Hello and welcome to Part 2 of Single Mum Cooks.
Yes folks, it’s another RECIPE, straight from the mouth of me. You can all breathe easy. I have not written another lengthy political rant, nor is the title some sort of attempt at doing one of those dance tracks where they ruin two great songs by blending them together into one utterly pointless megamix. However, I do have a confession to make. This recipe is not the promised cheese on toast (everyone’s been asking me for the secret recipe. I’ve been positively INUNDATED with requests). However, I made this today. It was my dinner and Piglet’s Little Baby Dinner, although he obviously had to have it all separated out (so not much of a mash up there) and then only ate the most bland bits, e.g. the bulgar wheat.
So onto the preamble. I am a big fan of Middle Eastern cooking. I should probably make it clear that I am no Yotam Ottolenghi (no need to point out that this is obvious from my general lack of culinary expertise) and I am not totally au fait with the regional specialities, unless they have an obvious name like “Turkish delight,” so what I generally do when I fancy a bit of Middle Eastern food is go into a shop and buy anything that I might previously have spotted in a Middle Eastern restaurant, or that could potentially go quite well with cous cous. Basically what I am trying to say here, is please excuse this dish for being called Middle Eastern if there are things in it that actually aren’t. Having only visited the actual Middle East once (hello Qatar!) I am going to plead ignorance and hence the “mash up” part. I think the technical term is “fusion food,” but I’ve no idea what it’s fused with. It’s just some stuff that I like.
The main thing that I like in this dish is halloumi.
I first discovered halloumi when I was at university, as someone in the college kitchens had the bright idea of putting it in every vegetarian dish known to humanity. There was halloumi on a stick, halloumi-stuffed peppers, and probably even a halloumi vegetarian lasagne. I believe it’s actually Cypriot, according to some stuff I read once, which I concede is not quite the Middle East, but it seems to go very well with Middle Eastern stuff. It incorporates two of my very favourite qualities; namely being a cheese, and being fried. Why bother frying an egg, I ask you, when you could fry some cheese instead? God himself couldn’t have thought of a better idea than fried cheese.
So, without further ado, here are the ingredients.
For the halloumi
- Halloumi (a worthy centrepiece for all vegetarian dishes)
- Olive oil, for frying
- Cherry tomatoes
- Red peppers
- Ground cumin
- Ras el hanout
- Tinned chick peas
For the bulgar wheat salad
- Bulgar wheat (you could use cous cous instead)
- Fresh mint leaves
- Extra virgin olive oil infused with chilli (for drizzling)
- Juice of a lemon
- Place the bulgar wheat in a pan of boiling water and simmer for five minutes or so until softened.
- Heat the olive oil until very hot and fry the halloumi on a high heat until crisp on both sides.
- Remove the halloumi from the pan and set aside.
- Turn down the heat and add the garlic to the pan, followed by the peppers and courgettes. Saute for a few minutes until softened.
- Add the cherry tomatoes, chick peas and spices and cook for a further five minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have started to break up. Add the fried halloumi to the mix and stir in.
- When the bulgar wheat is cooked, place on the plate and mix with some chopped mint leaves, cucumber and avocado. Pour the halloumi/tomato mix over the top, and drizzle with lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.
And thus you have a Middle Eastern mash up, with ingredients all the way from Morocco, Cyprus and Tesco. Just call me Nigella. And in the spirit of creating a lame “call to action” at the end of my blog post, I leave you with the question, do you like halloumi? What is your favourite halloumi dish? And if you tell me then I will be sure to steal it.