Category Archives: Cheese

Halloumi, Orange and Bitter Leaf Salad

Halloumi, Orange and Bitter Leaf Salad | Gather and Graze

Now that winter is behind us and summer on the way, it’s time for salads to take their rightful place on the dinner table once again. Relinquishing all that hearty, comfort food and embracing a much lighter fare is something my body is already thanking me for. Continue reading


Savoury Cheese Scones

Savoury Cheese Scones | Gather and Graze

Extremely popular in New Zealand (well, at least they were… about 7 or 8 years ago), cheese scones are an absolute delight! Perfect for a morning or afternoon tea when you’re in need of something a little more savoury, rather than sweet. Plus they’re extremely quick and easy to make – which is always a bonus! Continue reading

When life gives you Lemons… Four Recipes with Lemons

Four Recipes with Meyer Lemons | Gather and Graze

I mean that literally, not proverbially… life is actually pretty good around here, however it’s well and truly time that I got creative with some recipes for the glut of Meyer Lemons that my 3 little potted trees have produced this year. Since fully ripening, they’ve been waiting patiently in the fridge for the past couple of weeks, until I could find the time to make something wonderful with them. Not just one thing wonderful, but four different delights that can be created in next to no time. Continue reading

Ottolenghi’s ‘Prawns, Scallops & Clams with Tomato & Feta’

Ottolenghi's Prawns, Scallops and Clams with Tomato and Feta | Gather and Graze

Being aware of how many Ottolenghi fans are out there, I’ll be surprised if there aren’t at least a few of you who have tried this dish already! It’s a delicious, saucy dish that feels suited to any and all of the seasons, packed full of seafood… and flavour!

In a comforting kind of way, it reminds me very much of a Greek dish that my Mum often makes, called ‘Gharithes Me Feta’ (translates to ‘Prawns with Feta’). She’s been cooking it for years… I think perhaps it was a recipe passed on to her from our Greek neighbours who were (and still are…) fishmongers in Adelaide. Now I realise that Mr Ottolenghi has upped the ante somewhat with the addition of scallops, clams and fragrant strips of lemon zest, but somehow I know that deep down I’m going to be just as likely to think of my Mum whenever I make this in future. The flavours seem so attached to her… and to her kitchen.

I made the decision to use Persian feta when I cooked this for the family the other night and despite it’s decadent creaminess, I felt that it melted a little too much into the dish and that a slightly more robust feta would be a better choice in future.

It’s such a wonderful dish… I hope you give it a go.

Ottolenghi's 'Prawns, Scallops & Clams with Tomato & Feta' | Gather and Graze

  • 250ml White Wine
  • 1 kg Clams (cleaned) – I only used 500g
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 3 Garlic Cloves (thinly sliced)
  • 600g (Fresh or Tinned) Ripe Tomatoes (Peeled and Chopped)
  • 1 Teaspoon Caster Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Oregano (Chopped)
  • 1 Lemon
  • 16 Raw Tiger Prawns (Peeled and Deveined)
  • 12 Large Scallops (Cleaned)
  • 120g Feta Cheese (Broken into 2cm chunks)
  • 3 Spring Onions (thinly sliced)
  • Sea Salt and Black Pepper

Bring the white wine to the boil in a medium saucepan and reduce until only a quarter of the quantity is left.

Ottolenghi's Prawns, Scallops and Clams with Tomato and Feta | Gather and Graze

Add the clams to the saucepan and cover with a lid. Allow to cook over high heat for about 2 minutes (shaking the pan occasionally). Check that the clams have opened, before transferring to a fine sieve to drain, being sure to retain all of the cooking liquid (in a bowl or jug) for later.

Ottolenghi's Prawns, Scallops and Clams with Tomato and Feta | Gather and Graze

Remove the clams from their shells, though you may wish to leave a few with shells on for presentation at the end.

Preheat the oven to 240°C.

Place a large frying pan over medium-high heat and cook the garlic in the olive oil until just golden. Add the tomatoes, clam liquid, sugar, chopped oregano and a grinding of pepper and salt. Using a vegetable peeler, peel off three strips of lemon and add them to the sauce. Allow to simmer gently for about 20-25 minutes until the sauce thickens nicely. Taste for seasoning and be sure to discard the lemon peel.

Add the prawns and scallops and stir gently to coat them in the sauce. Allow to cook for just a couple of minutes. Fold in the clams and transfer everything to an ovenproof dish. Scatter with the feta cheese and spring onions (and any of the cooked clams in their shells) and place into the oven for about 5 minutes, until the top of the dish colours a little and the seafood is cooked.

Remove from the oven, squeeze some lemon juice over the top and drizzle with a little extra olive oil.

Perfect served with couscous, rice or bread.

Ottolenghi's Prawns, Scallops and Clams with Tomato and Feta | Gather and Graze

Notes on Cooking

  • If you like a little heat, feel free to add some chilli flakes to the sauce at the same time as you add the tomatoes.

* Recipe from the cookbook ‘Jerusalem’ by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

Zaatar and Haloumi Man’oushe

Zaatar Haloumi Man'oushe | Gather and Graze

Yeast and Herbs! They’ve been playing on my mind a lot lately. You see, I needed to make a dish (or drink) that combined both yeast and herbs. Why? Because Angie from ‘The Novice Gardener’ (along with her co-host Catherine, from the exquisite ‘Catherine Cuisine’) suggested it… they were the ones who put down the challenge. Fiesta Friday has recently evolved to include a monthly challenge for those who are up for it… and this month (for Fiesta Friday Challenge #1), we’ve been asked to come up with something interesting (as well as of course delicious), combining these two sensational ingredients.

My initial thought was to create a Herbed Brioche, dotted with lemon myrtle (a native Australian herb) and small chunks of feta cheese. However after struggling to find brioche moulds in the local kitchen shops… and is a brioche really a brioche if not presented with a fluted base?, I decided to go with the following instead… and I’m so thrilled that I did, as this recipe for Lebanese flatbread I will use over and over again in the future. It is a delicious accompaniment to Middle-Eastern dishes that have juices or sauce that require mopping up; as well as being a perfect breakfast or lunch bread able to support fillings such as spiced lamb or chicken, or the scrumptious vegetarian haloumi and herb option given below. The homemade zaatar (recipe to be found in the notes section below) also contains both fresh and dried herbs, which make this dish incredibly moreish.

Wishing you all a happy and relaxing weekend!

Fiesta Friday Challenge | Gather and Graze

Zaatar and Haloumi Man'oushe | From 'Feast Magazine'

  • 1½ Teaspoons Dried Yeast
  • 250ml/1 Cup Lukewarm Water
  • 450g/3 Cups Plain Flour (Sifted)
  • 2 Teaspoons Caster Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil (plus extra for brushing)
  • 3 Tablespoons Zaatar (see notes below)
  • 500g Haloumi (Sliced)
  • 2 Tomatoes (Sliced)
  • 1 Cup Mint Leaves
  • 3 Teaspoons Dried Chilli Flakes (Optional)

To make the flatbreads:

Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water in a medium bowl. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes, until the mixture bubbles.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and salt. Make a well in the centre and add the yeast mixture and olive oil. I find at this stage a bread and butter knife can be useful for cutting through to combine the dry and wet ingredients well. When a dough has formed, knead for about 6 minutes on a clean surface until smooth and soft. Place the ball of dough back into the bowl, cover and allow to rise for about 2 hours in a warm, draught-free spot.

Zaatar Haloumi Man'oushe | Gather and Graze

Once the dough has doubled in size, punch down and separate into 6 even pieces. Roll into smooth balls and allow to rest again on a lightly-floured baking tray covered with a clean tea-towel for about 1 hour, until slightly risen.

When ready to cook, roll out each ball of dough to a thickness of about 5mm.

Zaatar Haloumi Man'oushe

Place a frying pan over medium-high heat and brush each flatbread one at a time with a little olive oil, before placing in the pan (oil side down). Cook for about 2 minutes, before brushing the tops with a little more olive oil and flipping to cook the other side. Sprinkle the top with some zaatar and remove to a warm place while you cook the remaining flatbreads.

Homemade Zaatar | Gather and Graze

Homemade Zaatar

When all of the breads are cooked, place a little more olive oil in the pan and fry the haloumi slices on both sides until golden brown.

Arrange the haloumi, along with the sliced tomato, mint and chilli flakes (if using) on the bread. Fold in half to serve and eat while still lovely and warm.

Zaatar Haloumi Man'oushe | Gather and Graze

Cooking Notes

To make your own Zaatar: combine the following ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon Sumac
  • 1 Tablespoon Sesame Seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon Finely Chopped Fresh Oregano
  • ½ Teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

Italian Zucchini & Parmesan Soup

Italian Zucchini Parmesan Soup | Gather and Graze

There was a monster in my garden! My stomach turned as I contemplated how to get rid of him. Should I slash at him ruthlessly, cutting him off from his life-supply? Should I preserve and bottle him like a specimen in the museum? Or should I leave him in situ in the interests of science to see how truly monstrous he could actually become? I had turned my back for a week or two and he had swelled and distended himself to become the zucchini magnificent that he is today.

In reality, with a sense of quiet respect I did indeed snip him off from his life-supply and then carried him carefully to my kitchen to ponder how best to show thanks for such a splendid squash. My calls for suggestions (through Facebook) did not go unanswered; the likes of zucchini slice, courgette cake and stuffed zucchini being the most popular and gratefully accepted. I searched the web to further pursue the idea of a stuffed zucchini, but all provoked the most unattractive turned up noses from my family. There was no way I could eat an entire monster-stuffed-zucchini on my own!

The following soup appeared with perfect timing (ie. the zucchini had been sitting there for too many days) and has a simple list of beautiful ingredients that inspired the ‘wanna be’ Italian in me. It’s derived from a Neil Perry recipe, though some of the quantities have been adjusted slightly. I hope you’ll give it a try! I understand it is also wonderful served chilled in summer.

Zucchini | Gather and Graze

The Monster from the Garden

Italian Zucchini & Parmesan Soup

  • 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 5-6 Cloves Garlic (Chopped)
  • 1kg Zucchini (Diced into 1cm cubes)
  • A Couple of Handfuls of Basil Leaves (Chopped)
  • Sea Salt and Black Pepper
  • 1 Litre Free-Range Chicken Stock
  • 100ml Pure Cream
  • Handful Flat-Leaf Parsley (Chopped)
  • 60g Parmesan Cheese (Freshly Grated)

Italian Zucchini Parmesan Soup | Gather and Graze

Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, basil and zucchini, along with a little sea salt and allow to cook gently for about 10-15 minutes, until the zucchini has softened and is lightly golden-brown.

Italian Zucchini Parmesan Soup | Gather and Graze

Add the chicken stock and a grinding of black pepper and allow to simmer for a further 10 minutes before removing from the heat. Puree soup in a food processor (leaving a quarter of the zucchini in chunks, to stir through at the end if you prefer). Pour it back into the pot and add the cream, grated parmesan and parsley and stir to combine. Serve immediately with a little extra parmesan and some delicious crusty bread.

Italian Zucchini Parmesan Soup | Gather and Graze

Cooking Notes:

  •  Neil Perry’s recipe calls for green zucchini, though my monster from the garden was of the golden yellow variety and worked beautifully as well.
  • Feel free to adjust the amount of chicken stock, if you prefer a thinner consistency of soup.

Watermelon Feta and Olive Salad

Watermelon Feta and Olive Salad, Gather and Graze

Weather in all of it’s extremes is often to be marvelled at… admired… but unfortunately not always enjoyed. The soaring heat that our part of Australia has been experiencing recently has been reason enough to stock the freezer with copious quantities of icy-poles, to serve up antipasto platters for dinner and to lunch on a variety of cooling salads.

We enjoyed this salad with dinner the other night, while catching up with a dear friend who we hadn’t seen in a while and it was so refreshing that I decided to make it again for lunch today. It is adapted from a recipe in Nigella Lawson’s book ‘Forever Summer’.

Watermelon Feta and Olive Salad | Gather and Graze

  • 750g Watermelon (diced)
  • 125g Feta Cheese (diced or crumbled)
  • 8 – 10 Kalamata Olives (pitted and quartered)
  • Handful of Fresh Mint (Finely Sliced)
  • Drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Juice of ½ a Lime

Arrange watermelon, feta, olives and mint in a serving bowl, drizzle over oil and lime juice.

Watermelon, Feta and Olive Salad, Gather and Graze

Cooking Notes:

  • Option of adding a little finely sliced red onion (tossed through with the lime juice) to the salad.