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Honey Oregano Halloumi + Courgette

While the summer may have packed itself up and left us for dead a little early this year, the same cannot be said for the courgette glut. With no access to a garden or allotment of my own, my source for this knowledge is the generous portion I seem to keep finding in my veg box delivery each week.

It’s long been known that I’m not a courgette person. One of my most popular recipes to date – and one of the only ways I can truly enjoy them – is courgette brownies. However, throwing something into a brownie batter and baking it could only ever result in deliciousness. It’s cheating. It’s time for me to grow up and learn to love courgettes as the dinner-destined vegetable they are.

I’ve been drizzling halloumi with honey and oregano for as long as I’ve been cooking, ever since seeing it on the internet somewhere (the only reason I ever do anything). I happened to have too many courgettes in the fridge and presumed no harm could come from adding them to the mix and here we are, a new firm favourite has been born.

1 tbsp cooking oil
1 pack/block halloumi
2-3 small/medium courgettes
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp oregano (to taste)

1 – Slice the halloumi into fingers and the courgettes into crescents.

2 – Heat the oil in a non stick frying pan, and add the halloumi and courgettes at the same time.

3 – Cook until golden brown, moving around all the time to ensure it doesn’t catch or burn – once halloumi burns, it burns to a crisp real quick.

4 – Right before you turn off the heat, at the honey and oregano and stir until coated and glazed.

I served mine with a mustard potato salad (boiled potatoes, green beans, mayonnaise, dijon mustard, garlic salt and pepper), it would be great with cous cous too, I think.

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Beer, Marmite + Black Treacle Gravy

Whether we like it or not, autumn fast approaches. In a matter of weeks, the only thing keeping you going Monday to Saturday will be the promise of your Sunday roast. Coupled perhaps with a Gilmore Girls marathon and a thimbleful or two of whisky to push down the deep sense of injustice that boils up the back of your throat each time you remember that we went in to lockdown last winter, sat inside through heatwaves, weren’t allowed to go on holiday and now here we are on the wrong side of the year once more… but I digress.

This has been my go-to gravy for a couple of months now, I won’t make anything else. It’s particularly handy because it doesn’t rely on meat juices, so fits the bill when I’m making veggie roasts (as I’m often inclined to do). It’s deeply savoury and packs a punch of intense flavour – particularly delicious with cauliflower cheese.

I struggled (as per) to get this one written down because I’m such a by-eye cook and can always be relied up to neglect writing notes as I go, but I hope I’ve captured measurements accurately enough for you to give this a try yourselves.

little knob butter
3 heaped tbsps flour
1/2 can(ish) beer, whatever you have in
1 tbsp marmite
1 tbsp black treacle
700ml veg or chicken stock

  1. In a saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute.
  2. Pour in the beer and simmer for a few minutes.
  3. Pour in the stock, add the marmite and black treacle and stir to combine.
  4. Bring to a boil then simmer for 40 minutes to an hour until thick, sweet and delicious.

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Rum and Coke Onions (for Grilled Cheese)

I’m not the only kitchen-dweller turning to slow food to keep me occupied during quarantine. Everywhere I turn is a tenderly roasted leg of something, a wild garlic pesto blended in small batches by hand in a pestle and mortar, a sourdough loaf three days in the making.

We’re gravitating towards these methods because they use up some of the time so many of us have a little more of now. More laborious recipes have undeniable meditative and grounding qualities. After all, the things that used to ground us – the first sip of cold beer after a stressful day, an hour in the gym to set us up for the being sat at the office, a day spent putting the world to rights with our best friend – are no longer available to us.

While eating properly keeps us physically well, I’d argue that the preparation of food itself can play a huge part in keeping us mentally well too.

If you’re usually an on-the-table-in-15 minutes cook and you’ve been struggling lately with the same anxieties that we’re all sharing, try cooking slowly one day this week. Lose yourself entirely in the process and see how it makes you feel. If you hate it and it doesn’t help you whatsoever, you’ll have gained a delicious meal and lost a little time – and if you’re reading this, I’d wager you’ve got a bit of that to throw around at the moment.

For me, there’s no better example of slow food than caramelised onions. The longer, lower and slower you cook them, the better they are. Chop them finely, set them on a low heat and potter about in the kitchen, stirring them from time to time, until the pan is sticky and golden.

Caramelised onions lend themselves well to most alcohols, I just happened to have a can of rum and coke in the cupboard and used it in place of the beer I’d usually infuse them with and they made for such a pleasant grilled cheese experience that I wanted to share them.

Makes enough for 4-6 grilled cheeses (they’ll keep in the fridge for a good few days)

3 onions
Half a can of pre-mixed rum and coke (I used the Captain Morgs one)
Pinch salt

  1. Slice your onions as finely as you can manage
  2. Heat a knob of butter and a drizzle of olive oil in a non-stick pan
  3. Add the onions, making sure the heat is as low as possible, and stir
  4. Keep stirring every few minutes or so, adding a little water at a time if you’re worried about the onions sticking, until they’re really starting to brown. Mine were on for at least an hour.
  5. Pour in the rum and coke and stir until it’s evapourated.
  6. Set aside, ready for heaping in to grilled cheese sandwiches or stirring through cooked pasta..

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