Preparation time: ~25 minutes
Calories: ~550 per serving
Greetings folks – it’s Sunday, and while for many of us that does mean it’s just one day of blissful weekend left before returning to work on Monday, I’m not going to think about that right now. Oh no, for it’s a brand new day – time to sit on the balcony and stuff yourself with pancakes topped with a big blob of butter and… is that raspberry jam? Oops, seems that someone forgot to buy the maple syrup – well, never mind – a wonderful pot of coffee and a stack of pancakes and a day of nothingness ahead of me – what could be better?
The weather seems to have taken a turn for the HOT and all urges of turning on the oven or stove have fled from my mind. A colleague of mine very kindly brought me some halloumi in the week – it’s not the easiest thing to find in France. You often have to seek out overpriced Lebanese specialty stores (don’t ask me why, considering it’s a Cypriot cheese), but anyway – his parents were visiting him from Cyprus and brought over some halloumi for him and he very kindly brought me some of his stash! One of my favourite ways of eating it is just simply frying it and eating it atop a lovely couscous salad, loaded with fresh parsley, the lovely zing of lemon juice permeating throughout – It’s cool, quick and easy to make – perfect for hot weather. I had all the ingredients I needed, so I set to work.
I didn’t get very far.
I pulled out the box of couscous from the cupboard to reveal literally a small handful of of the stuff. I know it swells in water but expecting that to swell to a sufficient quantity to feed us both for dinner and lunch the next day would be pushing it a bit alas. I pondered what I could do instead for a bit and decided to chuck a few things together, including a papaya that I’d bought a couple of days previously. I was enormously satisfied with the results – packed with flavour and a real bit of zing in each bite, with just a hint of fresh, cold sweetness from the papaya. If you can get halloumi then I recommend this, but if not then feta works equally well! The tiny bit of couscous provides a perfect bit of “glue” which binds together with the rest of the ingredients to bulk it out nicely.
Let me ask you something though – What’s the deal with papayas? Am I missing out somewhere? Perhaps I’ve just never had a good one, but to me they just always seem like almost tasteless melons. I think that’s why the flavour works so well in this salad – there’s no sensation of “fruit” coming through to create some funky combination with the cheese and tomato… no, it just sits there in the background, sweetening things up a bit sometimes and giving a bit of body – lovely stuff!
Have a great day everyone – see you back on Wednesday and don’t forget – you still have a week from today to enter my giveaway if you didn’t already!
Papaya, Chickpea and Feta Salad
- 1 Papaya
- 500g prepared Chickpeas
- 80g of couscous (dry weight)
- A large handful of Cherry Tomatoes
- A 10cm length of Cucumber
- 1 Red Pepper
- 1 Onion
- ~150g Feta Cheese or Halloumi
- A good handful of fresh Parsley
- A small handful of fresh Mint
- Juice of 1 Lime
- Juice of 1 Lemon
- ~5 tbsps Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Start off by chopping the feta or halloumi cheese into small chunks. Place into a bowl and then finely chop the mint. Add this in and pour in a couple of tablespoons of the Olive Oil. Mix well and set aside to allow the flavours to infuse for a few moments while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Bring about 100ml of water to the boil in a pan and when boiling, remove from the heat and add the couscous into the bottom. Stir well and set aside. Meanwhile, peel the onion and finely chop along with the cucumber and the parsley. Cut the tomatoes and red pepper into bite-size pieces, and then cut the papaya in half. Remove the seeds and then peel the two halves before chopping into small chunks.
- Place the papaya into a large bowl with the chickpeas, the cucumber, tomatoes, red pepper, parsley, onion, feta cheese, lemon and lime juice and the rest of the olive oil. Drain off any excess water from the couscous, if needed, and add to the bowl with a few good twists of salt and pepper before mixing well to combine all ingredients. Serve immediately and enjoy!