Traditional Cypriot halloumi with tomato and mint salsa
by Sarah Alcock
The food of Cyprus is a bit of a hybrid between two well-known food cultures – Greek and Turkish, with lots of salads, houmous and grilled kebabs – but the Cypriots are also masters of bread, with special kinds made throughout the year for festivals and religious holidays.
At the luxurious Annabelle hotel in Paphos they run bread-making classes for hotel guests and non-residents alike, where you can learn how to cook everything from basic village bread made from the local flour, to Daktyla-Koulouria, the native version of brioche, and Falaounes, a savoury bread with a cheese, egg and mint filling that resembles a samosa.
Bread isn't the only edible delight Cyprus has to offer – we ate lots of halloumi, which was the tastiest I'd ever tried (the locals are divided as to whether it's best made with sheeps' or goats' milk, but either way it's a national treasure). This dish is simple to make and brings a taste of the Mediterranean to your home. Kali orexi! (that means bon appetit, by the way!)
What's your favourite sunshine food? Tell us in the comments box below.
Let's Bake classes at the Annabelle hotel cost €90 per person for two days and include welcome drinks, a chef's hat, apron, recipe folder and two practical bread-making lessons. For more information, email email@example.com.
Griddled halloumi with lemon dressing and a raw tomato and mint salsa
- 3 medium, very ripe, vine tomatoes
- 1 small garlic clove, crushed
- 4 sprigs of fresh mint, shredded, plus a few whole leaves to serve
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for griddling
- a pinch of caster sugar
- juice of 1 small lemon
- 1 x 250g pack halloumi
- First, make the salsa. Score the base of each tomato with a small sharp knife, place in a heatproof bowl and pour over a kettle of boiling water.
- Leave to sit for 30 seconds, then drain and plunge straight into iced water. Skin the tomatoes, cut in half and scoop out and discard the seeds.
- Finely dice the flesh and toss gently with the garlic, shredded mint, and ½ tablespoon of the olive oil, then season to taste with the sugar and some salt and pepper.
- Whisk together the lemon juice and remaining olive oil and season with plenty of black pepper (it probably won’t need salt, as the halloumi is quite salty).
- Get a ridged griddle plan searingly hot. Cut the halloumi into slices about 1cm thick, then rub all over with a little olive oil.
- Griddle the halloumi on a medium heat for 2-3 minutes each side, then remove to a plate.
- Drizzle with the lemon dressing, then top with the tomato salsa and finish with a few whole mint leaves.