Category Archives: Appetizers

Peach Halloumi Summer Salad with Sweet Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

Ripe Sweet summer Peaches and crispy Halloumi, a salty, sweet and tangy element in every single bite. The sweet lemon Basil Vinaigrette just brings the whole salad to WOW level. Make this at your next Barbeque, so you can grill the Halloumi on there too or make it in a griddle pan in the convenience of your kitchen. 

Either way this salad is always good, as a side, lunch or as a dinner on it’s own. And make double the dressing, because it’s delicious on everything, grilled chicken, fish, sandwiches…..

As always, the salad ingredients are all optional and inter-changeable. Use what you have on hand, and leave out what you don’t like


Prep time : 10 minutes
Cooking time : 2 minutes
Serves : 4 as a side, 2 as a light meal

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 large bags of prepared salad mix, about 10-14 oz. / 300-400 gr.
  • 1 block Halloumi, drained and patted dry
  • 1 or two ripe peaches, pealed and cut into wedges
  • 1 or two Avocados
  • 1 cucumber, peeled
  • 1/2 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 3 Spring onions
  • 1/4 cup whole Basil leafs
  • micro greens


SWEET LEMON BASIL VINAIGRETTE:

  • a handful Basil
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 2 tbsp. Honey
  • 1 shallot finely minced
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste



INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Get out a large serving platter, plate or salad dish and place all the lettuce leaves in the bowl.
  2. Place all the ingredients for the dressing in blender and blend for a minute to combine everything well.  Set aside until ready to use.
  3. Heat a small frying pan and toast the pine nuts, keep an eye on them since they burn quickly.
  4. Slice the cucumber in half lengthwise and again each half in half. Then cut into thick slices, so you end up with thick quarters. Arrange on top of the lettuce leafs.
  5. Cut the avocado in half and scoop out pieces using a small spoon and place on the salad.
  6. Arrange the red cabbage over the greens.
  7. Arrange the peaches over the greens.
  8. Slice the spring onions and sprinkle over the salad.
  9. Arrange micro greens on top of salad, if using. 
  10. Heat a griddle pan until hot. Slice the Halloumi into 1/4″ slices (1/2 cm) and place on the dry griddle pan and grill each side for one minute. Alternatively, grill on the barbeque.
  11. Place on top of the salad as soon as them come out of the pan.
  12. Sprinkle the toasted pine nuts over the salad and serve straight away with plenty of the sweet lemon basil vinaigrette. 


Enjoy!!

Elotes and Pineapple Salad , Ensalada de Elotes con Piña

This is our favorite Summer Salad, Elotes Salad or Mexican Street corn Salad with pineapple. It’s basically Mexican Street Corn that you can eat with a spoon rather than digging into a whole corn on the cob covered with Cotija, paprika etc…which can be a challenge, except that I have added some grilled pineapple.
This is a great salad to serve at your next Barbeque, or as we like to do, add it to Tacos and even pile it high on Burgers. So SO good!
It’s very simple, you start by grilling corn and fresh pineapple and once they are cooled you cut off the kernels carefully with a sharp knife, then toss together with the pineapple chunks in a simple dressing.

Prep time : 15 min
Cooking time : 10 min
Serves : 6

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 ears of Corn
  • 1/3- 1/2 of a fresh pineapple, peeled and sliced thick-ish (see note*)
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and chopped fine
  • 1 small red chili pepper, deseeded and chopped fine
  • ½ cup crumbled Cotija cheese (see note**)
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro, more for on top

Dressing:

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup crème fraiche
  • Juice of 1 lime, or more according to taste
  • A few dashes of Tabasco ( or Franks hot sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, more for on top
  • Salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat (an outdoor) grill or grill pan to medium heat. Clean your corn if necessary and rub all over with a little oil. Place on the grill and cook for about 10 minutes, turning every few minutes. Do the same with the Pineapple slices. Remove them once cooked from the grill and let them cool.
Meanwhile mix mayonnaise, crème fraiche, lime juice, tabasco and paprika together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Cut the kernels off the cob, and cut the pineapple slices into bite-size pieces
Get out a pretty bowl and combine everything… the corn, pineapple, onion, scallions, chili peppers, Cotija cheese, cilantro, and dressing. Reserve some cilantro and Cotija to sprinkle on top.

Enjoy!

* Any left-over Pineapple is great grilled and then served with ice-cream as a dessert.
** If you can’t find Cotija, I think that Feta resembles it most, it has a similar texture and taste.

If you make this Elotes salad, be sure to leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you and if you love it, pin it. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! @thecookingspoonblog or hashtag it #thecookingspoonblog

Fiery Garlic and Honey Shrimp.

Spicy, garlicky, sweet, sticky skillet shrimp with fresh lime and baby Basil. This recipe is so good and super easy, it just take 10 minutes to make!

Hopefully you already have a pack of Shrimp in the freezer, and otherwise add it to your shopping list so you can make this delicious recipe this week. Having Shrimp in the freezer is probably one of the best ingredients to have on hand for a super fast last minute dinner. You can make so much with just a bag of Shrimp…
From Tacos to Paella, and from Curry to Sandwiches, the possibilities are endless. They cook in no-time and everybody loves Shrimp. All good reasons to have a good supply in your freezer. However when I’m in a hurry or just in the mood for Shrimp, I turn to this recipe, Fiery, Garlicky Shrimp!
I have made this recipe for two as a main course, but you can simply double as needed. Serve with plenty of French bread to mop up the juices.

This recipe comes together very quickly, so have all your ingredients ready before you start cooking.

The tiny basil I happened to find at the market, it looked so cute and it is really sweet (and pretty). So if you can find it, great. But if not regular basil is fine too.

Serves: 2 as a main or 4 as a starter
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cooking Time: 5 Minutes
________________________________________

INGREDIENTS:

• 1 lb. shrimp (I leave the shell on)*
• 2 tbsp. olive oil
• 4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
• 1 – 1 1/2 tsp. Sambal Oelek
• 1 tbsp. honey
• juice of half a lime
• a sprinkle of salt
• 1 small glass dry white wine
• 2 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
• a small handful of baby basil and lime/lemon wedges to serve


METHOD:

  1. Rinse the shrimp with cold water. Pat dry with kitchen paper and set aside.
  2. Heat up a skillet (cast-iron preferred), add the olive oil. When very hot add the shrimp and leave for two minutes without moving until you see the pink color coming thru.
  3. Now turn them over and add the garlic slices and the Sambal. Leave for a minute and then toss the shrimp around by shaking the pan and flipping the shrimp if you can otherwise use a spoon.
  4. Add the honey and then the lime juice and white wine and stir around to cover.
  5. Finely add the sweet tiny basil and add the cold butter to bind the sauce.
  6. Garnish with more baby basil and serve immediately with lime/lemon wedges.

*I leave the shell on because they add so much flavor and we love peeling them and eating with our hands, but if you prefer peeled shrimp, that’s fine too.

Enjoy!

Easy Unicorn Sushi

How pretty are these Unicorn Sushi? All these beautiful pastel colors are made using only pure natural vegetable and fruit powders. It’s so much fun to make too!
The first thing you do is make the Sushi rice, then divide into smaller portions to color as your heart desires. In this recipe I have only used two colors to keep things “easy”, but you can go all out and use as many colors as you like.

The colors you can use are;

• Beet powder for red
• Turmeric for yellow
• Spirulina for green and blue
• Pitaya for pink
• Poppy seeds for an adorable speckled sushi.
• Pitaya plus blue spirulina = lilac/purple
• Beet plus Turmeric = orange
• Charcoal for grey or back

I like to add very finely grated fresh beet so the colors bleed into each other creating more depth. But you can let your imagination run free.
What I do recommend is that you blend the powders with some water first before mixing it in with the sushi rice. Add a few drops of lemon juice for brightness.

cooking time 20 minutes
prep time 20 minutes
serves 4

INGREDIENTS:

• 2 cups Sushi Rice
• 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
• 1 tsp. Salt
• 2 tbsp. Sugar
• 2 medium Carrots grated
• 1 Cucumber
• 1 avocado
• 1 small beet grated
• 2 medium cans of tuna drained, 2 x 5 oz. (120 gr)/ sub with Tofu for vegans.
• 4-5 tbsp. Mayonnaise
• 8 Nori sheets
• 1 tsp. Spirulina, use more as desired
• 1 tsp. Beet powder, use more as desires

a squeeze of lemon juice for brightening up the colors

METHOD:

1. Start by cooking the sushi rice according to the package instructions.
2. Mix the sushi vinegar, sugar and salt, stir to dissolve.
3. Mix through the cooked warm rice.
4. Let cool completely.
5. Mix your powder of choice with a few drops of water in a small bowl.
6. Divide rice in two and color each one with the powder blends.
7. Add more powder depending on how intense you want the color.
8. Peel the cucumber and cut into long strips, discarding the seeds.
9. Peel the avocado and cut into strips.
10. Mix the tuna with the mayonnaise and set aside. Leave out for vegans or sub with tofu.
11. Place a sheet of Nori on a bamboo rolling mat.
12. Place a few tablespoons of blue rice on the Nori sheet and then some pink rice.
13. Place the filling of choice over the length of the rice.
14. Roll up tight, brush the outer edge of the Nori sheet with a tiny bit of water to seal the roll.
15. Place the finished rolls on a plate covered with cling film until ready to use.
16. When ready to serve, cut the sushi rolls into slices with a very sharp knife and place on a platter or board.
17. Serve with wasabi and soy sauce.

Enjoy!