This week’s recipe is inspiration taken from a meal I enjoyed at a friend’s house when I was in Sweden a few weeks ago.
I love when people cook for me, even though I love cooking and serving food for others too. The only downside is that many of my friends think I am a fussy eater, or strict with what I put into my mouth. To be honest, I’m neither. Though over the years my tastebuds have become a little fussier than what they used to be.
I love simple food made with really good quality ingredients. That’s pretty much it.
I also enjoy trying new foods and flavour combinations every once in a while. Actually… I probably (actually, not probably, I DO) spend a large chunk of my money on food. Like cool stuff, and rare things like romanesco, chicory lettuce and purple sweet potatoes… Or a better quality balsamic vinegar, that will make my simple salad dressings much more delicious!
The balsamic vinegar thing happened when one of my friends gave me a tasting tour of her selection, after I’d complained that I don’t really like vinegar that much. Admittedly after trying a few of the once she had to hand, I realised that what I don’t like so much is apple cider vinegar or plain normal white vinegar, but that I do like a good quality balsamic, it tastes totally different! Who knew?! So I went and bought myself one the other day. Just to set the record straight.
When I shot this recipe I used olive oil and pomegranate molasses + some lemon juice, however now armed with my new delicious balsamic purchase, I think using a good quality balsamic and equal quantities of olive oil will work perfectly here too. I found that the “proper” balsamic vinegar have a much rounder flavour and not that sharp “cut through” flavour like the cheaper stuff.
Pomegranate molasses have a tart flavour, and is not overly sweet.
With this salad I’ve gone for a combination of fruity, salty and tart. The fresh mint will give an additional freshness and you will experience a full range of textures too. From chewy to crunchy to soft.
Feel free to switch up the fruit or the grain if you can’t find any of the ingredients.
Black Rice & Stone Fruit Salad with Halloumi
½ cup black rice, rinsed
1 cup fresh water to cook rice in
1 block of halloumi, approx. 200g, thickly sliced and cut into smaller pieces
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
A handful of toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
2 fresh plums,de-stoned & cut into cubes
2-3 fresh apricots, de-stoned & cut into slivers
1 fresh nectarine or peach, de-stoned & cut into cubes
About 10 fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
Start by roasting the hazelnuts at 150˚C for about 15 min, until the skin begins to crack. Once your hazelnuts are golden and fragrant, remove from oven to cool slightly before rubbing the skins off with a clean tea towel. Set aside.
Measure out your rice, rinse and place it in a sauce pan. Add water and follow the cooking instructions on the package.
Once the rice is cooked, set aside to cool.
To make the dressing mix the oil, with the lemon juice and pomegranate molasses in a small bowl, or to save on dishes do it directly in the bowl you intend to serve your salad in.
Once the rice have cooled, add it to your intended serving bowl and mix with the dressing.
Heat a frying pan with a tbsp. of butter or olive oil. Fry off the halloumi until golden on both sides.
Assemble your black rice salad, by adding the fruit and the warm halloumi to the dressed up rice. Add the chopped mint leaves and the chopped hazelnuts.
** If you are serving less than four people, feel free to halve the quantities. The salad will keep for about three days in the fridge. **