Oh the irony, a cheese freak who can’t make cheese. My latest effort at Halloumi was a big fail! Not just a bit wonky, my Halloumi was a complete bust. My curds did not set, there was no whey to separate, so yes I have no Halloumi today.
I don’t know what it is about cheese-making that I struggle with, maybe it’s the heating of the milk I get wrong, maybe the tablet rennet is no good, maybe I just haven’t practiced enough. This is a dark art I have yet to master, but fortunately I am quite the mistress of buying and eating cheese.
So my cheesey friends rather than a post extolling the virtues of my DIY cheese I can only reiterate how in awe I am of any one who can make the stuff, and ponder the delights of my favourite fridge fall back – Zany Zeus Halloumi.
Haloumi is a cheese originally from Cyprus, which is stored in brine then usually fried or grilled. Zany Zeus is a local Petone cheese-making company and is the brain-child of Michael Matsis and his sister Meropi. They started making cheese 10 years ago inspired by their Cypriot mother Lefki.
The reason Halloumi keeps its shape rather than melting is down to the way it’s made. After the whey is separated out, it’s heated and poured over the curds. This changes the texture of the curds, a bit like Mozzarella and it holds together when heated, almost as if it’s already been cooked.
Grilled Halloumi salad is my go-to mid-week quick dinner. In fact I don’t think I’d really eaten it any other way. So today, rather than slices, I cut them in to cubes, fried them in olive oil and server with grilled tomatoes, some salad greens and a glass of red.
Superb, and next time I host a casual dinner I’ll serve these as part of an antipasto or hors d’oeuvre platter. And next time maybe I’ll succeed and be able to show off my own cheese making efforts.
|Nigel Slater’s Cheese puddings for cold winter nights||Labneh – easy to make yoghurt cheese for Spring platters||Ricotta – easy as but totally delicious|