Discovering a delicious new food is such a joy. And as someone who wasn’t a particularly adventurous eater in childhood, it’s an experience I’ve had fairly regularly in my adult years. When I was young I hated most vegetables and didn’t really branch out at all. Even when I became vegetarian, I mostly just switched my real meat for ready-made imitation meat products, rather than experimenting with lentils, vegetables and grains. It wasn’t really until my late teens that I started trying (and enjoying) vegetables beyond the realm of carrots and peas, or cheeses besides cheddar.
The first time I had halloumi cheese, it was threaded onto skewers with vegetables, then grilled, and it was unlike any other cheese I’d had before – so meaty and satisfying. Since then it’s become a firm favourite of mine, and I’m always on the lookout for any recipe where I can include it. Here is a good one from Nigella. Once all the veg is chopped, it’s just a case of bunging everything in the oven. Simple, tasty, and topped with cheese: what a worknight supper is all about.
Double Potato & Halloumi Bake
Serves 2-3, from Feast by Nigella Lawson
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 4cm cubes
1 large Desiree potato, peeled and chopped into 2cm cubes
1 red onion, halved and chopped into 4-6 segments each
1 yellow pepper, deseeded and chopped
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, unpeeled but separated
1.5 tbsp olive oil
100g halloumi, very thinly sliced
1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Put all the vegetables and garlic into a large ovenproof dish. Add the olive oil and coat well. Season with black pepper (but no salt – the cheese will add the saltiness).
2. Cook for 45 minutes until tinged brown. Preheat the grill to high.
3. Place the cheese slices on top – next time I’ll actually chop the slices into quarters to spread the cheesy goodness around the dish a bit more evenly. Return to the oven and grill for 5-10 minutes until the cheese has melted and turned slightly brown. Serve immediately – as a main it just served the two of us, but we can be rather greedy.