Grilled Halloumi & Rocket Pesto Salad

Halloumi & Rocket Pesto Salad

Few things as delicious as biting into a squeaky piece of grilled halloumi with lemon. Quick, easy and definitely worth it. Give it a try and you will not be disappointed. This recipe serves 2 and the pesto can be kept in the fridge in a jar and used again.

Pesto

Ingredients

2 cups rocket leaves
1 cup baby spinach leaves
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts, slightly roasted

Method

Place all the ingredients and half of the oil in a food processor and process together, while processing slowly add the remaining oil and allow to process until smooth.

Ingredients

1 block of halloumi, cut into 4 pieces
1/2 cup rockets leaves
hand full of chopped pecans
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp water
lemon wedges to serve

Method

Heat the nuts, sugar and water in a small pot and stir while cooking until the sugar has dissolved making sure it does not burn. Through out onto some baking paper and allow to cool before serving. Grill the halloumi on a lightly oiled hot griddle pan for about 30 – 40 seconds a side. Serve with the pesto, nuts, rockets leaves and lemon wedges.

Cheese Platter

Cheese Platter

Sharing platters is one of my favourite ways to eat when having a lot of people over. I love being able to nibble and pick rather than having one big meal. These recipes are great for a social gathering or break it up and you have a beautiful starter to serve to your guests. I know there are a lot of recipes listed below so use what you wish and I hope you enjoy.

Camembert

Ingredients

1 rounds camembert
1 sprig of rosemary, leaves picked
1 clove of garlic, sliced
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt

Method

Pre heat the oven to 200 degrees celcius. Line a small cake tin or casserole with some baking paper. Place the camembert in the lined tin and score the top of the cheese. Push the garlic and rosemary into the holes. Drizzel with oil and season with salt. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until the cheese is nice and soft.

Feta

Ingredients

1 block of greek feta
1/2 cup of sesame seeds
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup of flour
olive oil for frying

Method

Dry the feta with some paper towel and cut into desirable shapes. Next dip the feta in the flour first, followed by the egg and then the sesame seeds. Heat oil in a pan and once it is hot fry the feta on all sides. If your pan is hot it should only take about 20 seconds a side as the sesame seeds will burn easily so do keep and eye on them.

Cranberry & Lime Syrup (Dipping sauce for feta)

Ingredients

2 cups cranberries
3/4 cup castor sugar
1 cup water
zest and juice of 1 lime
Method

Add all the ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to boil. Simmer for 10 minutes remove from heat and strain through a fine sieve leaving it to drip through for 30 minutes. Place back in the saucepan, if it seems thick add a bit more water. Bring back to boil and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, transfer to serving bowls and place in the fridge to cool or until needed.

Sesame Crackers

Ingredients

1.5 cups flour
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup sesame seeds
3 tbsp olive oil

Method

Pre heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Mix all the above ingredients together and knead the dough for a few minutes on a floured surface. Allow to rest for 20 – 25 minutes. Using a rolling pin roll out on a floured surface to approximately 1.5 mm thick. Cut into desired cracker shapes and place in a baking tray lined with baking paper brushed with a bit of oil. Brush the top of the crackers with egg for a golden cracker or with olive oil for a more blonde cracker and bake for 8 – 10 minutes or until nice and crispy.

I served my cheese platter with a beautiful French wine – http://www.vignerons-saint-tropez.com/eshop/cep-d-or/35-rose-cep-d-or.html#.VBen0hb_hU8

Moussaka

Moussaka

I call this moussaka because it is egg plant with a white sauce, minced beef layered and baked in the oven, but it is not traditional. Every time I make lasagne or a moussaka I put something else in the minced beef sauce. You cant really go wrong. Also, I add mozzarella to my white sauce, something my mother in law taught me. Either way, here is my combination of ingredients. If you are missing some of the non essential ingredients in this list, no biggy. Cover with lots of cheese and you will have a winner.

I used what they call here in Singapore, pearl aubergine (also known as baby eggplant) as I could not find the normal eggplants so I used 8 of them and sliced them into either 3 or 4 slices based on the size. This recipes serves 6 people.

Ingredients

Eggplant

8 baby eggplants, end removed and sliced into 1 cm thick slices
2 tbsp olive oil
sea salt

Method

Brush the eggplant slices with oil, season with salt and grill either in the oven or on a griddle pan for 6 minutes turning over half way through cooking time.

Minced Beef Sauce

Ingredients

800 g minced beef
1.5 cups grated carrot
1 cup finely chopped onion
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 handfull of fresh basil
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
2 cans of whole tomatoes
1 cup of red wine
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil

Method

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion, garlic and carrot for 3 minutes. Add the minced beef and fry for another 3 minutes. Next add your tomato paste and oregano. Stir well. Next add the red wine to deglaze the pot and cook for 5 minutes. Last but not least add your whole tomatoes and season with some salt and black pepper. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour if you have time.

White Sauce

Ingredients

4 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1/4 cup of cream
2 cups milk
1/2 cup of grated mozzarella
salt and pepper to taste

Method

Melt the butter in a pot and add the flour to make the rouge. Add the cream and milk and stir well. Allow this to simmer for a while until it starts to thicken. Once it starts to thicken add the cheese, salt and pepper, stir well and allow to simmer for 5 minutes or until you have a nice thick sauce.

Now the layering!

Start with a layer of eggplant followed by meat sauce and repeat. Last layer only use eggplant and cover with white sauce. Top with a good hand full of grated mozzarella and cheddar and bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 180 degrees Celcius. Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to stand for 10 – 15 minutes before you serve. Enjoy

Pear, Blue Cheese & Candied Pecan Salad

Pear, Blue Cheese & Candied Pecan Salad

Another beautiful light and very simple salad. Serve as a starter or a light lunch with a glass of crisp dry white wine. Amazing combination. This recipe serves 1, so adjust accordingly.

Ingredients

1 ripe pear, pealed
1/4 cup blue cheese
hand full of rocket leaves
hand full of chopped pecans
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp water
honey to serve

Method

Heat the nuts, sugar and water in a small pot and stir while cooking until the sugar has dissolved making sure it does not burn. Through out onto some baking paper and allow to cool before serving. Add all the ingredients together and drizzel with a bit of honey to serve. Enjoy

Chicken with Eggplant Puree & Chorizo Crumb

Chicken with egg plant puree

Egg plant is such an interesting vegetable. It is unbelievable how this vegetable can be a substitute for meat. The first time I realised this was when we were travelling in Hong Kong and we had a vegetarian sandwich where the main ingredient was eggplant and I felt like I was eating a steak. It is so versatile and truly delicious. This recipe no doubt has got a lot of steps but if you stick to the eggplant puree and chorizo you can basically cook the chicken anyway you like. I hope you enjoy.

Eggplant Puree

Ingredients

3 eggplants, cut in half
5 cloves of garlic, whole unpeeled
juice of 1 small lemon
2 tbsp sour cream
1 tbsp tahini
hand full of fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Method

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celcius and brush the eggplant with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt. Roast the eggplant skin side up along with the garlic in the oven for 40 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for a few minutes. Remove the skin of the eggplant and peel the roasted garlic and add to a food processor with the rest of the ingredients. Process until smooth and creamy.

Chicken (The way I did it)

Ingredients

4 chicken breasts
salt
boiling water
8 sprigs thyme
2 cloves garlic
3 tbsp butter

Method

I poached the chicken in the salted water with 2 sprigs of thyme and the garlic cloves for 15 minutes. Once cooked, heat the butter and remaining butter in a pan and fry the chicken breasts for a few minutes to get some colour on the chicken.

Chorizo Crumb

Ingredients

2 Chorizo sausages, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil

Method

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the chorizo until it is crispy

Add everything together and serve with some chopped fresh parsley

Home made Spaghetti with Chilli & Garlic

Spaghetti with chili and garlic

My hubby does not really like to cook and the only time he does cook is when I am travelling. The nice thing about that is that he is able to come up with simple but very tasty meals. Me being me of course made a few changes including using fresh home made pasta. This can be done with store bought spaghetti if you do not have a pasta roller but making fresh pasta is actually quite fun and tastes much better. So with that said I give you a simple delicious pasta.

Spaghetti

Ingredients

1.5 cups flour
2 eggs
extra flour for working the dough

Method

Make a well in the middle of the flour and crack in the eggs. Start beating the eggs with a fork and slowly start working in the flour until the dough starts to form. On a well floured surface start working the dough until it feels elastic and not dry. I add a little water so that the dough is not dry. It is basically a feel and add process. Once the dough is done wrap it in plastic and allow to rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour at room temperature. As I live in Singapore where room temperature is 28 degrees Celcius I alternate between outside and in the fridge every 20 minutes with the latter being outside of the fridge.

After the hour of resting is done get a big pot of salted water to boil while you start rolling out your pasta. Devide the dough into 3 even pieces and first use a hand roller on a very well floured surface rolling it to about 1 millimetre thick then it is time to start using your pasta roller. I start at setting 6 on my titania roller and end at setting 3 before rolling it through the spaghetti setting.

Cook in the boiling water for about 2 minutes and strain.

Chilli & Garlic

Ingredients

2 large red chilli, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
grated parmesan and chopped parsley to serve

Method

Heat some oil in a pan and fry the garlic and red chilli for 2 minutes, do not let it burn but the garlic should start to roast a little. Once done add the strained pasta to the pan with the chilli and garlic and using kitchen tongs toss together. Turn off the heat, add a little more olive oil and season with salt. Serve hot with the chopped parsley and parmesan cheese and enjoy! Delicious