the appetizer:

Plum Gorgeous, Recipes and Memories from the Orchard by Romney Steele includes recipes like September Salad; Kumquats and Toasted Couscous with Halloumi; and Tomato, Grape, and Ricotta Flatbread.



Kumquats and Toasted Couscous
with Halloumi

Serves 4 to 6

Kumquats and Toasted Couscous


This unusual salad, which came to me on a whim one day, combines some of my favorite foods. Halloumi is a traditional Cypriot cheese, popular also throughout the Middle East, and is commonly fried and sprinkled with mint. It's made from either goat or sheep milk or sometimes both and can be quite salty depending on the brand. It works beautifully in this room temperature dish, while the kumquats add a splash of sunshine to the earthy flavors.


  • 1 cup couscous
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • About 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Scant 1 cup boiling water


  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
  • Splash red wine vinegar
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seed, toasted and coarsely ground
  • 2 teaspoons chopped mint (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 8 ounces halloumi cheese, sliced into rounds
  • Olive oil
  • Chopped mint (optional)
  • 8 kumquats, thinly sliced
  • 6 dates, pitted and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup almonds, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped

To prepare the couscous, toast in a skillet with the cinnamon over low heat until fragrant and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Add the salt and olive oil. Pour the boiling water over the top. Stir and cover; let sit for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork before using.

To make the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest and juice, vinegar, shallot, and coriander in a small bowl. Stir in the mint, if using, and season with salt and pepper.

To assemble the salad, fry the halloumi in a small skillet over medium-high heat in a small amount of olive oil, just enough to wet the pan. Turn to brown both sides. Transfer the cheese to plates and sprinkle with a little mint, if desired.

Toss the couscous with about half of the dressing. (You may have a little more couscous than you need. Determine for yourself how much couscous you want for each serving.) Stir in the kumquats, dates, and parsley. Top the cheese on the plates with the couscous mix. Scatter with the almonds and drizzle with more dressing as desired.

  • from:
    Plum Gorgeous: Recipes and Memories from the Orchard
  • by Romney Steele
  • Andrews McMeel Publishing 2011
  • Hardcover; $25.00
  • ISBN-10: 1449402402
  • ISBN-13: 9781449402402
  • Reprinted by permission.

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This page created September 2011

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