Tagged: olive oil

Halloumi and Lentils with Sweetcorn and Pea Purée

No, I am not turning into a vegetarian – as I mentioned in my last post, all food is good. Well that’s not entirely true is it. Tesco value cottage pie isn’t up there and neither is a Ginster’s pasty, which is strange seeing as they specialise in pasties. [You can’t go far wrong with the pasty I bought in Porthleven in Cornwall but I digress. I love pasties…]

I have to confess, I’m a halloumi virgin. I’ve never had the need to buy some or even the urge, as I like my cheese with crackers or with a chunk of crusty bread and a good chutney. So this was a first for me. I did my research on cooking it and, as I had only a few weeks previously, thrown out, in a “I’ll never use that again and it takes up too much room” way, a griddle pan, I was not going to get those photogenic stripes you see on recipes. So I decided to go for frying it.

What you need along with Halloumi, Green Lentils, Sweetcorn and Peas are…

Vegetable stock, a cube will do.
Smoked Paprika
Half an onion
Chilli flakes, just a pinch

The first thing I did was to cook my lentils, which just involved boiling until they were tender – don’t add salt to the water as it makes the skin hard, I believe. I drained them after maybe 20 or 30 minutes and let them cool.

Next, I made the sweetcorn purée by blitzing half a can of sweetcorn with some vegetable stock and then passing it through a sieve to remove the tough, outer skins

I then put the puree in a pan and added some more stock and simmered, tasting all the time till I was happy with the flavour and the thickness.

I blitzed some peas in the same way and kept them in a bowl ready to serve later

In a large saucepan I added a glug of olive oil and gently fried the onion and garlic till softened then added the lentils and chilli flakes with a splash of stock and cooked till the stock was gone.

Now for the halloumi. I cut it into 6 large fish finger sized pieces

I then dusted them with a smoked paprika and flour mix, making sure they had a good coating. Then I gently fried them in olive oil on all sides till they looked nice and crisp.

Now time to plate up. Reheat your purées and lentils and spoon the lentils on to a plate. Top with the halloumi and put your purées where you want.  I tried one of those splodgy spoon scrape with the sweetcorn (like you see all the time by all those TV chefs) but as I’m no chef, it looked a bit wrong so I in-filled with the pea purée.

My dinner guest for the evening was my co-blogger, Frank, who is not a halloumi virgin, but had never had it coated and fried. We both thought it was excellent and another feather in my vegetarian cap.

Then came the movie. We watched Prometheus, Verdict , stay clear if you like plausible plots and coherent storyline, watch if you like cgi effects.  The lad’s night in was topped with a plate each of very fiery, lip tingling chicken wings.

But I’m not finished with halloumi. I will definately be coming back to this as Carol has yet to try it and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Say cheese. Mugsie

Smoked Sardines with Risini and a Parsley & Oregano Pesto

Ok – “What the hell is Risini?” I hear you ask. [Also sometimes called ‘Orzo’ – just in case you come across it and think we’ve been dishing out duff info!]

Well, it’s a rice shaped pasta. I saw it in Lidl (where else!) and just had to get a pack – with no idea what to do with it at the time. So it has been sat in my cupboard for over a month now.

I got a bag of smoked sardine fillets off the reduction bit at my Tesco (the only time I ever shop there).

And tonight came the inevitable question – “What are we having for tea?”

Fish, I said. So I prepped some pollock and breadcrumbed it for the kids and got the sardines out for me and the missus.

As my herb patch is a verdant jungle due to the crap summer we are having, I decided to make a pesto, but without the basil or pine nuts.  So I went to the patch and got a good handful of parsley and about half as much of the oregano.

I placed this in my blender along with a good glug of olive oil, half a handful of Peccorino cheese and the juice of half a lemon and blitzed it. It was a bit stiff at first so I added a little more oil till it was smooth.

I put enough risini for 2 into a pan of boiling salted water for about 5-6 minutes before adding a handful of peas. 

I then pan fried the sardine fillets skin side down in a hot frying pan till the skin went crispy. [You don’t get a truly crispy skin with sardines but it was enough to take the sliminess off it.]

I drained the risini and peas and then mixed in the pesto. Now we’re cooking!

Put the risini & pesto mix in a pasta dish and I added a few chopped tomatoes then laid the fish on top with a few shavings of parmezan. The whole thing took less than half an hour to make and I must say it was well appreciated by Carol, and by me.

I can honestly say that my fish intake has probably quadrupled over the last few years, and with recipes like this I can only imagine eating more.


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