You will be seeing a few changes coming to my blog soon, don’t worry, you will still be getting fabulous content, the format and appearance of the blog is being improved. My first regular feature will start today – Midweek meals. Each Wednesday I will bring you a recipe aimed to inspire and help even those who claim not to be able to cook. I will be taking the process step by step using tried and tested formulas and offering my foolproof tips to help even the non cook become a whizz in the kitchen, trust me, you can do it!
Today I’m cooking beer battered halloumi, chips and peas. Now there are many variations of this dish, I am using my favourite recipe, I have simplified it somewhat, tweaked it and come up with a formula that is easy and works. Oh, and my kids love it and with the minted peas adding a degree of sophistication I’m hoping the grown ups will too.
You will need (to comfortably feed a family of 4):
A pack of halloumi
Enough spuds to allow approx 2-3 per person, depending on how large the spuds are…
Peas or petit pois
A bottle of lager
225 grams plain flour
Salt and pepper
Turn your oven on to 200, take a large Pyrex dish and cover the base with sunflower oil not too much, just enough to cover the base you don’t want your chips swimming in oil, but just enough for a thin coating.
Make your batter
Begin by making your batter because this will need to sit for a bit before using. Take 225g plain flour, separate an egg and add the yolk to the flour with about 280 Mls cold beer, salt and pepper. Whisk in with the flour and egg. I use an electric whisk, I picked up a cheap one in Tesco. You don’t need anything fancy but it does help for adding air into the mix. In a separate bowl whisk the egg white until white and fluffy, combine the white into the batter mix it should resemble the thickness of double cream. Do not be afraid to add more flour if you think it may need it, the mixture needs to be able to cling to the halloumi so it shouldn’t be too runny. Alternatively if it looks to thick add more beer. Leave to stand.
I do make chips on the hob occasionally but today to make it easier and safer for you I’m making them in the oven. Begin by peeling a good quantity of spuds, pop in a pan and par-boil. Drain and pop into a coliander. Give them a good shake in the coliander to ‘rough them up’ a bit. Chop into chip shapes. Take the Pyrex dish out of the oven and pour the chips in, use a spatula or large spoon to move the chips about in the oil, turning them over to ensure that they are all covered well. Sprinkle with salt and return to the oven.
Pop your peas into a pan with enough water to barely cover them. Chop a dessertspoonful of fresh mint ready.
Turn your chips
Keep and eye on your chips and take out of the oven roughly half way through cooking. Using a fish slice move them around a bit in the oil so they all have a chance to crisp up. I also turn the dish around at this point because I find my oven (and most fan ovens) tend to cook unevenly.
Fry the halloumi
You will need to pour a generous amount of sunflower oil into a deep frying pan. Turn the gas up to a relatively high heat to heat the oil. Thickly slice your halloumi and cut into triangles.
Dip each triangle into the batter ensuring that it is well coated and pop one piece into the oil, if it sizzles nicely and the batter starts to puff up and crisp you know that it is the right temperature.
Continue the same process with all of the halloumi, you will probably have to cook in two batches, don’t overcrowd the pan otherwise the halloumi will stick together. With a fish slice after a minute or so flip the halloumi pieces over to ensure that the batter cooks on both sides. Remove from pan and drain on kitchen paper. Cook your second batch as before.
Turn on your peas high to boil. Once boiled turn off and drain.
Check your chips
Check on your chips. If they look done removed from the oven and leave to cool for a minute or two before removing with a fish slice to drain on the kitchen paper alongside the halloumi.
Add the mint, salt and pepper to the peas, roughly mash.