Halloumi, avocado & red pepper sandwich

in Savoury, Small bites, Taste -

Made with some of my favourite ingredients, this halloumi, avocado & red pepper sandwich is fresh, delicious and filled with colours and textures!

Halloumi, avocado & red pepper sandwich

Just the promise of sunshine and warm weather suffices; it fills me with a child-like anticipation and a strange kind of energy, waking up at the crack of dawn, impatient for the glorious days ahead. And now that it’s here- sunshine, and summer weather- I can’t contain myself. The house is too small and the floor is too sturdy for my dancing feet. There’s far too many things to celebrate.

Halloumi, avocado & red pepper sandwich

So out of the house and on the move- that’s what it’s all about this week. Being light and nonchalant, letting go and breathing in the light and the warmth. All about being thankful for the little things, the simple things, the most important things.

Halloumi, avocado & red pepper sandwich

Simple- that’s what it’s all about. That’s what this sandwich is all about too. My version of a favourite Middle Eastern dip, muhammara: sweet and salty, filled with fragrant roasted red peppers, pecans, cumin, honey and vinegar- it’s the perfect partner to salty halloumi slices and nicely balanced out with refreshing cucumber slices and smooth avocado.

Halloumi, avocado & red pepper sandwich

Easy to make almost on the fly (although I would recommend preparing the muhammara a day ahead- and making plenty too; it is delicious and keeps very well in the fridge), easy to grab and enjoy on the go. For these days are meant to be spent outside, with eyes and hearts wide-open.

Halloumi, avocado & red pepper sandwich

WHAT (for two sandwiches)

for the muhammara dip:

3 red bell peppers, washed

50gr pecans

50 gr breadcrumbs

1 scant tablespoon honey

1 garlic clove

2 1/2 teaspoons vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

sea salt flakes to taste

for the sandwiches:

4 slices good quality sandwich bread (I used this one from Waitrose)

1/4 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced

1/2 avocado, thinly sliced

120gr halloumi, sliced

1 handful salad leaves, washed and lightly dressed with some olive oil and white wine vinegar

HOW

  1. Prepare the muhammara (ideally the day before, or at least one hour before serving the sandwiches): preheat the oven to 180ºC (160ºC FAN); place the peppers on  a baking tray and roast for about 20′, until their skin is soft and slightly charred (you will probably need to flip them halfway through baking time).
  2. Remove from the oven, place in bowl and cover tightly with cling film. Allow them to cool completely- once they do, the skin should peel off of them quite easily. Remove it, along with the seeds and place the peppers in a food processor.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse to a thick pulp. Taste and adjust the seasoning and/ or oil & vinegar. Place in the fridge for at least and hour, to allow the flavours to come together and the dip to stiffen a little bit.
  4. Before serving the sandwiches, warm and small non stick frying pan over medium heat; add the halloumi slices and cook until golden brown- about 5′; flip and cook the other side too.
  5. To make the sandwiches: spread muhammara on one or both slices of bread and top with some salad leaves, halloumi, cucumber and avocado slices; add salt & freshly ground pepper if desired and top with the second slice of bread.

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in Inspiration -

This food for thought celebrates Oliveology, great couples, pretty plants and Athens’ perpetual allure. Oh, and banana bread too!

Yesterday, I had the privilege to take part in an Oliveology cooking workshop, in partnership with Pan London. The couple hours we spent at the Cookhouse in Borough Market, just above the shop, were pure joy; in company of a group of lovely ladies, enthusiastic and curious about food, under the discreet guidance of Marianna (the driving force behind the brand) and Despoina (chef extraordinaire and sharer of delicious little secrets) and the rest of their team. We cooked and tasted delicious food (a split pea dip, a sweet and a savoury pie and two versions of an egg and tomato dish), drank exquisite wine, tasted a range of the delicious products available in the store, learned tips and shared stories. And for a couple hours, I really felt both like I was home and very very homesick. I’ll be sharing more on Oliveology soon- in the meantime, have an ace weekend. [READ MORE]

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I really am quite oblivious when it comes to all the ‘days’ celebrated throughout the year- apart from two: Mother’s & Father’s Day. I suspect that the reason I pay that much attention to them is stark evidence of how much I miss my parents. And I do, I really do, so very much, in such different ways. My mom is a stunning ball of energy that seems to excel in everything she does, in an understated, quiet and yet powerful manner. Her embrace is literally the safest place in the world for me (still, regardless of everything), her glance is a raffish little pool of the softest blue and her loud, exuberant laugh one of my favourite sounds in the world. She inspires and drives my sister and me crazy- both in equal measures, both seemingly every single day. And every single day, I also miss her and love her. So very much… [READ MORE]

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in The Others -

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Espresso loaf with cinnamon dark chocolate ganache

One of the greatest pleasures of my day- in fact, the very first of them all- is coffee. Black, mildly strong and hot, sipped slowly while I gaze out the window or read the news. The house and streets outside are quiet, usually dark and all to myself. This serenity and that delicious first cup of coffee are sheer pleasure, a gift of sorts which I still don’t dare take for granted. [READ MORE]

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food for thought

This short week seemed to go down a treat. The days were predominantly filled with books (I just started this and find it very hard to put down, despite its size), lots of cake testing and exceptionally bad weather (come on, London! It’s May!). And as such, they were quite ordinary, yet with moments of unexpected beauty and bursts of slightly mad inspiration. The weekend is still up in the air and I’d very much like it to stay this way. As long as there’s cake and more of these fleeting jolts of bliss, it’s all good. [READ MORE]

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in Savoury, Taste -

Perfect for this time of year, this asparagus & tuna pasta salad is colourful, delicious and irresistibly light- it’s an ideal lunch or dinner for spring.

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It seems like every year, I am somehow oblivious to the infinite charms of asparagi. Autumn passes and then winter too and I never think about them, nor do I miss them. And then spring arrives, irresistible and thirsty, bearing gifts of almost unbearable beauty: berries and crunchy cucumbers, delicate greens and, always seemingly to my surprise, asparagus. A little crusty, yet delicate too, requiring so very little and giving back so very much. [READ MORE]

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Compared to last week, which seemed to move like a lazy, annoyed, unmotivated slug, this was a hell of a ride. It was busy and fast, with lots of ups and some downs too; rewarding yet filled with anxiety and tension and two grand highlights: a few successful recipe experimentations (which I will be sharing in the following weeks) and On The Waterfront (which left me with significant crushes on both Brando and Saint). I am ready for the weekend, which will be spent without Mike but with visiting friends and a much needed ladies night in. Have a good one, y’all! [READ MORE]

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I don’t remember when exactly, but somewhere along this weekend, it dawned on me how long it’s been since I last made a cake. I’ve spent the better part of the weeks leading up to Easter trying to make tsoureki and failing spectacularly, time after time. I was left with more flat, dense, delicious yet overall miserable looking sweet breads I knew what to do with. I was also left with an overwhelming desire not to make a dessert for quite some time- enough for my bruised pride to heal and all of me to stay away from sugar and butter and all them beautiful things I had been struggling with. [READ MORE]

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in Inspiration -

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The week after a holiday, no matter how short or long, how far or not at all, is always difficult. I struggle to get my bearings and stubbornly resist to succumb to any form of organised schedule. Yet, somehow, the week is almost passed- we’ve made it, almost to the other side. There’s so much left to be done, there should be very little rest on the weekend. But still, it’s the weekend, and we’ve almost made it unscathed and these two alone are perfect reasons to celebrate. Have a good one y’all! [READ MORE]