“ "Halloumi is a cheese indigenous to Cyprus, traditionally made from a mixture of goat's and sheep's milk, although some halloumi can be bought that also contains cows' milk. Industrial halloumi contains more cows milk than goat and sheep milk. This reduces the cost but changes the taste and the grilling properties. The cheese is white, with distinctive layered texture, similar to mozzarella, and a salty flavor. It is stored in its natural juices with salt-water, and can keep for up to a year if deep frozen at −18 °C (0 °F) and defrosted to +4 °C (39 °F) for sale at supermarkets. It is often garnished with mint. The mint is supposed to add a taste while some claim that it has natural anti-bacterial action that was traditionally helpful to increase the life of the cheese." „
* Prices may differ from that shown
Although not strictly a vegetarian, it is extremely rare for me to eat meat. I therefore like to try lots of other things, including any type of cheese I can get my hands on. Normally I say the stronger the better, but there a few other milder cheeses that I really love, including halloumi.
Halloumi is a Cypriot cheese which has an extremely high melting point so can therefore be grilled/fried and still retain a solid shape rather than melting into a big mess. For me, heating my halloumi is the only way to enjoy it, as it is quite hard and tasteless in its cold form.
I don't buy halloumi every week as it usually has a shorter sell-by date than other cheeses but every few months ago I will purchase a block, which usually sets me back about £2.30 for 250g. It can be found in the normal cheese fridges of most of the supermarkets.
As I said it is a very firm cheese, which is springy to the touch and white in colour. It has a fairly rubbery texture but can be easily cut into slices. Halloumi is quite tasty and the one critisicm i have of the taste is that it is slightly salty, hence why I can't eat a massive amount (which is probably a good thing). The taste is hard to desribe as it's unlike anything else I've tasted, but it is not too strong, so if you like other milder cheeses like mozarella i would recommend giving it a go. It seems to be a bit of a 'love or hate' one so just try it if you haven't!
I've heard people describe the texture as 'squeaky' which I understand as it is a bit rubbery and can literally squeak on your teeth when you eat it! I find that if I cook it for long enough so that it is a bit softer then this isn't really an issue. I tend to enjoy my halloumi in one of the following meals:
*Cous cous salad - fried and chopped red onions, corguette, aubergine and garlic mixed with cous cous (which has been cooked in vegetable stock) and slices of grilled halloumi. The flavours work really well together.
*Stick it on the barbie - when I have a BBQ I always put slices of halloumi on there. People seem to love it and it is a good meat alternative for me.
*Jazz up a (quorn) burger - I often eat meat-free Quorn/Linda McCartney/vegetable burgers and a couple of slices of grilled halloumi on top is a nice treat. Obviously I'm sure this would be good on meaty burgers too.
*Like most cheese this is a versatile ingredient which can be used in a big range of salads, pastas and other dishes, but those are the main ways I enjoy mine.
There are about 100 calories per 30g of halloumi, which is not a great deal of cheese for your calories in this case but as I said the salty taste means that a small amount is usually enough.
Not really being a big cheese lover I was quite reluctant to try Halloumi. In a restaurant a few years ago my friend recommended it to me so thought I would give it a go. That was enough to get me hooked. Halloumi is Cypriot cheese made traditionally from goats or sheep's milk. I find the taste to be rather salty and almost a little rubbery although absolutely delicious and now my favourite type of cheese. I tend to pop it in a frying pan and let it cook until its browned. I try to eat it very quickly as I think it tastes best when straight out of the pan. You only need a slice of two to enjoy it. It's very rich so I don't have it very often, rather save it as a special treat with a nice dinner. I generally use two pieces as a starter for a meal. Even if you are not a cheese lover, I would recommend giving Halloumi cheese a go as I think you will be pleasantly surprised!
I am lucky in the fact that both my parents are into cooking which means that I often get to try lots of new foods. A couple of years ago, Mum asked me to try some new cheese that she had just discovered, Halloumi Cheese and I have been addicted to the stuff ever since.
About Halloumi Cheese
Halloumi cheese actually originates from Cyprus and is traditionally made from a mixture of sheep and goats milk. Halloumi bought in supermarkets tends to contain cows milk, whereas Halloumi sold in traditional Cyprian shops / restaurants still retains the traditional recipe of sheep and goats milk. One of the things that makes this cheese so unique is that it can stand a tremendous amount of heat, whereas most other cheeses melt at a certain temperature, Halloumi cheese stays relatively solid and develops a delicious golden crust.
Price and Availability
These cheese costs about £1.20 for 200 grams. I usually buy my Halloumi at Tesco where it is stocked in the cheese section but I have to admit that you do have to search for it, as its not always obvious as to where it is. One downside to this cheese is that it is not widely available but I have seen it on sale in Tesco and Sainsbury.
Halloumi cheese has an excellent shelf life, lasting for up to 2 months at 4ºC or a year it if is frozen.
Taste and Texture
One very bizarre thing about Haloumi Cheese (except for the name!) is the texture. It is firm and quite rubbery which means that when you cut it for cooking and also when you eat it, it actually squeaks against your teeth which is a strange experience.
The cheese is actually white with a very slight tint of yellow to it. It is mildly salty and has a slight tangy taste to it. It is extremely difficult to describe the taste, but its extremely different to any other cheese I have ever tried and while the taste is fairly mild, its still a very versatile and tasty cheese.
Cooking Halloumi Cheese
It has been claimed that Halloumi cheese is the only cheese in the world that can be eaten and enjoyed either raw or cooked in any possible way, fried, grilled, baked or boiled. As I already mentioned, one of the advantages of Halloumi is that it doesn't melt, that's why it is great for BBQs in the summer.
My favourite way of cooking Halloumi is the following method:
1. Cut the Halloumi into slices roughly 0.5cm - 1cm thick.
2. Roll plain flour over both sides of the Halloumi (the flour will stick as the cheese is moist)
3. Place Halloumi under a medium grill and cook until it turns brown and crispy.
Quite often when cooking this way, the cheese appears to have burnt as it does tend to go a deep brown colour but it still tastes just as yummy.
There are other ways in which to cook Halloumi cheese, such as cutting it into cubes and then places on skewers which are then placed on the BBQ. Another way is to place the Halloumi into a hot frying pan and cook each side of the Halloumi for around 30 seconds. Do a search on the internet and you will find so many different ways in which you can cook Halloumi but I thought I would share with you the main way I like to cook it.
Personally I think that Halloumi is best served with salad items such as lettuce, tomato and cucumber. When I grill my Halloumi, I tend to eat it by itself with a small amount of sweet balsamic vinegar salad dressing drizzled on top of it.
Having said that, there are literally thousands of recipes which include halloumi cheese. Halloumi cheese can be used as a snack item, a starter and can be coupled with other items to make a delicious main meal.
I would 100% recommend this cheese to people. I am amazed at the amount of people that have never heard of this cheese, let alone tried it. In fact, the first time I went to Tesco's to buy some, I had to ask an assistant where it was as I couldn't find it and she told me that they didn't stock any cheese of that name and told me that maybe I had the name wrong. I thanked her and after 10 minutes, found it tucked away on the shelf!
Although the texture of this cheese is rather odd, the mild, slightly tangy texture is very distinctive makes this cheese stand out from many others. As the flavour is not particularly strong, the cheese is not too offensive and I even know a few people that normally do not like cheese, that actually like Halloumi so everyone should definitely try it, even you people who are not cheese lovers!
A friend of mine recently introduced me to a new type of cheese called Halloumi. Being a cheese lover already, I was more then willing to try it but have to say that it is very different from any other type of cheese.
Halloumi comes from Cyprus and is usually made from goats and sheep's milk. However, the version of this cheese that tends to be sold in the supermarket's, is made with cow's milk and does taste slightly different from the traditional recipe.
Halloumi has a texture which is most similar to Mozzarella and it is also the same light, almost white colour. Halloumi tends to come stored in salty water which doe make the cheese taste salty, but personally, I really love it.
I usually tend to buy my Halloumi from Tesco's and the brand that I get from here is from the Discover range (the product shown in the photo). The blocks I buy comes in a 240 gram block and costs roughly £1.70. I always find that you really have to search for Halloumi in the shops as they never seem to stock very much of it compared to all the other, more popular cheeses.
The pack of Halloumi that I tend to buy comes in salt water as I previously mentioned. This is something to be aware of when opening the packaging. I tend to place to cheese on a worktop and slice the top of the packaging with a knife and then just life the cheese out. Halloumi is firm to the touch and feels quite artificial but certainly doesn't taste it.
I always find cutting the cheese up slightly difficult because the cheese is moist and a tiny bit slippery so you must ensure you take care when attempting to cut it. Halloumi can be eaten in various ways. My personal favourite way of eating it is to cut it into fairly thin slices and then place it under the grill for 5-10 minutes until the outside starts to brown off.
Another easy way of cooking it is to fry it. This is also quite a healthy option as you don't need to use any cooking oil and the oils within the cheese ooze out as you cook it. In the summer, I always serve Halloumi skewers at BBQ's and they are always really popular. I simply cube the Halloumi and then place it onto skewers between veg such as mushrooms, red pepper, onion and courgette. These are great to offer to vegetarians at BBQ's.
Halloumi doesn't really taste of very much, just a little bit cheesy and maybe slightly bland if anything compared so some of the other cheeses. I guess in that sense it is very similar to Mozzarella. The most unique thing about this cheese is definitely the texture and the fact that it squeaks when you eat it.
As with most cheese, Halloumi does have a pretty high fat content. The packet I have states that there are 311 calories per 100 grams so this isn't a product you should be eating everyday!
In conclusion, I would certainly recommend Halloumi to buyers. I think it is an extremely unique cheese that can be used in a variety of ways. Although it is slightly more expensive than your average cheese, I still think that the price offers good value for money. Another advantage of Halloumi is that is has a really long shelf life, I have kept a sealed packet in my fridge for over 4 months and it has been fine. Halloumi is a firm favourite in my household and I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to try something new
Halloumi is a Cypriot cheese, traditionally made from Goat or Sheep milk. It's a white cheese, with a salty flavour and is often served fried or grilled as it does not melt. You can find it in most supermarkets, amongst all the other foreign cheeses, middle eastern food shops and increasingly, corner shops! It normally costs in the region of £2-3 for a block of 200grams.
Halloumi has a salty taste and a slightly rubbery texture and often 'squeaks' when you bite into it. I often fry a few slices in olive oil and serve with salad for a light lunch at the weekends - this gives the outside a lovely crunch when you bite into it. It's also a great dish to serve to your vegetarian friends - with salad for a light lunch or starter, or pop a slice into a burger pub with a portebello mushroom for an alternative type of veggie burger. It's also absolutely wonderful on the barbecue - the smokey flavour setting it off beautifully, with a squeeze of lemon. It's wonderfully easy to cook and prepare Halloumi, as you just grill or fry it, with mimimal effort and preparation.
Halloumi is filling, so for a light lunch, I find that 3 slices, just under half a centremetre thick is plenty, served with salad. It's also high in calories, so it certainly isn't something to be eaten everyday. I estimate that a serving is probably 75-80grams.
Calorie and Nutrition Values (per 100g)
(Taken from weightlossresources)
One of my recent "most embarassing moments" involved a discussion with a Greek taxi driver about how great Greece is. All was going fine until I mentioned Halloumi cheese! He was quite offended and indignantly pointed out it's from Cyprus. Oh well, at least now you won't make the same mistake as I did!
Wherever it's from, one thing I do know about Halloumi is that it's delicious. The most amazing thing about this cheese is that you can cook it without it melting. This is because of the way the rind is washed, and it makes this cheese very versatile as you can cook it in ways other cheeses can't stand up to. For example, you can just cut it into slices and throw it straight into the frying pan with a little bit of olive oil. When it browns up nicely on each side it's done. Also you can stick it on skewers with veggies and put them on the barbeque for a delicious vegetarian meal.
One thing I do have to say about Halloumi is that it's very, very salty. If you don't like feta for this reason, you won't like Halloumi. I really like it but not on its own - it needs to be served with something else in order to cut through the salt.
I am currently on a diet and am also on a mission to help my boyfriend with his diet as well. Also, he had never tried Halloumi. Therefore when I found some Halloumi at Tesco's that was 30% less fat than regular Halloumi I snapped it up. I served it according to this recipe from the Telegraph by Sophie Conran (I can't seem to post the link but if you google Conran Halloumi you'll find it). Anyway, if I do say so myself, it came out really well and my boyfriend said it was the best thing I had ever cooked for him! He even asked me for the recipe so he can cook it himself, and he has never done that before.
Halloumi costs a little over £2 a packet and regular Halloumi contains 325 calories per 100 grams. I don't know why Tesco considers one serving to have only 100 calories because to me a serving is about 100 grams, so beware! In contrast, Cypressa Lite Halloumi contains only 228 calories per 100 grams.
I have to say that I had never heard of it until 5 years ago. I was introduced to it on a visit to see my Dad and his new overseas property in Cyprus.
I remember him asking me if i had heard of it before and he told me it was a local delicacy a cheese that needed to be cooked! Well, that was certainly a first by me.
To cook halloumi you heat a small amount of oil, and i would suggest you use olive oil, in a frying pan when the oil is ready you place slices of halloumi (approx 1/2 a centimeter thick) and fry gently until golden brown on both sides. This is great served with a tomato salad and tastes lovely, I would compare it to a mozzarella but halloumi actually has some taste to it.
It squeaks when you eat it, my daughter loves it and still, 5 years later, calls it squeaky cheese.
Halloumi is traditional made from goats cheese and is package with a bit of fluid in the packet, much like mozzarella is.
I personally have only tried this cheese fried but it can also be grilled or barbecued, both of which I am keen to try.
I have not had any problems finding it in supermarkets, but you should expect to pay £2.23 for 250g in Tesco for it though you are likely to find it at a cheaper price in Aldi or Lidl.
If you would like some halloumi recipes then here is a site with quite a few recipes for you to check out.
Some useful information for you, Halloumi can be kept unopened in the fridge for up to a year, once opened it's best kept in a sealed container in a shallow amount of salt water.
After recently returning from a holiday to Cyprus I thought I would write a review on one of their specialities, Halloumi. Before I had gone I hadnt heard of Halloumi and wouldnt have been able to guess what it is really, but once there, you cannot miss it. Every restuarant has it on their menus and when you finally manage to find a restaurant owned by a passionate Cypriot, they will speak about their Halloumi and try to make it sound better than anybody elses.
Now for those who dont know, Halloumi is a cheese made from goats milk. It has a very strange texture and taste, but until you have tried it it is difficult to explain.
I only ate it when eating a meze, and it came grilled with Lounza, which is a type of cured ham. The two go very well together, the ham is quite salty and this compliments the Halloumi very well, I then tried just the Halloumi on its own, and being honest I really couldnt see what all of the fuss was about. My partner felt the same too, and we both found the cheese to be similar to mozzerella, whereby the taste is quite bland, yet the texture is strange. When you eat it, it remains quite firm despite being grilled, which is very strange, the only other cheese I have had like this is cammenbert which goes very gooey, it is far from this. You also get a slight squeak when you eat it too, its difficult to explain but is just quite strange to begin with.
I think that it could be very nice cut up into cubes and put on a kebab on a BBQ, but I find that personally it is little too bland to be used as a main ingredient in anything, and without it I dont think that it would be missed too much. If you go to Cyprus, or even if you see it at a supermarket, it is defiantly worth a try but personally, after eating it a couple of times, I still cannot see all the fuss and praise around Halloumi.
I first tried this cheese last year while abroad in Cyprus. I must confess that I had never even heard of it before, so when it was recommended I try it, I was a trifle suspicious. My fears proved ungrounded, when the cheese turned out to be a pleasant surprise.
Halloumi hails from Cyprus, which is perhaps why I had not seen it on these shores. It is a soft cheese which is usually made from a mixture of goat and sheep's milk. It is perfect to have with salads and as a lunchtime snack.
Usually comes in a pretty airtight plastic bag. The cheese is prone to leaking moisture, so it is very important to keep it tightly sealed. I find storing it on a lower fridge shelf is also wise. Once opened, it can help to wrap it in baking paper, as this will help absorb the residue.
An odd texture, sitting somewhere between a brie and a mozzarella, it is soft to the touch and prone to crumbling if you prod it too hard. When you cut into it, you will find little bits break off. The cheese is pliable and can be moulded readily.
The first thing you will notice is that the cheese has an initial bland taste. I tried my first mouthful and thought, oh is this it? It melted nicely in the mouth and was fresh, but I was expecting some rich and creamy taste. After swallowing, the real taste kicks in. You are left with a gentle salty zing in the tastebuds which raises your senses and perks up the nostrils too. It is at this stage that you want to reach for a second helping. I found after a few mouthfuls, the salt begins to overwhelm and leaves you quite satisfied.
I can only go off euros! But, it is a pricey cheese. I know a small block of this cost about 6 euros last year, so it is at the higher end of the scale. The cheese works really well well crumbled on a salad or can be eaten on its own in small portions.
I first tried this cheese a few years ago when I went to a Lebanese restaurant in Watford. It seamed a little odd that it's a cheese that is grilled but did not actually melt or go stringy when heated up. Still since then I have had it in this same restaurant again and bought it for home many times. A small pack of it from a local Deli where I live cost me £3.20. This price will probably be lower in supermarkets.
It is high in calories and fat but as my Gran always said a little bit of what you fancy does you good. There is a low fat version but for me it's always, low fat no taste.
Energy 325 Kcal
Protein 21 g
Fat 26 g (saturated 16.3g)
Salt 3 g
Halloumi is originally from Cyprus and whilst it is still very popular in most of the Mediterranean it has only just begun to be popular over here. The only restaurant I know of that serves it in my home town is still the Lebanese one.
It's quite unusual in the fact that it needs to be cooked first to get the best taste and texture out of it. One of my favourite ways of cooking it is on the barbeque in the summer. This imparts a good 'smoky' flavour to the cheese. Although with the summers we have had these past two years I haven't cooked it this way very often. When cutting it as well as eating it, at times, gives a strange squeaky sound. The cheese is quite heavy and very filling which possibly makes it a good thing to have in when you are having a barbeque and have vegetarians coming round.
A traditional halloumi should be made from goat and ewe's milk but some versions (cheaper ones perhaps) tend to contain cow's milk as well. The pack of Halloumi is packed with an amount of brine which gives the cheese quite a salty taste so it may not be suitable for people who need a low sodium diet. The salt does increase the shelf life on an unopened pack so it does have its advantages. In a way it's a little bit like mozzarella in the way that it can be easily sliced and does not crumble. It is also, like mozzarella, has a fairly creamy taste. Whilst Halloumi is filling apart from being slightly salty it is quite a mild cheese and has little taste to it. This means you need to 'beef it up' so to speak with other things.
As it should be cooked first there are several ways of doing this. As I have said one good way of doing this is to put it on the barbeque but with the British weather being what it is there are other alternatives. I like to flash fry mine on a hot griddle pan with some chili oil over the top and serve it with a small green salad. However, as it does not melt all that easily it is not really suitable for things like pizza toppings or putting on top of pasta bakes etc. Halloumi can also be grilled or baked. This cooking gives the cheese a slight crispness on the outside whilst the inside goes quite soft. This gives it an interesting combination of textures which is quite unlike most cheese you can buy.
Like most cheese it is high in fat and so I only buy it as an occasional thing. I wouldn't exactly say as a treat but more as an alternative to meat as it is also high in protein.
I first came across Halloumi whilst watching Delia Smith on tv. I think it was on the summer collection I was curious as I couldn't see how a cheese could be cooked and stay firm-cheese melts doesn't it?
Anyway, I was interested but not enough to go out and buy some. Then three things happened. Firstly I got married- to a vegetarian; I had the Delia Smith summer collection on my wedding present list and finally we went out for a meal to a Cypriot restaurant. When we got the first part of our delicious meal we saw something we could not identify. We suspected that it might be fish of some type (You would be amazed just how many people think vegetarians eat fish) We asked the waiter and were told it was Halloumi talk about love at first bite!
However I somehow forgot about buying some to have at home, no idea why to be honest. Anyway, it was on my "maybe worth a try"list however it was a pretty long list(still is to be honest) So what happened to change me to such a huge Halloumi fan? Nothing that exciting really just that one day
I went shopping in a hurry! The result of this being I found myself with a pack of Halloumi instead of the intended purchase(can't remember what it was)
Seeing as our grill is total rubbish I decided to fry it. I was very pleased with it but felt it to be lacking something. It is a very salty cheese and the first time I cooked it I served it on its own as a light meal which didn't really work. Since then I marinade the slices in a pryex dish in a small amount of lemon olive oil and a grinding of black pepper(I sometimes grate a tiny bit of lemon zest if I have a lemon on the go) Leave it for about half an hour and then fry it in the oil turning often. It goes a lovely charred colour. I serve it with a very simple salad either a herb or green type. I would avoid olives with this as I think they make the meal far too salty for my taste.
I now tend to buy ours from Costco in a pack of four which costs around £5.17. This compares very well with the supermarkets as the cost has(along with most foods) rocketed recently I think the last time I bought from a supermarket it was something like £1.97.
The cheese has a very long use by date(I bought a four pack just before Easter and the use by date is Dec 2009)so multi buying is not an issue to worry about.
I slice ours into about 6 slices-use very sharp knife otherwise it goes "squdigy". I love the texture it is firm and nothing like "normal" cheese. I have never tried it raw although I guess you could eat it in this way I love it cooked so much I don't feel inclined to try it. Also as the majority of cheese is eaten as it comes I like the change it offers.
Another huge bonus for me is that I can even eat it when I am working! I have to lay off all dairy products as my voice is badly affected no matter how little I consume but I can eat Halloumi(deep deep joy) I don't feel quite so badly done by since I discovered that i can still have some cheese.
I had some deep fried Halloumi cubes last year whilst I was away from home. Avoid unless you like salty rubber cubes. For some reason the deep fried cubes were far saltier than the shallow fried slices I do. I couldn't taste anything and felt this did not work.
I have not tried the low fat version as Costco do not yet stock it but I am sure that it would be just as delicious. I would say it is well worth a try if only for the novelty factor and makes a lovely change. For a more substantial meal add a baked potato to your salad and enjoy!
I think Halloumi is like Marmite, you other love it or hate it. We are both vegetarians and Halloumi for us, is always in our diet. We are able to buy it easily in the Supermarkets Tesco and Asda, and now there is even a 'light' version. It is fabulous on a barbecue, as it holds together well and tastes yummy. It is very nice grilled with lemon juice drizzled over it, olive oil and cracked black pepper with a crunchy fresh salad (it is making my mouth water just writing it). My partner is a good cook, and quite often includes in all sorts of recipies, and we have yet to have a bad reaction to it from our guests. It is cheap, very filling, very tasty and something different. In this day and age of credit crunch, and saving money, give it a go and see what you think. I was asked about the texture and taste - I would say the texture is firm and layered (it is known for squeaking on your teeth!). The taste is a difficult one, as it has a unique flavour, it is quite mild and can be salty (ish) if not cooked well. I hope this helps in a small way. It is not how you would think of cheese in the traditional sense, as it does not melt under extreme heat, hence great for BBQ's.
Halloumi is my favourite cheese ever. When I eat it, it always takes me back to my holidays in Cyprus where it is served everywhere. It plays a large part in the menus and households in Cyprus.
Original Halloumi, made in Cyprus is made with a mixture of goats milk and sheeps milk. When you buy Halloumi over here, it tends to have cows milk in it also. This gives the cheese a slightly different taste, but nothing extremely different from the original.
I buy this cheese from Asda. You get a small square pack and it costs around £2.93. You can get the original Halloumi and also a light version. I tend to buy the light version as it hasn't really sacrificed any of the taste for the lack of calories.
When you open the packaging, its not a block of cheese as such. Given to the texture of the cheese, the edges are very rounded. The cheese is a very bright white colour. It looks rubbery but dont let this fool you. Halloumi is very salty so please be aware of this when buying. The great thing is, this cheese works very well with cooking. It browns well without going gloopy, and if you just want to warm it up, it toasts but still stays in cubes.
The taste, for me, is out of this world. Fresh, salty and very creamy. I have known this cheese to "squeak" when I eat it. With it being slightly rubbery (which isn't a bad thing, trust me) it makes a noise against your teeth while you are eating it.
I love this cheese slices up thinly, popped in a pitta bread and put the pitta bread under the grill so that the halloumi warms slightly, and the pitta toasts. This is how I first came across this cheese in Cyprus a good 10 years ago.
My only downside is that this cheese, bought in this country, will never taste as good as sitting in Cyprus and eating it where it has been made. I will have to make do with this option until my next visit!
I am a huge cheese fan and like to try all different varieties. I first came across Halloumi cheese on a two week holiday to Cyprus.
I purchased some in a local shop, close to where we were staying as we were having a barbecue that evening.
What really impressed me about this cheese was its versatility.
There are not many cheeses on the market that you can do so much with, you can eat it as it is, you can barbecue it, grill it, fry it.... a myriad of ways and what is unique about this cheese is that in my opinion, each way that you cook it makes it taste differently.
I would say that my favourite way to cook this cheese is on the barbecue. The cheese absorbs the smoke of the barbecue and it enriches the cheese. It is particularly delicious because it goes almost crunchy on the outside and remains rubbery inside...it tastes great!
Hallouni became a staple food during our visit and because of it being so versatile we enjoyed it with our eggs at breakfast, baguettes at lunch and with fish and salads in the evening.
On returning to Blighty we eagerly sought out hallouni in the supermarkets and we were pleased to note that authentic halloumi is widely available.
Don't be tempted however, to cook it on a low fat grill (like a George Foreman style grill) as the best part of this cheese is the fat!
Fry, grill or BBQ it and enjoy...all in moderation of course!
Halloumi is a traditional cheese made on the island of Cyprus, and I believe it is one of the most versatile of cheeses, and one that I use a lot in cooking, because it has a delicious almost meaty texture so is ideal for vegetarians. The milk for the cheese is mainly produced in the villages surrounding the Avdhimou area which is situated between Limassol and Paphos districts of Cyprus.
If you get a chance to sample real Cypriot halloumi in Cyprus itself you will find a beautifully fresh product which lacks the squeakiness of the UK imported Halloumi, which tends to have a long shelf life. By squeaky I mean that it makes a squeaky noise on your teeth when you eat it which is quite strange at first.Some find it rubbery but if you cook it properly this can be part of its appeal.
The cheese itself looks in many ways like a mozzarella, but it has a tangy flavour, and is more substantial and usually comes in blocks. It will keep unopened for almost a year making it a great standby to keep in the fridge. You can also freeze it.
Traditionally made from a mixture of sheep and goats milk it is a salty cheese which is used mainly for cooking. Grilling and frying being the most common methods. It is possible to buy traditional halloumi if you live near to a Greek or Cypriot shop. This will most likely be unpasteurised and will have a much more authentic flavour than the supermarket version which is pleasant but not quite the same. It will often be layered with mint.
The cheese is made by taking the fresh curd and submerging it in hot whey to soften and stretch it, this is very similar to the way in which mozzarella is made. The young cheese is then aged in baskets and folded into wedges about the size of a large piece of cheddar you buy in the shops.
If you visit Cyprus buy the real thing in chunks from the deli counter in supermarkets, it is divine and we have enjoyed it so much on holiday there as it is delicious and artisan and pure white. The milk is gathered from the animals grazing the hillsides of Cyprus, where they eat a diet of wild oregano, thyme, rosemary and other herbs and greens. It is amazing when combined with the fresh salads they sell in boxes which have just come down from the hills that day so are fresh and newly gathered.
When you buy it the best thing in the world you can do with it is to coat it in plain flour and fry it for about 2 or 3 minutes in some Greek olive oil. Turn it over as soon as it browns, and whilst it is cooking run your finger and thumb down some fresh stems of thyme to release the pungent leaves. Squeeze the juice from a lemon and then as soon as the halloumi browns pour over the lemon juice and the thyme and serve with some fresh lemon wedges. Oh my goodness- this is the best dish in the world and all you need to compliment it is a lovely tossed green salad of as many leaves as you can find. Look out for one with rocket and baby spinach and some curly leaves and serve next to the halloumi. You can even add capers to this to give it even more tang! With a glass of Cypriot wine such as Island Vines which you can find in most Co-op stores you have a delicious meal made in heaven! If anyone is planning a cosy night in for Valentines Day this meal takes only 5 minutes to make and is quite simply a sensual delight and perfect to celebrate togetherness!
Halloumi really comes into its own on the barbeque in the summer time especially for vegetarians, and it also makes a lovely filling for Panini, and is delicious grilled and served on a bed of couscous. Cypriots swear that the best way to eat it is to serve it with wedges of ripe water melon for breakfast, but that in my opinion only applies to the fresh artisan varieties as the supermarket versions would be not to my taste eaten this way.You can also grill a large portobello mushroom and top with grilled halloumi for a light lunch.
250g of halloumi which will serve three will cost you £2.59 in Tesco for their own make. Asda is £2.15 for a make called Pittas, and in Sainsbury you can buy the same cheese but in a light version with less calories for £2.39. You can even buy it ready sliced in Waitrose (also Pittas) for £ 2.69, but this does not represent such good value as it is really easy to slice, and the ready sliced version only gives you 135g whereas the others are 250g. I love Cypressa Halloumi which I buy in Waitrose and this is £2.59 for the regular and £2.89 for the light version. The Cypressa Halloumi tends to be really delicious and worth paying a few pennies more for. Many of the supermarket varieties also have cows milk added to them unlike the artisan versions which are only sheep/goats milk.
Recently I discovered a website called www.goats-cheese-online.co.uk where they appear to make a Welsh Halloumi, the recipe for which comes from a Greek Cypriot lady. I am sure this will be a purchase for me soon but just need to wait to order other items as the postage charge is steep on small orders. I suspect this may be very much like the traditional artisan cheese so popular in Cyprus.
So I hope I have wetted your appetite for this wonderful cheese which is so integral to the culture of Cyprus. Think wild oregano and thyme, and vast expanses of remote hillsides where goats and sheep graze in blazing temperatures. Even if you are not vegetarian you will enjoy this cheese and it is certainly a taste of sunshine. Try to think of it as a cooking ingredient and not a snack to put on a cracker and you will soon discover the salty taste of grilled or fried halloumi which is a real treat.
I made the lemon halloumi last night for my husband and son and they both agreed it was the best meal they had tasted in ages. It is so simple and fresh and the best thing is it is ready in no time.