Simple summer fair: halloumi, tzatsiki, fried courgette and pitta

sommarmat

London, 32 degrees, muggy. Monday evening, having worked past 7pm and a hot tube journey home.

Then it’s bliss to come home, wash hands and face and start preparing a quick supper from whatever is available in the fridge.

Fry some courgettes with chilli, fry some halloumi until crisp and golden, whip up a batch of tzatsiki and put a pitta in the toaster. Easy peasy. And so very nice.

This is my kind of summer food. No effort – full enjoyment.

Fried courgettes with chilli, serves 1-2

1 medium, firm courgette

1 tbsp olive oil for frying

1 tsp aleppo pepper 

salt, black pepper

Wash the courgette and slice as thinly as you possibly can. Heat up the oil in a frying pan on medium-low heat. Add the courgettes to the pan and fry slowly on low heat. Be careful as not to brown, but make sure they soften. Add the chilli and fry for about 10 minutes in total. Season.

Tzatsiki, serves 2-3

300 ml thick Greek yoghurt

5-6 cm cucumber

1 large garlic clove

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

salt, black pepper

Grate the cucumber and squeeze the liquid out of it. Add the cucumber to a bowl and stir in the toghurt. Add pressed garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Leave to develop its flavours for about 20 minutes before serving.

Slice the halloumi and fry on high heat in some oil until golden on both sides. Serve with toasted pitta. 

Weekday wonders: cheesy mini burgers with tzatsiki in pitta

Found this post and realised it wasn’t published when it was suppose to be, some time in January. It is a great weekday supper though, so here we go:

It is Monday and back to work. For me, the best way to stay at good spirits on a Monday is definitely to eat something nice in the evening, but still something quite speedy so I have time to watch something good on TV or catch up with my friends.

These quick little burgers are tasty and filling, and is lovely paired with homemade tzatsiki, some baby spinach and toasted pittas. If you’re really hungry, why not put some potato wedges in the oven as well?!

To season the mince I used a spicy sea salt from Halen Môn which I crushed in my pestle and mortar before adding it to the mince mix, but feel free to use any spices you like, just make sure you season the mince enough. Just shape the mince to little burgers, fry them in butter and oil in a hot frying pan while the tzatsiki is developing its flavours and you pop the pittas in the toaster.

Beef mini burgers, serves 2

300 g beef mince

1 1gg

50 ml breadcrumbs

2 tbsp water or cream

3 tsp Halen Môn spicy salt or another spice blend + salt

cheddar cheese in slices

Mix egg, breadcrumbs, spices, salt and water/cream in a bowl and let the mixture swell for a few minutes before adding the mince. Incorporate thoroughlly. Shape the mince to small burgers and fry them in a mixture of butter and oil in a frying pan. First on high heat then on medium heat. Place half a slice of cheese on each burger while they are in the pan, so the cheese melts. 

Serve with the following:

Tzatsiki

Pittas, toasted

Baby spinach or other lettuce

Barbecue and canapés with girolles

The second day in Southern Sweden we spent the day in Falsterbo, a lovely little town by the seaside because Christopher was playing golf with Claes there all day, at a links course with insane amounts of water but nice views. I don’t play golf, so I spent the day with my best friend Emma (Claes’s fiancée). We gossiped a lot, had lunch at a nice café and prepared dinner for the boys. When they got back feeling tired after a day outside, we bribed them with beer to light the barbecue, while we took care of the rest of the cooking.

When we went to the supermarket I was pleased to see that they had lots of fresh girolles, that are in season now. It is my favourite mushroom and I find it really sad that I can’t buy them in a normal supermarket here in the UK. Girolles are best paired with butter and garlic and they make out a simple, but delicious, canapé.

We also had souvlaki, a nice salad with cucumber, tomatoes, leafy mixed salad, red onions and plenty of feta and another salad with giant couscous, pitta and homemade tzatsiki.

Emma gave the sauce top marks! It tastes fantastic with fat yoghurt and a big glug of olive oil. Yu-um…

I prefer giant couscous to the smaller variety, it is chewier and tastes better I think. In the salad above I kept it really simple, adding just thin slivers of red onion, herb salt, olive oil and chopped parsley. Simple yet delicious.

Girolle canapés, serves 4

100-150 g girolles, brushed and chopped

1/2 solo garlic or 1 garlic clove, pressed

a large knob of butter (enough to coat the mushrooms generously but not enough for them to bathe in)

chopped parsley

a bag of readymade brushettinis (garlic and herb if available

Fry the girolles on high heat in some of the butter. Add more butter as well as the garlic and lower the heat (so the garlic won’t burn). Season and mix in the parsley. Scoop up onto the biscuits and serve.

Pork souvlaki

At this time of year, I want to barbecue every meal, but living in a small flat without garden or balcony I can only dream. And invite myself over to other people with outdoor space and a barbecue.

But some dishes work quite well in a frying pan, although they won’t have the smoky taste a barbecue provides.This dish worked really well on the hob, and because I fried in I didn’t bother to put the meat on scewers, but I would advise you to do that if you are barbecuing.

This souvlaki is made with pork and absolutely lovely. The lemon juice tenderises the meat, and adds flavour together with garlic, olive oil and plenty of oregano.

Served with feta cheese and homemade strong tsatziki and pitta, this is a fab summer summer. A nice Greek salad would be a nice addition as well.

Pork souvlaki, serves 2

320 g pork shoulder, diced

50 ml olive oil

juice from 1 lemon

1-2 tbsp oregano (it needs a lot)

1 small garlic clove, pressed

black pepper

salt

Mix all the ingrediens in a bowl and leave to marinate in the fridge for ideally 48 hours. Fry on high heat in a frying pan or put on scewers and wack them on the barbecue.

Tzatsiki, serves 2

200 ml thick Greek yoghurt, 2 % fat

8 cm cucumber, peeled and grated

3 tbsp olive oil

1-2 garlic cloves, pressed

salt

white pepper

more olive oil to drizzle

Squeeze the water out of the grated cucumber and mix with the yoghurt. Add garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Leave for at least 20 minutes to develop flavour. Drizzle some olive oil on top before serving.