We had a girls’ weekend away in Auckland recently and we did a day trip to Waiheke Island. Astonishingly, three out of the five of us either live, or have lived, in Auckland…Yet only one person had been there! Crazy!
Waiheke Island totally exceeded my expectations – it’s utterly gorgeous, really quaint with an abundance of things to do. If it wasn’t for the Kiwi accent, money number plates and Auckland glistening in the distance, I’d have sworn I was in a different country.
Our day consisted of shopping and eating (did you expect anything less?) and one of the highlights was our trip to Cable Bay vineyard. Here, upon arrival, after a long hot walk uphill to get there, we collapsed into chairs on the verandah and swiftly ordered a couple of bottles of vino and a bunch of food to share. Oh my God – my tastebuds were in heaven. All of it was top notch. There was one dish in particular that had all of us in heaven – beetroot quinoa with haloumi. My friend Diane and I (possibly more of a foodie than me), launched into a “pick that flavour” frenzy, with the goal of me having a crack at re-creating it. Clearly, as you are reading this blog post, I succeeded and I’m rapt with the result! So here we go, Cable Bay inspired beetroot qunioa with halloumi. This is on my Christmas Day menu for 2015 (I’ve got nothing else in mind so far apart from my Damn Yummy Christmas Ham!).
- 1 ½ c Quinoa
- 1 cup brown rice (I use the ‘quick cook stuff’ like Sunrice - see notes below)
- 750ml chicken stock
- 2 tablespoon each pumpkin and sunflower seeds (toasted – dry fry them in a frying pan)
- 10 sundried tomatoes (cut into slivers)
- 1/3 c freshly chopped mint (save some for garnish)
- 3 medium sized beetroot (peeled and trimmed)
- 2 cups of leafy greens (spinach or rocket are ideal)
- 200g packet of Haloumi
- Olive oil
- 3 tablespoons raspberry vinaigrette - Prenzels do a good one!
- 1 tablespoon runny honey
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
- *I make extra as it’s damn good!!
- Heat oven to 180 degrees (bake).
- Place beetroot on a sheet of tinfoil, drizzle olive oil over it, wrap each beetroot up into little individual parcels, place in a roasting tin and bake until tender (approx. 45-50 minutes)
- When cooked, leave to cool slightly then puree in a food processor/Nutribullet.
- Bring stock to boil in a medium sized saucepan.
- Add quinoa. Bring the stock to a gentle simmer. Place the lid on the saucepan.
- Cook for 15-17 minutes, or until the quinoa is tender.
- When the quinoa is cooked, remove the lid from the saucepan, fluff it up with a fork a little, add the cooked brown rice. Set aside.
- Combine all ingredients in a jar and give it a damn good shake. Set aside.
- Place haloumi on a chopping board.Pat dry with paper towels. Have the shortest end of the haloumi facing you. Slice vertically in half and then slice horizontally into eight even cubes. Heat the olive oil in a pan. Season the slices of haloumi with salt and freshly ground black pepper and fry for 2 minutes on both sides, or until golden-brown all over.
- Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels.
- Add the following ingredients to the saucepan containing the now cooked quinoa/brown rice: The beetroot puree;
- Most of the toasted seeds (save some for garnish);
- Most of the mint (save some for garnish);
- 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette (add more depending on your tastebuds).
- Then, lastly, place the leafy greens on a serving platter. Place the quinoa on top, add the pan friend haloumi, sprinkle with the reserved toasted seeds and mint.