Herby Halloumi Heirloom Tomato Bake

That alliteration in the recipe title actually gave me goosebumps.

My mum’s been at it again folks, we have ripe tomatoes in our garden! If you don’t follow me on Instagram, firstly hop to it my username is @lifeisohsodandy! Secondly, you wouldn’t know about our chickens. Yes, we have chickens. You may have seen the first hen who was a gift to my mother from a friend in this post, her name is Butters. We thought that Butters was lonely, so we arranged for a rooster to keep her company and his name is Rodney. Don’t they make a sporting pair?

Whilst they are fascinating creatures to observe, they are wreaking havoc in the vegetable garden. Our gardener has recently locked the gate to the vegetable garden to stop them from getting in. In their hunt for earthworms and various insects, our beloved chickens have been digging up dirt en masse and uprooting the vegetables- not good.

Aside from the mischievous chickens, my mother has been successful in her tomato growing venture. We have beautiful heirloom tomatoes! I did what I do best- turned them into a delicious dish, of course. This makes a wholesome appetiser, best served with garlic bread or just plain toast as I’ve done. Throw in some olives and hummus and you could turn this into a winning platter!

Herby Halloumi Heirloom Tomato Bake


For the tomato bake:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • a sprinkle of chilli flakes (optional)
  • 100g halloumi, sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp mixed Italian herbs
  • 4-6 heirloom tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste (optional)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 medium potato, unpeeled and chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 2 tsp castor sugar (optional- most of the time I find this unnecessary but if you think that the sauce is too bitter then throw in the sugar)

For the crusty bread: 

  • 3 slices white bread (sourdough also works really well)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • some salt and pepper


  1. In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, oregano, basil and thyme. Add the halloumi and toss to coat in the herb mixture. Set aside and allow to marinate for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Reserve 2 of your tomatoes for the top of the dish. Dice the remaining tomatoes into small pieces. Heat some olive oil in the bottom of a large saucepan and fry the onion on high heat until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, carrot and mixed herbs to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally until the carrots are soft and the garlic is fragrant, about another 5 minutes.
  3. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste (if using) and water. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring the mixture to a boil  before adding the sweet potatoes and reducing the heat to low. Simmer until the tomatoes have cooked down and the sweet potatoes are soft, between 15 and 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, slice the tomatoes you had reserved earlier into thin slices. Heat up your grill/broiler and adjust your oven rack to the top shelf. Once the sweet potatoes are fully cooked, remove the saucepan from heat. Taste and season with salt ad pepper if needed; if the sauce is too bitter then add the castor sugar. Layer the top with the sliced tomatoes and top with the marinated halloumi. Grill for 8-10 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is golden brown, serve hot with crusty bread!

For the crusty bread: 

Slice the bread in half diagonally and lay on a rimless baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill for 5-7 minutes or until golden and crusty.


Crispy Curry Vegan Potato Pancakes

Because savoury pancakes beat sweet pancakes any day.

As much as I will always be a sweet tooth at heart, coriander beats chocolate in my book. Whilst we’re on the topic, what do you think about chilli infused chocolate? Is it the best of both worlds or an utter hit and miss?

This is a ridiculously easy snack recipe. It’s a variation of potato croquettes but with an Indian twist with the addition of the curry spices. If you’re shy of spicy food then feel free to either reduce the cayenne pepper added or serve with a dollop of yogurt on top! As much as I detest tomato sauce in every other context, I have to confess that it does compliment this particular dish.

Spicy Vegan Potato Pancakes


  • 2 large Russet potatoes, peeled
  • ¼ cup soy milk or any other plant based milk
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley
  • ½ cup plain flour


  1. Fill a large saucepan with boiling salted water. Boil the potatoes until fork tender, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool. Pour the soy milk into the saucepan with the cool potatoes and mash until smooth.
  2. Add the mashed potatoes to a medium bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Mix until combined. Shape into 8 patties and place on a baking sheet. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  3. Add enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of a large frying pan and allow to heat until almost smoking. Fry the patties until golden brown, about 5 minutes on each side. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan. Drain on paper towels. Serve warm with tomato sauce, fresh parsley and fresh mint. Enjoy!

Tandoori Spiced Halloumi Skewers with Mint Sauce

Halloumi definitely goes on the list of things that I wish I’d known about earlier.

It just compliments everything I put it next to. Try these Halloumi And Veggie Wraps on for size. Then come back and make this recipe and try and tell me that halloumi is not magical. I have many things planned for this salty cheese in the future but let’s talk about the NOW.

Halloumi has long been criticised for becoming rubbery and unpleasant when cooked. Not that I don’t understand, I’ve experienced this firsthand. Do I have any magical tips for avoiding this? Of course I do, you know me. These are the 3 options most recommended by the Internet. Firstly, you could make your own halloumi. Whilst I’m not against homemade cheese, I don’t have 3 days to wait. The second option, which is more convenient, is to soak your cheese in cold water for up to an hour to get rid of some of the salt. The third option is to eat that cheese as soon as it comes out the pan! Don’t let your food get cold and you don’t have to worry about that rubbery feel. This is by far my favourite option because you don’t need to tell me twice to tuck into my food.

That having been said, this recipe is no frills, no fuss. The instructions are as simple as the cooking time is short. If you’d like to turn up the heat then increase the amount of cayenne. If you’re spice-shy then I’d suggest lathering the halloumi skewers in this simple mint sauce. Enjoy!

Tandoori Spiced Halloumi Skewers with Mint Sauce


For the halloumi:

  • 250g halloumi, sliced into thick rectangular prisms (nerd much??)
  • 6 skewers
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

For the mint sauce: 

  • ¼ cup mint leaves
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan


To make the mint sauce: combine all the ingredients for the mint sauce in a blender and pulse until combined. Store in a tightly sealed glass jar. Will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks.

To make the halloumi skewers:

Start by carefully skewering the halloumi. Set aside. Combine the spices and olive oil in a small bowl and stir until it forms a thick paste. Coat the halloumi skewers in the tandoori spice paste. Heat a skillet on high heat and brush with some vegetable oil. Grill the skewers for 3 minutes on either side. Serve with the mint sauce and some naan and yogurt to curb the heat!

Cheesy Pull Apart Pizza Bread

There is nothing more beautiful on this earth than stretchy melty cheese. Anyone who wants to disagree can fight me in the comments.

Typically whenever I need a cheese fix, I go for pizza or a grilled cheese. So this week I strayed and went for this pizza/bread hybrid. And OHMYGOSH it was the most wonderful thing I’ve ever tasted in my entire life. I took this to my friend’s leaving barbecue (so sad literally everyone I know is off to university) and it got rave reviews from everyone there. This was honestly the best way for me to distract from the “OHMYGOSH you’re a vegetarian, what do you even eat?!” conversation. 

Along with a game of monopoly that turned violent way too quickly 😆. This recipe is super quick, 30 minutes from start to finish unless you decide to go the noble route and make your pizza dough from scratch (I did). Here’s the link to the recipe I posted for pizza dough that includes a non-yeast option that works very well whenever I don’t have time for the dough to rise. Go forth, make cheesy bread and be merry my friends! 

Cheesy Pull Apart Bread


  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
  • ½ cup frozen butter, grated (It’s important that the butter is frozen otherwise it will start melting whilst you’re trying to work with it)
  • ½ cup white cheddar, grated
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp each salt and pepper
  • ½ pound cold pizza dough, homemade or storebought is fine


Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease a skillet or baking dish. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the pizza dough. Toss lightly with your hands to evenly distribute the ingredients. Remove about ¼ cup of the cheese mixture and keep separate. Use a sharp Chef’s knife to cut the pizza dough into ½ inch cubes. Add the pizza dough to the larger portion of the cheese mixture and toss with your hands to make sure that the dough is completely covered in the cheese mixture.

Lay the dough pieces in the bottom of the skillet in a single layer and bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove and top with the remaining cheese mixture and bake for an extra 5 minutes. Serve immediately!

Bangin’ Cheesy Chicken Nachos 

Happy New Year!

Whilst I’m sure most of you are breaking out your gym shoes and stocking up on healthy foods to start the New Year Detox, I’m piling on the chicken and cheese because #newyearnewme is a lie and we know it. January 1st approaches and we all feel the need to make instant fleeting changes to our lives. My question to you all is why?

Why wait until the calendar changes before you make a change? Why must the diet start on Monday? Why must your will to improve yourself depend on the Earth’s current position in its orbit around the sun? My message today: stop waiting. If you want to lose that extra 10 pounds, start now. If you’re not keen on joining but you feel pressured to do it because it’s what all your friends are doing: don’t do it. Stay at home, munch on these nachos, your wallet will be grateful. Your mind will be at ease 2 months later when they’ve all stopped going.

Instead of feeling the need to reinvent ourselves every 365 days, let us celebrate the spirit of new beginnings and having the chance to make this year our own whilst staying true to ourselves. Given this, I decided that the first recipe I share with you this year will be these crispy potatoes topped with chicken tossed in a barbecue sauce all sprinkled with a mountain of cheese. YES. I’ve made this about 5 times already and I can’t get enough of it. Sometimes I eat healthy and sometimes I feel the need to drown myself in spicy rich unhealthy stuff. Today, I just happen to be in the mood for the latter.

Bangin’ Cheesy Chicken Nachos 


Spice mix: 

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

½ tsp thyme

½ tsp oregano

½ tsp rosemary

½ tsp cayenne pepper

¼ cup olive oil

For the potatoes: 

3 large Russet Potatoes, sliced thinly

1/8 cup of the spice mix

For the chicken: 

500g or 1 pound of chicken breast meat, cut into ½ inch cubes

1/8 cup of the spice mix

3 tbsp brown sugar

For the sauce: 

½ tsp ground mustard

½ cup tomato sauce

½ cup sweet chilli sauce

¼ cup honey

3 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp white vinegar

For assembly: 

1 cup white cheddar or mozzarella cheese, grated

a handful of fresh parsley to garnish


  1. Start by combining all the ingredients for the spice mix in a small bowl. Whisk well to ensure even distribution of the spices throughout the oil. Set aside for use later.
  2. Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and place the potatoes in a single layer. Drizzle the spice mix over the potatoes and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and crisping up. Once baked, remove the potatoes and let cool.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the chicken. Add the remaining spice mix, brown sugar and mustard to the chicken breast meat and toss well to combine. Heat a large skillet on high and cook the chicken for 10-15 minutes or until no longer pink on the outside. Remove to a bowl and use 2 forks to shred.
  4. In the same skillet, add all the ingredients for the sauce and whisk until incorporated. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and let simmer 5 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened considerably and coats the back of a spoon. Return the shredded chicken to the skillet and stir until the chicken is coated in the sauce. Let cook for 2 minutes then remove to a bowl to cool.
  5. When ready to assemble, lightly grease a shallow frying pan/baking tray/Pyrex dish or whatever takes your fancy. I’ve tried this with all three and I’ve found that a frying pan works best for presentation. Preheat your broiler/grill.
  6. Layer the bottom with potatoes followed by the chicken and top with the grated cheese. Place the frying pan under the broiler/grill and bake for 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted. If you’d like your cheese to be browned (shoutout I see you) then broil for closer to 10 minutes. Top with the fresh parsley and enjoy!




A Trio Of Canapés

Salut tout le monde! Christmas is done and dusted, now is the time to burn the Christmas tree and unpack the stilettos because NYE is on its way! I think we can all agree that 2016 is a year that nobody wants to remember, and there is nothing I look forward to more than watching it fizzle out with the fireworks on the 31st of December. If there is one way to make sure 2017 is memorable, it’s with these canapés.

They’re ridiculously easy to prepare, and you get 3 for the price of one! You don’t have to follow this recipe to the bone, you’re allowed to be creative here and add whatever you think will taste good here. A drizzle of balsamic vinegar here, a splash of tahini there, this is your chance to go wild.

These are best served to your guests as soon as they arrive as entrées: which comes from the French verb entrer, to enter. They make great amuse bouches or ‘mouth entertainment’ because I can guarantee a festival of flavour for your tastebuds. Pair these with a rocking champagne or prosecco and you’ve got yourself a banging NYE party!

A Trio Of Canapés                                                                                                  makes about 50 

To start you will need:

2 12-inch long baguettes

½ cup of butter, melted (if you like, you can add 1 tsp of crushed garlic to the butter and microwave for 20 seconds)

Preparing the bread:

Preheat your oven to 200 °C/400°F. Start by slicing the baguettes into ¾ inch thick slices. Too thick and your guests will have a wad of bread in their mouths, but if they’re too thin then the toppings won’t hold and they’ll fall apart. Lay the bread slices in a single layer across 3 baking pans.

Drizzle or brush the melted butter evenly across the sliced bread. Bake for 15 minutes or until the bread is lightly toasted. Remove from the oven and once cooled, divide the slices into 3 parts.

Caramelised Onion and Goat’s Cheese 


4 tbsp butter

2 large red onions, sliced thinly

about 3 tbsp of balsamic vinegar or vegetable stock or water

¼ cup crumbled/grated goat’s cheese


  1. Heat a heavy bottomed saucepan on high. Melt the butter before adding the red onions to caramelise. DO NOT STIR FOR THE FIRST 10 MINUTES unless the onions are starting to burn, then reduce the heat*. Cook for an extra 30 minutes, stirring as little as possible, I would recommend only turning the onions every 10 minutes. You will notice a dark brown sticky residue building up at the bottom of the pot, this is called the fond and we’ll deal with it later.
  2. At the 30 minute mark, taste the onions to check for degree of caramelisation. If they’re to your liking, then you may continue with the next step but if you want a deeper caramel flavour then cook for another 15 minutes, watching carefully that they don’t burn.
  3. Once you’re satisfied with your caramelised onions, add the 3 tbsp of balsamic vinegar/vegetable stock/water to your pan to deglaze it. Use a wooden spoon to scrape the fond up as you do this and mix it into the onions. Fond be gone! This contributes to the overall flavour of the onions. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  4. Top one third of the baguette slices with 2 tbsp of the cooled caramelised onions. Sprinkle about a tablespoon of the crumbled goat’s cheese on top. Before serving, warm for 10 minutes in a preheated oven. These can also be served at room temperature if you’re short on time.

*The name of the game here is ‘Low and Slow’. Cook on low heat for a long period of time. If the heat is too high then your onions will be more burnt that caramelised. Patience is a virtue. Too much stirring disrupts the formation of the fond and your onions won’t be nearly as flavoursome.


Spinach Pesto, Roasted Tomatoes & Cheddar


1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

2 tbsp olive oil

1 heaped tablespoon of mixed herbs

roughly 100g of white cheddar or mozarella, sliced into small rectangles (i.e 3 cm × 5 cm)

¼ cup spinach pesto (or whatever kind of pesto you fancy) homemade or storebought


  1. Preheat your oven to 200 °C/400°F. In a large roasting pan, lay the tomatoes such that the cut side is facing upwards. Drizzle evenly with olive oil and mixed herbs. Roast for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  2. Top one third of the bread slices with the cheddar rectangles. Dollop with a teaspoon of spinach pesto and top with half a roasted cherry tomato. These should be served at room temperature.


Parmesan Garlic Herbed Mushrooms


3 tbsp butter

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp rosemary

1 and ½ cups button mushrooms, sliced

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

4 tbsp fresh cream

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided


  1. In a large frying pan on high heat, add the butter, garlic, thyme, oregano and rosemary. Once the butter has melted, throw in the mushrooms and sauté until dark brown and reduced in size, stirring frequently. Add the Worcestershire sauce to deglaze the pan and scoop up any residue that has formed at the bottom of the pan. Pour the fresh cream and add ¼ cup of the Parmesan cheese.  Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste before removing to a separate bowl to let cool.
  2. Once cooled, top the last third of the baguette slices with 2 tbsp of the mushroom mixture before dusting with Parmesan cheese. Before serving, warm in a preheated oven for 10 minutes. Alternatively, these can be served at room temperature.


Okay so this can look overwhelming at first and whether you’re making one or all three, you probably have no idea where to start. So I’m adding a little guide to the bottom of this post to make it that much easier for you.

Order in which to prepare all 3 canapés: 

  1. Start by caramelising the onions. These take the longest to prepare so it makes sense to get them out of the way first.
  2. Whilst the onions are caramelising, slice the baguettes and cherry tomatoes. Toast the bread and roast the tomatoes at the same time in your oven as they take roughly the same time.
  3. Whilst the bread and tomatoes are in the oven, cook the mushrooms, making sure to be checking on the onions at the same time.
  4. Leave the bread, tomatoes and mushrooms to cool in the fridge whilst you finish up with the onions.
  5. Assemble and get ready to party because you’re a rockstar for getting all this done!