Plum, prosciutto and halloumi platter

March 21, 2016

On a recently, sneaky trip home (#pilotpapaperks), I couldn't help but make a quite trip to the British holy grail that is M&S.

It's an institution and, quite frankly, the only place to buy proper knickers. You can't beat a cotton bikini multipack from Mark and Sparks.

Whilst there I had a little browse through the aisle of the grocery section, (everyone knows you do your proper shop as Tesco/Sainsburys/Aldi, and get your 'nice bits' from Marks) and found the most beautiful plums from Flavorking.

A cross between a red plum and an apricot- so actually a pluot, I was intrigued and had to give them a try. As far as I know they haven't made their way across the pond to the States (though they did manage the Sahara desert as they are from South Africa), but i've since made this recipe back in the US with pluots and plums, both with success.

I think when people think about summery stone fruits like plums, the immediate go to recipes are sweet. Cobblers, pies, jams etc... I love the play off of sweet and savoury, I think it really enhances both flavour profiles, like putting salt in caramel. 

Fruit and cheese is a killer pairing, so I knew I definitely wanted to get some saltiness from a cheese component into the dish, but with a belly full of babes, a lot of my savoury, salty staples were off limits. 

Sans babies I would have gone for a chèvre, a cambozola or maybe a creamy blue like Saint Agur. But with my pasteurized, non mold ripened thinking cap on, I plumped for halloumi. A Cypriot sheep's milk, with a semi soft texture and an amazing salty flavour, it ticks the pregnancy diet box on three counts: it's commercially made from pasturized milk; it's not mold ripened; and most importantly for anyone who's still a little squeamish about anything other than a hard cheddar once the second line shows up on that pee stick, it's best served cooked.

Unlike most cheese, that melts into a gooey (and delicious) mess under heat, halloumi's texture can stand up to the heat of the grill, and in fact embraces it. Though it softens, it doesn't fall, and the char lines intensify the salty flavour and meaty texture.

Though not really approved by the pregnancy diet, I do live with a committed carnivore (whom I can live vicariously through in the beer and deli meat stakes... he's a champ) and thus so salty, sweet thinly slice prosciutto was the perfect finishing touch to this salty sweet triad.


For the salad-
Large bag of washed arugula/rocket
5 Flavorking plums, or pluots that are available to you
1/4 lb/125g of very thinly sliced prosciutto
1/2 lb/250g halloumi cheese
3 heaped tablespoons of pumpkin seeds

For the dressing:

1 Flavorking plum, or pluot that is available to you
1 tsp sugar
splash of water
1/8c /30ml cup red wine vinegar
1/4c /60ml olive oil
salt and pepper


Start by making the dressing. Peel and chop the plum and add to a small saucepan with the sugar and a splash of water- about two tablespoons.

Bring to a boil and turn down the heat, allow the fruit to soften until you can mash it into a smooth jam.  Allow to cool completely.

Scoop the cooled jam into a mixing bowl or jam jar, add the vinegar, oil, salt and pepper, then shake/mix really well until it's completely combined and emulsified. Set aside until you're ready to serve. This will keep in the fridge happily for about a week.

Slice the plums/pluots into wedges. I find the simplest way it to slice the fruit in half like you would an avocado, pressing the knife into the flesh until it hits the stone, then rotating the fruit making an 'longitudinal' cut around the whole fruit. Twist the two sides apart, leaving the stone in on half, the stone should be able to be picked out of it's half, or encouraged gentle with the tip of a knife if there's a lot of flesh trapping the stone. I aim to get 8 to 12 wedges from each fruit, depending on how plump it is.

Spread a deep layer of arugula/rocket over a platter, drape the prosciutto generously over the arugula. Think of the salad as a pizza (if only...) you want each 'bite' of the salad platter to get a little bit of every ingredient.

Slice the halloumi into 1/4 inch / just under a cm thick slices. Heat a griddle pan on the stove, you can definitely also use a frying pan but I really like the char lines a griddle gives the cheese. Grill the cheese slices until they have taken on dark brown grill marks, about 2-3 minutes on each side on a hot grill surface.

Place the halloumi over the prosciutto and arugula, pile the plums on top, then sprinkle over the pumpkin seeds to add some crunch.

I like to serve the platter with the dressing on the side for people to add themselves, so they can control the acid component and enjoy the lovely sweetness of the plums!

This is NOT a sponsored post, however it has been written as an entry to a competition run by Flavorking Plums.


We all Scream for Ice Cream... and Pink Blush Maternity & GIVEAWAY!

March 19, 2016

Hitting the 19th week of my twin pregnancy and it's just sunk in, that with my tummy full of twins, we're past the halfway mark.

And finally my tummy is also ready to be full of something else... food!

The first trimester was a real roller coaster for me, having been diagnosed with hypermesis, spending a heck of a lot of time in the ER, and getting myself set up with home IV infusion therapy.. it wasn't the easiest few months... but I wouldn't change anything.

We're nearing my fifth month of pregnancy and so far everything is looking rosy. Which is why, when Pink Blush Maternity got in touch with me, I was so excited! The maternity boutique is known for their cute maternity clothing, so when Pink Blush offered to send me something from their wonderful line to cheer me up it was such a treat!

After months of being stuck inside, and weeks attached to an IV there was nothing more I wanted on a sunny day than to head out to one of Rhode Island's beautiful beaches and clear some cobwebs.

Now that I'm feeling good, heading out more and actually have a baby bump (!) there's nothing more I love than showing off my tummy full of twins. Some of my maternity clothes do a great job of skimming my curves but I love that in the fitted style of this top there's no question of 'cheese burger or babies?'. The pretty mint stripes are also completely 'on brand' with Holly Likes to Cook!

After taking in the blustery wonderfulness that was Goosewing Beach in Little Compton, my appetite was screaming for something... and so to Simmons Cafe and Market!

The cafe serves amazing Maple Valley Creamery ice cream, even out of season, so if a bracing walk on the beach wasn't enough of a draw to head to the coast, this ice cream should be.

One of my go to's when keeping my calorie count up was a real challenge, was high quality ice cream. Yep, I know it's not the most nutritionally valuable food source but knowing I was choosing something made with real milk, cream and fruit made me feel like I was getting a small win in the calcium and fat stakes.

Thanks to the generous folks over at Pink Blush Maternity, you could be in with a chance to win a $75 giftcard to their online maternity boutique!

Head over to my Instagram to find out how!

This post was written with kind thanks to Pink Blush Maternity who kindly sent me the beautiful top you see in the photographs. Although I was lucky enough to receive the shirt free of charge, all opinions are my own... and, my Instagram can attest to the fact that, I pretty much live in this top!

Want to work with me? I'd love to talk! Send me an email at holly@hollylikestocook.com


Quick Creamy Feta, Quinoa and Tomato Salad

March 16, 2016

Um hello appetite, where have you been?

You have no idea how awesome it is to want to eat again, and now I have two babies to blame my belly on, score!

That being said, my appetite has returned with such a vengeance, it's essential there's always something ready to eat or simple to make that I can devour at a moments notice. 

Funnily enough, after an aversion to pretty much all food, I'm actually really into strong flavours. I had a lot of advice from various sources saying to stick with plain stuff, but honestly, the blandness was inspiring me to eat at all so it's in with the bold flavours and on with some much needed lbs.

Another thing I'm keeping in mind when grabbing my quick snacks is trying to maximise the nutritional values of what i'm chowing down on. Before babies, my main train of thought was about keeping fats and excess carbs low. Whilst it's still really important to keep healthy, healthy now means including more good fats, calcium and carbs- all things I can get on board with!

This salad can either sit in the fridge for a few days for a easy to grab snack, or be whipped up in a jiffy (especially if you cheat and use microwave pouches of rice and quinoa... which I did)

Makes enough for 2 generous lunch portions or 4 sides


For the dressing- multiply this ratio for more dressing

1 tbsp sour cream
juice of half a lemon
four heaped tbsp crumbled feta
splash of olive oil

For the salad-

1 cups of cooked quinoa- I use a mixture of brown and wild rice, and quinoa
Cherry tomatoes, I like the multi coloured packs, about 10-15 which is as many as will fit in your cupped hands
A few basil leaves


Get your quinoa/rice cooking either on the stove or throw the pouch in the microwave and cook as per the instructions.

Full disclosure- I have been known to be a bit evangelical about not using prepared foods and making everything from scratch, but i'm coming to realise that sometimes it's ok to take some shortcuts. Microwave rice packs are not evil, they are, however, a major time saver. I have made my own rice pouches by cooking a huge batch of rice, portioning it into bags then freezing them. They can then be thrown into a microwave of boiling water for a minute or two to heat through. But if you don't have the time or the inclination to do that then I wholeheartedly recommend having a couple of back up pouches in the cupboard.

When your quinoa/rice is cooked, drain it and cool it off under a stream of running cold water, then leave to drip dry.

I like to make my dressings in a jar with a lid, it makes it easier to mix as you can just give it a vigorous shake, and also to store.

Add all the dressing ingredients to your jar or mixing bowl and shake or whip up until emulsified. It will be lumpy from the feta but I like getting chunks of salty cheese amid the creamy, feta seasoned dressing.

Chop your tomatoes into bite sized chunks, with the cherry tomatoes I usually don't do much more than in half unless they are giants.

Dry off any excess water from the quinoa/rice with a wedge of paper towel then mix the grains, tomatoes and dressing together. Garnish with some thinly sliced basil (or a chiffonade of basil if you're feeling fancy).