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Friday 29 May 2015

Persian Halloumi and a Toshiba Cookalong

Gousto are a company who deliver everything you need to cook delicious healthy recipes, delivered weekly for you to make at home.  You might wonder why you would do such a thing, but you only have to have tried one of their recipes to know that what you are getting is all the expertise of their chef in putting together fabulous flavours and none of the hassle of having to buy larger quantities of specialist ingredients that you may not use again.

I've reviewed Gousto boxes before and really enjoyed all the recipes, I also learned a few different techniques that I have used again. 

Here are the ingredients for the Persian Halloumi recipe.  I was familiar with all of them except the barberries, which I have heard of but never tried. 

However, this isn't the usual sort of food box review, because this time I had been invited, along with some other bloggers,  to be part of a Cookalong on Skype using the
Toshiba Satellite Radius 11 - The ultimate cook along companion.  We were guided through the recipe by Gousto Chef Alice,  the Cookalong experience was quite intense and, unfortunately the connection was not too good for some of us.  However, there was the Gousto recipe card to follow as well so, one way or another, we all managed to make the recipe which was really delicious.  

Persian Halloumi
Serves 2 - 3

250g halloumi cheese
50g bulgur wheat
2 red onions
20g dried barberries
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
10g fresh mint
1 tbsp ras el hanout
1 lemon

  1. Boil a kettle. Add the bulgur to a pot with 275 ml of boiling water, cover with a lid over a medium-low heat. 
  2. Simmer for 5-7 min or until almost all the water is absorbed. Remove and set aside with the lid on for 10 min, until dry and fluffy 
  3. Meanwhile, put the barberries in a small bowl and add 100 ml of hot water, add 1 tbsp of sugar and mix well.
  4. Peel the onions, cut them in half and slice finely. Chop the mint finely and grate the zest of the lemon. 
  5. Cut the halloumi into thin slices (approx. 1cm thick) 
  6. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice over the halloumi ,combine half the ras el hanout with 1 tsp of black pepper for the spice mix.  Coat the halloumi in the spice mix.
  7. Add 1-2 tbsp of olive oil to a large pan on a medium-high heat,  once the oil is hot, add the onion and cook for 4-5 min or until soft and lightly caramelised.
  8. Add 3 tbsp of the barberry water to the bulgur wheat,  drain the barberries and add to the bulgur wheat. Combine the barberry bulgur with the mint, lemon zest, remaining ras el hanout, pomegranate molasses and 1-2 tbsp of olive oil,  season to your taste with salt and pepper.
  9. Push the onion to one side of the pan and add 1-2 tbsp of olive oil, add the halloumi and cook for 1-2 min on each side or until golden all over.
  10. Serve the bulgur wheat with the onion and halloumi 

Here you can see Camilla from FabFood4All  on the left and Helen from Fuss Free Flavours on the right.  There wasn't much time for chatting and I didn't manage to see all of the other bloggers involved, but I did have a chat with Leslie Williams, the Dublin food writer, at the end of the cookalong when we were the only two left online. The built-in high-quality webcam and microphone on the Toshiba Radius 11  lets you easily chat with friends or take part in group Skype calls, as we did.  It would be a great way to talk your friend through a recipe with which they are unfamiliar.

The  Toshiba Satellite Radius 11 is a Windows 8.1 laptop and a tablet all in one. It was ideal for the Cookalong and also for viewing recipes online.  I use fewer cookbooks than I used to and often cook recipes by other bloggers, or from websites and, of course, I also return to Farmersgirl Kitchen to look up favourite recipes to make again.  

The versatility of the Toshiba Satelitte Radius 11 makes it ideal as a perfectly portable kitchen companion, The innovative hinge lets you transform the Satellite Radius 11 into any one of five different modes – laptop, tabletop, presentation, audience and tablet. Its touchscreen makes it easy to flick through recipes, or catch up on your favourite TV cookery programmes online and cook along in your kitchen at the same time.  I also found it quite easy to set up and navigate my way around, much though I love my tablet, it is not very good for writing up blog posts and I enjoy having a proper keyboard and the full functionality of a laptop.

It's also amazingly compact, the Satellite Radius 11 easily fits onto kitchen worktops, and when in tablet mode the 29.5cm (11.6”) devices take up less space than a traditional cookbook, giving you more room to get creative.

Toshiba Satellite Radius 11
Designed for mobility, delivering a smooth, seamless PC experience anywhere
500 GB hard drive for storage along with a responsive 32 GB of cloud storage
Fast boot-up and online access
@FollowGousto goustocooking

If you would like to try a Gousto box I have a code which will save you £20 on your first box, simply click through the code below to claim your discount. 

Gousto Code:

Check out the blog posts from my Cookalong friends:
Perisan Halloumi & the Toshiba Cookalong - Fab Food 4 All
Persian Halloumi Cookalong with Toshiba and Gousto - A Glug of Oil
Persian Halloumi with Toshiba Sattelite - Foodie Quine

I received a Toshiba Satellite Radius 11 and a Gousto box in order to take part in the Cookalong.

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At 30 May 2015 at 09:37 , Blogger Emmyw said...

Wow I'm surprised at how cheap the Toshiba is! Don't get me wrong £300 is a lot of money but I find technology these days just keeps getting more and more expensive :-(

Looks like a fab little device though. I often try to skype my mother on her Hudl and the quality of the picture is just terrible.

I also love the sound of this recipe. I don't cook much (if any persian) and also haven't tried barberries before. What do they taste like?!

At 30 May 2015 at 10:51 , Blogger Choclette said...

That looks like a fun event to take part in Janice. I had this recipe from Gousto (or if not this one, something very similar) and I remember it being rather good. I have a packet of dried barberries I bought at a whole food shop recently and other than adding some to smoothies, I've not done much with them, so this is a good reminder - thank you.

At 30 May 2015 at 14:16 , Blogger Fab Food 4 All said...

I had such fun on the #ToshibaCookalong and seeing all my blogger friends (spooky that Helen & I are both wearing navy & white striped tops)! It was a shame we lost connection a long the way with some of you but I'd love to do this again now I have overcome the technophobia LOL:-) The Gousto recipes are delicious and I'm really pleased with the Toshiba Satellite Radius 11 as it has now become my work computer:-)

At 30 May 2015 at 20:46 , Anonymous Kate | The Veg Space said...

Cookalong looks and sounds lots of fun!! And great recipe - haven't tried barberries before so now intruiged! Wonder if they are easy to get hold of on the high street? Thanks for sharing! Kate x

At 30 May 2015 at 21:52 , Blogger Janice said...

Thanks Emmy. I know what you mean about the ever increasing cost of technology, the quality of the pictures was really very good when I could get a connection! The barberries were quite tart, a definite acidic sort of berry, slightly lemony. They really added to the flavour of the dish.

At 30 May 2015 at 21:53 , Blogger Janice said...

It was fun Choclette. I would definitely recommend making the recipe especially if you already have barberries.

At 30 May 2015 at 21:55 , Blogger Janice said...

It was my first time on Skype although I have used Facetime before which is similar but not with a large group. I do have to video-conference meetings at work sometimes so that doesn't phase me but we have a technician on hand to sort out any problems. It would be good to do it again with a better connection. I'm enjoying the Toshiba too.

At 31 May 2015 at 08:48 , Blogger Unknown said...

what a fun idea... and the final dish looks great but i'm not sure i'd want that lot in my kitchen on a regular basis!

At 1 June 2015 at 11:06 , Anonymous Manjiri said...

Love the idea of a cook along and the Toshiba does sound good for that price! I have always been curious abt these boxes and would at some point like to experiment with Gousto!

At 1 June 2015 at 14:00 , Anonymous Alison said...

What fun to have a cook along on skype. The laptop looks really good as well as does the recipe

At 3 June 2015 at 07:33 , Blogger Jan Bennett said...

What a great time we all had! Loved the recipe and the laptop is brilliant!

At 4 June 2015 at 12:12 , Blogger Karen S Booth said...

My kinda recipe and what fun you all had too! What a great event and wow, you get a tablet too! FAB! Karen


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I love to read your comments and try to reply when I can. I have had to enable comment moderation due to high levels of spam, so it may take a little time before your comment is visible. Please let me know if you make one of my recipes or if you have any questions I will try to answer them. Janice

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