13 Feb 2013

haloumi + roast veg

Talk about new things for a new year. Recently I learnt a new yoga pose, and I cooked with a new ingredient for the first time.

Thanks to my teacher-in-training friend C, I got down into the graceful and exhilarating chair pose variation; a standy-bendy-twisty kind of thing. It feels like you're drilling your body down with a twist that could topple over at any moment; then you find this moment of quiet and balance before swooping up out of it, hands up to the sky, as if you're flying.

Not quite as transformative but definitely an 'ooh!' moment: I cooked with haloumi. Now I've eaten haloumi before, but never brought it home to my kitchen. I think mainly because I feared starting an addiction to that salty, squeaky, creamy, oozy, crispy cheese (who knew one ingredient could have so many possible textures?).

Inspired by a Belinda Jeffery recipe, I roasted some potatoes and a wedge of pumpkin, all cut into slices and flavoured with some lemon wedges, smoky paprika (I really like this spice!) and some fresh oregano leaves plucked from the garden.

Then I sliced up the haloumi and fried it in a little olive oil. I cooked the first batch too long - it does not take three minutes each side, as the pack stated. I turned the heat down and cooked the second lot more carefully, to arrive at a perfect golden brown colour.

Then I tossed it all togther - what a decadently salty and morish plate! The paprika and lemon flavours hit it off well with the haloumi. All I could think was, gosh I need to buy this stuff more often. See! I knew it would start some trouble.

It was a nice change from all the plates of green stuff I've been eating lately. However, while I did have a few perfunctory lettuce leaves in there, it did feel like I was going behind someone's back. And I admit I did feel a little guilt at ignoring the zucchinis for a couple of nights. But my bride-to-be friend C (a different C) told me about the pea-and-haloumi fritters she makes; just amazing, she said. I am so onto that one - green peas plus salty squeaky haloumi? A match made in heaven.

6 comments:

  1. This looks beautiful. I haven't cooked with haloumi much myself. Your yoga pose sounds tricky...I love the way you have described it!

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    1. thank you jane, for all your kind words!

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  2. Wow... detecting a trace of autumn in that roasting dish, and how lovely! This dish feels like it might provide an end to haloumi guilt -- that salty, fatty, can't-stop-till-it's-finished thing balanced with straight-up healthy root veg.

    We are about to embark on chair pose in our next yoga practice. I haven't thought of "flying up out of the chair" before -- but it might just be the key to making this rather intense pose more enjoyable!

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    1. haloumi guilt - spot on! i really didn't rest until it was all devoured.
      i actually think the twisted variation should be called 'balinese dancer pose', it has such grace - let me know how you go!

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  3. I dream of some day finding haloumi in this country but so far no luck. But a goat feta cheese does the trick sometimes. The lemon, smoked paprika and organo are great flavorings in this recipe!

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    1. paula, as always it is a wonderful thing to learn how our food cultures differ so widely. i'm sure haloumi was pretty hard to find here years ago, probably only at special little delis, not supermarket shelves. foods and tastes and therefore availability evolves.

      fetta would indeed bring the same saltiness to the dish.

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