My birthday month is coming to an end soon. Yes, birthday month. I’ve been blessed with so many wonderful, thoughtful gifts throughout the month, even though my birthday happened the first week of January. Thank you all! If any of the gifts are food-related, you know for sure it’d make an appearance on this blog.
My boss whom I adore and share a great deal of time sharing meals and talking about food gave me ‘Ottolenghi: The Cookbook’. She’s tried many of the recipes and raved about them and I can now do the same.
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting one of the Ottolenghi’s restaurants (the Islington branch) and the first thing you’ll experience are the bursts of colours and aromas from the bountiful displays of fresh pastries and Mediterranean style salads set amidst a background of clean-cut white washed walls, shelves and furnishings.
Ottolenghi’s philosophy on food is geared toward the Mediterranean flavours, crafted with fresh, clean, simple ingredients like lemon, pomegranate, garlic. This is evident in all the recipes in the cookbook.
This is the second recipe I’ve tried. The first was roasted aubergine with saffron yogurt which I totally loved and was eager to share on the blog, BUT the photos from that died along with my Sweden vacation photos when my camera’s SD card decided to give up and do a cleanse of it’s contents. Fret not though, the aubergines were so, so yummy I’ll be making it again pretty soon.
Now this – Grilled asparagus, courgettes and halloumi cheese, dressed generously with a basil dressing. What a delightful combination. The original recipe called for manouri cheese which I imagine would be extra lovely, but I couldn’t get my hands on any. I thought halloumi was a great sub though. I did find the dish a tad too oily for my liking (and I did not even use the full amount of olive oil stated in the recipe) Would recommend that less oil be used if you want to give it a try. I’m looking forward to devouring more of the wonderful creations from Ottolenghi’s recipes this new year. What a great start.
Chargrilled asparagus, courgettes and halloumi
Adapted from Ottolenghi, The Cookbook
150g cherry tomatoes, halved
10 asparagus spears
1 large courgettes
150g halloumi, sliced about 2cm thick
course sea salt and black pepper
50ml olive oil
1 garlic clove
25 basil leaves
a pinch of salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 170C/Gas Mark 3. Mix the tomatoes with some olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Spread them out on baking tray lined with baking parchment, skin side down. Roast in oven for about 30 minutes or until semi-dried. Remove from oven, leave to cool.
2. Trim asparagus, blanch in boiling water for about 2 minutes. Drain and set aside. Slice courgettes thinly lengthwise, toss both veggies in olive oil, salt and pepper. Heat griddle pan on high heat, grill the vegetables and get nice char marks on all sides. Remove, leave to cool.
3. Grill halloumi cheese on griddle pan for about a minute on each side.
4. Make the basil dressing but blitzing all the ingredients together. Any extra dressing can be kept in the fridge for other salads. (I used the while lot!)
5. Assemble the vegetables in layers, drizzle with as much basil oil as you like.