25 September 2012

Bulgar wheat and halumi salad with tahini dressing

Does anyone not like halumi? Surely not! Maybe for some it's a bit of an acquired taste/texture, but it's definitely one of my favourites. 

It's been a complete wash-out for barbeques this year, but if you happened to live somewhere where the sun actually shines then halumi, grilled on the barbeque and served up with a bowl of taramasalata and piles of pita bread (à la Dad's amazing Greek barbeques) is a definite summer-time treat. For now though, dry frying the halumi will have to do, and this robust salad can bring a little summer sunshine to a rainy England. 

The dressing (created by my sis) is a gem which would work well with lots of other middle-eastern style salads.

Bulgar wheat and halumi salad with tahini dressing
Serves 4

150g bulgar wheat
6 spring onions, diced
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp sunflower seeds*
1 tbsp pistachio nuts*
4 tomatoes, chopped
4 handfuls rocket
250g halumi

For the dressing
1 clove of garlic, crushed
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tbsp tahini
1/2 tsp honey
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

*any combination of nuts and seeds will do, so whatever's in the cupboard

Cook the bulgar wheat according the the packet instructions, drain and leave to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, toast the nuts and seeds (including the cumin seeds) in a large frying pan. Combine in a large bowl with the tomatoes, spring onions, and rocket. Add the bulgar wheat and season with salt and pepper.

To make the dressing, combine all of the ingredients in a jam jar, season with salt and pepper and shake well. Dress the salad.

Cut the halumi into 1cm slices, dry fry it for a minute or so on each side (until it goes golden brown) and then pop it on top of the plated salad and you're done.

10 September 2012

Peach and honey frozen yogurt

Whilst we're still in the last throws of summer, it's not to late to dig out the ice cream maker for bit of frozen deliciousness. Although, as far as I'm concerned it's never too late to dig out the ice cream maker. Ever. 

This is a super summery recipe and calls for some ripe, sweet peaches. I know we're not great at peaches in England, but hopefully at this time of year, they're still in the shops and have had all summer to pack themselves full of flavour. If the peaches aren't looking great, you could try the same recipe with nectarines or even apricots or plums. 

Peach and honey frozen yogurt
Serves 6

3 ripe peaches
3 tbsp honey (maybe a little more, depending on how sweet your peaches are)
500ml natural yogurt

Stone the peaches and cut them into chunks. Puree them in a food processor until smooth. Add the honey and yogurt and puree again. Taste the mixture, and add more honey if needed. It should be a bit over sweet at this stage, because the flavours will mellow as it freezes. 

Pour the yogurt mixture into an ice cream machine and churn until set.

7 September 2012

DIY vintage bowl candles

It's been a while since I've posted up a crafty entry, but hopefully this one will get you right back into the swing of things. 

I'm a major car boot sale fan (this one is a regular favourite), and love rooting through to find little treasures. Don't get me wrong, there's always an awful lot of tat, and sometimes it can be near impossible to find the treasures, but if you don't give up hope and keep an open mind you can nearly always find something to make the trip and the early start worthwhile. 

My last visit resulted in a new home for some pretty little bowls, but empty bowls, no matter how pretty they are, aren't nearly as great as pretty little candles. They're super easy and quick to make, and once you have the various bits and bobs you need, you'll be hooked. 

(ps - if I know you and you have a birthday/anniversary/wedding/Tuesday night coming up, you're very likely to be getting one, so look away now.)

DIY vintage bowl candles
Candle wax (you can buy it here)
Short candle wicks, ideally with metal bases (see here)
Small bowls/tins or other pretty containers

Firstly, clean and dry your containers.

Measure out the wax by completely filling the bowls with the un-melted wax. As it melts it will reduce in volume and should leave you with the right amount. Melt the wax according to the instructions (I melted it in a jug for easy pouring), then pour the melted wax into the containers. Carefully place the wicks in the centre. 

Leave the wax to cool completely, then trim the wicks. Don't try and rush the cooling, or the wax might harden with an uneven colour or surface. 

And then enjoy! Obviously whilst remembering not to leave lit candles unattended or on non-heat resistant surfaces. 

(I didn't, but if you like, you can add a bit of essential oil to scent your candles.)