Specialist ingredients and how to use them – part 2

Carrying on from part one, here we will go over more specialist ingredients to brighten up your meals.


Halloumi is one of the most popular cheeses to have come out of the Middle East. Unlike many cheeses, halloumi should be avoided raw as it has a rubbery, tough texture. To get the best out of halloumi it should fried or grilled. Halloumi makes a perfect addition to wraps and sandwiches, or as part of a mezze with salads and meats.

Samphire is plant which grows between the cracks of rocks where the sea meets the land and around marshlands. As such, samphire has a salty taste which makes a great addition to a white fish dish in the summer when it is in season.

Plantain looks very similar to a banana though is much larger and is hard to digest when raw. The most common way to serve plantain is to cut it into disks and fry until golden brown on both sides. Plantain are at their best when the outer skin has gone mostly or totally black as this is the point when the fruit has its natural highest sugar content which provides its sweet flavour. The ingredient is most commonly associated with the Caribbean, though is also eaten in other parts of the world.

Rice vinegar 
Rice vinegar usually comes in either a clear white form or as black rice vinegar. There are many purposes to be found for rice vinegar but the most common use is to add acidity to sauces and dressings in asian dishes.

Made from sesame seeds, tahini has a consistency somewhere between honey and peanut butter. It has a rich warm flavour and is one of the key ingredients in both hummus and baba ghanoush. Tahini can also be used in the dressing of salads and tabbouleh.


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