Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Halloumi Cheese Home Made

I have been making cheese at home for years.  
Ricotta, mozzarella, boccocini, feta, labneh and halloumi.

A few weeks ago I bought a packet of halloumi and when it was sliced nd fried, I was quite disappointed, it was simply not as good as home made. Home made Halloumi has a firm texture and an incredibly full flavour.  

Last Friday I had to take a sign I had painted for Honey Week (for my amateur beekeeping club) to a  nearby town so a friend came along for a coffee afterwards and to do some shopping.  My friend mentioned during our coffee break that she would like to make her own cheese, so we promptly drove to the local cheese supply shop so she could get rennet, chloride calcium (in case your milk is homogenised) and mesophilic starter. Stepping into this shop is like stepping into an old dark, musty shop from 50 years ago.   As well as stocking cheese making supplies  it is also a home brewing supply shop that, despite it's size actually keeps everything you might need to make your own wine, beer, mead, spirits and cheese.  It is an eclectic mix of very useful items housed with olde world charm.  This visit inspired me to make my own cheese again, especially now that the weather is cooling down and I am happy to stir over a pot on the stove.

I like to share my techniques with you and also, my blog is a record, a digital book of my triumphs and successful recipes. Plus, I really enjoy cooking and creating  ...

A gorgeous side dish for your dinner is halloumi and cauliflower fritters which we had last night served with barbecued steak and prawns, mushrooms and a green bean salad.

This version I follow is from home made Haloumi and there are only slight variations between Haloumi on different websites - the spelling especially but the temperature is the most important thing for success.  Halloumi is a Cypriot cheese traditionally made from goats or sheeps milk and sometimes flavoured with mint or other herbs.  Halloumi has been westernised and is often now made with cows milk, due to the ready availability of this milk.

Fried in a little butter to accompany my breakfast of fried eggs and chilli

   H A L L O U M I

Halloumi and Cauliflower Fritters

Some days you need quick dishes to cook after a long day.
These fritters do not taste like cauliflower at all, although Son No 1 still would not try them.
They are a healthy, delicious side dish or entire meal served with other salads and bread.

Whilst there was fresh home made Halloumi in the fridge I made these delicious cauliflower and halloumi fritters which were so quick to make with the aid of a food processor and nutritious too!

  •                                         Halloumi and Cauliflower Fritters

  • 1/2 chopped white onion
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 300 g cauliflower florets, finely chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 350 g halloumi, chopped into 1cm squares
  • 2 Tblspn chia seeds
  • 1 Tbslpn lemon juice
  • freshly ground black pepper and a little salt
  • olive oil for shallow frying
  • Method
  • Mix lemon juice and chia seeds together and let sit a few minutes.  (This becomes a binding agent.)
  • Place onion, parsley, garlic, cauliflower and haloumi into a bowl and mix well.  Add the chia and lemon juice mixture with the eggs and whisk until it comes together. 
  • Heat olive oil in a frying pan over low-medium heat and drop 1/4 cup mixture in to make the fritters.  The mixture will flatten out quite quickly.  
Cook 2 minutes per side, until browned.  You may need to go back to refry the first side for 1 minute but these cook quite quickly so be careful with your timing.
  • N.B.  You can use a food processor to make the chopping and blending process quicker.
  • These can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen when cooked.

Buon appetito, enjoy Merryn xx

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Pizza Rustica - a full flavoured quiche

This is one of those dishes that make you feel good, wholesome and warm.
I told the family I was making Pizza Rustica and they were intrigued.   
When I told them it was basically a quiche with salami + bacon and they were even more impressed.
This is an old Italian recipe and should be enclosed fully in home made pastry, but this is not essential.

Being a Sunday I decided to skip making the pastry and cheat with frozen shortcrust pastry, no one batted an eyelid.   Between the grocery shopping on Sunday morning and visiting on Sunday afternoon it was an easy and filling lunch to prepare.

                       Pizza Rustico


Pizza Rustico

8 eggs, yolks separated from whites
110g salami, diced
100g bacon, finely shredded
100g shredded mozzarella
100g grated fresh parmesan cheese
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup chopped parsley

salt and pepper to taste

2 sheets frozen shortcrust pastry,thaw3ed
1 egg, beaten with a little milk

Heat oven to 180C.
Line a quiche pan with non stick baking paper and line with the thawed shortcrust pastry making the pastry go a little higher than the sides of the pan.
Prick pastry all over with a fork.  Brush lightly with the beaten egg mixture.
Firstly whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl and set aside.
Whisk the egg yolks in another bowl and add the salami, bacon, cheeses and parsley.  Gently fold the egg whites into this mixture.  Taste and add pepper, only a little salt as the salami and bacon are salty.
Pour the mixture into the pastry base.  Gently pinch the pastry sides down to form a flute just above the level of the egg mixture.  
Brush pastry with the remaining beaten egg wash.
Place in middle of oven and bake for approximately 45 minutes.


Buon appetito, enjoy Merryn xx