When I first moved to Paris I could not find Halloumi cheese anywhere until my friend, Mari. Found some in a Lebanese store in her neighbourhood close to Vincennes. Now since Marks and Spencer has reopened in and around the city, I can buy it easily, which is great as I love it!
Walnuts (les noix) however are something that we have in abundance and we go to collect them when they fall around late September/early October, usually from the walnut trees growing just outside the walls of the beautiful, medieval city of Provins, just over an hour drive from here through the lovely French countryside
We then dry them and store them in large cardboard boxes to use throughout out year and on many a winter evening my partner, Marc, sits at the table, nutcracker in hand, cracking open enough nuts to store in airtight containers to be eaten with the aperitif.
Apart from providing excellent, nutritious ‘apero nibbles’ (they are a super aid to the digestion and an excellent natural remedy for constipation), I use them in salads, cakes, tarts and we even make our own wine for the aperitif – ‘vin de noix’ which Marc makes in the bathroom – life in the UK was never like this!
I have incorporated them into my salad to serve with grilled Halloumi cheese. This is one of my favourite starters and well worth the trip to M&S!
Ingredients Serves 2
2 – 3 slices of Halloumi per person
¼ Curly lettuce (batave) sliced into strips
2 slices of streaky bacon chopped into small cubes
A handful of walnuts broken into bits
1 heaped teaspoon of capers
A generous glug of olive oil and a less generous glug of lemon juice whisked together to make the salad dressing
A good quality organic balsamic vinegar for drizzling
Emulsify the olive oil and lemon juice in a salad bowl and toss the lettuce until covered in the dressing then arrange on a salad plate
Dry fry the bacon until crisp, in a none stick pan, and sprinkle over the lettuce
Grill the Halloumi until golden on both sides and arrange on top of the salad
Sprinkle with the walnuts and capers and drizzle with balsamic vinegar
An explosion of colours, aromas and flavours to excite the senses………..
P.S. – I feel a ‘Carrot and Walnut cake’ coming on………..