Courgette and Halloumi Pie (And the Meatless Meal Challenge!)

I just made this Courgette and Halloumi Pie from scratch. What a proud moment!  

I’ve been getting really creative with my cooking lately because Andrew has challenged me to doing AT LEAST THREE vegetarian nights a week. We have long had the habit of having one to two meatless meals for dinner every week, and it has been going well, but this new challenge has got me scouring the books and the internet for more ideas. I have a weird thing with food. I don’t like cooking the same thing repeatedly. There are just too many things to cook and so many ways of doing it, so why stick to the same dish over and over again?

Stir Fry Everything!

I retract. You know what, truth be told, if I were just cooking for myself I think I would be sticking to having everything with rice or noodles because both are easy, awesome, and sure, because I am so Asian. (And shamelessly stereotypically so!) It is so easy to stir-fry vegetables and top them on a bowl of carbs. It is delicious too. This oldie but goodie is one of my favorites: Szechuan Eggplant Stirfry. However, my kitchen missions have been more about pushing myself and learning new things than just enjoying the product. So I’ve decided that this meatless challenge is going to be more than a variation of stir-fry’s (stir-fries?) 

In trying to find a great idea for veg night I remembered a courgette frittata recipe that Andrew’s mom shared with me, and thought that it would make a great quiche! Or tart. Or pie? To be honest I’m still unsure what to call it even after googling the difference. (I’ve resolved to call it a pie because of this information on Pie vs. Tart vs. Quiche.) After doing some research, I found that courgette would work well with halloumi, and so the Courgette and Halloumi Pie was born.

 

Courgette and Halloumi Pie
Courgette and Halloumi Pie | Upraisedliving.com

Easy as Pie

This was a great accomplishment for me, not just because it was delicious, but because I learned how to make shortcrust pastry! I always questioned why anyone would ever coin the phrase “easy as pie”. It looks really complex to me! Andrew mentioned this phrase when I told him I think I’ll try to bake one. I don’t usually believe my husband when he says things are “easy”. Our definitions of this word are usually on two levels that are widely apart from one another. (He is much more skilled at many things than I am!)  This is why when he said I should just try to make the pastry myself I had to fight my urge to march into Tesco behind his back to just buy a ready made one. I am very proud to say that after a few how-to videos, some luck, and a lot of courage, I managed to bake a really good crust for my pie. It was moreish and delicious, and he was right. It was actually super easy! I feel quite silly for being so intimidated by it. While this sounds like such a small achievement, it is a feat for an amateur cook like me. This new skill has been a revelation and has opened a pandora’s box of sorts. I think I might get into making more pies now! Ha!

Courgette and Halloumi Pie
Courgette and Halloumi Pie | Upraisedliving.com

 

All in all, the Courgette and Halloumi pie was a hit and is a win for yesterday’s Meatless Monday. It was relatively easy, delicious, and pretty filling. Served with a simple rocket salad, this dish really came to life and had both of us going back to the kitchen for seconds.

Anyway, without further ado.

Here is my recipe for Courgette and Halloumi Pie.

Courgette and Halloumi Pie
Creamy Courgette and Halloumi filling on delicious and cheesy shortcrust pastry.
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Shortcrust
  1. 300g Plain Flour
  2. Pinch of Salt
  3. 150g Butter cold and diced into small cubes
  4. 50g Cheese cut in small cubes
  5. 100 mL Cold Water
Tart
  1. 150mL Creme Fraiche
  2. 3 Eggs
  3. 1/2 tbsp dried Thyme
  4. 25g parmesan cheese
  5. 1 onion chopped
  6. 2 garlic cloves minced
  7. 250g Halloumi
  8. 2 Courgettes/Zucchini
For the shortcrust
  1. Mix the plain flour and salt together.
  2. Add in the cheese and the butter> Using your fingers, vigorously rub them with the flour for 3-5 mins to create a mixture with a crumble/ bread crumb consistency.
  3. Create a well and pour half of the water to the dry mixture and mix in. As it gets sticky, add the rest of the water. Slowly incorporate the water into the mixture to bring it into a dough.
  4. Do not over knead. As soon as it turns into a ball of dough, knead only once or twice and wrap in cling film. Leave to rest in the fridge for 30 mins.
  5. Preheat your oven to 170 degrees.
  6. Bring out of the fridge and roll out for your pie dish or tray. After putting it in the dish, poke some holes into it with a fork.
  7. Blind bake - place greaseproof parchement on top of it and add beans/rice to weigh down the crust as it bakes. (http://www.wikihow.com/Blind-Bake) Do this for 20 mins.
  8. Take out of oven and let the crust rest while making the filling.
For the Filling
  1. Sautee the onion and garlic with a little bit of olive oil and let it cool.
  2. Half the halloumi. Slice half of it into 5 slices for topping, and set aside. Crumble the other half and place in a bowl.
  3. Add in eggs, creme fraiche, parmesan, thyme, onions and garlic into the bowl and mix well.
  4. Slice 10 thin diagonal slices of courgette and set aside. This is for the topping. Using a slicer or a grater, thinly slice the remaing courgettes. Squeeze as much liquid as you can from the courgettes. Discard the juice and add the courgette into the creme fraische and egg mixture. Mix well.
  5. Pour it on to your crust and bake in 150 degree oven for 20-25 mins, or until the filling has set.
  6. While baking the pie, place the rest of your courgette slices on an oiled griddle to make grill marks on them.
  7. Take the pie out and arrange the remaining courgette slices and halloumi on top of the pie. Season with pepper (the halloumi is already salty.) Bake for another 10 mins.
  8. Let the pie rest for a few minutes before slicing. Serve with rocket and tomato salad and enjoy!
Notes
  1. You can also just buy the shortcrust ready made, if you don't want to go through all the trouble of making one.
  2. Also, the topping bit is optional. If you choose not to do this, just add in all the halloumi and courgettes in the filling. It does make your dish really pretty, though!
Upraised Living http://upraisedliving.com/
There are many benefits to meatless meals, and the rule to go meatless several times a week has been gaining traction. If you aren’t in on it yet, I suggest easing your home into having it once a week. Andrew and I don’t know if it is necessarily doing anything for our health but it has certainly been fun to discover new ways to cook and eat vegetables, and it is an added thrill to save on your food bills while doing so. It is surprising to enjoy a plate of food without the meat, especially after years of being so carnivorous. I have more recipes coming up, watch this space!

How often do you do meatless meals and what are your favorites? Share it below or tweet me @abbistoli. Yes, my twitter page is aliiive! Hope to hear from you soon!

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