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It seems unlikely that I’ll be making cheese this year.  Perhaps not one for my New Year’s Resolution list, with barely enough time to do all the things I’ve already committed myself to, I think cheese making will stay firmly as a long term ‘to do’.

I have, however, been enjoying reading this blog by somebody who does have the time to make homemade cheese – and I’m extremely jealous.  I can also dream of the day when I might have the time…!

If, unlike me, you have plenty of time to spare, and cheesemaking takes your fancy, this blog is the place to start.  They’ve been making everything from blue cheese to ricotta, Cheddar to halloumi, and even Camembert style cheese!  Plus they give loads of details on how to do it yourself.

Image: the handyface blog

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Halloumi burger

So whilst N eats his homemade beef burger with melted cheese AND bacon, I made myself a meat-free version.

I tossed thick slices of halloumi cheese in polenta before pan frying it in a little oil until it goes crisp and golden. 

Halloumi burger

One side of the bun was spread with homemade olive tapenade (black olives, a garlic clove and some olive oil all blitzed up), the other with mayonnaise with sundried tomato paste mixed through.

Add some lettuce and roasted red peppers (mine came from a jar), pop in the hot crispy halloumi and take a BIG bite.

Halloumi burger

It’s about time to write about the lovely time I had last week when my little sister came to visit.  The time went too quickly and we really needed another day or so…but homework beckoned so she had to leave. 

Firstly, I must tell you that my little sister knows exactly what she wants (probably I do too), but in this case I am talking about food.  Her food requests went something like this…homemade hummous, sushi, fried halloumi sandwiches, baked Camembert, and most of the menu from Tampopo. 

the lovely little sister

the lovely little sister

So after picking her up from the train station on Wednesday, we headed straight for my favourite food shopping haunt – Chorlton.  We found all the necessary ingredients to fulfill the little sister’s wishes, before heading to Out of the Blue (Wilbraham Road, Chorlton), an utterly fantastic fish mongers.  They also have their own sushi chef, who can be seen most days in the store window busily creating the days sushi.  The little sister chose the veggie rolls and I opted for the mixed rolls.  The veggie rolls are small delicate mouthfuls, that include fillings such as cucumber, daikon, carrot, avocado, and red pepper – probably not authentic, but total heaven to a vegetarian country girl.  Mine were pretty much the same, but included tuna and salmon. 

Thursday lunchtime after a morning pouring over beautiful Etsy websites, we made some homemade hummous, defrosted some root vegetable soup and toasted some pittas. 

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For my hummous, I use a can of chickpeas (drained and rinsed), a clove of garlic (roughly chopped), a teaspoon or two of cumin powder (more or less to your taste), a pinch of crushed dried chillies, a generous squeeze of lemon juice (if your hummous doesn’t taste amazing, add more lemon juice), and a good slug of olive oil (add enough to create a smooth paste).  I blitz all the ingredients together, and season with salt and pepper. 

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Apologies for not giving specific ingredient amounts, but I really feel that my taste in hummous might not be yours, so just adjust the flavourings until you get it how you like it.

Check back this week for more food adventure with the little sister, including a Snickers (!) muffin and homemade chocolate croissants.

sausage, halloumi and roasted red pepper sandwich

sausage, halloumi and roasted red pepper sandwich

Sandwich…burger…I’m not quite sure what this creation is, but it definitely tastes scrumptious.  This sandwich was devised to get us through Saturday – a dawn til way-past-dusk frenzy of furniture moving, hoovering, dusting, sorting, chucking, and reorganisation.  I must say our house positively gleams now, and looks beautiful.  However, this sandwich was needed to get us through that day. 

It is most definitely worth sharing and I hope you all try it – equally delicious without the sausages for a yummy vegetarian alternative.  The only thing I’d do different next time (there will be a next time I make this sandwich…I’m still thinking about it) is add a smear of sundried tomato paste to the bun before ladling in the other ingredients.

The bread baps and halloumi came from Barkbakan in Chorlton, the sausages from Little Heath Farm, and the roasted red peppers from a jar. The mayonnaise wasn’t homemade, I’m not sure it’s necessary for a dollop in a sandwich like this, but it was good quality organic mayo. I think this recipe would work equally nicely in the summer with a good handful of fresh basil.

a simple, delicious lunch

a simple, delicious lunch

Sausage, Halloumi & Roasted Red Pepper Sandwich

Makes two large sandwiches

2 large baps/buns/bread rolls/slices of bread
6 sausages
6 slices of halloumi
1-2 large roasted red peppers from a jar
3 tbsp semolina flour
salt and pepper
couple of dollops of mayonnaise
thyme
smear of sundried tomato paste

Firstly, turn the grill on and cook the sausages until golden brown and sizzling.

Meanwhile, combine the semolina flour, salt and ground pepper in a bowl. Take the slices of halloumi and coat in the semolina flour – this creates a nice crispy coating when they cook. If the halloumi is quite dry, smear over a little oil to mak the flour stick.

halloumi dusted with semolina flour

halloumi dusted with semolina flour

Heat a large non-stick frying pan with a glug of oil – use a piece of kitchen towel to wipe it evenly around the pan to ensure the cheese doesn’t stick. When the oil it nice and hot, carefully lay the halloumi into the oil and let it cook for a couple of minutes – without moving it – until it is golden. Then flip the halloumi over and fry on the other side until golden.

crispy coated hallmoui for added crunch!

crispy coated halloumi for added crunch!

Slice your baps or bread rolls in half. Roughly slice the roasted red peppers. Smear over some sundried tomato paste and lay the cooked sausages on top (three on each). Next add the golden halloumi and a good handful of roasted peppers. Top with a dollop of mayonnaise and a sprinkle of fresh thyme leaves.

yum yum in my tum

yum yum in my tum

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Eat the Earth

I love food, especially locally grown and seasonal food. This is my place to share my food finds and the food I like to eat.

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