Recipe: Herbed lentil and beetroot ‘couscous’ with halloumi

It’s official! Winter is here in the UK. It took it’s sweet time coming, and for a while it had me fooled into thinking I could handle it. But no, deep down I am still a thin-skinned Aussie girl.

Strangely enough, although I’ve mostly been craving hearty warm winter fare of late, this week I decided to make a salad. A fairly wintery salad, as salads go, but still, a salad.

The recipe I used can be found in the December issue of Delicious magazine, or online here.

Ready, steady, cook!

Ready, steady, cook!

Herbed lentil and beetroot ‘couscous’ with halloumi and spiced seeds

Please note – below is the list of ingredients I used, but it differs slightly from the original recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 150gm raw beetroot peeled (two medium beetroots)
  • 100gm puy lentils, dried or cooked
  • 4 small shallots or half a red onion, finely diced
  • 100gm gherkins, finely sliced
  • 2 tsp dried dill
  • 20gm fresh mint
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp virgin olive oil
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Packet of cooked beetroot
  • 60gm mixed seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 3 tbsps vegetable oil
  • 250gm halloumi

Method:

  • If using dried puy lentils, rinse the lentils under cold water, then add to a pan with three times their volume in water. Pop in a stock cube for more flavour, and leave to simmer for 25 minutes.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
  • Peel and grate the raw beetroot into a large bowl. It’s probably best to wear gloves, otherwise you’ll be caught red-handed like I was!
Ruby red beetroot

Ruby red beetroot

  • Add the shallots, gherkin, dill, fresh mint, vinegar, olive oil and lemon to the beetroot, and toss to combine.
Grated beetroot

Grated beetroot

  • Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  • Pour the seeds onto the tray, and toss with the cumin and paprika, and 1 tbsp of the oil.
  • Pop the seeds into the oven and bake for 5 minutes.
Spiced seeds

Spiced seeds

  • After 5 minutes, take the seeds out of the oven and add the quartered cooked beetroot to the tray. Return to the oven for another 8 minutes (or until seeds are golden brown and beetroot warmed through).
More beetroot, anyone?

More beetroot, anyone?

  • Slice the halloumi and pan fry over a high heat with the remaining oil until golden brown.
  • Drain the lentils and mix through the grated beetroot combination in the bowl, along with the toasted seeds.
  • To serve, pile the grated beetroot mix on a plate and top with the warm cooked beetroot and slices of halloumi.
Ta dah!

Ta dah!

I felt it needed some additional greens, so served it with steamed broccoli on the side. It was delicious! Very tasty and refreshing, and pretty healthy too (if you ignore the fried cheese).

Enjoy.

The Cheese Shop, Nottingham

Hands up who loves cheese? I’m assuming quite a few of you have your hands in the air right now. I love cheese so much that I have both my hands up, which is fairly impressive given I’m somehow still managing to type this. Three cheers for cheese!

As much as I love sweet things, if I had to choose between cheese and chocolate, then nine out of ten times, cheese would be the winner.

So it should come as no surprise that The Cheese Shop in Nottingham is one of my favourite foodie finds in the city. No fancy play on words, it does what it says on the tin. This is a shop, which sells cheese. It does one thing, and it does it truly well.

This family-run business has been running for almost 20 years, and has a loyal clientele in Nottingham. Local Michelin-starred chef Sat Bains even sources his cheese from here.

Around a month ago, The Cheese Shop moved premises. It stayed in the Flying Horse Walk arcade, but moved a few doors up, to expand from a small cheese counter, to a store about four times the size, now featuring a 30-cover cafe. More cheers for the cheese shop please!

Last weekend my friend Meli and I paid the new version of The Cheese Shop a visit, so I thought I’d share a little virtual tour of it with you.

Cheese counter at The Cheese Shop

The cheese counter at The Cheese Shop, is of course still the highlight. They have a huge selection, with a focus on locally sourced and British cheeses. You can pick up Nottinghamshire cheeses such as Stilton from Colston Bassett and Cropwell Bishop dairies, and Stichelton from the Welbeck Estate. Also regional varieties such as Lincolnshire Poacher.

Easy on the eye

The brothers who run the shop are helpful and friendly – they can answer any of your cheese related questions, and when I was in choosing cheese for a cheese plate a few weeks ago, they even let me try small pieces of the cheeses I was interested in before buying.

Friendly little mouse

As well as cheese, they now have an amazing array of homemade cakes, to be eaten with a lovely cup of tea. Plus they serve great value cheese rolls, where you can choose from any of the cheeses on the counter and have it served up in a crusty roll (with onion relish if you like) for just £2.50. Bargain!

Meli went for the classic Victoria sponge, and I had a goats cheese roll with onion relish. It was delicious… sorry no pics of those as they were eaten far too quickly.

Cafe at The Cheese Shop

There are plenty of other food treats to tempt you in store too – I can see myself doing a bit of Christmas shopping here.

Table of treats

Tempting truffles

These truffles looked particularly lovely I thought.

Cat tongues

And my French friend was excited to see these classic French biscuits, ‘cat tongues’ on sale. Some of you may have seen Danny do a version of these in the Great British Bake Off recently.

I heartily recommend a visit to the Cheese Shop next time you’re in Nottingham. I’ll be returning soon to keep working my way through the cheese selection, in order to made an educated decision on which is my favourite.

Which do you prefer? Chocolate or cheese?

Happy eating,

Erin x