Squash, Cauliflower and Ricotta Spicy Tray Bake

A tangy, spicy all-in-one tray bake, with creamy ricotta, roasted squash, baked cauliflower and salty halloumi. 

Tray bakes are the best because they mean minimal washing up!

Squash, Cauliflower and Ricotta Spicy Tray Bake- The Vegaquarium

It sounds weird baking a cauliflower but I promise it tastes good; it goes crispy on the fluffy bits and soft on the inside.

Yet again this recipe features… you guessed it, halloumi, but my dad does the same recipe at home with chicken, and they love it. If you haven’t tried halloumi by now, please do, your quality of life will increase 10 fold. Fact.

Squash, Cauliflower and Ricotta Spicy Tray Bake- The Vegaquarium

  • 1 cauliflower, cut into florets
  • Half a butternut squash cut into long wedges
  • 1 tsp each of cumin seeds, chilli flakes and curry powder
  • 1tbs  turmeric
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 tbs fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 large red onion cut into wedges
  • 100 g ricotta
  • 1/2 block of halloumi
  • Kale to serve (optional)

1)Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Then boil your cauliflower and butternut squash until tender.

2) Put the boiled cauliflower, squash and onions in a large tray, and pour on the oil, all herbs and spices. Shake the tray around so everything is covered in flavour and put it in the oven for 30 mins.

3) Remove the tray and lay on halloumi and spooned blobs of ricotta, the grill for 10 mins. (Keep an eye on them incase your oven is anything like ours and burns things very quickly.

4) Serve with greens and couscous.

Squash, Cauliflower and Ricotta Spicy Tray Bake- The Vegaquarium

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Polenta, Roast Veg and Halloumi Salad

This salad is a marriage of the italians and the greeks.

Polenta, Roast Veg and Halloumi Salad- The vegaquarium

Halloumi is a greek goats cheese, but it isn’t squishy and hairy like regular goats cheese. It has a salty taste and a rubbery texture and it is my favourite cheese ever.

Polenta is a cornmeal based carb, and it is loved by the italians. It has a squidgy texture that crisps off in the frying pan. I have never cooked with it before but it is so versitile! You can grill, fry, boil and best of all for us students, you can microwave it. It is the yellow rectangular stuff in the picture above!

You will need:

  • Polenta- looks like this and is fun to squish

Polenta, Roast Veg and Halloumi Salad- The Vegaquarium

  • Halloumi sliced
  • Lemon
  • Chilli flakes
  • Roasted vegetables
  • Courgette
  • Salad leaves
  • Greek yoghurt
  • Ready made polenta- sliced

1) First roast your veg. I roasted mine but also made my Lemon Salted Courgettes because I am slightly obsessed! Cooking the halloumi and polenta takes only about 10 mins so wait till your veg is roasted before you procede.

2) Glug about 2 tbs of oil into a frying pan and heat it till it sizzles. Then start to fry the halloumi and polenta slices. Add them neatly so they don’t over lap so that it is easy to flip over each slice so that they are crispy on both sides. Squeeze into the pan 1 half of a lemon and chilli flakes to taste while they fry off.

3) Meanwhile prep your salad leaves and anything else you may want- cucumber, olives, carrot, sweetcorn, avocardo, you get the idea. Then put your roast veg and courgettes on top.

4) Place the halloumi and polenta on the salad and drop on some greek yoghurt.

My verdict on polenta after this salad is that it is definitely one to try! It has a really different texture and compliments any flavours you put with it. I am soon to blog my dinner tonight which is a pizza with polenta base!

Polenta, Roast Veg and Halloumi Salad

Halloumi Mexican Wraps

I laaaaaaavvvv mexican. And Halloumi, and lemon salted courgettes, and avocado. So I combined them all in a wrap and fed them too my hungry housemates.

Bethany even said the words “this is the best thing you have ever cooked me.” plus she didn’t put ketchup on it, so it must have tasted OK.

It is a great meal for sharing, and it gets a bit messy so is fun to eat! Unless you don’t like mess in which case use a knife and fork, clever.

Halloumi Mexican Wraps- The Vegaquarium

This served 3. You will need:

  • pack of 6 wraps
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 block halloumi
  • 1 tin tomatos/passata
  • 2 chopped red onions
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 pack of fajita spice mix
  • 1 tin kidney beans
  • handfull chopped spinach

For the courgette:

  • 2 courgettes
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • half lemon squeezed
  • pinch pepper

1) Start with the courgettes as they need roasting which takes about 40 mins. Simply chop them into batons and shake them on the baking tray with the salt, a generous amount of oil, and some pepper.

2)Pop them in the oven at 200 degrees for 40 mins. While they are cooking you can get going on your wrap sauce!

Halloumi Mexican Wraps- The VegaquariumFor the sauce:

1) Fry off your onion and garlic with a pinch of sugar, then add your kidney beans and fajita spices to make a pastey looking mix!

2) After about 5 mins, add your tomatoes and leave to simmer for 30 mins.

3) 10 mins before you are ready to serve, chop up the avocado and prepare on a plate with a squeeze of the rest of the lemon you used earlier. Then slice up your halloumi into strips.

4) Fry the halloumi with a bit of oil and tsp of paprika in a frying pan, turning every few mins, after a while they will start to brown off and go crispy on the outside and gooey in the middle, this is why I love it!

5) Then put everything on the table, with the wraps and some sour cream/ greek yoghurt to serve, and let them get stuck in!

Halloumi Mexican Wraps- The Vegaquarium

Halloumi Mexican Wraps- The Vegaquarium

Halloumi Mexican Wraps- The Vegaquarium

If you want to follow suit, we then had Ben and Jerry’s for desert!

Halloumi Bean Stew

My veggie staple.

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My mums a bit of a super hero. Not only does she keep up a job as a research nurse, but she is studying for her masters degree and has 3 kids to look after. One of them being my dad!

Due to this, as much as possible I like to cook. This is something I make all the time at Uni because I just don’t get bored of it.

Firstly these are my tips for making anything with a tomato sauce base. Don’t be afraid to burn and over cook the tomato sauce! It makes it so incredibly rich and tastes sooo much better. Also, add a bit of sugar and a splash of lea & perrins. This takes the edge off bitter tomatoes and again makes it much more flavoursome. Finally, don’t slack on the garlic!!!

You will need:

  • 2 x diced red onion
  • 2 x crushed clove of garlic
  • 2 x sliced peppers
  • 1 x sliced courgette
  • 1 x fresh red chilli (optional)
  • 1 x splash of Lea & Perrins
  • 1 x teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 x tin of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 x can of cannelloni beans
  • 1 x block of halloumi
  1. Fry off the onion with the garlic in a large deep pan
  2. Add the sliced peppers and courgette and continue to fry until softened slightly
  3. Add the chilli, remove the seeds for a milder flavour
  4. Add the tinned tomatoes, cannelloni beans, Lea & Perrins and sugar, then simmer for 10 mins
  5. Transfer into an oven proof dish and bake for 20 mins
  6. Slice up the Halloumi and lay on top of the stew, then grill for 15 mins
  7. Eat and enjoy (maybe with some wine)

The great thing about this is you can add or take away any veggies you like. Add an Aubergine, some mushrooms or some spinach. You can eat it with pasta, couscous, new potatoes, salad or some fresh crusty bread.

It will last you days if you’re cooking for one, or will happily serve about 6! If you haven’t tried halloumi before, this is the perfect way to do so, I dare you not to like it.

Happy eating!