Saturday, 29 September 2012

Quick Pepperoni Carbonara

One of the advantages that pepperoni holds over bacon is that they are ready-to-eat and hence require little to no time to prepare for consumption. Given that my work in recent times has made me more time-poor than ever before, this was useful to know. It was during one of these days when I wanted to whip something up quickly that Basics Pepperoni came in very useful.

The soup base found in the Sainsbury's Basics Instant Noodles might not be very healthy, but the noodles themselves are actually okay and are an interesting alternative to pasta. Indeed, Sainsbury's have posted a few recipes on their official website that involve the Basics instant noodles but not the soup base. I'm used to having my instant noodles served dry, without soup, so I combined that with a poached egg and some pieces of pepperoni that I microwaved for about 30 seconds.

This was quick to prepare and fairly satisfying, being very similar to the post I did a while ago with luncheon meat and instant noodles. The only problem is that featuring pepperoni regularly on one's diet would lead to somewhat adverse medical consequences, so I ought to identify a deli meat that is just as affordable and does not have as much fat. Perhaps the Basics Chicken Roll might fit the bill.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Baked Feta

I love halloumi, both grilled and pan-fried. I was introduced to this some time in my third year at university, at a Greek restaurant, and I would fondly remember the crisp outside of each slice of cheese slowly giving way to a soft and warm centre. Being a recent addition to the list of EU food products of Protected Designation of Origin though, it is rather expensive.

The cheese is also quite a niche product, so it does not have an equivalent in the Sainsbury's Basics product line. As it turns out, it is also quite difficult to find halloumi in the United States. However, smitten kitchen, a blog that has been recently popping up on my Google Reader quite frequently, found a recipe for baked feta cheese, which apparently will give rise to something very similar to halloumi when grilled, albeit softer. Sainsbury's Basics does have a Greek Salad Cheese, and even though the last time I bought it I never got to finish before it went bad, I decided to give this a go, if only to satisfy my Greek cheese cravings on the cheap.

The recipe can be found here. I have greatly simplified it to just baking feta cheese with some Basics olives, sprinkled with some mixed herbs. This is so that I can avoid using standard-sized tomatoes instead of the cherry ones that smitten kitchen gets to use.

This tasted a lot like halloumi cheese, although I should have left it in the oven for longer than then 15 minutes prescribed for a crispier outside. My only regret is that I did not leave any behind to experiment with pan-frying, as it looks like it can probably retain its structure, perhaps since it's made from cow's milk rather than sheep's milk needed for proper Feta.
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