Monday, 20 June 2011
Father's Day. A another celebration (to add to the list along with Mothers Day and Valentines Day) dreamed up by the ingenious card companies to line their pockets after the card-buying frenzy of Christmas. I love my Dad and I hope that he knows how much I appreciate him but I quite like having an excuse to treat him. I suggesting inviting both The Boy's and my parents over for the day along with my siblings (The Boy’s sister lives too far away, sadly).
We may have stuck a finger up at card-giving commercialism but it did mean that we’d be cooking for eight. Blimey. I decided on a simple menu – a shared lunch of salads with homemade bread and a roast for dinner – but was still faced with tons of preparation in order to get to relax on the day. So, after an hour of aerial hoop and lunch with friends, I got down to some serious prepping. I quickly realised that - after my earlier exertions - once I stopped, I wouldn't be able to start again so I got through as many of many tasks with as much vigour as I could muster. I peeled vegetables for the roast, I soaked pulses for a bean salad, I roasted aubergines for a salad and I melted chocolate for a low(ish) fat cheesecake. Phew!
Sunday dawned and my muscles had locked up into a knot of achey lead. The Boy had helped me to prep a salad of seasonal courgettes and haloumi cheese which I thought would go down well with one and all. As he griddled, his brain was whirring - my recipe idea had sparked some foodie inspiration. He added peppers to my base of courgette, cheese, oregano and olives and topped the whole thing off with a sprinkling of sesame seeds. While the grill pan was still hot, I whacked on a lemon and stuck the grilled, caramalised halves on the plate to dress.
As our visitors arrived bearing various divine dishes - my Mum brought a fantastic homemade polenta based gluten free quiche while my Mum-in-Love brought a broad bean and bacon salad. Eight around our little table was, urm, rather friendly to say the least but it was made bearable by the mountains of food. My batch of green olive foccacia went down a storm but it was the courgette salad that was the real star of the show. The courgettes become sweet and soft when grilled which contrasts nicely with the salty bite of the green olives. The weather (predictably unpredictable) wasn't on our side and we didn't fancy barbecuing on our driveway so we used a grill pan but this could be popped on the barbie for a truly smokey flavour.
Grilled Courgette & Haloumi Salad
Serves 6 - 8 as a side dish
4 medium courgettes
250g halloumi cheese, drained and sliced
100g green olives, sliced
25g sesame seeds
handful of oregano leaves
- Put a griddle pan on a high heat to warm up until smoking. Alternatively, prepare your barbeque.
- Wash the courgettes and cut them lengthways. Try to get them around 5mm thick but don't worry too much if you can't as they're not the easiest of things to cut! Deseed and slice the peppers and pop everything in a bowl with the halloumi cheese.
- Drizzle the courgettes and pepper with a little oil and mix so that they are well covered. Carefully brush the griddle with a little oil on a heatproof brush or a kitchen towel.
- Grill the courgette and pepper for a few minutes on each side until they are slightly softened and have charred lines. Remove to a serving dish.
- Next, grill the halloumi for about 4 minutes, turning each slice so that it crisps up slightly and becomes charred. Add to the serving dish with the other vegetables.
- Turn off the heat under the pan and immediately put two lemon halves, cut side down, on to the grill. Leave for a few minutes until they are caramalised and browned.
- Meanwhile, add the olives and oregano leaves to the dish and toss the salad. Top with sesame seeds and oregano sprigs. Serve with the grilled lemon halves to squeeze over.