Crispy Haloumi with Lemon and Pea Pearl Barley Risotto

On Friday, I got a text off Frank informing me of his intentions to post not one but two blogs for this site. I held off my recent culinary delight for him to publish his wares. I’m now here late on Sunday publishing belatedly a fine summer’s evening’s snackipoos.


Sod off Frank. (I may be being a bit harsh here as I know he has elderly problems and maybe my recent demolishing him in a bowls game has affected him)

I’ve made pearl barley risotto before but with no success . Carol does not like al denté. She also didn’t like Al Jolson or even Al Youcaneat. So this time I made sure I gave it a full cooking and TBH it was worth it.  It was a nice tender carb for the haloumi.

I’m not going to go into how to cook this stuff just warn you that it needs at least 30 mins cooking time. That means there must be liquid in the risotto for 30 mins. I used my home made chicken stock that I make after every roast on Sunday. Don’t forget to coat the barley in oil along with the usual onions and garlic. Add plenty of Parmesan. And by that I mean real parmesan. I have/ We have a friend who is culinary dyslexic and will use that dried stuff that smells of sick in a tub Parmesan. No No No No.

To the risotto I added half a lemon’s juice and rind and a handful of peas and a handful of blitzed peas. This is high summer on a plate. Only it’s North West Lancashire so expect rain!


The haloumi was part of Lidl’s Greek week. I, unlike Greece did pay for it! Grecian food in my opinion has to be the most boring of all the Med. I mean, Moussaka, come on! I do give you 10/10 for fried squid n chips though and Octopus salad ooooh and a greek salad and souvlak………………… Oh bugger. Greece, I owe you an apology.Oh and proper black olives, not that tasteless garbage they ferment in vats……Anyway, The haloumi, (with added chilli flakes ) was cut into even bits and coated in the usual breadcrumby way and fried in olive oil till golden on all sides.

Slightly overcooked haloumi but bloody tasty







Salsa Verdé Crusted Hake with Prawn Sauce and Crushed Roasted Jersey Royals

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHello there. No we haven’t packed in far from it.I think Frank and I have hit a slight wall at 22 miles. We still cook, obviously but the need and urge to parade it has slightly subsided. Never fear,I’m back with a culinary kick up the arse for the two of us. I have photographed many meals over the past few months only to think they weren’t worth publishing in the end. This is where Frank and myself differ from your Nigel Slater’s. We do this occasionally and don’t make a living from it.

Today’s treat was a packet of Hake sold as part of Lidl’s French week. Don’t ask me why Hake was considered French. Maybe it was the roasted garlic butter slice that came in the vac pack. It certainly didn’t have a Gallic Shrug about it. They were nice enough looking slabs of fish though.

Just a few words on fish. Obviously we all want fresh fish but unless you shop at a real fishmongers, you ain’t gonna get it. I would never dismiss frozen fish as this is frozen as soon as it hits shore so will never stink the house out with fishy smells. I do recommend buying vac pack fish as this stay’s fresher longer than any fish on a supermarket counter.  Fresh fish does not smell!

Well you know me by now.I wasn’t going to follow the instructions on the packet so I took the garlic butter and blitzed it with some fresh chives, parsley and capers and a splash of lemon juice and smeared this all over the top of the Hake fillets. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I put these in the  fridge as there were plenty of other things to prepare.

I did something slightly different with the potatoes. I boiled them as usual then crushed/battered them and tossed them all in a butter olive oil mix and then moulded them with a plastic bowl , then placed them on a baking tray and roasted them for half an hour. THIS IS THE FUTURE! Oh please give me leeway if I post another meal featuring this Potato lovelinesss.

Then came the Prawn Sauce. I had a bag in the freezer of uncooked prawns and thought they were a good way to bulk up the slightly small Hake fillets. I made a simple white wine and cream sauce (sautée onion,add white wine, reduce and add cream and reduce.) Throw in the prawns and cook till pink.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy sauce did slightly split. Hey ho, these things happen but it did add a lovely sweetness to the Hake. I now understand when top chefs talk of the sweetness of prawns etc. It really is there.

So to bring it all together I roasted the bowl shaped potatoes for half an hour, Roasted the fish for Fifteen minutes cooked the prawns in the sauce for 5 minutes , blitzed some cooked peas with a little garden mint and plated up with a couple of dabs of Lumpfish Caviar.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis was eaten Al Fresco as it bloody well should be. No honestly this is a year round dish. The sweetness of the prawns and the crushed peas with the umami of the salsa verdée crust and not forgetting the fish and Jersey royals was a winner. I’d consider this for Cazza’s next girly night.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYes, there’s a few processes to go through but they’re not that hard but In my opinion totally worthwhile.

The Lumpfish Caviar is something that most supermarkets sell as an alternative to “real” caviar., It’s just fish eggs innit!

Go on, do more with your fish.