cheese

All posts tagged cheese

Veggie Food With Balls: Cranberry and Za’atar Goats’ Cheese Balls with A Roasted Pepper and Cashew Dip

Published March 3, 2015 by The Feminist

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Some people think vegetarian food is boring.

Some people say it can be dull.

I say: Nonsense!

Vegetarian food can be the boldest, funkiest, most original and creative of all cuisines! The following recipe is the perfect illustration that vegetarian dishes can indeed be quite ballsy, both figuratively and literally in this case. The cute, little beauties you see in this picture are fried goats’ cheese balls in a crunchy almond crust and are flavoured with dried cranberries, za’atar and lemon zest. These gorgous croquettes are already delicious on their own, but combined with a salad of purslane and broccocress (the cress version of broccoli, because why not?!) and dipped in a heavenly dip made with roasted red peppers, garlic, harissa and cashew nuts this dish becomes a true flavour sensation! An explosion of magnificent colours, textures and flavours, all complementing each other beautifully: what better example of delicious veggie food could you possibly wish for?

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Ingredients (serves 1):

For the goats’ cheese balls:

  • 200gr matured, soft goats cheese
  • Handful of dried cranberries, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp of lemon zest
  • ½ tsp crushed pink pepper corns
  • 1 tsp za’atar
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp corn flour
  • Black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • Flaked almonds (approx. 100gr)

For the roasted pepper and cashed dip:

  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into large chunks
  • 1 small tomato
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Handful of cashew nuts
  • ½ tsp harissa paste
  • 1 tsp honey

For the salad:

  • 150gr purslane, washed
  • 100gr broccocress (or regular water cress/ garden cress/ mustard cress)
  • A small handful of cranberries
  • Lemon juice
  • Tiniest bit of olive oil

Method:

  1. Put the chunks of red pepper, tomato and garlic on a roasting tray and sprinkle with olive oil and salt. Put in a preheated oven at 250°C for about 10 minutes until the edges of the peppers are starting to char.
  2. Remove from the oven and put the roasted ingredients in a blender together with the cashew nuts, an extra tablespoon of olive oil, the harissa and the honey and mix until you get a lovely dip. Season to taste with salt if necessary. Put aside. (You can either serve this dip warm, cold, or in between. It will always be delicious!)
  3. Mix the goats’ cheese, cranberries, peppercorns, za’atar and lemon zest together in a bowl. Let it infuse for about 10 minutes, while you go on with the other elements of the dish.
  4. Mix the purslane and cress together with cranberries, a squeeze of lemon juice and a tiny bit of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Scatter the salad on a large plate and put the pepper dip in the middle.
  5. Now you can start rolling your balls! Take a tablespoon of the goats’ cheese filling and roll it into a bowl. This will be a sticky and fumbly process, but it doesn’t have to look perfect. Then roll the ball through the mix of flour, corn flour and pepper and you will see that the drop of cheese will start to look a lot more “ballsy”. Now drop the ball in the whisked egg and finally roll it through the crushed flaked almonds.
  6. Heat a layer of approx. 0,5cm of olive oil (or regular vegetable oil) in a small pan and fry the balls for a minute on every side, so that they look gorgeously golden-brown and are warm in the middle.
  7. Remove from the pan and let them drain on a piece of kitchen paper.
  8. Scatter the balls on top of your salad and dig in!

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Partying with Paneer: fragrant Indian Green Beans and Lentil Curry with Fried Paneer Gems

Published February 13, 2015 by The Feminist

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Julia Child once said that “a party without cake is just a meeting”. To my mind, the same kind of metaphorical analogy can be made about the wonderful South Asian cheese paneer :an Indian dinner without paneer is just bad takeaway. (Ha! Put that on a bumper sticker!)

Just like the better-known (at least to us, Westerners) halloumi cheese, paneer is a firm cheese, ideal for frying, because it marvelously holds its shape. Unlike halloumi, which has a rather pungent, salty flavour (some pussies would say too salty), paneer is subtler and creamier in flavour and therefore balances perfectly with the strong and spicy flavours of a wonderful Indian curry, for it slightly mellows the fiery blow.

The vegetarian curry I decided to pair with the seared paneer is one containing a very comforting mix of green beans, lentils, bell peppers and lots of ground spices. To make the curry truly stand out, I added a fruity touch to the mixture… yes, I added a heaped tablespoon of apricot jam with chili flakes. I recently bought this very delicious jar of jam and was so delighted by its flavour, that I decided to throw it in savory dishes as well. The fruity jam is a great alternative to palm sugar, which is traditionally used in Asian dishes. The jam will not only slightly sweeten the curry and balance all those spices, but it will also add that heavenly fruity touch of apricot… Sigh. Sometimes, I really am … good.

So here it is: the perfect Indian meal! Rejoice!

Green Bean and Lentil Curry with Fried Paneer

Please don’t be scared by the long list of ingredients! It’s mainly all spices, and you cannot make a good curry without the appropriate load of spices.

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 250gr paneer cheese, cut into cubes
  • 80gr dried lentils
  • 350gr green beans, cut into chunks
  • 1 orange bell pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 500ml tomato passata
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander stalks, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp chili flakes
  • ½ tsp nigella seeds
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp asafetida
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 heaped tbsp. apricot jam (with chili flakes, if you want the truly fancy stuff)
  • Fresh coriander, chopped

Method:

  1. Put a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a pan and add onion, garlic, coriander stalks and all the spices (apart from the garam masala). Sauté on a medium heat until the spices start to smell incredibly aromatic.
  2. Add the lentils and stir in the tomato passata and coconut milk. Add a teaspoon of salt and let it simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in the chunks of pepper and the apricot jam and let it simmer for another 10 minutes.
  4. Finally, add the green beans and the garam masala and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes until the lentils are soft and the beans tender.
  5. Taste the curry. Season with salt and a bit more chili if necessary.
  6. Meanwhile, heat a pan on maximum heat and add the chunks of paneer. There is absolutely no need to add oil to the pan, the paneer will fry beautifully on its own!
  7. Serve the curry and paneer in cute bowls and sprinkle with coriander.

Simplicity At Its Best: Mediterranean Dinner in France

Published July 28, 2014 by The Feminist

france

When I was on holiday in the South of France (I don’t mean to rub it in) I discovered one simple truth: simplicity is the key to good Mediterranean cooking. With ingredients that you can count on just one hand, you can conjure up the most delicious dish imaginable.

So there I was…in my (temporarily rented) garden… watching how the boats sailed into the harbor… and I just knew that I had to attempt one of those classic, simple dishes myself.

So meet this delicious Coeur de Boeuf and Burrata mozzarella starter. In my homecountry  Belgium, I would never have voluntarily opted for a tomato and mozzarella salad at a restaurant. The tomatoes taste like water, the mozzarella tastes like water… I just found it really bland and boring most of the time. Until the French Riviera made me realize that a simple plate of tomato-mozzarella can be truly magical if you have the best products on the planet to work with. These Coeur de boeuf tomatoes were juicy, succulent and bursting with flavour and the burrata mozzarella… by golly, don’t get me started on the mozzarella! Burrata is the creamy King of mozzarella cheese: a texture that almost resembles thick yoghurt and a lovely rich flavour that almost does not require any additional seasoning. To make my version of this Italian classic dish extra special, I used some extraordinary olive oil I bought in Nice in the restaurant Oliviera (which I already blabbed on about in my previous post). It has a lovely sweet and nutty, almondy flavour and gives a peppery finish at the back of your tongue.

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Ingredients:

  • Burrata mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • Coeur de boeuf tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Good quality olive oil
  • Fresh basil

Following  the rules of simplicity, I also made this lovely fish dish: locally sourced fish topped with an almond and red pepper tapenade on a bed of courgette and fresh flageolet beans. Served with some homemade garlic bread (really really garlicy!)

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Just spread some good quality, store-bought almond and pepper tapenade (preferably bought at a local market, of course) on top of your fish. Put in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 200°C until tender and juicy. Cut the courgettes into thick slices and take the beans out of the pods. Blanche the beans al dente. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a huge pot, add the courgettes and salt and pepper and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the blanched flageolets and let it simmer for a further 10 minutes. Right before serving stir in some fresh basil leaves and sprinkle on some lemon juice.

Now pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy the sun!

 

 

Pizza Lovers, Be Warned: Pizza with Strawberries, Goat’s Cheese and Pink Peppercorn

Published June 15, 2014 by The Feminist

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Forget all the pizza knowledge you have acquired throughout your pizza-adoring life, because it is time for a reset!

A pizza is not just a brilliant edible plate to help you transport tomato sauce smothered with mozzarella into your mouth, it is also –and more importantly- a white canvas that you can paint with all the yummiest flavour combos on the planet. And when I’m talking about flavour combos, I don’t mean the usual peperoni-cheese/ tuna-olive / ham-pineapple (oh horror!)/ …

Oh no. What I mean by yummy flavour combos are those bonkers, stylish, avant-garde flavours you would normally never put on a pizza. Not in a million years. And yet you do it, because you’re the Queen of Flavour Bombs and trust your own foodie instincts.

A couple of days ago, I (the one and only Queen of Flavour Bombs) had a pizza epiphany:

I.Put. Strawberries. On. My. Pizza.

I put strawberries on my pizza.

Iputstrawberriesonmypizza.

Merely saying it, makes my mind boggle with foodie lust.

Seriously, dear readers and fellow pizza aficionados. This pizza is in every possible way the best thing on this whole damn planet (and far far beyond!).

It’s the classic, posh combination of strawberries, pink peppercorn and balsamic vinegar.

Put on pizza dough.

Together with goat’s cheese.

Some extra juicy nectarine.

And to finish some fragrant basil.

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I’m in heaven.

And if you would like to join me – there is plenty of room on my cloud – here is the recipe:

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Ingredients:

  • One pizza sheet
  • 1 nectarine, cut into slices
  • 2 handfuls of strawberries, sliced
  • 100gr mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • 100gr goats cheese, crumbled
  • Basil (lots and lots of it)
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Pink peppercorns, crushed

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 250°C.
  2. Roll out your pizza dough and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle on some salt, pink peppercorn and basil leaves.
  3. Layer the pizza with thin mozzarella sliced. Season with salt and pink pepper.
  4. Now put on the fruit. Season with pink pepper.
  5. Crumble on the goats cheese.
  6. Put in the oven for 15 minutes.
  7. Before serving, drizzle on some balsamic vinegar and sprinkle lots of basil leaves over the top.

Theatrical Thursday: Dramatic Plates and Impressive Tarts

Published May 29, 2014 by The Feminist

ascension

Today is Ascension Day. Although I am not a religious person (wow, that’s an understatement!) and hence do not really feel the desire to commemorate the bodily ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven, I am grateful that I now have an extra day off and can do whatever I feel like doing.

amy-5

Yeah, something like that.

Although I would skip the Chinese food and replace it with something more theatrical this time.

The following dishes are the most delightful vegetarian dishes imaginable. (If you’re not careful, you’ll be ascending into heaven just like good ol’ Jesus did.) They are yummy, astonishingly comforting and embrace a certain sense of drama quite appropriate for a day like this.

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Grilled vegetable platter with Homemade garlic and cumin bread

This dish is ridiculously easy to make but  -holy moly!- sure as hell packs a punch! The grilled Mediterranean vegetables were topped with tangy feta cheese, sweet-and-sour barberries and a fresh sprinkling of coriander, and were served in a huge pan which was put in the middle of table, ready for everyone to dig in. Moreover, I baked some incredible garlic and cumin bread to go with this. The breadcrumb was light and fluffy and the caramelized garlic gave the bread a heavenly sweet and pungent scent.

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Ingredients

For the vegetable platter (serves 4)

  • 1 red pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 aubergine, cut into 0,5cm slices
  • 2 round courgettes, cut into 0,5cm slices
  • 200gr feta cheese, crumbled
  • Handful of dried barberries (or dried cranberries, if you can’t find barberries)
  • Lots of fresh coriander

For the garlic-cumin bread (makes 2):

  • 500gr strong white bread flour
  • 10gr instant yeast
  • 10gr salt
  • 30gr butter
  • 300 ml cool water
  • 12 cloves of garlic
  • 2 – 3 tbsp cumin seeds

Method:

  1. For the bread: put the flour, salt, yeast and butter together in a bowl (but make sure the yeast does not touch the salt in the beginning). Gradually add the water and mix with your fingers until it starts coming together.
  2. Tip the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough for 5 to 10 minutes until it is lovely and smooth. Put it in an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave the dough to prove for at least 2 hours.
  3. Meanwhile, peel the garlic cloves, put them on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Put in the oven for 15-20 minutes on 200°C until they are golden brown and mushy. Let them cool slightly before chopping them up.
  4. Tip the risen dough out onto your surface and fold in the caramelized garlic. Divide the dough in two and stretch each piece out into a semi rectangular shape. Let the breads prove for another hour.
  5. Sprinkle on the cumin seeds and drizzle with olive oil.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes in the oven on 200°C.
  7. Meanwhile, for the vegetable platter. Grill all the vegetables in a hot griddle pan. Toss all the vegetables together in a large pan and heat through gently. Top the vegetables with feta cheese, barberries and lots of coriander.

 

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Apple, Cheddar and Caramelized Onion Tart

Hallelujah! This was one seriously delicious tart! Heavenly sweet apples and caramelized onions in perfect harmony with salty cheddar and fragrant thyme… truly an angelic food combination you have got to try!

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Ingredients (serves 3-4)

  • 1 sheet of puff pastry
  • 3 apples, cut into segments
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 150gr matured cheddar
  • Generous splash of Calvados
  • 3 tbsp fresh thyme

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Make the caramelized onions by heating a knob of butter and frying the onions until golden brown and soft.
  3. Unroll the puff pastry and put on a layer of caramelized onions.
  4. Heat a knob of butter in a pan and fry the apples together with 1 tbsp of thyme and a good drizzle of honey. Make sure they have a lovely golden brown colour but don’t let them get soft, because they still need to go into the oven. Finish with a splash of calvados (make sure the alcohol is evaporated before you put the apples on the pastry.)
  5. Grate the cheddar cheese on top of the caramelized onions and now arrange the apples onto the cheddar. Sprinkle lots of fresh thyme over the top.
  6. Fold over the edges of the puff pastry and put in the oven for 20 – 30 minutes.

Quiche fit for a Queen: Red Onion and Goats’ Cheese Quiche

Published March 7, 2014 by The Feminist

quiche

You can wipe that frown off your face right, dear readers. This quiche was indeed “fit for a Queen” and I will tell you why…

I smothered the red onions in port… rich, decadent and incredibly delicious port.

So don’t tell me I’m exaggerating when I refer to this quiche in royal terms. This vegetarian quiche was so immensely scrummy it would even make the Queen of England dance on the table whilst waving her old-school –yet expensive- granny bra in the air.

That’s how good this quiche was.

The port will enhance the beautiful purple colour of the onions and will give them an extra sweet and juicy dimension. The luxurious sweetness of the onions forms a perfect mix with the chivalrous pungent and sharp goats’ cheese.

Oh yes, this quiche is like a royal wedding. Only better. (‘Cause it’s edible, duh. )

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Serve the quiche with a fragrant herby salad and you’ll be ready to ascend the throne!

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Red Onion and Goats’ Cheese Quiche

Ingredients:

  • 1 portion of short crust pastry
  • 4 red onions, sliced
  • 200ml red port
  • 200gr soft goats’ cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 200ml soy cream
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Roll out your pastry and line a tart tin with it. Line the base of the pastry with baking parchment and then fill it with baking beans. Place on a baking tray and bake blind for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make your delicious port onions, by heating a knob of butter in a sauce pan and sautéing the onions until  they start to soften. Add the port and let it simmer until the red onions are completely soft and the liquid has almost entire reduced.
  4. Spread the onion mix on top of your blind baked pastry case and put small chunks of goat’s cheese all over the onions.
  5. Mix the eggs with the soy cream and season with plenty of salt and pepper. Stir in the chopped thyme and pour on top of the quiche filling.
  6. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

Snow-Proof Food: Paccheri with Roasted Figs, Stilton and Radicchio

Published January 31, 2014 by The Feminist

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I’m leaving for the snowy mountains of Austria tomorrow.

Yes, you’ve read that correctly.

This blogger is going skiing!

You cannot believe how long it has been since my last sky trip to the Alps and I am so terribly exited , I don’t think I will be able to get much sleep tonight due to an exceedingly high level of adrenaline rushing through my body.

Austria is a beautiful country, full of magnificent nature and an über cool abundance of schnapps.

The only thing the Austrian Alps seem to be missing is a high percentage of hot dudes. (This blog is-after all- still called Fashion, Food & Flirts!) Therefore, I will make it my personal goal next week to go and look for sexy Lederhosen-wearing men, to prove to everyone that their prejudice about Austrians is absolutely wrong.

I will make it my quest to look out for men who look like this:

jesse

A mountain version of Jesse Williams? It can’t be that difficult, can it?

Or maybe find myself a Captain Von Trapp who looks like this:

michael

I would be happy to sing “the Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music” (even though my voice sounds like a cow with bowel problems) if it meant winning over a Michael Ealy look-a-like!

Me picky???

Not at all!

I would gladly “settle for”  a Hiddleston, Cumberbatch or Fassbender

bennie fassbender

…if I have to.

I can already predict the potential side-effects:

Ovaries

I’m getting slightly off topic here.

Where was I?

Ah, yes. I’m going skiing!

Which means that I will be spending a lot of time in the snow. In the cold. Possibly freezing my ass off. So in order to prepare myself for all that cold weather and glacial temperatures I cooked myself a heart-warming, super comforting dish.

A bowl of steaming pasta… with an intense stilton sauce… some heavenly-sweet roasted figs… crunchy bitter radicchio… and finally a good sprinkling of chopped walnuts…

Merely describing this dish to you all is making the snow melt, so I think I’m going to stop writing and give you the recipe instead (I still want there to be some snow left when I get there, you know.)

PS: Unfortunately, this also means I won’t be able to blog for at least a week. Sorry folks! But don’t you worry, I’ll be back! (For once, quoting Arnold Schwarzenegger is allowed, since he himself is Austrian 😉 )

Paccheri with Roasted Figs, Stilton and Radicchio

Ingredients (serves 1)

  • 100gr paccheri pasta
  • 4 figs, cut into quarters
  • Large handful of radicchio, sliced into thin strips
  • 25gr stilton cheese, plus extra to garnish
  • Chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp honey
  • ½ tsp dried thyme

Method:

  1. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package. (keep some of the cooking liquid for later)
  2. Heat a knob of butter in a pan and fry the figs until slightly charred. Sprinkle on the honey and dried thyme.
  3. Melt the stilton cheese on top of the al dente cooked pasta and stir in approx. 3 tablespoons of the pasta cooking water to create an even creamier sauce.
  4. Stir in the roasted figs and just before serving stir through the radicchio.
  5. Serve the pasta on a large plate and decorate with chopped walnuts and some extra stilton cheese.

The Beauty or The Beast: dainty tarts vs. spooky brownies

Published December 9, 2013 by The Feminist

beast

These two baking extravaganzas couldn’t be more different from one another. One is savory, the other is sweet. One is light, the other is rich and heavy. One is a beauty, the other is a beast.

If you love baking as much as I do, there is one rule you will always have to stick to: flavour. Flavour is the key to producing good food (and on a more melancholic note: the key to a happy soul), because no matter how pretty a dish might look, it will always be the flavour that leaves a lasting impression.

These two dishes are both absolutely delicious! They are packed full of flavour, blend together the most amazing aromas and are a wonderful experience in terms of texture  and stickiness.

Their outer look on the other hand… well… that’s a different story. The fresh fig and camembert tart looks refined, pretty and feminine. The pumpkin cheesecake brownies look butchy , sloppy and masculine.

Which recipe you decide on replicating is entirely up to you, but just remember that they are each so magnificently scrumptious I would consider it a sin if you didn’t give both dishes a go. (Just sayin’)

Fresh fig and camembert Tart

This is the perfect savory tart in every possible way. The pastry is crispy and light…The rich and salty depth of the camembert is in perfect harmony with the sweet and soothing figs… The crunch of the walnut and the aroma of the honey compliments the fragrant notes of thyme so beautiful it will bring tears to your eyes…

PS: if this tart does indeed produce a waterfall of tears, I have one quick message: Get a grip, tart-loving people! (And eat it before it gets cold!  😉

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Ingredients (serves 1)

  • Puff pastry
  • 4 fresh figs, cut into approx. 0,5 cm slices
  • Camembert, cut into thin slices
  • ½ tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 4 walnuts, roughly chopped

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
  2. Cut out a circle out of your puff pastry. (A big one if you’re starving, or smaller ones if you would like to turn this dish into an appetizer)
  3. Prick the dough all over with a fork and layer the figs and camembert on the pastry but leaving about 1cm space along the edge.
  4. Gently fold over the edges to make sure the filling doesn’t leak out whilst in the oven.
  5. Drizzle over the honey and sprinkle on the thyme and crushed walnuts. Transfer the tart onto your baking tray.
  6. Bake into the oven for 20-30 minutes.

Pumpkin cheesecake brownies

These ugly goodies are devilishly delicious! I made them when my BFF and I were holding a Harry Potter movie marathon ( please don’t judge me!) and we needed a wizardly dessert to create the perfect magical ending to a wonderful evening. These brownies certainly did the trick! The flavour of this spooky brownie is so rich and intense, I can guarantee that after treating yourself to a large slice, you will have no problem whatsoever annihilating some creepy dementors or Death Eaters.

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Ingredients

For the pumpkin puree:

  • One butternut, cut into small chunks
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp honey

For the brownie:

  • 100gr dark chocolate
  • 100gr butter
  • 120gr caster sugar
  • 55gr plain flour
  • 2 eggs

For the pumpkin cheesecake:

  • 250gr pumpkin puree
  • 200gr cream cheese
  • 2 eggs

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and line a baking tin with baking parchment.
  2. Make the pumpkin puree by cooking the pumpkin in hot water. Drain and mix with the spices and honey until you get a smooth paste. Leave to cool. (Preferably overnight)
  3. Make the brownie. Melt the chocolate au bain marie. Set aside to cool slightly. Mix the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Stir in the flour and mix until incorporated. Gently stir through the melted chocolate.
  4. Pour ¾ of the brownie batter in your tin and spread out evenly. Set aside the leftover batter.
  5. Make the cheesecakes mixture by mixing all the ingredients together. Pour the batter on top of the brownie. Now drop dollops of the leftover brownie batter into the cheesecake to create a cow/marble effect.
  6. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes.

All Hail to Halloumi: Cooking with the most wonderful cheese in the world!

Published October 3, 2013 by The Feminist

halloumi

Dear All,
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!

cameron diaz

And cook halloumi!

Here is some inspiration:

Beetroot couscous with za’atar spiced halloumi

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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

Method:
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

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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!

Ingredients

• 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!

Method:
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!

Just Beet It: Red Wine and Beetroot cake with orange and cinnamon cream cheese frosting

Published August 25, 2013 by The Feminist

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Technically it may still be summer, but when I was looking outside my kitchen window this morning, there were absolutely no signs indicating that these months are supposed to be the hottest of the year. All I could see were grey clouds, and although such droopy whether would usually make me feel rather depressed, this morning I couldn’t help but feel a sense of excitement about the prospect of cooler weather.

Sipping hot chocolate in front of the fireplace, going for a walk in the woods with your favourite scarf tied on tight, listening to Michael Bublé whilst taking a long, hot bath,… Suddenly I couldn’t wait for autumn to arrive!

So inspired by this autumn vibe, I decided to start the fall a little bit early this year and conjured up something truly wonderful: a red wine and beetroot cake with an orange and cinnamon cream cheese frosting. Or as I like to call it: the Glühwein cake.

For those of you who don’t own a copy of “Famous Alcoholic Beverages for Dummies”, Glühwein is a mulled wine and is incredibly popular in Germany (where it originated), other German- speaking countries and with us Belgians ( because we know a good drink when we see one!). It is a heavenly aromatic warm red wine, spiced with cinnamon, cloves, star anise and orange and his this remarkable capacity to make you forget all your troubles (and manners, sometimes) and to fill you with warmth and joy. It’s like an electric blanket… but with alcohol. It’s awesome!

So all these flavours inspired me to make this cake. Cinnamon, red wine and mixed spice went into the cake batter, and orange and cinnamon were blended in with the honeyed cream cheese frosting… Sigh. I really do have very good ideas from time to time.

A second key ingredients in this cake is beetroot. You can’t bake an autumn-inspired cake without using any root vegetables. You just can’t. That would be sacrilege. Carrots, parsnips, even turnips! When the weather gets cold, you simply have to use them in a cake! It’s a rule.

I love the earthy sweetness of the beetroot and its majestic red colour so I made the humble beetroot my root vegetable of choice this time. The red beetroot is a match made in heaven with the red wine!

Although the raw batter looked burgundy red, the cooked cake more resembled a chocolate cake, rather than a deep red velvet cake. I didn’t mind. I’d much rather prefer a cake that looks homemade than something that seems to have come straight out of a chemistry lab. If you want to enhance the redness of the cake, you could add food colouring but, like I said, I really don’t think it would do this cake justice.

PS: You may have noticed that this is my second beetroot recipe in a row. Now before you start assuming that I may have some sort of beetroot addiction: I don’t. I just had a lot of beetroot lying around in my kitchen and I didn’t want anything to go to waste! How ecologically sound of me!

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Red wine and beetroot cake with a cinnamon and orange cream cheese frosting

Ingredients

For the cake:
• 2 eggs
• 80gr butter
• 250gr cooked beetroot
• 60ml red wine
• 180gr light brown sugar
• 170gr plain flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
• ½ tsp cinnamon
• ½ tsp mixed spice
• ¼ tsp salt

For the frosting
• 100gr cream cheese
• 1 tbsp honey
• Zest of half an orange
• ¼ tsp cinnamon

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C.
2. Puree the cooked beetroot in a blender together with the red wine until you get a smooth paste.
3. Mix together the red wine and beetroot puree with the eggs, sugar and butter until combined. (At this stage the mixture will look slightly curdled, don’t worry, it will all work out in the end 😉 )
4. Sift in the dry ingredients and mix well.
5. Pour the batter into a prepared cake tin and bake for approximately 35-40 minutes.
6. Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting.
7. For the frosting, whisk together all the ingredients and spoon the frosting onto the cake. Spread out evenly with a palette knife.