HELLO HALLOUMI Cypriot cheese halloumi is loved for its robust texture and deeply savoury flavour, and its capacity to be grilled, barbecued or fried without losing its shape.
We were getting ready to celebrate the Brunette’s birthday in our house recently. How should she be treated? A trip to a Michelin-starred restaurant? Freshly cooked lobster on Tullabawn strand? A trip out to Clare Island with fresh mussels? Classy Red thought a night’s glamorous camping at our Carrowkennedy neighbours, who have just opened the wonderful Acorn Wood Glamping, would be in order! You know us men, sensitive and extravagant to the last.
We were royally treated to a beautiful and magical experience, complete with camping (glamorously) in a yurt and a big open fire under the stars that night. Each yurt or hut comes equipped with a little cooking area, so the pressure was on.
We enjoyed our wine and chat, so dinner came about organically as toasted ciabatta breads with barbecued white onion slices and aubergine strips fresh from the Judge’s garden. Some home-grown yellow and red tomatoes with a dash of sea salt provided sweetness and seasoning. The smoky, charcoal-burnt Ciabatta cooked with butter paired with the crispy but succulent veg strips made us a family of happy bears that night under the stars above history-rich Carrowkennedy, over-watched by the ghost of the Widow Sammon.
Five-star Michelin it was not, but it just goes to show that a positive attitude and simple, fresh ingredients can produce a meal just as fine as any. Then it was time for the second bottle of wine…
Halloumi cheese with grilled veg
Frequent ‘al fresco’ dining might be more suited to better climates, but just because we live in rain-catcher Mayo we should not be dissuaded from eating outside when we can. Grab any chance to enjoy the end-of-summer days to cook this dish and enjoy it in the fresh air. Halloumi is a relatively hard, salty Greek cheese that you may have come across in restaurant menus as a starter, but you will find it on super-market shelves. It cooks well and is lovely with oregano. It should be eaten warm; it hardens even more as it cools.
What you need
> 250g halloumi
> 2 courgettes
> Olive oil
> 200g tomatoes
> 3 spring onion
> 1 bunch asparagus
> 100g broad beans, cooked and drained
> 1 tbsp capers
> Sprig each flat-leaf parsley, oregano
What you do
Mix your oil and herbs in a bowl. Cut the halloumi into cookable slices (1/4- to 1/2-inch thick), and slice the courgette and asparagus lengthways after washing, topping and tailing. Toss the lot together in the bowl, and lay on a frying or griddle pan to cook. Thinly slice the spring onion, wash and cut the tomatoes and mix both with the capers and broad beans. Lay your fried halloumi on a warmed plate and decorate in layers with the fried/griddle vegetables and sprinkle with the tomato mix. Try a vinaigrette or cider-vinegar dressing with honey and/or mustard and fresh herbs. Oh, and don’t forget to open the wine.
> Red Cabot is interested in food, nature and small things. He sells his food at Westport Country Markets in St Anne’s Boxing Club, James’s Street car park, Westport, every Thursday, from 8am to 1pm.