Hello and welcome to my Blog. Check out the catagories below for previous blogs, and I'll strive to keep adding interesting stuff as often as I can. You can watch my twitter page for updates and links. Follow vegetarianchef on Twitter

Elderflower Smoked Halloumi, Rhubarb Relish, Lightly Pickled Radish, Rhubarb ‘Glass’. With Radish Sprouts, Pea Shoots and Edible Flowers.

hallumi final - done

Elderflower Smoked Halloumi, Rhubarb Relish, Lightly Pickled Radish, Rhubarb ‘Glass’. With Radish Sprouts, Pea Shoots and Edible Flowers.

This is a vibrant dish packed with bright summer flavours. I wanted it to be exciting, lively and reflect my childhood memories of summer aromas and tastes. So really this dish is based on those happy recollections refined into an elegant and delicious dish which for me offers a taste of the summer at its brightest.

The Elderflower Smoked Halloumi, cooked on a griddle, has a smoky flavour and hint of elderflower which are scents that take me immediately back to childhood summer holidays. The depth of flavour from the smoke and the floral elderflower notes beautifully enhance the, already moreish, Halloumi.

Rhubarb has always been a favourite for me ever since as a kid we used to harvest it from the garden and use it to make simple, homely but delicious rhubarb crumble (I think this is one of the first things I ever learned to cook). Here I’ve made a sweet and sharp relish with the rhubarb, with a hint of spice and its own background fresh elderflower flavour. This compliments the Halloumi beautifully and is at the centre of the delicate balance between sweetness and sharpness across the dish.

This course is also crowned with a shard of brittle, semi-transparent, rhubarb ‘glass’ that shatters as you bite into it, releasing an intense rhubarb flavour which compliments each element of the dish.

Then there is the lightly pickled radish with a fresh clean flavour and acidity, which cuts the richness of the Halloumi and sweetness of the relish. And finally the dish is finished with peppery radish sprouts and tender pea shoots with their distinctive fresh flavour.

Elderflower Smoked Griddled Halloumi –

300g Halloumi
Dried Elderflower

Heat a griddle pan to a medium high heat.

Slice the Halloumi into centimetre thick pieces. Cook the Halloumi for about a minute on each side (giving it a half turn while cooking each side to get a criss cross pattern if you like)

Once cooked set the Halloumi slices to one side to cool.

Trim the cooked Halloumi to even squares and place into a glass bowl.

Cover the bowl with cling film and smoke using
the Polyscience Smoking Gun, loaded with dried elderflower, filling the covered bowl with smoke. Sit covered for around five minutes to allow the Halloumi to take on the flavour of the elderflower smoke.

The PolyScience Smoking Gun is available from www.Modernist-Chef.com

Toss the smoked Halloumi in a tiny bit of olive oil just to stop it drying out and store in the fridge until ready to use.

When you’re ready to serve simply heat the Halloumi for two minutes in a hot oven to bring it up to serving temperature.

Rhubarb Relish –

200g Sugar
150g Cider Vinegar
500g Chopped Rhubarb
50g Water
6 Teaspoons Dried Elderflower
One thumb sized piece of Ginger (sliced)
1 Teaspoon Grated Nutmeg
6 Black Peppercorns
Pinch salt

Place the Elderflower, Ginger, Nutmeg and Black Peppercorns into a piece of cheese cloth and tie it to make a closed wrap containing the flavourings.

Now heat the sugar, vinegar and water in a pan with the spices. Simmer for 10 minutes and dissolve sugar, then allow the liquid to cool with spices in to infuse.

Clean the Rhubarb and chop it at an angle into inch long pieces of the same size.

Add the chopped rhubarb into the pan with the infused liquid and gently heat for five minutes until the rhubarb is just tender.

Pour the rhubarb relish into sterilised jars while still warm and store until ready to use.

Rhubarb Glass –

For the Rhubarb Juice –
350g Apple Juice
800g Rhubarb – cleaned and cut into chunks
50g Caster Sugar Juice of two lemons
Pinch Salt
Teaspoons Ground Ginger
Teaspoons Ground Nutmeg

170g The Rhubarb Juice
42g Pure-cote B790
20g Caster Sugar

First off you need to prepare the rhubarb juice.

For the rhubarb juice heat all the juice ingredients and simmer for around twenty minutes until the rhubarb softens and breaks up. Then allow the mixture to cool a little.

Now strain the contents of the pan through a sieve lined with cheesecloth and then squeeze remaining rhubarb in the cheesecloth to extract the remaining juice.

Now to prepare the rhubarb glass slowly heat the rhubarb juice, Pure-cote B790 and sugar to 90C in a small pan whilst whisking, and hold the mixture at 90C for two to three minutes, continually stirring.
Remove the pan from the heat and pour the liquid into a blender.

Blend the hot mix for ten minutes on full power.
Now dab a small amount of olive oil on to a couple of sheets of acetate and wipe with paper towel to form a very light coating. Pour the warm rhubarb juice mix onto the acetate sheets and form as thin a layer of the juice mix as possible by moving the sheets around. Place the acetate sheets into a dehydrator ser at 33C for 3 -4 hours until the juice mixture has become a malleable but dry film. (The coated acetate can be left at room temperature to dry overnight but I find this low temperature stage in the dehydrator works well and speeds up the process). Peel the rhubarb film away from the acetate and shape the film as desired. For this dish I roughly tore strips of the film.

Finally dehydrate the shaped rhubarb film on baking paper at 57C for 10-12 hours until you are left with crisp and brittle, abstract shaped, pieces of rhubarb glass.

(These can be stored in an airtight container - layering with baking paper along with a small wrap of silica crystals to prevent the glass from absorbing moisture).

Lightly Pickled Radishes

100g Radishes - Thin sliced
100g Cider Vinegar
50g Caster Sugar
5g Salt

Stir together the vinegar, sugar and salt until the sugar is fully dissolved. Now simply pour the liquid over the radishes sit for 2-3 hours to lightly pickle the radishes.

I’m actually working on a new quick pickling technique at the moment and once I’ve done more experiments I might come back and update this element using that technique when I’m happy with it.

Plating Up –

Place a couple of tablespoons of the Rhubarb Relish in the centre of the plate.

Sit two squares of the hot Elderflower Smoked Halloumi on top of the relish having cut a small slit in the top of one of them.

Delicately sit a piece of the Rhubarb Glass in the slit cut into one of the pieces of Halloumi so that the glass stands upright and place a couple of pea shoots around the glass.

Now take some of the lightly pickled radish slices and dab with paper towel to remove excess liquid. Place these overlapping in a circle around the rhubarb relish and finish by garnishing with a few sprigs of radish sprouts and a couple of edible summer flowers.


Eddie x