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Try this traditional Cypriot savoury cake from recipe author Meliz Berg. This recipe comes from Meliz’s Kitchen: Simple Turkish-Cypriot Comfort Food and Fresh Family Feasts by Meliz Berg (£25, Ebury Press).

Recipe author Meliz Berg says: "Cyprus is a cultural and culinary melting pot. The impact of Turkish and Greek gastronomy is undeniable but it has its own distinct repertoire of recipes influenced by Eastern cuisines. The ingredients used in many Cypriot dishes can be traced back to Arabic and Asian cooking where spices such as sweet cinnamon, aniseed and cumin, and fresh produce such as jute mallow, okra and taro root provide the backbone to some of its unique dishes.

Home-grown produce includes wild asparagus, white courgettes and black-eyed beans. Ripe red watermelons are rarely eaten without uncooked slices of halloumi (sheep/goat’s milk cheese), with the whey made into a Cypriot ricotta known as nor or anari. Uncooked halloumi can also be finely grated, mixed with dried mint and sprinkled over dishes such as magarına bulli (pasta and chicken). Mint (dried and fresh) is used in salad dressings and meze such as cacık, and it’s also used to flavour savoury bakes such as this hellimli zeytinli (halloumi and black olive bread)."

This is a recipe that Meliz shared as part of her guide to Cypriot cuisine. Check it out to learn about the many complex flavours of this eastern Mediterranean island, including grilled kofte and Türlü (roasted vegetable stew). Also check out more of our favourite Mediterranean-inspired recipes here.

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus 200ml and extra for the tin
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 250ml whole milk
  • 400g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1½ tsp caster sugar
  • 165g pitted black olives
  • 200g halloumi, cut into 2½cm cubes, plus 25g, finely grated
  • 4 tbsp coriander, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp dried mint
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp nigella seeds

Method

  • STEP 1

    Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Line a 23cm springform cake tin with baking paper and brush with a little oil.

  • STEP 2

    Put a large frying pan over a medium heat and add 3 tbsp of the olive oil. Once hot, add the onion and turn down the heat. Cook the onion for 12-15 minutes or until softened, then remove to a plate to cool.

  • STEP 3

    In a bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the milk and 200ml of olive oil, and stir. Sift in half of the flour and all the baking powder, then add 1 tsp of salt and the sugar, and whisk together. Sift in the rest of the flour and whisk well. Use a spatula to fold in the onion, olives, halloumi cubes, coriander and mint until combined.

  • STEP 4

    Pour the mixture into the tin, sprinkle over half of the sesame and nigella seeds, the grated halloumi and then the remaining seeds.

  • STEP 5

    Bake on the bottom shelf for 40-50 minutes. After 40 minutes, insert a cocktail stick into the middle of the cake – if it comes out clean, it’s ready. If not, give it another few minutes in the oven.

  • STEP 6

    Leave to cool slightly in the tin, then remove and cool fully on a wire rack for an hour before serving.

Check out more of our best halloumi recipes

Sliced halloumi on a tomato salsa

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