I am a woman on a mission. A halloumi mission. Because just like my career that is skyrocketing (well, not really, but humor me for a second 😉 ) this wonderful Cypriot cheese has the most heavenly salty flavour that it will literally send you off into space, without ever wanting to come back down to earth. Yes, it is that good.
Moreover, halloumi is a wonderful product to work with if you don’t have a lot of time – this is the wannabe career woman talking now- because it can be ready to serve in a whim. It’s fast food, but without all the nasty and unhealthy side-effects. (Eat this McDonald’s!)
If you’ve never worked with the awesomeness that is halloumi – though I would be really disappointed if this were indeed the case- here is a quick description of how marvelous it feels to cook with halloumi:
As soon as you open the packet, you are greeted by a virgin white rock of pure beauty. It is almost too beautiful to cut into, but then again, you’re hungry so you obviously do.
This leads me to the following factor of pure awesomeness: halloumi squeaks. Yes, you’ve read that correctly, it squeaks. If the cheese doesn’t squeak when you cut into it, it means that you’ve just got ripped off by your cheese monger, having sold you the low quality commercial stuff with a high percentage of cow’s milk instead of sheep or goat. (How dare he!)
Anyway, so on to the frying. The biggest advantage of halloumi cheese is that it can be fried. Admittedly, you could dip any cheese into a batter and throw it in the deep-fryer but let’s face it: that’s all a bit greasy and most of the time you end up with a gloopy clump of fat on your plate.
With halloumi it’s different. Thanks to its firm texture it can be cooked, fried or grilled ( without even a single drop of fat if you want)without it losing its shape.
It is easy. It is quick. It is yummy. What more could you possibly want?
A skyrocketing career maybe?
Well, I’m working on it 😉 .
So let’s celebrate!
And cook halloumi!
Here is some inspiration:
Beetroot couscous with za’atar spiced halloumi
I can’t repeat it enough: beetroot and cheese are a match made in heaven! The sweet earthiness of the beetroot and the saltiness of the halloumi were made for each other like Jay-Z and Beyoncé. Add to that the wonderfully warm spices and you have a winning dish! (And doesn’t the fuchsia couscous look absolutely scrummy?!)
Ingredients (for one hungry person)
• 100gr halloumi, cut into 0,5cm thick slices
• 150gr cooked beetroot, cut into cubes or thin slices, whatever you prefer
• 1,5 dl beetroot juice
• 70gr maftoul couscous
• 1 tbsp za’atar
• 1tsp ground cumin
• 1 tbsp, finely chopped fresh ginger
• ¼ tsp cinnamon
1. In a small saucepan, bring the maftoul to the boil together with the beetroot juice. Once it starts boiling, put it onto a medium-low heat and add the cumin, ginger, cinnamon and salt and pepper. Let it simmer for 10 minutes until all the liquid has evaporated and the couscous is tender.
2. Stir through the cooked beetroot and heat through. Season with salt and pepper if necessary.
3. Coat the halloumi slices with the za’atar and fry for 1 minute on each side in a tiny bit of olive oil until golden brown.
4. Dig in!
Artichokes all’arabiata with grilled halloumi
This is a super quick flavour bomb par excellence! When I got home the other day, I was so tired I didn’t even have the courage to set the table. As a result I ate straight out of the pan and used some squidgy Turkish bread as cutlery. It was heaven. You simply have to try it!
• 200gr cherry tomatoes, halved
• 100gr halloumi, cut into 0,5 cm slices
• 5 cooked artichokes hearts (if you don’t cook them yourself, make sure it’s HIGH quality store-bought stuff!)
• 1 can of chopped tomatoes
• 1 long red chilli pepper, finely chopped
• 1 tsp dried thyme
• 1 tsp smoked paprika powder
• 1 tsp dried oregano
To serve: some gorgeous Turkish bread to dip into the spicy sauce!
1. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and fry the halloumi slices. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the pan and now add the cherry tomatoes and chilli. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes.
2. Add the can of chopped tomatoes and season with salt and pepper, oregano, paprika and thyme. Let it simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Lightly press the artichoke hearts into the sauce and cover with a lid and allow the steam to work its magic.
4. Finally put the halloumi back into the pan for a few minutes.
5. Eat straight out of the pan! It’s a must!