Monthly Archives: January 2013

A soup and another award nomination!

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The wonderful summer break is about to come to a close after weeks of sun and surf, boating and seafood, and fun times with friends.  The kids return to school next Wednesday, and  I dread the return to routine (although it’s a pretty shoddy semblance of routine that’s followed in our house!) that must come with the return to reality. But it has been a lovely start to the year.

2013 Summer Break

Adding to my sense of well being receiving another nomination for blog award!  Always very exciting and validating. It’s a funny thing, but each award nomination I have received has come while I have been having fun at the coast.  I must go down there more often…!

Because this is actually my second time nominated for the Versatile Blogger award, I thought that rather than formally accept it, I would like to share some thoughts on the blog / blogger who nominated me.

The nomination came from Feed the piglet… . I have followed this blog for some time now.  I have to confess that I started to follow it because I couldn’t resist the name, but there are lots of lovely and healthy recipes to be found, entertaining tales and really fabulous photos. I go to this blog often when I am seeking inspiration.  The recipes are generally easy with ingredients that you have to hand or are easy to obtain, but often have something a bit different in them – some unusual or unexpected combinations of flavours.

I have added a number of his recipes to my ‘must make’ list – next is the Eggplant and Mushroom Pate, which looks mouth wateringly good.  The other day I made the Leek and Parsley soup (version 2), and it was delicious.  What really grabbed me was the idea of combining the soup with melted brie on toast.

Leek and Parsley Soup

Recipe, (as slightly modified from Feed the piglet…)

  • olive oil for sauteeing
  • 2 large leeks, trimmed and washed well
  • 200 g salad potatoes, washed
  • 1 stalk celery and 1 zucchini, chopped (not in the original but I needed to use up!)
  • 700 ml water
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • 1/2 t chilli powder / flakes (I omitted this so that my little one would eat it)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • single cream to serve

Saute the leeks, potatoes and celery for about 15 minutes on a low heat, then turn heat up to medium.  Add zucchini and cook for another 5 minutes. Add water, stock cubes, chilli, bay leaf and about half the parsley.  Bring to the boil, and cook until all vegetables are fully cooked.

Remove from heat.  Take bay leaf out and blend the soup til smooth. Taste to see if any salt or additional parsley are required.  Blend again if necessary, and return to pan. Re-heat to serve.   Add the cream to thin the soup if necessary – the cream is optional, it tastes lovely without too.

I served with the brie on toasted ciabatta and the combination was magic!

So thank you to Feed the piglet, for the nomination and the inspiration!

Lemon Herbed Potatoes

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I don’t eat a lot of potatoes. I like them, but I am very fussy about the way they are cooked.

One of my favourite ingredients to use with potatoes is lemon (I can hear my dad Prof from here – saying ‘eewwwwww’…).

This recipe is light, tangy, nutritious and full of flavour!

Lemon Herbed Potatoes

Recipe

  • 1 kg baby Cream Delight potatoes
  • 1 T white vinegar
  • 2 T Continental parsely, finely chopped
  • 1 T mint, finely chopped
  • 1 T basil, finely chopped
  • 1 t seeded mustard
  • 4 T lemon juice
  • 2 T olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Using medium saucepan add potatoes, cover with water and add white vinegar. Boil until just soft. Immediately drain in colandar and rinse with cold water. Place potatoes in a bowl and toss with the herbs.  Add remaining ingredients, toss again and serve immediately.

Haloumi Pecan Salad

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One of the best things about having the Christmas holiday season during the summer heat is that after a day or two of serious indulgence you start to yearn for a big cool crunchy salad. I haven’t decided whether this compensates for the lack of snow, but it does make it a bit easier to curb that excess!

Haloumi Pecan Salad

This salad is great as a side dish or a main meal.  I only use bacon in it when it is the main, but it is an optional extra.

Recipe

  • 150g peppery rocket / baby spinach mix
  • 1/2 small red onion very finely sliced
  • 75g pecans, roughly chopped
  • seeds from half a pomegranate
  • 100g haloumi
  • 2 rashers bacon, chopped (optional)

Dressing

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 t honey
  • 1 t seeded mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Place the greens into a large flat bowl.  Fry bacon until just crisp and spread over the greens with the onion. Cut pomegranate in half.  Pull the outer  skin away and gently tease the seeds away from the inside pith. Layer seeds and pecans over the salad, reserving some for garnish.

Mix dressing ingredients together and set aside until needed.

Once all other ingredients are prepared, it is time to prepare the haloumi.  I have found a new brand of haloumi that I love. This is saltier than other brands that I know but it has a lovely flavour and texture. As with any haloumi, you need to serve it as soon as it’s cooked or it will toughen (although if you do find it has toughened up before you are ready to serve, you can zap it quickly in the microwave to soften it up again).

Haloumi Alambra

Cut the haloumi into 1/2cm thick slices.  Fry in dry non-stick frypan on medium high heat until beginning to brown. Flip over and cook until the second side begins to brown.  The second side will cook more quickly.  Remove from heat immediately and cut into 1cm wide strips. Add to salad.

Give the salad a quick toss with just enough dressing to moisten, garnish with pecans and pomegranate, and serve immediately. For a main meal I serve with lebanese bread that has been lightly oiled, sprinkled with herbs and crisped in the oven. Delish!

Haloumi Pecan Salad2