Tagged: sweetcorn

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

Seafood Risotto or “Let’s see what’s in the freezer!”

Ok, time to move upmarket again. [pause for cursing]

Remember the salmon I did with cous cous? Well I made a stock with the bones and head. I researched a bit and many sites said salmon stock was a bit oily and strong for a stock.

“Sod ’em” I thought, “let’s just Doo,oo,oo it!” I said, in Captain Flashheart fashion!

One thing I always keep in the freezer, is smoked haddock. It’s the basis of many a fish dish from Fish Pie, to this lovely risotto.

How hard is risotto to make?

Well if you are prepared to stand upright for a while and stir, then not very!

There are two schools of thought on how to make risotto, pour all the stock in at once or add stock slowly in small batches.

I do the little and often method.

Ingredients you need for tasty Risotto:

Risotto Rice, half a bag, usually I buy Arborio Rice for this
Fish Stock, use 1 stock cube in boiling water or make your own stock.
Smoked Haddock, about 100g
Peas, a handful – try sweetcorn too, if you fancy.
Onion, finely chopped
Garlic, 2 cloves, finely chopped
Chilli, Optional, but one would give a nice heat.
Pinch of turmeric just for colour
Parmesan, a gooood handful.
Seafood of your choice – Mussels, Salmon, Prawns etc.

For the seafood I used a 150g chunk of Salmon, I had 20 Clams and some Scallops left in the freezer.

In a large saucepan, add some olive oil and gently fry garlic and onion and chilli till softened, then add the rice.
Fry the rice till it goes slightly transluscent, scatter half a teaspoon of turmeric then add some of your fish stock.
I havn’t given any measure on the stock amount as it will be up to the amount of rice you use. If you run out of stock – which you will – just carry on adding water instead.

Now on a gentle heat just keep stirring and while you are stirring cook some smoked haddock by placing in a bowl with some water, cover and cook in a microwave for a few minutes. When the haddock is done , take the skin off, flake it and add the haddock and it’s cooking water to the rice. When the rice goes a bit dry, add some more stock. Repeat this process a few more times – it may take 6 or 7 or 8 times.

Along the way you can add your bits.

I did the same to the salmon as I did to the haddock but left putting it in till last, to keep nice flakes of salmon to chew on.
I cooked the clams in a small pan till they opened, in a little water and then added the salty sweet sea water from them into the risotto too and I took the clams out of their shells and added them at thew last minute.

Seafood is ruined by overcooking because it becomes rubbery, so always add your bits at the last possible moment.

Maximum flavour is the mission!

Add the peas and, near the end, add the parmesan.

I fried a few scallops and added to the top of my risotto along with some chopped parsley and chives, (must get some more herbs growing!) and some clams left in their shells for decoration. (You Ponce!).

Your risotto should have a nice creamy texture with the rice still having a slight bite to it.

Great served with some crusty Bread. Oh and don’t forget a twist of black pepper at the end.


Spongebob Mugsiepants