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As some of you might already know, I have a serious Halloumi obsession. I first discovered it at a BBQ a few years back; Halloumi kebabs with peppers; and that was it, I was sold. I think it’s the salty flavour and the lovely chewy texture of the cheese, and the fantastic way it cooks, going crispy on the outside, yet maintaining its shape.

Anyway, enough enthusing on cheese. (My hips will not thank me…and right before holidays too…shame on me!)

Spinach and Halloumi Patties with a Tomato Jam dip Adapted from a recipe included in The Giraffe Cook Book…yep, we’re having a ‘Giraffe’ day today!

You will need:

For the Jam dip:

1) A tin of chopped tomatoes. (You might not need all)
2) 1 large red onion, chopped. (Or in my case, two small!)
3) 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped.
4) 1 chilli, chopped and deseeded. (I’m leaving this out, as am cooking for kids).
5) 4tbsp cider vinegar. (Damn it, I’m out, so am using white wine vinegar and hoping for the best…)
6) 4 tbsp soft brown sugar. (Double damn…haven’t got this either! So I’m using…er…granulated!)
7) About 80g currants. (Not doing well here…only have raisins…)
8) 1 tbsp chopped mint leaves.

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For the Patties:

1) 400g. Couscous.
2) 2 carrots, grated.
3) 120g baby spinach, chopped.
4) A pinch of cayenne pepper.
5) A pinch of turmeric.
6) 2tbsp chopped mint.
7) 2tbsp chopped coriander.
8) 400g grated Halloumi.
9) juice of half a lemon.
10) plain flour and vegetable oil for frying.

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How to make:

1) Start with the chutney. Gently fry the red onions with some oil (chopped) on a gentle heat until nice and soft.

2) Add the garlic and chilli (if using) then the vinegar, tomatoes, sugar, currants (or, ahem, raisins) and 4tbsp water. Cook for 5 mins or so, until it goes jam-like in consistency. Those using tinned tomatoes, don’t bother with water, and leave for longer.

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3) Whilst waiting for that, start on the patties. Pop the couscous in a big bowl, add an equal amount of boiling water and leave it to soak in for about 3 minutes.

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4) Add the grated carrots, the spinach the cayenne pepper and the turmeric. Then the herbs, Halloumi and lemon juice. Stir it all in.

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5) Pour some flour on to a plate. Shape the couscous mix into balls and coat in flour.

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6) Shallow fry evenly until golden, then serve with the chutney! (N.b- we had a DISASTER with frying, they all fell apart…don’t use less Halloumi than advised! I did and did not get away with it, hence ours are now sitting in the oven…)

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Hmm…interesting to see how these taste…what a disaster!)

Total Cost: About £5.00 in total, mainly as the Halloumi is quite pricey. So, £1.25 a head.

The Verdict? Definitely needed more Halloumi. The flavour of the cheese was almost lost in the couscous, which was a bit of a shame. The couscous had a nice fresh flavour, and the spinach was a welcome note to it, but overall, it lacked a bit of oomph, which additional cheese could have resolved! The dip was a nice accompaniment, though perhaps I added a bit too much vinegar as it was a little acidic. (Maybe because I didn’t use cider vinegar…!)
The boys were game and gave it a try, they didn’t mind it too much, but it wasn’t a love affair!
Honest verdict…I think it could be very nice, if done properly! If you have a go, and its a success, let me know!