Tag Archives: salad

Haloumi: The Official Food of Australia’s Crappy Athletes

Haloumi 1Photography by Asia Upward, Styling by Ali Nardi

Admittedly that post title is not technically %100 true. Haloumi is not the official food of anything other than the following salad recipe, and Australia’s athletes are not %100 crappy. In fact, only Australians, particularly the Olympic commentators seem to think their athletes are crappy.

I love living in Australia mainly because the quality of life here is so great. High work wages, free health care, good weather, lots of space, the list goes on. And because Australia has all of these high standards for quality of living, I find that frequently on occassion Australians whine get mildly upset when they don’t get something they feel entitled too. And no where has this attitude been more apparent then the consistently negative and critical coverage of their own athletes in the Olympics.

A typical interview tends to go something like this (fictional discussion based on my own perception of commentators interviewing athletes):

Commentator: “How does it feel to get fourth when you were so close to getting on the podium?”

Athlete: “I’m so proud. It feels great to get to be at olympics and I gave it my all.”

Commentator: “Yes, but how disappointing is it not to get gold?”

Athelete: “I’m just so excited at what I accomplished and I’m looking forward to the next olympics in 4 years.”

Commentator: “Ok, but how does it feel to totally suck for not winning the gold, which is the only thing that matters,” and so on a so forth.

I’ve also never witnessed Olympic commentators who are so eager to see fellow competitors fall, crash, or slip so their athletes can gain a spot on the podium. I mean, is that really how you want to win? Hoping your opponent takes a fall trying something daring and worthy of gold while you play it safe? I don’t think so, and I don’t think Australia’s Olympic athletes do either, but hey, I can only speak for myself…

So this post is in dedication to Australia’s Olympic Athletes who I think are doing a pretty swell job in the most prestigious athletic competition in the world. Chumpy might have gotten wiped out in border cross, but man is he good looking. And David Morris didn’t win the gold, but he dressed in bright yellow for his follow-up interview which is just as good.

haloumi 2

Australia loves haloumi, they support haloumi, they believe in haloumi. They should probably start treating their athletes more like haloumi short of eating them, and make this awesome Haloumi, Rockmelon (Cantalope), Almond and Basil Salad instead. Cook time is minimal, so you don’t have to linger by the heat on a sweltering Melbourne day, and it’s super simple to prepare so you can reserve your energy for things like walking down the block, or getting the lid off your water bottle which you have probably refilled at least ten times when Melbourne is at it’s worst. I serve it as a main–it is refreshing and filling, and won’t bog you down. It’s definitely worthy of a gold :)

haloumi 3

Ingredients:

  • 12  1/3″ thick slices haloumi cheese (it’s the “meat in this dish” so i don’t skimp!)
  • 1/2 rockmelon/cantalope, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/4 cup chopped or slivered almonds, lightly toasted
  • 1/2 french shallot, thinly sliced
  • a handful of basil, leaves picked and large ones torn
  • a few handfuls mixed salad greens

For the dressing: Mix olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and sald and pepper to taste

1.Over medium high heat on the BBQ/grill, or on a grill pan or regular fry pan, cook  haloumi pieces in a bit of oil until golden brown on both sides (if doing this directly on the BBQ, just brush haloumi with oil). This only takes a few minutes on either side.

2. Combine remaining salad ingredients with dressing,  lay haloumi pieces on top and drizzle with a bit of extra dressing. Simple as that. Enjoy!

Project I love Italy and Honey Pickled Figs

Pickled figs, blue cheese, and walnut salad

I love Italy, but who doesn’t? Fabulous food, amazing gelato, gorgeous people, beautiful cities and country side–but it’s also a country that can drive you to madness if you are trying to do something other than binge on mozzarella and admire the Pantheon. When it comes time to doing anything “official” in Italy, the challenge is on, and by the time you have gotten the task done, chances are you wish you could stomp on a pizza. It just so happens, I have been on a mission to get a document from Italy, and it is a stark reminder of all the challenges that brought me to the breaking point so many times while living there. But that’s not how I want to remember my time there. I want to remember my friendship with pizza, and suppli, and pasta, and the Bella Vita attitude that means showering and blowing out your hair at the gym before your workout. It’s the only place I know of where you can sit on the edge of a beautiful fountain and sip prosecco while watching a man eat fire. So for the next few weeks, I will remind myself of all the good times in Rome via food.

I’m going to start with pizza, but I can’t make pizza if I don’t have any pickled figs to make our signature Pickled Fig, Ricotta, and Rosemary Pizza (recipe coming very soon). I just finished my latest batch and I wanted to share this recipe with you because I enjoy them so much, and a few friends have asked me to pass it on. I discovered “pickled figs” when the head food stylist on a bruschetta photo shoot with Bon Appétit magazine a few years ago brought them in, and loved them so much I took the concept and ran with it.

Pickled and fig just don’t sound right, I know. But trust me on this one. You can have them on pizza or bruschetta, they are great chopped up in a salad, they are even good over vanilla ice cream. I also bring them along to get-togethers along with some tangy goat’s cheese.

Honey Pickled Figs

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 3 or 4 rosemary sprigs
  • Juice of one orange, plus a few strips of zest
  • 3 cups dried Calimyrna figs (or other dried figs), halved or quartered, stems removed

Bring first five ingredients to a gentle boil. Add figs, bring back to a boil, and boil for two more minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Spoon off any foam that might have formed on the top, remove rosemary sprigs and zest, then transfer to a glass jar or container. Store in the fridge. Your figs are officially pickled.

A rough guide to Pickled Fig, Blue Cheese, and Walnut Salad:

  • Chopped pickled figs
  • Crumbled blue cheese
  • Toasted Walnuts, roughly chopped
  • Thinly sliced red onion
  • Mixed greens
  • For the dressing, mix some of the pickling liquid with olive oil and some black pepper.

Toss a few handfuls of mixed greens with some figs, walnuts, red onion, and dressing. Add blue cheese, gently toss again, and serve.