Tag Archives: halloumi

election night supper

mini burgers and oregano tomatoes

 

What to make when you are having old friends over to watch the election (and catch up on all the goss)? Tiny little burgers of course! So, so, so easy and very relaxed. I just used two 450g packs of organic ground beef mixed with a couple of whisked eggs then used my hands to shape them into tiny little patties. I experimented with embedding cubes of cheddar inside some of them,  which went down really well with  my four year old son, then fried each side for about three minutes each. For the adults, a bit later, I just put slices of cheese on top as soon as I’d flipped, and it melted perfectly. Carb-eaters can have buns (of course! never deprive the carb eaters if you don’t have to, is my rule of thumb.) I just ate ’em neat.

The asparagus is roasted for about 12 minutes, with olive oil salt and pepper. No par-boiling, even.

I just want to tell you about the roasted tomatoes that are centre stage of this picture. I started making them a few years ago when I was hankering after pizza and realised that a lot of that unique pizza deliciousness comes down to the oregano and tomatoes. These tomatoes are just cut in half, salted and peppered then sprinkled – quite generously – with dried oregano and a few slices of garlic, then olive oiled and cooked for about half an hour at 180 degrees. So simple and yet more delicious than seems viable for such a tiny amount of interference. Try it! They go amazingly well with white fish and on the side of halloumi and keep in the fridge for a few days at least. We all enjoyed them so much we almost forgot about the election. Almost.

Winter melange (cavolo nero, spiralised courgettes, white bean mash, halloumi with parsley and lime, broccoli and romanesco).

 

SUPPER WITH NICK 7

The other night we needed a fridge clear out, like urgently, and I decided to just cook what needed to be cooked and make a bit of a winter melange, but then the spirit took hold of me and it turned into a bit of a feast.

Cavolo nero

Ingredients

Cavolo nero

Oil

Garlic

The secret to making this delicious, I currently think, is to be a bit painstaking about removing the spiny stalk that runs up and down each leaf. Once you decide to do this, it’s quite satisfying and definitely worth taking the time, because it reduces both bitterness and hard-to-chew factor. Once you’ve done that, gather the leaves together and chop into thin-ish strips, as you might cabbage. Heat some oil in a pan and add the cabbage in whilst you finely slice a couple of cloves of garlic and toss them in after a few minutes. Cook for 15-20 minutes, depending on how al dente you like it. Salt and pepper liberally.

Spiralised courgettes

Ingredients

Three courgettes

Cherry tomatoes

Garlic

Basil

Obviously, you need a spiraliser to make this dish but I can’t recommend more that you get one. They cost about 20 quid, are completely easy to use, and create ringletty spirals out of pretty much any veg you choose to put in there – thus creating a very passable version of spaghetti and also, crucially, a vehicle for delicious sauces. The only thing to mention is that a pan heaped high with raw spiralised courgettes does dwindle down far more than you might imagine, so err on the side of generosity and don’t lose your nerve when faced with a huge pan of raw courgettes.

Before you spiralise, cut your cherry tomatoes in half, put them in a roasting tin with some oil, salt and pepper, and cook them at 180 degrees or so for about 25 minutes.

Then spiralise your courgettes – I used three, which were eaten with ease by three of us. Once spiralised, heat some oil in a pan and cook the courgettes for about 20 minutes to get them nicely soft. After 10 minutes add a clove or two of crushed garlic, salt and pepper. When they are cooked to your taste, add the cooked tomatoes and some chopped basil. Yum.

SUPPER WITH NICK 2

Halloumi with lime and parsley

Ingredients

Halloumi, sliced

One lime (per pack of halloumi)

Olive oil

Garlic

Parsley, finely chopped

The frequent reader of this blog may have observed that I eat a lot of halloumi. Usually, I just favour it neat, sometimes with a squeeze of lemon. HOWEVER, our friends Martin and Nick cooked us this amazing halloumi-with-a-twist version which, on a micro level, rocked my world.

Pan fry the halloumi, using a little oil. While you are doing that, finely chop a couple of handfuls of parsley and put it into a ramekin with the juice of a lime – or two, if you like things limey – and some olive oil and a crushed garlic clove. It should have the consistency of salsa verde.

When the halloumi is done, put it on a plate and drizzle the sauce on top. The combination of lime and garlic is breathtakingly zingy. Bit antisocial, obviously, eating raw garlic, but the pros outweigh the cons, I’d say.

Broccoli and romanesco

This I just cut into florets and steamed, then served with some butter thus slightly reducing the health-giving properties BUT adding considerably to the deliciousness.

White bean mash

Is what I seem to be making twice a week at the moment so I won’t repeat the recipe but you can find it here.

Cobbled together supper at Em’s house

IMG_1577IMG_1576

 

“If someone had told us a few years ago that we’d be eating kale crisps – and actually thinking they were yummy – would you have believed them?” That is the question I asked my sister last night when I went to hers for supper.

The answer is, no, I would not have believed them – even a few weeks ago now I come to think about it. But if you think the same thing, I am here to tell you that it’s time to open your mind! They are the best way to eat kale that I have come across (other than juicing).

There seems to be an unwritten rule that any supper with just the two of us needs to involve halloumi – so easy to buy in any corner shop in east London but also, it cooks in minutes and is utterly delicious.

Then you can make whatever else you’ve got kicking around in the fridge to go with it. Usually, it’s all about what’s easy and quick. Last night we had this:

Salty kale crisps

Ingredients

Kale

Salt, pepper, oil

I hate to say this, but Tesco kale is better suited to this than the Able & Cole kale I tried the other day. This is because the leaves are finer, cut smaller, and less tough. Plus it’s ready washed. So just de-cant the bag into a bowl and splash in some olive oil – make sure every leaf is coated; the easiest way to do that is with your hands. Salt and pepper then arrange on a baking tray and cook at 180 degrees for about 20 minutes but be warned: they burn very easily at which point they are not nice. You may be thinking that they don’t sound very nice anyway but – I promise you – the are! Try it.

Stove top red peppers

 Ingredients

 Red peppers

Garlic

Oil

Pointy peppers are best for this. Cut into thin, short strips and cook on your stove top along with olive oil, sliced garlic, salt, pepper and chilli flakes if you like them. Cook slowly for about half an hour. Bob’s your uncle. 

Roasted cherry tomatoes

Ingredients

Cherry tomatoes

Garlic

Oil

This could hardly be easier if it tried. Get some cherry tomatoes. Shove in oven proof dish with oil and garlic. Salt and pepper then cook at about 160 degrees for half an hour or so or until they look done (depends on size a bit).

Green salad with mustardy vinaigrette

It’s so easy not to be arsed, on the salad front, and to just use oil and vinegar as a dressing. But here are some things that I think are really worth doing in the name of a noteworthy salad:

  • Use a round lettuce, which requires washing but I think it’s the nicest option (soft, not spiky, crispy inside and – crucially – not washed in formaldehyde).
  • Do be bothered to make a dressing and do use LOTS of Dijon mustard – maybe double what you normally might. Also, half-squash a garlic clove and put it in to flavour the oil (but don’t eat it by mistake).
  • Keep it green ie cucumber and avocado; tomatoes can water things down and be confusing somehow. I also think a good green salad benefits from a spring onion or even some VERY finely chopped red onion. But only if you can live with the aftertaste (although…if you marinade a chopped onion in equal parts red wine vinegar and water for an hour or two before using them – it takes the sting right out, according to my friend’s Spanish mother-in-law).

 

 

Roasted beets, halloumi and white bean mash

ROASTED BEETS HALLOUMI AND BEAN MASH

I must admit that I did not have high hopes of this dish – but it is sublime! And, as importantly, pretty much easy peasy to put together.

The beets arrived in our veg box so I felt obliged not to let them wither away into a wrinkled mush until they guiltily chucked out, as could so easily happen. I know you can roast beets in their skin but I prefer the crispy, slightly fried edges that you get from peeling them before roasting.

It all just really works with the lemony beans and the slightly goaty halloumi, plus the peppery rocket.

Roast beets

Ingredients

Beetroots, Olive oil

Method

I peeled them then quartered them (or more than quartered the big ones – main thing is to make sure they are all the same size). Oil them in a bowl and use your hands to make sure they are all fully coated. Salt and pepper liberally then put them in a baking tray and roast at 180 degrees for longer than you’d expect – at least an hour – but use a fork to see if they are done or not (think potatoes). You could also put in some herbs – oregano, say, or thyme – but I just did them neat. When they are ready, let them cool a bit then arrange artfully on a bed of rocket, which you can dress with some extra virgin oil and white wine vinegar.

Halloumi

The main thing to say about halloumi – other than when I first saw someone cooking it I couldn’t actually believe they were frying cheese! I have totally got over this mental hurdle now and have it at least once a week – is that it is really SO much better if you actually go the whole hog and fry it in oil – I use olive but ground nut or vegetable or probably even coconut oil would work too. I used to dry fry it but when you introduce some oil into the equation it just radically improves the taste, texture and overall eating experience (because if you are going to eat fried cheese, you may as well make it as delicious as it can be).

White bean mash

As I may already have mentioned, I am currently eating these beans about three times a week at the moment as a) they go with everything b) they really fill you up which instantly reduces the hard-done-by factor that often goes hand in hand with carb deprivation and c) they are super quick plus d) completely darn delicious!

Ingredients

Posh haricot beans (ie in a jar rather than a tin),

A lemon for juice and zest

Garlic

rosemary

Oil for cooking and dressing

Method

  1. Pour some olive oil – quite a lot – into a deep frying pan and add some sprigs of thyme or lemon thyme then heat gently to flavour the oil.
  2. Roll an unwaxed lemon on a hard surface with the palm of your hand a few times then zest the skin and cut it lengthways (all of which yields more juice).
  3. Drain some haricot beans – ideally a jar of posh Spanish ones, which cost three times as much as a tin but are three times as nice, although tins work too for this – in a sieve and rinse. Remove the thyme from the oil then add the beans along with a clove or two of crushed garlic plus the lemon zest and the juice, which I just squeeze straight in through the sieve, to catch any pips.
  4.  Heat the beans through then mash with a potato masher and add a glug or two of extra virgin oil then salt and pepper to taste. Oh my god – so easy and SO DELICIOUS!