Fake It Till You Make It: Summer Veggie Food in the Rain

halloumi salad
Summoning Summer

The barbecue has gathered dust in our shed this year, and we spent most of the weekend with our noses pressed against the glass, gazing mournfully at the rain outside. My optimistic Australian brother in law is made of sterner stuff than us. Even though he has Irish citizenship now, he can’t quash the need to cook over fire and he has been known to stand outside in january barbecuing while holding a golf umbrella over himself and the food. So when we popped over to my sisters house and I saw him preparing fresh corn to chuck on the barbie I felt compelled to summon a bit of the summer spirit he manages to maintain. Fake it till you make it, if you will. Veggie style, of course.

I had four ears of fresh corn, still wrapped in their lovely husks and a block of halloumi with which to rustle up a summery sunday dinner. So with that, and the general contents of my fridge and garden I made Warm Halloumi Salad with Grapes, served with fresh Corn on the Cob and Roast Potato Chunks.

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One each.

Ingredients

Warm Halloumi Salad with Grapes

1 Lettuce

150g Grapes

Half Cucumber

Mint leaves

Flaked almonds, toasted.

For the dressing:

2 tbsp Olive oil

1 tbsp Lmon juice

1 tbsp Maple syrup.

Roast Potato Chunks

4 large potatoes (I love Roosters)

Olive oil

Fresh Corn on the Cob

Method

Preheat the oven to 200c.

Put your tray in the oven with a few tablespoons of olive oil while the oven heats up.

Peel your spuds and chop into chunky cubes. Chuck them into the heated olive oil (careful now!) and season with some sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

Put them in the oven for 20 minutes, toss them about a bit, and put them in for another 20 minutes. No need to parboil.

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Slugs 0, Me 1

Now prepare your salad.

Wash and carefully dry your lettuce. It’s one of the things I’ve very successfully grown this year, so it’s very satisfying to go yoink one out of the ground just in time for dinner.  Line a salad bowl with your lettuce leaves.

Peel, then slice the cucumber lengthways, and using a teaspoon scrape out the seeds. This doesn’t have to be an exact process, just remove a good lot of them. Cube the cucumber.

Grab a good 10-12 fresh mint leaves, wash and chop them up. Another successful GIY endeavour (it’s like a weed in my flowerbed)

Half the grapes. Mix the cucumber, grapes and mint together and distribute over the leaves.

Toast your flaked almonds on a dry pan.

Mix your 3 dressing ingredients briefly with a fork. Don’t dress the salad until just before serving.

Slice your halloumi – you can get about 12 slices from a block. Fry on a medium hot griddle pan in 2 batches. Take care, it can suddenly burn. The first side takes 3-4 minutes, the second side can be done in 2.

Place your halloumi over your salad base, and sprinkle the toasted almonds on top.

The corn is very easy, shuck it and boil it for about 6 minutes. Serve smothered in butter and a dash of sea salt. If I’d had a spare griddle pan, it would have been nice to throw it on there, but I needed that for the halloumi.

This dinner would taste so great outdoors on a summers evening, with a nice cold beer. Instead it gave us a little burst of sunshine in our mouths at the kitchen table in July. While we considered putting the heating on for a bit.IMG_3843

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