Having my cousin around at the moment is so exciting. The fact that the last time I saw her, she was still a toddler in her diapers and today she has blossomed into a beautiful and sophisticated 25 year old young lady, would probably surprise you. But it’s true! The last time I visited India was roughly 20 years ago. That in itself is astonishing considering it is my birthplace and some of my dearest family live there.
Being a Gemini as well, my cousin S. mirrors so many of my own traits and I see myself in her when I was 25. As she sits across me and we chat about the 1001 things, sipping cocktails, I am taken in by her refreshing and enthusiastic outlook on life. Currently she is in Milan, studying and training to be a superlative designer with her own label one day. Wait – she’s not any designer designing with fabric. No, she designs handbags.
I know all my shoe and handbag crazy readers have just turned green with envy, but yes I am so proud of her.
The memories I have are of her, in diapers, running through the corridors of my aunt’s house in Bombay. She would squeal with delight as I would throw her on the bed and tickle her until both of us had to stop for air from laughing so hard. Now, we are getting to know each other like two good girlfriends who have not seen each other for a few years. We talk about what we’ve done, how we’ve gotten here, what our dreams are and what moves us. We giggle about old boyfriends and lament about the bad relationships. I see she too asks the ancient question women have been asking for centuries. What is it with men?
We have a ball imitating other family members and laugh so hard at the Bollywood style drama and dialogue we have witnessed, coming to the agreement that we should write one of those over-dramatic Indian soaps, our mothers love to watch.
Both of us are also reveling in each others creativity, inspiring each other with new ideas and thoughts. I have always found it exhilarating to be able to talk about design, writing and photography with akin soul mates and I really like her input on my photography portfolio.
I also realized S. has an amazing appetite. Wonder where it goes because she is incredibly skinny! But I love it. She is open to all kinds of foods and does not shy away from experimenting with new flavors.
This summery salad gets its inspiration from the traditional Arab fattoush. I’ve used quinoa as my grain of choice for the salad as it is perfectly light and delicate, fitting the season. Sweet, juicy and aromatic cherry tomatoes make this salad so try and get the best ones you can. I then slow roast the tomatoes in olive oil and some garlic, and then add them to the salad. The garlic marinated halloumi is a dream paired with the salad and adds a wonderful and bold new level to it, making it a magnificent whole meal.
Garlicky Marinated Halloumi Cheese with a Roasted Tomato Quinoa Salad
Printable version of recipe here.
400g cherry tomatoes
3 small cucumbers, unpeeled and diced in approx. 2cm pieces
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
150ml olive oil
250g halloumi cheese, sliced thickly
3 tablespoons coriander leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon mint leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons flat leaved parsley, chopped
Juice and zest of half a lemon
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and black pepper
- Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. In a mixing bowl, toss whole cherry tomatoes with 30ml olive oil and half of the crushed garlic. Sprinkle with some salt and spread out on a roasting tray. Roast for approx. 30 minutes or until they are tender but still hold their shape.
- In the meantime marinate the halloumi cheese in a mixture of 50ml olive oil and the remaining crushed garlic for 30 minutes.
- Cook the quinoa in a saucepan of boiling water for 8-10 minutes, or until tender (see instructions on the packet). Drain in a fine sieve and leave to dry.
- In a bowl, add the cucumbers, onions, herbs, quinoa, salt and pepper to taste. Make a dressing using the remaining 70ml olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar and zest. Pour over the cucumber and herbs. Toss well, then add the roasted tomatoes and gently fold into the mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning. Set aside for flavors to incorporate.
- In the meantime pan-fry the halloumi cheese in a non-stick pan until golden on both sides. Better still, grill the cheese slices on a charcoal barbecue. Drain on some paper kitchen towels. Serve immediately.
- Serve the quinoa salad with slices of the garlic halloumi and sides of minty hummus or tahini yogurt sauce.
I simply adore salads like this because they include a mixture of striking flavors and wonderful ingredients. Quinoa is lighter than most grains and it’s texture and flavor pairs well with the aromatic slow roasted tomatoes. The halloumi is addictive with the garlic flavors adding a powerful punch. The halloumi should be made fresh and enjoyed when it’s hot, as it tends to get rather rubbery when it is cold. However, you can make double portions of the salad as it tastes better the next day. Enjoy!
Wishing you all a great week ahead and a fantastic weekend. I’ll be seeing you next week with a birthday treat for a little boy who will be turning 8 next week ;o)
Hugs!You might like these salads from WFLH:
|Creamy Red Peppercorn Coleslaw||Corn-Coriander Salad||Middle Eastern Warm Vegetable Salad|
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