Halloumi and Sweetcorn Fritters

IMAG0460

I made these lovely fritters when I needed a new way to use up my halloumi. They’re super quick and easy to make – I had mine for tea with an avocado salad but I reckon they’d be great for brunch too!

You will need:

1 large tin of sweetcorn or around 275g frozen sweetcorn, left to defrost

Half a packet of halloumi, diced into small cubes

1 red chilli, finely chopped

2 spring onions, finely chopped

a small bunch of coriander/parsley/basil (I used half parsley/half basil)

2 eggs

90g plain flour

75ml milk (I used almond milk but whatever you have is fine)

 

Instructions

Pour half the sweetcorn into a food processor and whizz until combined (it doesn’t have to be smooth!)

 

IMAG0453

Combine the whizzed sweetcorn, the whole sweetcorn, cubed halloumi, chilli, spring onions and herbs in a bowl and mix until combined.

IMAG0454

In a separate bowl, whisk the flour and eggs, then gradually add the milk to make a pancake mix sort of texture.

Add this to the bowl with the sweetcorn and cheese mix and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add a tbsp of oil into a frying pan on a medium/high heat, swirl the oil round in the pan until it’s coated then pour a ladle of the mixture into the pan (if you want large fritters it will make around 6, or if you want smaller ones it will make about ten)

IMAG0456

Cook for 2-3 minutes until dark brown underneath then turn over and cook for another 2-3 minutes until cooked through. Drain on kitchen paper and repeat the process for the others.

IMAG0458 IMAG0460

 

 

Authentic Mexican Nachos

Nachos are one of my all time favourite meals. Served with chilli, topped with lots of guacamole and cheese. On my recent trip to Mexico I tried ‘PROPER nachos’ – they’re not really nachos as they are more of a baked tortilla in a sauce (called Chilaquiles) but they are just so good! You can make this dish using flour tortilla wraps,corn tortilla wraps (homemade or shop bought if you’re short on time – flour tortilla recipe here) or if you’re even more short on time you can use shop bought tortilla chips but for best results, make it all yourself!

SAM_1871

You will need:

3-4 tortillas cut into 8 triangles per wrap

5 tomatoes

1 onion

1 small chilli

1 clove of garlic

1/2 tbsp oil

Cut the onion into quarters and prick the chilli with a knife. Put the onion, chilli, tomatoes and unpeeled garlic into a dry frying pan (no oil) and turn the heat up to high. The aim of this is to char the outside of the vegetables so move them around so they cook evenly. You won’t eat the skins so don’t worry if they look a bit black! Once cooked, leave to cool for 5 minutes.

SAM_1829 - Copy

Tip all of the veg into a blender (skins and all). Whizz until combined. (1-2 minutes). Tip the contents into a sieve placed over a bowl so the bowl will catch all of the liquid. Push the contents of the sieve with the back of the spoon to try and push more liquid into the bowl.

SAM_1831 - Copy SAM_1833 - Copy SAM_1835 - Copy

Put a small saucepan on a medium heat and add 1/2 tbsp oil. Once hot,, add the sauce from the bowl and a pinch of salt and simmer until thickened, stirring regularly. (around 15 minutes)

SAM_1836 - Copy

SAM_1837 - Copy

If using tortilla wraps for your nachos instead of pre made tortilla chips, you will need to fry these now in plenty of oil until golden brown all over. Drain on kitchen paper.

SAM_1864

SAM_1865

To assemble the nachos, place half of the tortilla chips into an oven safe ceramic dish. Spoon over a couple of tablespoons of the salsa from the pan andsprinkle with cheese (I use half mozzarella and half cheddar). Layer the rest of the tortillas on top and sprinkle with the salsa, (use sparingly here or the nachos can get quite soggy) soured cream and more cheese.

SAM_1866

SAM_1867

Bake in the oven at 200C for 8-10 minutes until melted and browned. Add any other toppings such as guacamole, fried onions and peppers, spring onion, coriander, refried beans etc…the options are endless!
SAM_1869

SAM_1848 - Copy

SAM_1871

Flour Tortillas

You will need:

280g strong white bread flour (or plain flour)

1/2 tsp salt

3 tbsp oil (olive, rapeseed, sunflower)

180ml water

In a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Add the oil and stir. Add 3/4 of the water,stir, then squeeze the dough with your hands to form a rough ball. If the dough seems dry, add some more of the water (and more if you think it needs any) You need a pliable dough but not sticky. Knead for 2 minutes to combine. Put the ball of dough back in the bowl and cover with a tea towel for a couple of minutes.

SAM_1851

SAM_1852 - Copy

Lightly sprinkle your work surface with flour and put a frying pan on a high heat to get nice and hot.

SAM_1853

Split your ball of dough into two, then split each of those pieces into 4, to make 8 pieces of dough. Roll one of the pieces into a ball shape in your hands, then put on your floured worktop and squash slightly. Using a rolling pin, roll your piece of dough out as thin as you can get without it tearing. You might need to sprinkle some more flour on the dough as you work if it starts to stick. Put your rolled out dough into the pan and turn the heat down to medium.

SAM_1856

SAM_1857

Cook for 1-2 minutes until bubbles have formed all over the surface of the tortilla. Have a look underneath the tortilla to see if there is any colour appearing. When slightly browned, turn the tortilla over to cook the other side. Bigger air bubbles will start to appear. With a spatula, push down on the air bubbles gently to push them around. The idea is to get the whole tortilla to puff up!

SAM_1859

SAM_1863

SAM_1860

After 30-40 seconds check to see if the other side of the tortilla has browned. If one side has browned more than the other, you can flip them back over to cook the other side for another 30 seconds. Put the tortilla to rest on a piece of foil and cover to keep warm. If you’re tortilla didn’t puff up a lot, they may not be thin enough so you may need to roll the rest a little thinner. Repeat with the rest of the dough.

SAM_1862

 

Stef’s Trip to Mexico! (and New York)

ns

Me and my husband Nick, recently managed to get away for 10 days. Mexico was top of our list as it’s one of our favourite places. We absolutely love the country, the weather, the beaches, the people, the wildlife, but more importantly THE FOOD. Anyone who knows me will know that I have a bit of an addiction to Mexican food and have done for some time. But as we wanted to make the most of our time, we decided to squeeze in 3 days in New York first, in the hope that we’d have a relaxing 7 days in Mexico afterwards (wishful thinking) – more on this later!

Top of our list was a restaurant some friends had recommended. ‘Nick and Stef’s Steakhouse’ – I mean, it would be rude not to, right?! So glad we did, the food was great. Nick had the ‘Nick Burger’ (obviously) and I opted for the chicken chop chop salad (after a few days of American overindulgence I felt like I needed it!) Would really recommend this place, and definitely have a Vanilla New York Cheesecake too – amazing!

nick burger nick and stefs salad

So, our highlights of New York. I would really recommend taking a walk through all 3 of these places:

1 Central Park – might sound obvious, but I don’t think I imagined how amazing it would be!

2 Brooklyn – loads to see and do. Make sure you go to Grimaldi’s – THE best pizza I’ve tasted, even if you do have to queue to get in!

3 Chinatown – so much going on there. Street markets, fresh fish stalls, and even taekwando practise in the park!

park grimaldis chinatown

As it was our first trip, we obviously did lots of research of all the best attractions, best restaurants and best neighbourhoods to take a stroll in. There was just so much we wanted to see and do, so we hoped we could just walk around all day and see all of these amazing things in 3 days…which we did…and by the end of day 3 we were just.so.tired. So off we set to Mexico, Playa Del Carmen in the Yucatan Peninsula, for a beautifully relaxed 7 days, or that was the plan anyway, but after a few hours attempting to get a tan, on the beach, with a margarita we decided we weren’t ‘lie down on the beach all day’ kind of people anymore and set ourselves up for another few days of craziness!

First up was Coba. These Mayan ruins are set in deep thick jungle, only accessible by bike. You can still climb the ruins here and the view from the top was breathtaking. It was really interesting learning about the ancient Mayans and the Mayan calendar -we were told many things along this trip, although I’m not too sure how true they all are… Mayans are believed to be descendants of Mongolia, Mayans use lots of salt in cooking as it’s a sign of wealth and also invented chewing gum (I can totally understand why after eating Mexican breakfasts every day!)

On the way back we stopped for some lunch. Lovely tortilla soup made with cornmeal and tomatoes topped with fried ancho chillies and cheese, and one of my all time favourites Pibil chicken – slowly roasted in banana leaves, marinated in sour orange juice, herbs, spices and annatto seeds to give it a lovely red colour.

coba  me coba

soup  pibil

Next up, we had researched the best place to go for authentic street food in the area. El Fogon (meaning ‘the stove’) was apparently the place to go. The waiter recommended we try the chorizo and cheese tacos, so we ordered these along with chicken tacos, nachos and guacamole (obviously, we are in Mexico after all!) The food came with some great accompaniments, an ancho salsa, a deliciously hot habanero pico de gallo and nopales – cooked cactus paddles (for those who are wondering, it tasted to me like a meaty green bean! Worth a try!) It was all some of the best, messiest but most simple food I have ever tasted! (The pictures really don’t do it justice, you’ll just have to take my word for it!) I will be doing a post on some PROPER Mexican nachos soon – so good.

el fogon

chicken

guacamole

taco1

On our supermarket trip, we were amazed by the quantity and quality of the fresh produce. There were mountains of avocados of varying ripeness which were just SO cheap. There were some new vegetables to me. Jicama (mexican yam – texture and taste is a bit like a savoury melon? Apparently, the next new superfood…), chayote (a type of squash) and this funny shaped unidentified green squash looking vegetable at the end (if anyone knows, let me know! Looks interesting!)

IMAG0283 IMAG0278 IMAG0285 IMAG0279

It was our 3rd wedding anniversary while we were there, and we chose this day to visit the beautiful Tulum ruins overlooking the beach. However, we got a bit lost and ended up walking for miles through a road in the jungle, but we did enjoy seeing lots of great nature, iguanas and Yucatan jays! We eventually found ourselves at a much needed beach bar, where we spent some time sampling a few Mexican beers!

IMAG0334 ruins

beerIMAG0332

There’s so many more tasty things to tell you about from this holiday, including some traditional Mayan food specialities, but I am trying to hold back so I can test out some of these recipes at home myself and share them with you (hopefully this will keep me occupied enough to stop me booking a flight back to Mexico immediately!!)