Spiced chickpeas with halloumi – an easy and quick dinner recipe for you
Hello & welcome,
Thanks for being here with me.
Firstly, I just want to thank all of you exceptional people who emailed me this past week in response to me writing and sending my first email in many months.
As I noted then, last year was incredibly difficult for us and for so many others. Although I have been quieter these past 5 months, there hasn’t been a single day that I haven’t thought of you and our very special community. It is so meaningful to be writing, creating and sharing my favourite recipes with this beloved community.
It may not be surprising, but I have been cooking a lot during this time. I guess it is akin to therapy for me. I have taken lots of notes and photos along the way for my own records and to be able to share some of these new recipes and tips and tricks with you. Notes about what worked a charm and what might still need tweaking. Which dishes were super quick and delicious and ways they could be made simpler and faster again, without compromising the flavour and beauty of the dish. There’s even method to my madness (insert crazy witch-like laughter) as the simpler it is, the more confident Michael and our daughters step up and into the kitchen so that the dinner load is shared when it can be.
I know it can be easy to get stuck in a ‘food rut’ when we lead such busy lives. I genuinely love helping to turn that around for families, and I hope to do always do just that.
This quick and easy dinner recipe is loved by my whole family.
It is a recipe that can be thrown together in 15 minutes (no lies) and enjoyed together around the table soon after. It is from my first cookbook, and I wanted to share it with you here and particularly for anyone who may not have tried this gorgeous dish before. It ticks many boxes for what makes it a quick and easy dinner better than some others. For one, as said, it is super fast. Two, it has such an incredible depth of flavour (using freshly ground spices is key for these to shine through). Three, it is nourishing & nutritious, and four……it has halloumi in it (need I say more). It is also a healthy meat-free dinner. And it suits my two vegetarians to the ground. If I felt it needed more on a particular night, a small piece of steamed fish would sit perfectly on top, drizzled with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon (poached chicken works here also).
We enjoyed this dish for dinner around our table one night last week. It was a busy night juggling various teens work shifts and sporting runs, but we did manage to snatch some precious time at the table to enjoy this dinner altogether. It was a fun dinner. Many bites from each of our days shared, and although I can’t remember what was said, something made Ettie laugh so hard that she spat her water in every direction across the table and on us. The rest of us, stunned for just a second, absolutely lost it. All doubled over in laughter, both disgusted and swept up in the laughter that was so infectious. And right, at that very moment, I was grateful Ettie wasn’t drinking milk!! And thankful that we take the time to share these little pockets of connection with one another around a meal – no matter how quick and simple that dinner might be. For it is right here, where we create new memories with the people that matter most.
I hope you really enjoy this recipe. It has been in my repertoire for a few years now, and I know it will be for many more to come.
Spiced chickpeas with halloumi
A good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
1 brown onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon of roasted ground cumin
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
A pinch of chilli flakes
1 teaspoon of roasted ground turmeric
1 x 400g tin chickpeas, rinsed well and drained
180-200g Cypriot style haloumi, cut into 2cm cubes
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1 x 400g tin of diced tomatoes
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
A handful of baby spinach leaves washed and spun
1 tablespoon of full-fat greek yoghurt
A few lightly toasted flaked almonds
Heat a pan on medium heat and add the oil. Cook the onion for a few minutes to soften. Add the garlic, cumin, cinnamon, chilli and turmeric and toast for approximately 30 seconds, constantly stirring. Add the chickpeas and halloumi and cook for a few minutes to infuse with the spices and flavour. Stir in the tomato paste, and then add the sugar and diced tomatoes in their juice. Add zest and lemon juice.
Taste and then season with sea salt and pepper and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
Add spinach, cover with a lid and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the spinach has wilted. Allow to cool slightly, and then serve with yoghurt and flaked almonds.