squeaky cheese: blood orange, avocado and haloumi salad

as my crusade for fast meal ideas continues, and with fresh summer produce creeping into season, it’s so nice to enjoy simple but effective flavour combinations. this salad is one example.

it’s a taste and texture delight, combining squeaky with creamy, sweet with salty, crunchy with smooth, peppery with tangy. I love how every bite tastes just a little bit different. I also love the vibrancy of blood oranges, they’re so wonderfully dramatic.

extra bonus: it only takes six and a half minutes to make.

blood orange, avocado and haloumi salad

  • 100g haloumi, sliced into 1 cm thick slices
  • baby wild rocket, washed and dried
  • 1 blood orange, peeled and sliced
  • 1 avocado, peeled seeded and sliced
  • handful of walnuts, roughly broken
  • raspberry vinaigrette, for dressing, to taste

method:

  1. combine rocket, avocado and walnuts in a bowl. toss gently and dress with vinaigrette to taste. transfer salad to a serving plate.
  2. grill, or fry in a teaspoon of olive oil, the haloumi slices until they’re golden brown on both sides. transfer haloumi to the salad.
  3. top with blood orange slices, season with some freshly cracked pepper, and enjoy!

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e is for energy: millet banana bread

I have a confession. When I’m ravenous and in a hurry, all my food-discipline and beliefs dissolve. I’ll jump on the fastest, easiest, most-evil thing in the cupboard/fridge: two minute noodles, big mugs of milo, blocks of cadbury dairymilk, stir-through pasta sauces.. terrible.

I find this a significant issue after exercise in the morning, I scramble home, and then rush out the door to begin my half hour walk to work and by then I am STARVING. So I spend the whole half hour morphing Bon Iver lyrics into odes to brioche and nutella, french toast and bacon, three cheese omelettes, freshly baked cinnamon scrolls… ohhh

Making power-smoothies in the morning are a great way to get the post-exercise boost you need, and I love to do this on the weekends; but blitzing smoothies during the week just isn’t practical for me.

My refuel of choice is this millet banana bread, which I power-up with quinoa – because as you’ve probably realised, I love this grain!

I bake my bread sugar-free because when you use squishy overripe bananas, I find they’re sweet enough to hold their own. If they’re not quite at that blackened stage, a squeeze of honey should be enough of a sweet kick.

A slice of this is also great to cure your two-thirty-itis in the office. When the beginning of an afternoon slump creeps up on me, I love to take five minutes to toast up a slice, slather it with almond butter, and enjoy it with a cup of tea.

This bread is pretty moist and light; so if more convenient, you could easily bake it in a muffin pan for individual portions.

Sugar-free Millet Banana Bread

  • 3/4 cup cooked quinoa, as per package directions
  • 2 large overripe bananas, mushed
  • 2 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract/paste
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 tbs melted butter, cooled
  • 1/2 plain flour (or quinoa flour, or rice flour to make gluten-free)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 cup millet flour
  • handful walnuts/pecans, roughly chopped

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line a loaf pan with baking paper.
  2. Place the quinoa in a large mixing bowl and stir together with mushed up bananas
  3. Add the egg, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and butter, and continue mixing. (If using sugar or honey, add at this stage as well)
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the baking soda, baking powder, and flours. Add nuts. Add to the wet ingredients 1/2 cup at a time until all the dry ingredients are incorporated.
  5.  Pour the batter into the pan. Bake in a 180C oven for 40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
  6. Remove the bread from the oven and let it rest for as long as you can resist…

saturday sweetness: at last my love has come along

Oh my. I almost had a heart attack last night when my boyfriend, S., came back to Canberra early from his trip overseas and colluded with a friend to surprise me! those who know me, know how much I hate surprises. … Continue reading