spring onion and goat cheese loaf
300 g zucchini, grated, tossed with a pinch of salt, allowed to sit for 30 minutes in a sieve before squeezing the excess water out
125 g all purpose flour
75 g spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cayenne
a few good pinches salt
4 long and skinny spring onions, sliced thinly for inside the bread and 1 bulky green onion with a bit of bulb sliced on the bias for the top of the bread
150 g soft unripened chevre
handful fresh thyme
3 tbsp milk
1 tsp grainy mustard