Farro and haloumi salad.
Farro and haloumi salad. Photo: WILLIAM MEPPEM

You can replace the farro with other grains such as barley or oats; boiled wild rice is great, too. Wake up your taste buds by roasting spices like fennel, coriander and cumin seeds, then crush and sprinkle over salads like this one.

I also like to barbecue a couple of hot chillies, then crush them into the salad.

Farro salad with haloumi

Pumpkin tart with pine nuts.
Pumpkin tart with pine nuts.

175g farro

3 handfuls flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

1 handful mint, finely shredded

1 small red onion, finely diced

3 spring onions, sliced into fine rounds

3 vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and finely diced

125ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra

juice of 2 lemons

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

400g haloumi, cut into 4 slices

Serves 4


Simmer the farro for about 15 minutes in salted boiling water - you still need a good bite to it. Drain and dry.

Put the farro in a bowl and add the parsley, mint, red onion, spring onions and vine-ripened tomatoes. Mix well.

Whisk the olive oil and lemon juice together and season to taste with salt

and pepper. Add the dressing to the farro and mix through thoroughly.

place a pan onto the stove on a high heat and add a splash of extra virgin olive oil. When hot, add the haloumi slices and cook on one side for a minute until they turn brown and a crust forms.

Turn over and repeat.

TO SERVE, slice up the haloumi, divide between 4 plates and spoon over the farro salad.

 

Pumpkin tart with pine nuts

300g good-quality frozen puff pastry

flour, for dusting

100g lightly roasted pine nuts

pumpkin filling

300g Queensland Blue pumpkin, peeled and seeds removed

40g caster sugar

2 titanium gelatine sheets, soaked in water to soften

1 egg yolk

25ml milk

80g whipping cream (35 per cent fat)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

meringue

3 egg whites

20g caster sugar

whipped cream

300g pure cream

25g icing sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Makes one 22cm tart

Allow the pastry to come to fridge temperature overnight.

Sprinkle flour on a bench and the pastry, and roll pastry into a circle about 5mm thick. Place pastry over a 22cm tart ring and base and press down. Cut the edges back so they just come over the edge of the ring, refrigerate for 40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180ºC.

Place a sheet of foil over the chilled tart and fill with baking weights. Bake blind for 20 minutes. Remove the weights and foil and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes until pastry is a light golden brown.

Cut pumpkin flesh into cubes. Place in a steamer and steam until very tender.

Place cooked pumpkin, sugar and softened gelatine sheets into a food processor and pulse until well blended. Add egg yolk, milk, cream and vanilla and mix well.

To make the meringue, whisk the egg whites until foamy. Add half the sugar and continue whisking until soft peaks form. Add the remaining sugar and whisk until peaks are stiff and glossy.

Fold the meringue into the pumpkin filling then carefully spoon the hot pumpkin filling into the cooled tart shell. Refrigerate for about 1 hour.

To make the whipped cream, add the cream, sugar and vanilla to a large bowl and whip until firm peaks form.

Spread the whipped cream over the top of the tart. Sprinkle liberally with the pine nuts and serve.

 

Something to drink

Botrytis viognier

Decadently sweet, Yalumba's 2009 FSW 8B Botrytis Viognier ($25) from Wrattonbully, SA, is a lovely match for the pumpkin tart. Floral and fruity, with flavours of apricots and spice, the palate is luscious and sweet. Its silky texture and subtle spice perfectly enhance the tart's flavours.

Hot tip:

  • You can use other pumpkin varieties for the tart, just make sure they're sweet.

Photography by William Meppem. Food styling by Hannah Meppem. Food preparation by Nick Banbury.