Halloumi Watermelon Salad with Mint

Suns out, halloumis out. Here’s a really different and easy way to eat everyone’s favourite squeaky cheese!

This salad is made ~super fresh~ with chunks of watermelon and is a winner at barbecues. The melon cuts through any grease and fat perfectly and really contrasts well with the salty halloumi.

Save yourself a job cutting up an entire melon and look out for preprepared chunks in your local supermarket, I found mine in Sainsbury’s.

Dressing wise I just went with some handfuls of mint in the salad but you could crush up some mint with a little olive oil and lemon if you wanted to give this salad extra ZING. I also used cos lettuce because I like the crunch but some spinach or rocket mixed in could be quite nice here too. There’s no rules!


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Lamb Kofta Kebabs with Balsamic Courgette Salad

These lamb koftas are suprisingly easy to make, I wondered for most of yesterday why I’d not attempted them before. Seeing as we’re not going to Greece on holiday this summer I decided to bring a bit of Greece to us, in the form of food.

I have to admit, small crimes were committed for the sake of this recipe. We don’t grow any fresh herbs and this dish was crying out for some fresh rosemary. I chucked a hoodie on and roamed the streets, looking for a nearby garden with easy access fresh rosemary. I felt (and probably looked) a bit dodgy but needs must – and luckily I found some growing over a garden hedge. A few sprigs later, I was back in the kitchen, giddy AF.

So, make sure you either own, buy, or steal some rosemary for this recipe. It really needs it. The secret is to really chop it very small using scissors, anything any bigger than 1mm or so will be too big and stick out of your mince mixture and it won’t compact against the skewer. Mint is also a great shout but I couldn’t find any to forage (or ahem, steal).


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Pressure Cooker Pulled Beef Brisket

I first ate pulled beef maybe 5 years ago at a restaurant in Leeds called Cattle Grid which has since shut down. They did pulled pork or pulled beef sandwiches for £5 at lunchtime, with chips and slaw. I’ve never had as good pulled beef since! With a huge craving in tow, I set about trying to recreate it. You can slow cook this if you don’t have a  pressure cooker, or even just put it in the oven on a very low heat.

As a side note, some of you might know I got a new job in March at High Street TV, who produce the Pressure King Pro (or PKP). It’s something we developed ourselves and is a really neat piece of kit. This post is 100% off my own back, I really like the product and can’t imagine my life without it now.

Anyway back to the beef. You need a nice bit of brisket – ours was just under 2kg. Look for plenty marbling, this means it has lots of fat running through it which will keep it moist and delicious. 

I marinated this overnight in some mustard, BBQ sauce, sugar, smoked paprika, cumin, garlic, salt and pepper. Wrap it in clingfilm in the fridge and give it a rub and a turn after 6 hours or so. Then it’s into the pressure or slow cooker, make sure you brown it on all sides first. Then I added a mug full of water and set the PKP to ‘meat’ for 1 hour 15 and it was falling apart. If you use a slow cooker I’d allow 4-5 hours, same in the oven. 

When it’s ready, shred the beef using two forks and it should come apart quite easily. Keep the cooking juices and add a little cornflour to them to thicken into a gravy, if you want, or just pour over the beef to keep it nice and moist.

Serve in bread buns with homemade slaw, or if you’re feeling wintery like I was, just add to a big plate of mash.

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Griddled Mediterranean Tofu with Vegetables

Now THIS is a recipe that will give you a hankering for summer. Long days, al fresco dining, BBQs wafting through the air… yes please! It feels like so long since we’ve had good weather but now we can see the sunshine again a bit more and it’s so exciting.

We’d usually be thinking of our summer holiday this time of year but with trying to buy a house this year it’s something we’re delaying so we can save, or at least go for a cheap last minute deal. So instead I’m living my summer vicariously through FOOD.

Nothing says summer like griddled vegetables, spicy harissa marinades, no siree. The leftovers also double up as a great lunch.

Don’t be put off by the slabs of tofu. The marinade makes it taste gorgeous and combination of pressing before griddling gives it a nice crisp texture, a bit like halloumi. Speaking of, you could trade the tofu for halloumi, but it wouldn’t be anywhere near as healthy. 😉


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Butternut Squash, Cauliflower and Chorizo Salad with Wild Garlic

Another recipe using wild garlic! Well, when in Rome (or Roundhay Park). I’ve been trying to think outside of the box and look at different ways of using wild garlic instead of in the standard pesto. This recipe uses wild garlic torn into small pieces and it adds a really nice soft flavour to the dish. If it’s not in season or you can’t get any, spinach would work fine or you could omit it completely.

This is one of those elusive delicious desk lunches that don’t need warming up. Make a big batch at home and enjoy at room temperature or from the fridge, no fuss, no muss!

You do need some harissa for this recipe to give it an extra punch – cauliflower roasted by itself tends not to hold much flavour but whack some harissa in there and you’ve got yourself something really delicious! The beans and cheese add some extra protein and you can take out the chorizo if you’re veggie.


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Salmon, Broccoli and Leek Quiche

I don’t usually make quiches, I’m not sure why because they’re delicious! I think I’ve always thought they were a faff but if you pre-buy the pastry case they’re really a doddle.

I made this bad boy for Mother’s Day lunch with some salad and roasted tomatoes. It went down a treat and I’ll definitely be making a few more quiches in the future – so moreish and the leftovers make great lunches.

You could buy preflaked salmon I suppose to make this even easier but it’s often honey roasted or seasoned which might overwhelm in a quiche. I bought two fillets and just grilled them with a little butter, lemon and salt and pepper.

Find the pre-made pastry cases in the baking aisle of your supermarket – they really help to make this a lot easier! Especially if you have no patience for baking like me. Anyway, onto the recipe!


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Wild Garlic and Fresh Basil Bruschetta

Wild garlic is back! I LOVE wild garlic. It tastes like spring (and garlic). I got up early yesterday and picked a load from Roundhay park, took it home and rustled up this gorgeous bruschetta. 

There’s not much better than foraging for your own ingredients, and it’s impossible to do without feeling a bit TV cheffy and smug. Wild garlic is everywhere at the moment – you’ll know it by its smell – so go out and get some and you too can feel intense smugness.

It’s best to keep it in the fridge in an airtight container until you need to use it. I’d reckon it only has a shelf life of a couple of days, ideally pick it on the day you want to eat it.

This bruschetta recipe is so simple (as all bruschetta should be!) and relies on the freshness of the ingredients to be the best it can be. Get the ripest plum or cherry tomatoes you can find and roast them for 12-15 minutes in a hot oven (around 200c) with a little olive oil and some salt and pepper. 

Take two slices of the best crusty white bread you can find – I used a mini ciabatta loaf cut lengthways, and then toast lightly just on the cut side. While it’s toasting shred the wild garlic into ribbons and tear the basil roughly. 

Once the bread is golden brown, drizzle with some olive oil and then pile on the tomatoes, the herbs and some crumbled feta. Season with a bit more black pepper and enjoy straight away.

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Sweet potato, chorizo and halloumi salad with roasted chickpeas

I don’t know about anyone else but I often get INSATIABLE cravings for halloumi. Like seriously nothing else will do until I’ve had a halloumi fix. There’s not much healthy about frying cheese, or chorizo, but the roasted chickpeas, sweet potato and salad that go with them makes this dish quite balanced.

I love balsamic vinegar at the moment too, a nice sticky balsamic glaze on top of this cuts nicely through the salty halloumi and sweetness of the potato.

The chickpeas are optional but if you have the time definitely worth adding in. Make them a couple of hours in advance so they don’t get in the way of roasting the potatoes.


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A taste of Greece: Eating around Skiathos

Yes, I went to Skiathos like almost a month ago. Yes, it’s taken me a month to write this (I’ve been busy, ok??!). So Skiathos is one of the most beautiful places I’ve holidayed (is that even a verb?). If you’re looking for something fairly inexpensive, authentically Greek and NOT full of stag and hen dos, Skiathos is a great choice.

Stay as close to Skiathos Town as you can. The island itself is only 20 miles or so big, so you’re never very far away from anything – but it would be tricky to get into the town at night when the island bus stops running. Skiathos Town itself is a treasure trove of lively little bars and shops spilling out onto streets, and tiny cobbled passages and back ways to explore. Like any Mediterranean city, it wakes up at dusk, offering amazing food, cocktails and gelato until late.

I’m not going to go through every dish we ate but I had some personal highlights below – excuse the photography quality, most of these meals were a bit dimly lit!


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Black Bean Avocado Salad Bowl

You know how it is. You go on holiday for a week. You come back and you’re out of the swing of posting.  And then you start to feel reeeeaaally guilty. And then it’s three weeks later and you STILL haven’t posted. That’s me right now. Sorry, people.

Is anyone else so thirsty for Autumn? I just want roll neck jumpers, suede skirts and tights now please. And Bonfire Night. Oooh yes.

We still have a bit more warm weather though, so let’s enjoy it while we can. Here’s a nice summery black bean salad before we get the huge influx of slow cooker EVERYTHING.

I sometimes add bacon to this to make it a bit more meaty but that’s optional. You could also substitute red kidney beans for the black beans if you can’t find them, or even chickpeas.


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