*Want a healthy good mood boost? Try crunching away on this gorgeous green, yellow and flat bean salad. The beans stay crunchy but are seasoned with a slightly sweet chilli vinaigrette. And nothing adds flavour to this salad like some pan fried halloumi, that wonderfully salty, squeaky cheese. *
I'm on of those people that could eat halloumi every single day and I'm known somewhat as a halloumi monster. I love the texture and the squeak of the cheese on my teeth. Green beans when only lightly blanched have a similar sort of squeak. I'm also a little obsessed with food texture and love a good crunchy tooth workout from crunchy items. I can't imagine ever going on a smoothie diet (unless I had to medically). And I just realise that isn't it ironic that the only type of working out I actually love is chewing?
Speaking of cheese, it's a new year and a new time for In My Kitchen. Celia has handed it over to Maureen now who will host it. And this is my first one of the year. And the first two things in my kitchen just happen to be cheese related. The first is some rennet, kefir starter and feta as well as some halloumi that we made when we visited the North Coast in December to take part in a cheesemaking course with Cheeses Loves You. We learned how to make halloumi and I came back with my own bits to make it myself thanks to Deb who runs these courses! The name is a play on "Jesus Loves You" because Deb says, "Cheese is my religion"!
See that thing that looks like a spinal cord? It's actually yak's cheese from Bhutan that my sister Blythe gave me for Christmas. It's rock hard, trying to bite it is like biting into a stone and apparently you can soak it in water and then suck on it. The taste? Well errmmm, it was waxy and didn't have a lot of flavour...But I'm glad that I tried it!
Do you remember the buttercream rununculus class I did with artisan cake maker and chocolatier Jessica Pedemont in December? Well she had this item called Press and Seal. Now Americans will probably be all like, "So?" but we don't have anything like it in Australia and it's brilliant. You tear off how much you need and it seals in everything and can be reapplied time and time again and doesn't crumple up and become useless like cling film. Jess bought a stash of it when she went to America and brought it back and I think I must have looked so desperate to try it that she sent me some for Christmas along with a yummy Christmas cake too! She has just a few spots left for the buttercream rununculus class so take a peek on her website and you can book there.
I was given a gift voucher from Zara Home just before Christmas to celebrate the opening of their Pitt Street Mall store but I didn't get a chance to shop until after Christmas (hello sale!). The home range is gorgeous and these were my picks - a Venetian glass style jewellery box, gorgeous linen napkins, floral paper napkins, slender wooden cutlery and country style plates and bowls for styling.
My favourite fruits are back in season-Tasmanian cherries and figs! We bought these figs from David Jones Food Hall one day after doing some post Christmas shopping and they were so lusciously jammy inside and perfect for eating as is. I am a fig fondler and know how to pick a fig - look for those that are heavy for their weight. If it's light, then I don't bother as they're just a disappointment.
And of course along with summer fruit there are summer vegetables like beans and we have been eating a lot of this salad. It's partly because we both love halloumi but also because we've been going out and balancing a big meal out with a salad seems to be the wisest thing to do. Not that I've ever been accused of being wise ;)
So tell me Dear Reader, what food is your religion? And do you buy household items from overseas? What are you currently loving to eat?
Summer Green & Yellow Bean Halloumi Salad
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott/Not Quite Nigella
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
- 200g/7ozs. green beans, topped and tailed and cut in half
- 200g/7ozs. yellow beans, topped and tailed and cut in half
- 150g/5ozs. flat beans, topped and tailed and cut in half
- 250g/8.83ozs halloumi, sliced
- 1/3 cup tamari almonds, chopped roughly
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and sliced
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons honey
- Fat pinch of salt
- 1 chilli (small or large, smaller is hotter) sliced
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 100ml/3.5fl ozs. extra virgin olive oil
Step 1 - Have a ice bath ready. Blanch the green and yellow beans and then drain and place in the ice bath. Add the flat beans and cook for 3 minutes, then drain and add to ice bath.
Step 2 - Make the dressing by whisking the garlic, red wine vinegar, honey, salt, chilli, lemon juice and olive oil into a small bowl. Whisk to combine.
Step 3 - Heat a frypan and add the halloumi and fry until cooked on both sides. Scatter the beans on a serving plate, add the halloumi and then the dressing and then the almonds.