Some across the country are experiencing less than Spring-like weather. They had 10 cm of snowfall in Calgary and it is supposed to rain all weekend in Southern Ontario (where my family live). We are still having our cooler days here in the wild-wild west mixed in with the 20 degree Celsius and shorts & T-shirt days as well, but, I am determined not to take a step backwards and only think positively! Summer barbeques and long, hazy days of summer take me away! This is Spring in Canada and always unpredictable.
I have turned the heat off in my condo...which means I have to dress in warm layers on most evenings...but I am determined!! With the cost of heating this place over this past winter I may look for an alternative heat source for winter instead of taking out a small mortgage next year. Yesterday I had a glorious day off of work. A friend and I went cruising in her husbands "new to them" convertible. Top down, wind in our hair...HEAT ON....wink...wink... cruising down the road in a Jaguar. We stopped off at a local pub for a nosh and even sat on the outside patio. In the sunshine it truly was a glorious day watching the loons and mallard ducks cruising the lake with the snow capped mountains in the background!!! I AM DETERMINED!!!! NO LOOKING BACK!!!!
Wrapped in my sweater(s) for dinner last night I was in the mood for some carb-enhanced comfort. I had read about this dish from Nigella Lawson somewhere on the web. What stuck with me was the idea of it's mood-enhancing qualities. Nigella says, " What's more, there's a balance between the components: bland and sweet potatoes, almost caramelized onion and garlic, more juicy sweetness with the peppers and then the uncompromising plain saltiness of the Halloumi."
I had finally located some Halloumi cheese and revelled in its glory in this post . My blog sister Ivy of Kopiaste and I collaborated on a post about this Cypriot cheese. You can read her own words here . Ivy cooks up a storm in her kitchen in Athens. If you haven't had a chance to visit her site please move on over now...do not pass GO.... do not collect $200....just head on over...you will be very glad that you did. "Sis" was able to get her hands on some rennet and therefore able to make her own halloumi cheese... which disappeared quite quickly!
As a post update since our collaboration about Halloumi ...I have been able to locate some rennet , so, I will keep you "posted" on my future cheese making adventures.
In this dish you could substitute feta if you wish. So...for some carb and mood enhancing goodness try it, you'll like it!! The Halloumi does not melt over the vegetables as some cheeses would but becomes a side dish of its own. I served it with a simple spinach salad, but it could easily be served with your favourite grilled meats.
If you're wondering about the wine.. it is Latitude 50 White from Grey Monk Vineyards just around the corner. This was their 25th Anniversary edition.
According to it's write up:
"it has a pale lemon hue, this artfully blended wine has rich aromas of mango, lychee, spice and muscatel raisins. The flavours suggest layers of spice and ripe fruit, including sweet grapefruit. The texture is rich and full, with fruit flavours that persist in a long finish. Served chilled, this versatile wine is appealing on its own, in the picnic basket, with salads or poultry or light meat dishes."
It's name comes from the fact that we are 3 minutes and 19 seconds north of latitude 50, which also runs through Germany's Rhine Valley which is world renowned for its wines. It is one of my favourite local wines just for sipping:D
**Nigella's Potato and Halloumi Bake**
1 large sweet potato or yam
1 large Yukon Gold potato or other firm potato
1 red onion
1 yellow pepper
1 red pepper
half a head of garlic
4 tablespoons olive oil
125g Halloumi cheese, sliced as thinly as you can
Preheat the oven to 400 F (200C/ gas mark 6).Cut the sweet potato into rough 1-1/2 inch cubes and the Yukon Gold potatoes slightly smaller (the sweet potato will cook more quickly). Halve the red onion then cut the half into 4-6 segments, discarding any tough outer skin. De-seed the peppers and cut into 1-inch squares, and separate the cloves of garlic. Put everything into a large roasting pan (it should be big, otherwise use two dishes) and, using your hands, give the vegetables a good coating of olive oil.
Season with black pepper, but no salt as the cheese will make it salty ( the salt will make the water leech out). Cook for 45 minutes, by which time the vegetables should be cooked through and here and there tinged with brown. Place the thinly sliced cheese on top of the bake, and put it back in the very hot oven or under the grill until the cheese has melted and turned slightly brown on top, about 5-10 minutes. Serve straight out of the roasting tin. Serves 2 - 3