Pistachio & saffron orzo with orange & halloumi

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This was last night’s effort, another veggie- friendly, healthy meal, that I didn’t have the will to post yesterday. No Internet at home (such a nightmare!!) means I’m limited to posting recipes and pictures using only my phone – hence slightly useless photos of late. I hope you’ll forgive me! The slightly better (although still very far from flash and professional) digital shots will hopefully be back soon! It’s only photo quality that’s lost though, not enthusiasm to cook.

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I feel so at ease in the kitchen when making this sort of food, gliding across ingredients and making it up as I go along. This is the perfect midweek dinner for me. Simple, with exciting yet accessible ingredients, light and filling all at once. I just could eat like this every day.

It’s really a dish inspired by so many others I’ve cooked – mahmudiye, halloumi & orange salad and saffron chicken & fennel salad. I love all of these dishes individually, so why not combine them? I also wanted a recipe in which I could use a new olive oil I bought in France, a pistachio flavoured oil. I was super excited about this and initially envisaged a sort of pistachio and apricot stuffed chicken dish with which to use it. Alas, of course, the supermarket had NO free range chicken so orzo and halloumi became the base upon which I built the flavours for this recipe.

The oil really is great and tastes exactly like pistachios! I’m looking forward to trying it on more foods. Any suggestions/tips welcome!!

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You will need:

1 cup of orzo pasta
2 cups of saffron-infused boiling water (I used a good pinch but you may prefer a more delicate flavour – around 8 strands would suffice)
1-2 tbspn chopped dried apricots
1 pack of halloumi cheese, cubed
1 red pepper, diced
75g pistachios, half left whole and the other half lightly pounded into small pieces
1 orange, peeled and cut into segments
Handful of spinach (optional)
Salt, pepper
2-3 tbspn pistachio oil
2 Tspn chilli flakes
Rapeseed oil, to fry

Method:

1 – Start by tipping the orzo, apricots and hot water into a pan and cooking for around 12 minutes until the pasta is cooked and the saffron water absorbed; leave to cool
2 – Meanwhile, heat some oil in a griddle pan and add the halloumi; grill, turning often, until light charr marks appear
3 – Remove the halloumi from the pan, squeeze over a few of the orange segments and set aside
4 – Toss together the cooled orzo with the halloumi, orange segments, whole and crushed pistachios, pistachio olive oil, red pepper, spinach and chilli flakes; season to taste and serve

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7 thoughts on “Pistachio & saffron orzo with orange & halloumi

    1. Thank you! Oh halloumi is delicious. Its, i think, a little firmer, milder and less sharp than feta. A bit sweeter and nuttier, but also quite salty at the same time. I think it comes into it’s own when grilled – it’s best with citrus juice (lemon, lime and orange are all lovely) squeezed right over the top immediately after grilling. Some find it ‘squeaky’, but the citrus helps keep it soft. I urge you to try it! Let me know what you think :-)

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