ASPARAGUS AND HALLOUMI SALAD

The Food Gatherer's Note:  Kim and I often enjoy a working lunch at my house while working on Food Gatherer projects, but the other day pretty much all I had in the fridge was the asparagus left from my Enfield Veg Co. veg bag and some ropey looking ends of cheese left over from a weekend's  cheeseboard, courtesy of Holtwhites Bakery and Deli.  It turned into a lunch of legendary proportions as it was the most delicious tasting asparagus we had both tasted  in years - there were lots of 'oohs' and 'aahs ' and, "That's what asparagus used to taste like!" .  I cooked it in a little bit of boiling water in a fry pan for about 5/ 6 minutes, then  at the end  of cooking time, when the water has run almost dry, added a knob of butter to the pan to melt and coat  then added sat and pepper - that's it.  

We then nibbled on the cheese ends which resulted in more pleasurable sounds and noises that were totally inappropriate for a professional working lunch but these were blooming good cheeses and we were happy.  They were all British cheeses too, including a delicious, mild goats milk cheese called Rachel which I was told by the Bakery was named after the cheesemaker's friend who is pale, curvy and a bit nutty!  There can be no greater compliment surely.  So, while lunches such as these thrown together leftovery ones can be winners, most good lunches require a little more preparation and this salad using asparagus and halloumi will bring even the most average asparagus to life!  It's from Katie Quinn Davies 's blog, What Katie Ate and is a delicious wholesome lunchtime salad.  If you can get your hands on halloumi for this from Kupros Dairy even better...   - Emma :) 

ASPARAGUS AND HALLOUMI SALAD

Ingredients:
200g tin of green or puy lentils
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
100g quinoa
a bunch of asparagus (approx 250g)cut into 2.5cm pieces
Juice and zest of 2 limes
250g cherry tomatoes
3 spring onions trimmed and sliced
1 green chilli (optional)
A handful of mint leaves chopped
1 packet of halloumi - thickly sliced 

Serves 2 for main course or 4 for side dishes

If using dried lentils then boil them in 750ml of water, then simmer over low heat for 25mins. Drain and rinse. Leave to cool in bowl. If you have the ready to go version like me, then add olive oil and red wine vinegar and a twist of salt and pepper.

Boil the quinoa in 500ml of water then reduce heat to low and cook for 10-15 minutes until all the water has been absorbed and the grains are translucent. Fluff up the grains and add to the lentils. 

Cook the asparagus for 2-3 minutes in boiling water, then plunge into cold water. Drain and add to the lentils and quinoa.

Heat a griddle pan over a medium heat and add the slices of halloumi. Drizzle the lime juice over the the cheese and sear for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Cut into small squares and add to the lentils and quinoa along with the tomatoes, spring onions, chilli, mint and zest. 

Serve with some crusty bread from Holtwhites' Bakery.

Enjoy!