Tagged: smoked paprika

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

Cous Cous with Salmon. Spice it up.

I recently bought a whole salmon at my local Tesco, it cost me £9 and I will get get 5 good meals for 2 people out of that.

I love fish with skin on as you can fry the skin side and get a lovely crispy texture to it.

[NB – Not all fish skin is good for frying, some go sloppy like Plaice, Sole and even Mackerel.]

For this dish you need to plan a bit ahead as there are a few cooking processes, the first of which is to make the cous cous.

If you follow the instructions on the packet and just add water , you will end up with a bland dish which you would probably never want to eat again, so you’ve got to be inventive.

I shall give you instructions to make enough for 2 people

What you need:

Salmon Fillets
150g of Cous Cous
200ml Stock
2 Tsp of Cumin Seeds
1 Sliced Onion
Handful of Raisins/Sultanas
Handful of halved Cherry Tomatoes
Pinch of Paprika, I like Smoked Paprika
2 Bird eye Chillis
Squeeze of Lemon Juice

Optional extras may include Peas, Sweetcorn – and I like to add some diced Feta Cheese at the last minute.

To 150g of dried cous cous add 200ml of hot stock. [Hey have you made that stock yet? If not, a chicken stock cube will do.]
Cover the bowl and leave to stand for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a frying pan, caramelise the onion in olive oil and then add the chillis, cumin , raisins and paprika and cook till the raisins plump up
Throw in the cooked cous cous, tomatoes, lemon juice and peas and mix it all together on a medium heat

To cook the fish use another pan or put the cous cous in a bowl and keep warm

Simply add a touch of oil to a frying pan ( not too much as some oil will come out of the fish), season your salmon with salt and pepper – do yourself a favour and buy some sea salt.
Put the salmon in, skin side down, on a medium to high heat and fry for 5 minutes, turn it over and fry for another 2 minutes and you’re done.

Serve with some salad leaves and a touch of coleslaw.

It doesn’t have to be fish, use lovely roasted Chicken Thighs too.

Have Fun, as it always should be. When it becomes a chore, you may as well give up!

Oh and guess what I’m doing with the salmon bones and head. Yes , stock! That could go well with some Scallops I have waiting. Mmmmmmm.