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homemade haloumi cheese

Even though this weekend marks the end of my first semester back at school, what I really want to say is: I made cheese! Not once or twice! But thrice! Don’t mean to show off or anything (I’m showing off) but I made halloumi, mascarpone and there is a camembert maturing in the cupboard under the stairs as I type. Camembert!

draining haloumi image

Making cheese is one of those elemental things like making bread – not only does it make me feel supremely capable and accomplished but tricks other people into thinking I am too (bonus!). And, apropos of nothing, that was five exclamation marks in one paragraph and I mightn’t stop there! Even though my favourite English teacher told us too many exclamation marks dilute their effectiveness and furthermore are just lazy! So hold on to your hats people, I’m on the rampage this morning.

haloumi cheese image

One of the things on the long list of great things about coming home is having met my friend Marly, a cheesemaker, among other things. Her parents are German and with her pink and white complexion she fits the part perfectly – I can sort of imagine her wearing a milkmaid’s dirndl (is there such a thing? I might have made it up). She wasn’t wearing anything of the sort when when came over to make halloumi though but it turned out squeakily toothsome all the same.

moulded halloumi cheese image

Making halloumi is easier than making macaroni cheese, I kid you not. Unless you think macaroni cheese comes out of a cardboard box, to which I say “pah!” and also “I did not know you could get macaroni cheese in a box until I went to San Francisco earlier this year and spent an hour peering at all the stuff in the supermarket ‘cause that’s what I do when I go to new countries.”

So, without further ado, this is how you make friends and influence people: Make halloumi and feed it to them. That’s it. For realz. Unless they are vegan or hate cheese. In which case, they probably won’t be.

Also, between the 25th and 31st October, the Royal NZ Foundation for the Blind is organising “Bake a Difference” which involves baking some stuff and selling it to raise funds – fun way to fundraise right? Especially since I know lots of you love to bake. So, get on it people!

See halloumi cheese recipe here

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orange almond syrup cake image

I really like mums. I didn’t always particularly though. When my friends and I were unruly teenagers skulking in parks after dark and knocking back gutrot that bore so little resemblance to actual vodka that it was labelled “vodka flavoured beverage” in basements, parents – our own and and others – were to be strictly avoided lest they… Actually I’m not sure exactly what, it was just the implied threat of having to have a conversation or something I guess.

syrup image on sasasunakku

As I’ve grown older I’ve come to realise what a joy it is that my nearest and dearest generally come as packages; somehow I lucked out on the friends-with-cool-mums lottery. They’re a trove of good recipes amongst plenty of other things and I grew to look forward to catching up with them whenever I came home to visit from overseas whether the dearests happened to be there or not.

almond orange and star anise cake image on sasasunakku

The other day I was the lucky recipient of a slice of a cake that makes my top five delicious cakes of all time. People, I have eaten a lot of cake during my time on this earth and I tell you, if I that does not an authority make (plus! I chose nine out of nine flavours correctly the other day in a blind taste test of sweet, salty, sour and bitter!) I do not know what would.

whole orange almond cake image on sasasunakku

The cake has a sort of golden caramelised shell that comes from baking it in an oven that starts cold, combined with the syrup that gets poured over it as it’s pulled from the oven, and a nubbly yet moistly yellow interior that comes from almond meal and the soaked-in syrup. It smells of souks and caravanserais minus the ordure. I made it for my best friend’s birthday this past weekend and I shall make it again, doubling the recipe this time, before the week is through. It didn’t make it past day one but I imagine that it is a very good keeper. It sort of reminds me of an exotic version of this yoghurt and lemon cake, though it doesn’t have any yoghurt in it.

almond meal cinnamon cake image sasasunakku

Thanks Deb, for making Joe, and for this cake. The jury is still deliberating about which is better, though he may scrape in on technicalities, just.

Also, some lovely people (remember La Meune?) I used to cook for are starting an online business selling cinnamon. If you want a free sample, you can get one sent to you if you complete the short questionnaire, do it! You know you want to, you like free stuff, right?

Aaaand, this post is participating in Alessandra’s Sweet New Zealand, a way for Kiwi bloggers to get to know each other. This month, Alli is hosting.

Were you unruly as a teenager?

See Tunisian orange and almond cake recipe here

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quinoa pesto and gorgonzola salad on sasasunakku

I’ve been feeling a bit like a guinea pig lately. Don’t worry, Peruvians have not been trying to eat me, it’s just that we’ve been doing a lot of experiments on ourselves at school. The most challenging has been one where we were divided into two groups and half of us were assigned to a diet high in saturated fat while the rest of us were on polyunsaturated fat. The other involved pricking my finger with a piece of metal repeatedly and bleeding on a bit of gauze but we won’t go into that because this is a family friendly blog we have here.

broad beans image on sasasunakku

Gentle Reader, do you know how much of my total caloric intake was from fat calories? 50%. I was obliged to reduce it 30%, most of which had to be polyunsaturated fat. Which is when I realised butter and chocolate do not constitute one of the main food groups (why didn’t you guys tell me that before I started nutrition school!?)

sliced radishes and courgette on sasasunakku

But I swear the rest of my diet is healthy! Just look at this salad. I made it just after I visited the town of Gorgonzola and came back laden with mouldy cheese but any cheese, indeed no cheese would work too. Pesto made with things other than basil I tell you, it’s the way of the future.

spinach pesto image on sasasunakku

I have to go now and do something called a Lineweaver-Burk plot which I’m fairly sure isn’t even a thing but a special form of torture devised by my biochemistry teacher to mess with our heads but it’s ok – it’s the last day of the polyunsaturated fats diet and I have a blue cheese sandwich and some white chocolate in my bag for after the blood test. And some broccoli too, of course.

What’s messing with your heads at the moment? Tell aunty Sasa.

spinach pesto salad image on sasasunakku

See Quinoa, Spinach and Cashew Pesto and Gorgonzola Salad recipe here

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