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The Squeaky Cheese You Can Cook.
Member Name: nickyct
Date: 02/08/07, updated on 02/08/07 (2928 review reads)
Advantages: Versatile, interesting, quick and easy to prepare, fantastic flavour .
Disadvantages: High in calories and fat.
Halloumi is a Turkish cheese, which originates from the Mediterranean island of Cyprus and which is registered as a protected Cypriot product within the US (but not the EU). The cheese has been around for 100ís of years and remains a popular ingredient in these parts but has only recently started to gain popularity in the UK. Halloumi is special because it is meant to be cooked and it has a unique flavour and texture with a tendency to squeak somewhat upon chewing!
Halloumi is traditionally made from a mixture of goat's and sheep's milk, although nowadays the cheese tends to contain cows milk in addition. Halloumi is made by submerging fresh curds into hot whey in order to soften and stretch before ageing in baskets. The cheese is a milky white colour, with a firm texture ideal to be sliced and chopped and it is generally bought sitting in a very small amount of salty brine. The taste is salty and distinct, not dissimilar to feta but with a firmer slightly stringy texture that does not crumble.
The most common brand seen in Britain is the Discover brand produced by Arla and the average price for a standard 240g block is around £1.50 from most big supermarkets, which will easily serve two.
Halloumi is a very high calorie cheese. Arlaís Discover halloumi has 311 calories per 100g. 20g protein, 1g carbohydrate and 25g fat. Recently I also tried the Discovery low fat halloumi which contains 1/3 less fat (227 calories per 100g, 20g protein, 0.8g carbohydrates and 16g fat). However, it definitely wasn't as nice. The low fat version lacks some of the strong salty taste I love and was a slightly firmer texture which I found didnít melt as well under the grill. As for me halloumi is an occasional treat I think I'll be sticking to the full fat in the future.
In my opinion halloumi is best grilled lightly for around five-ten minutes from pre-heated. The cheese will crisp slightly and colour on the outside whilst becoming softer in the center. Halloumi can also easily be fried or baked.
For a simple yet tasty and nutritious meal I enjoy halloumi served with mixed leaves, red onion, black olives, baby tomatoes and pitta bread spread with a little mayonnaise. Alternatively halloumi is great with roasted vegetables and cous cous and is also fantastic cooked on kebab sticks over a BBQ or just under the grill.
Iíve also included two of my own more interesting recipes featuring halloumi below.
Roast Vegetable and Halloumi Stacks
Serves 2, ideal as a starter
One 240g block of Discovery Halloumi
One small aubergine
One red pepper
Pesto (can be made from fresh or easily bought from the supermarket)
Slice the aubergine diagonally to create larger thick slice. Slice the pepper into four large pieces. Brush the vegetables with oil and sprinkle on a little seasoning if desired. Place into a pre heated oven and bake for about 15 minutes after which point add the halloumi, sliced into around eight pieces and cook all for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and arrange the halloumi, peppers and aubergine in a stack with a thin spread of pesto at points according to taste.
Warm Halloumi, Asparagus and Green Bean Salad
200g mixed leaves
One 240g block of Discovery halloumi
Bunch of asparagus spears
Bunch of fine green runner beans
Handful of fresh mint leaves
Squeeze of lemon
Handful of Pine nuts
Steam the asparagus and green beans until cooked according to taste. Alongside this slice the halloumi into eight pieces and grill for around ten minutes until the cheese has started to brown slightly. Finely chop the spring onions and scatter over a bed of mixed leaves. Lightly toast the pine nuts by frying for two minutes in a little oil and scatter these over the mixed leaves also. Finely chop the mint leaves and mix with a dash of oil and a squeeze of lemon juice to make a dressing. Top the bed of leaves with the warm hallloumi, asparagus and beans and drizzle the dressing over to taste.
In summary, if you haven't tried this wonderful cheese than you most definitely should. It is a versatile and interesting ingredient which is easy and quick to cook. Whatís more halloumi also has an incredibly long shelf life and can be stored it in the fridge for around a year and also frozen indefinitely. Halloumi is definitely one of my all time favourites and I canít recommend it enough so if youíre looking to try something different for tea then give halloumi a try!
Summary: A wonderful turkish cheese that can be cooked.