Tagged: onion

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

Vegetable Satay and Fried Rice

Vegetables? Yes, as an ex butcher and committed carnivore I have no problem with vegetarian food. My biggest problem however are those people who think that a meal must contain meat. They, like their vegetarian counterparts, are denying themselves some of the beauty that all forms of food can give. Also as a committed peanut butter addict this dish just oozes flavour and texture from the off.

So what do you need? Well, Vegetables are a good start and some flavourings.

From bottom left I used Ginger, a good fat inch, Celery, Red Pepper, Carrot, Onion, Broccoli, Garlic and Mushrooms. This isn’t set in stone, this is just what I had hanging round and needed using up.  You need to finely chop the ginger and garlic.

With the vegetables prepped, I started on the rice. To make a good fried rice you need to start early by cooking the rice as usual and letting it cool right down and fluff it up. Once you’re ready, add a glug of vegetable oil to a frying pan and gently fry the rice. Add a splash or two of Soy sauce for some flavour and keep warm.

Now for the Satay sauce. You will need 1/4 of an onion finely chopped or a shallot if you have one. A couple of chillis a squeeze of lemon a teaspoon of brown sugar,  3-4 tablespoons of peanut butter and a splash of soy sauce again. Fry the onions and chilli, add the peanut butter, lemon, soy sauce,  sugar and some water. Heat it all up together and you will find that it all changes from sepeerate ingredients to a lovely silky smooth sauce. Add more water if you think it is a little thick. keep this warm or reheat when ready.

Now you’re ready for the veg. Get a wok or a large frying pan if you don’t have one, add a glug of vegetable oil. Normally I always use olive oil but with stir fry’s stay clear of olive oil. Add the chopped garlic and ginger first then add the vegetables in any order you like. Keep frying until the veg have given up their rawness but still have a satisfying bite to them.

Put the rice on a plate top with the veg and add the sauce over the top.

Unlike a satay from your local Chinese, this has flavour and no MSG. And totally fresh.

I’ve been making this for years now, sometimes I add shredded beef for a different texture, sometimes I just use celery and onion as I love the crunch  so much. This is a dish that lends itself to a nice lager to quaff with it as you would if you’d bought it as a take away.

Enjoy, Mugsie.