Friday, 10 March 2017


Recipe of the week...
... Magic from the Med courgettelli

Ingredients: 250g halloumi cheese, 250g pack of mushrooms, 1 aubergine, 20ish cherry tomatoes, 1 jar of green pesto, 50g pine nuts, 1 clove of garlic, 250g courgette spaghetti, cooking oil, salt and pepper.

Serves: 2 platefuls of goodness.

Time taken: Half an hour max.

Hi readers,

How’s it going today?? How are things – as the kids say – hanging?? The kids don’t say that, I know, but weirdly I’ve started saying it to colleagues! I don’t know where I’ve picked this up from! A new addition this week to my odd repertoire of everyday phrases… “fairy snuff” (fair enough) “how’s tricks?” (how are things?) “s’uuuup!” (hi) “ello ello” (hello) “ta-ra!” (bye).

I read this week, readers, in a book I was reading for my new Book Club (very fun – go join one) that questions beginning with the word why suggest blame. As in.. “why did you buy branded cereal?” (blaming someone for a frivolous cereal purchase) or “why is the light on upstairs in your room?” (blaming someone for global warming) or “why do you have to be like that?” (blaming someone for the way they are).

I pondered this idea. And thought: wait. Because questions like “why is the sky blue?” surely don’t suggest to the person you’re asking that you’re blaming them for the sky being blue. That would be absurd. They’d have to be pretty paranoid to imagine that you were. Butttt, at the same time, if you said “how come the sky is blue?” that does in my head sound a lot less blamey. A lot less like they’re responsible for the sky being blue. More like, they just happen to know how its blueness came about.

So, maybe this point about the word ‘why’ is correct after all. Perhaps asking someone “why is the sky blue?” will get you a different answer, than if you’d asked them “how come the sky is blue?”. Who knows. It has made me think, though, about the importance of framing questions. Vis a vis – setting the tone for the answer that you’ll receive.

I’m learning about marketing at work with my colleagues, and I’m learning to drive with my driving instructor, Steve. I ask a lot of questions. And maybe if I asked ones that didn’t begin with the word ‘why’ it would improve the quality of the answers I get. What do you think, readers? Am I babbling or does it sound as though I’m on to something?

This idea’s been on my mind quite a lot throughout the week. It keeps resurfacing, among the many other thoughts crashing around. And maybe it resurfaces for a reason. Perhaps it’s of some significance. Can you think of any examples within your own everyday – where you ask questions, or someone asks questions of you? And can you think of any recently that have begun with the word ‘why’? What was the question and what was the answer? Would this have been different if the questions began with ‘how come’? Would ‘how come’ have improved things or would it have made the question seem less direct and more wishy washy, I wonder?

Do let me know your thoughts on this, readers. Can you think of any ‘why’ questions that disprove the idea that the word supposes blame? Or, instead, can you think of any question starters, other than ‘why’, that sound as though they suggest blame to you? I’m quite intrigued by all of this. I wonder whether this will help me to improve the way I frame questions, in order to get better answers going forwards.

Maybe we all should ditch the word ‘why’? Do we need it for anything, really? Aside from ‘how come’, can you think of any other suitable alternatives to ‘why’, readers? Do share them, if you think of any. And, in the meanwhile, I’ll share you this week’s Recipe of the Week. Hopefully, this will provide food for thought while you contemplate the English language and questions basic sentence structure…

So. This week’s recipe is one that I’ve adapted from the March issue of Asda’s ‘Good Living’ magazine, which I picked up for free this week while nipping in the shop for a couple of bits. If you shop at Asda and spot this magazine when you’re next in, I definitely recommend picking up a copy! It’s full of pictures that spark fresh inspiration, for foods and for your home.

Amongst pages of tempting-looking recipes, Mother’s Day gift ideas and suggestions for Spring room styles… there’s a two-page spread entitled ‘3 ways with Halloumi’. Yes, readers. Asda knows, and we all know. The god of cheese IS halloumi and, now that we’ve satisfied our wintry lusting over camembert, it’s high time we focussed our love back on this classic godly cheese. That’s right.. it’s halloumi time.

To quote Asda on halloumi: “Delicious when grilled, fried or baked, this versatile ‘squeaky’ cheese packs a savoury punch”. Personally, I feel passionately about halloumi. Not everyone’s cheese, I know. Hard to comprehend, for some. But, I’m a lover of this salty, squeaky cheese and so I was thrilled with its feature in ‘Good Living’. Go Asda! The article features vegetarian recipes for ‘Stacked crispy halloumi burgers’, a ‘Halloumi & aubergine dream’, and ‘Magic from the Med courgettelli’.

All sounded and look amazing and so – in the spirit of health kicking – I simply opted for the lowest calorie of the recipes… the courgettelli. Back to the shop I went for ingredients, and I did adapt the recipe slightly, in order to use up an aubergine I had knocking about. Outcome: one fab plate of food. Really, readers! 4 of your 5 a day all on one plate. A healthy, tasty tea packed full of goodness.

Plus, I didn’t give this is a go but in the magazine it says that this courgettelli is delicious hot or cold, and recommends using up any leftovers as a pitta bread filling. What a top idea! So. Are you tempted?? Yeahhhh.. you are! Want to try your hand at a Magic from the Med courgettelli?? Here’s the recipe in just ten easy steps…

1.     First, set some background music and make sure your wine glass is at least half full – never half empty.
2.     Then, we prep! Use a sharp knife to cut your halloumi into cubes, halve your cherry tomatoes, halve your mushrooms, chop your clove of garlic into tiiiny pieces, and skin your aubergine then cut into bite-sized chunks.
3.     Heat some cooking oil in a wok or a large frying pan and add your garlic and pine nuts to sizzle for a minute.
4.     Meanwhile, turn on your George Foreman or – if lacking in one – turn on your regular grill and arrange your halloumi on a little life raft fashioned out of tin foil.
5.     Once the garlic and pine nuts begin to brown, tip your mushrooms, tomatoes and aubergine into the pan. Season with salt and pepper, and cook for five minutes.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: Use a medium heat and keep everything moving about the pan, to stop your veg from burning. Sing to your veg, why not? Seranade them as they fry.
6.     Set your cheese grilling and pop two plates in the microwave to warm for a couple of minutes.
7.     Tip your pack of courgette spaghetti and the contents of the jar of pesto into your pan. Toss together and cook everything for a further five minutes.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: The contents of your pan are mainly veg and so things could get a little watery in there. If at any point it looks as though there’s excess liquid in the pan, just drain this away and then continue cooking.
8.     Your tea is almost ready – now’s the time to refresh your wine and set the table. Why not light a candle to set the scene? Make your meal a little special.
9.     Once your halloumi is looking mouth-wateringly golden all over (and, perhaps, a little charred like mine) then you can turn off your grill and the hob.
10.  Spoon your courgettelli out onto the plates and top with grilled halloumi cheese. Serve while hot and tuck in!


And that, readers, is all there is to it. You just cooked up a healthy, Mediterranean storm. No carbs involved and so no guilt for anyone dieting! Just a great tasting, colourful plate of interesting food. Treating your insides. What do you think, readers? Does this recipe take your fancy? Would you give it a go?? Or are you not convinced by the halloumi cheese? Or the absolute lack of meat/fish/carbs?

I promise you – give this a try and you might be surprised! This Magic from the Med courgettelli didn’t strike me as a typical dieter’s tea. This was no tasteless, modest portion of steamed greens. It was a proper plateful of proper grub! Filled me up all evening, without the need for dessert or any late night snacking.

Do let me know, readers, if you give this recipe a go – how did you get on in the kitchen?? Were the steps simple to follow? Did anything go wrong? Would you do anything differently next time?? And how did your food taste? Did you like?! I hope that all went well for you, readers! I hope you whizzed through the recipe and really enjoyed your courgettelli.

Readers, I’ll leave you to power on with Friday now (almost the weekend!!). Do let me know if you have any thoughts on the word ‘why’. Will let you know if I decide where I stand on it, too. Wishing you all a wonderful, fun-filled weekend.

Halloumi safely,


No comments:

Post a Comment