What did the cheese say when it looked in the mirror? Halloumi!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUs girls, we dig halloumi. And sweet potatoes. So sesame halloumi parcels with sweet potato mash? What could be better. Except I’ve never made them before and as anyone who has ever watched Masterchef will know, you do not try something new in a pressure situation. Luckily, there’s hardly anything to them and although my pastry folding technique was haphazard to say the least, you can’t really go wrong with slightly gooey cheese wrapped in crisp filo.

You need to set up a bit of a production line. First cut two 250g blocks of halloumi into twelve slices each, a job made easier with a sharp knife. Beat an egg in one bowl, put 50g of sesame seeds, along with a teaspoon, in another. Then in a final bowl mix a handful of chopped parsley, half a chopped chilli, the zest of a lemon and a tablespoon of tahini (sesame paste, a similar consistency to peanut butter) and a good drizzling of oil. The recipe specifies that you should mix the halloumi with this mixture but it’s rather thick so instead I spread it on during the production process.

Take a sheet of filo pastry, drizzle with oil to stop it drying out. These sheets of filo are huge so made 4 parcels each. I think normal size sheets will make two so you’ll need a pack with six sheets. Cut your pastry into two or four as appropriate. Put one slice of halloumi on a portion of pastry (the pastry sheet in the picture hasn’t been cut yet), smooth a teaspoonful of parsley mixture over and top with a second slice of halloumi.

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Sprinkle with sesame seeds, then roll the cheese up in the pastry, folding the edges in as best you can, sticking the final fold together with some beaten egg. Then place on a baking tray lined with baking paper, fold side down. Brush the top with beaten egg and add another sprinkling of sesame seeds. Repeat until you have twelve. Then bake for 20 minutes on 180 C. You can leave them for a while before you bake and they reheat nicely as well.

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For the mash, to serve six, peel and chop four sweet potatoes. Boil for 20 minutes then drain and mash.

The salad is based on an Ottolenghi recipe. Cook 300g of broad beans and then take the tough outer skins off (this really is worth doing, for texture and flavour, but that is half an hour of my life I am not getting back). Thinly slice a bunch of radishes and add handfuls of whole parsley leaves. Mix the juice of a lemon, a good couple of tablespoonfuls of olive oil and a pinch of ground cumin then toss with the veg. The peppery radish, earthy broad beans and fragrant parsley offset each other perfectly.

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