Posts Tagged ‘Cypriot’

We heard about this dish on The Food Programme on BBC Radio 4 as described, lovingly, by Leyla Kazim on a program about Cyprus and halloumi/hellim. We couldn’t wait to try it. Constructed from the description by Leyla and trawling the internet for quantities. Delicious comfort food and a new way with halloumi (for us at least).

Turkish macaroni – serves 4

  • 200g halloumi
  • 2 tbsp dried mint
  • 400g wholewheat pasta, we used penne
  • 2 litres good chicken stock
  • 1-2 lemons
  • a large handful of fresh mint leaves, chopped

Finely grate the halloumi cheese and mix with the dried mint.

Cook the pasta in the chicken stock until al dente.

Put some of the cheese and mint mixture in the bottom of four bowls. Ladle some pasta and stock over each portion, then sprinkle with another layer of cheese and mint. Add another layer of pasta and finish with a final layer of cheese. Sprinkle over the fresh mint and squeeze some lemon juice over each to taste.


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Cypriot PastitsioThe warmth of the cinnamon and the dried mint turns this pasta bake into something distinctively Cypriot rather than Italian. Serve it with a big Greek salad on the side for a stress-free dinner party. The Pastitsio takes a while to make but you can have all assembled in advance, ready to stick in the oven when your guests arrive. It is also best served warm, or even at room temperature, so you don’t need to worry if you get behind making your salad!

Tessa recommends a dish of dimensions very similar (and no bigger) than this: 35cm long, 24cm wide and 6cm deep. We used a big roasting tin.

Pastitsio – to serve 10

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 850g minced pork and beef
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 125 ml white wine
  • 400g tinned tomatoes, chopped
  • 450g short pasta (we used penne)
  • about 30g butter
  • 1/2 tsp dried mint
  • 1 tbsp breadcrumbs
Bechamel sauce
  • 120g butter
  • 125g plain flour
  • 1 litre warm milk
  • a little freshly grated nutmeg
Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan and fry the onion until soft and golden. Add the parsley and garlic and cook for a few second before adding the meat. Fry for a few minutes until all the moisture has gone and the mince is starting to brown. Season and add the bay leaf and cinnamon. When it starts to fry and brown, add the wine and cook until evaporated. Add the tomatoes and a cup of water and cook over a medium to low heat for 10-15 minutes. The meat shouldn’t be too dry. Take off the heat.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Cook the pasta in boiling salted water for 2 minutes less than what it says on the packet. Drain and put in a bowl. Mix in the butter and crumble in the dried mint. Stir well and spoon half over the base of a large ovenproof dish. Pour the meat mixture over the top to evenly cover the pasta, then add the rest of the pasta over the top. Press down with a wooden spoon to make it quite compact. Set aside while you make the béchamel sauce.

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook for a few minutes, stirring all the time, then start adding the warm milk. Work quickly, stirring while adding ladlefuls of milk as each one is absorbed. When the sauce is smooth and not too stiff, add salt, pepper and a grating of nutmeg. Keep cooking even after it comes to the boil, for about 5 minutes, stirring all the time. You should have a very thick and smooth sauce. Pour this over the pasta and meat in the dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top and bake for 30-40 minutes until the top is golden. Let it cool for a bit before you serve or it will run everywhere.

(Original recipe from Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros, published by Murdoch Books, 2004.)

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