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.

Vegetable platter

in Small bites, Taste -

My favourite vegetable platter features lots of crunchy veggies, toasted sourdough, mozzarella balls & my favourite, smooth, green, sour & sweet dip. 

Vegetable platter

One of the things that makes me happiest is having friends over and feeding them. I always prefer preparing the food myself (be it small bites or an actual meal) and not relying on store-bought options- so when guests do arrive, I’ve been through a bizarre state of mild stress and almost absolute bliss. And they can both be attributed to cooking, which stresses and relaxes me in almost equal measures. My biggest joy is to prepare a platter, abundant in some of my favourite things. These most often belong in the dairy family (there’s few things I love more than a good cheese platter), but as of late, I have been experimenting with including more freshness, crunchiness and colours. [READ MORE]

Egg, cress & radish sandwich

in Small bites, Taste -

This humble egg, cress & radish sandwich is as simple and unassuming as it sounds and as delicious as each one of its parts. Make a lot, they definitely won’t go to waste.

Egg, cress & radish sandwich

I love a good sandwich; one that’s made with a fine, not too complex, not too artisan-y and whatnot, bread and a filling which excites without becoming overwhelming. I’m always drawn to dishes which embrace and celebrate few ingredients- and sandwiches are one of the best ways to do a lot with very little. [READ MORE]

Citrus & edamame salad

in Small bites, Taste -

Perfect for winter and filled with all the beautiful fruit available, this bright and refreshing citrus & edamame salad is as easy as it is satisfying.

Citrus & edamame salad

I am endlessly in awe of the fresh produce available in spades during spring and sumer. All the captivating colours and intoxicating smells, all the different textures which beg to be used in different dishes, usually requiring very little handling at all. I am in awe indeed and I miss them when the warm months are gone. And then, in the middle of winter, when all hopes of light and warmth are unwillingly but still necessarily put to the side, I become aware, somehow by chance and almost  alarmingly, of the devastating beauty of citrus fruits. [READ MORE]

Spicy hot toddy

in Small bites, Taste -

Mildly boozy and seriously spicy, this hot toddy will do wonders both for your immune system and your spirit! Bottoms up!

I meant to share this for a while now, as it has become my favourite remedy for winter colds. To be perfectly honest, up until recently, I had no clue what a hot toddy was. I am not a big fan of whiskey and I don’t care for hot beverages which are not black coffee. Still, there’s always whiskey around here and thanks to the vibrant English weather, there’s also the occasional cold. So, in an effort to keep winter colds (and blues) at bay and in memory of the very cool Robert Burns (Happy Birthday!), here’s my version of a hot toddy and the story behind it. [READ MORE]

Homemade dukkah

in Small bites, Taste -

Fragrant, spicy and crunchy, this Egyptian savoury spice blend has the right amount of heat, is very addictive, versatile and so easy to make at home.

Homemade dukkah

I don’t remember the first time I came across dukkah; what I do remember is how crazy in love I fell. Listen, crunchy texture in food tends to make me very happy. Peanut butter is always crunchy (although I often cook with the smooth variety) and granola stays in the oven just a tiny bit longer; when I make pie using filo pastry, I try to call dibs on all the extra crispy corner pieces and as much as I love hummus, crunchy chickpeas always trump it. I won’t even get into milk chocolate with hazelnut or almond chunks- they pretty much sum up half of my childhood and don’t want to get soft now. [READ MORE]

Chilli, lemon zest & parmesan popcorn

in Small bites, Taste -

Chilli-lemon-parmesan-popcorn

Happy first of November y’all! I like this time of year- it’s not “OMG it’s Christmas” spectacular, nor “can’t wait to hit the beach” carefree, yet there’s something about this month, with it’s dark afternoons and first cold blasts, that fills me with a somewhat calm sense of comfort and an ever so slight excitement for the more glamorous month which follows. [READ MORE]

Spicy tomato & corn dakos

in Savoury, Small bites, Taste -

Spicy tomato & corn dakos

With the exception of a super rainy, gloomy Saturday, the weather in London has been almost unseasonably sunny and hot- and the forecast for this week is similarly bright and promising. We won’t be around for it, but luckily California also promises a beautiful Indian summer. And while I kinda can’t wait for pumpkins and apples galore, I’m happy to enjoy the beautiful summer produce for a little while longer. My favourites at the moment: juicy tomatoes and crisp corn on the cob. [READ MORE]