Thursday, 2 August 2012

Olympic Food Challenge: Halloumi Parcels - Cyprus

What an immense day!  A world record in the means team cycling (although thanks to the torrential rain breaking the Sky box, I missed it).  Gold and silver in the canoe slalom.  Silver for rowing and judo and another gold in the clay pigeon shoot.  Go, Team GB.

As for the challenge, I ski-ed off-piste today and didn't deliver the previously promised dish from Guinea Bissau.  I was seriously not in a mood to eat tea tonight.  So instead, I opted for a 'trip' to Cyprus and some Halloumi Parcels.  A nice, light meal before an evening slaving away in the kitchen, licking cake bowls.  It's a tough life.

So Cyprus.  Thirteen athletes competing in seven disciplines and like El Salvador from last night, still looking for that first medal of any colour.  Rather sensibly, although they've got a cyclist on their team, they've chosen not to compete in the track cycling.  As one of my Twitter buddies said - why does anyone else bother showing up given that we're so awesome?

Divided by the Turkish part and the Greek part, Cyprus is the third most populated island in the Mediterranean.  The cuisine is influenced by both Turkey and Cyprus and this particular dish is reminiscent of the Turkish borek, but using the local delicacy of Halloumi rather than Feta.  The other slight variation is the inclusion of cottage cheese in the mix.  This is also commonly done in several other countries - such as Serbian Cheese Pie (a big version of borek) whereas Turkish borek tend to just stick to feta alone.

I must confess that ever since I went to Turkey fifteen years ago, I've been slightly obsessed with borek and when I was coming up with my recipe list, desperately researched which countries I could get away with making something similar for.  Good girl that I am, I won't be making the Macedonian version in a few days time - but the need for filo is another excuse to make that other Med favourite of Baklava instead.

Simple to make, quick to cook and packed with flavour.  The Halloumi made a nice change to feta and is far less squeaky on the teeth than when you just grill or pan fry it.  I'd make them again if I had some Halloumi and cottage cheese hanging around.  However given that today is the first time I've ever bought cottage cheese, I doubt I'll be making this variation again for a long time.

Because I love borek, I'll be biased and give this one a gold.  You can find the recipe here.

One other thing, I got a shout out on the Foodies 100 Ten at Ten today.  Big up to Ewan Mitchell and the rest of the Olympic Food Challenge Team who need to share in the glory.

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