A couple of weeks ago we were lucky enough to spend the weekend at our friends’ house in Durrat Al Bahrain. For those who haven’t heard of it, Durrat is a relatively new residential development made up of a cluster of islands off the south coast of Bahrain. Far south. Possibly the longest journey we could make in Bahrain, in fact.
Not doing a great job of selling it am I? Actually, in a land where said longest drive only takes an hour, this is a good thing as it goes some way to making you feel like you could be on a road trip – a real novelty in this small town where ‘islanditis’ at times seems more prevalent than the common cold.
Durrat is unlikely to feature on the itinerary of most visitors to Bahrain unless they know someone who has a house there, but as one of the nicer parts of the island it’s definitely somewhere I would put on my list of recommendations (along with the heritage trail at the opposite end of the island in Muharraq*). You do need to at least be able to quote the house number of someone you’re visiting to get through the gates though so be prepared before you set off!
Once you’re down there you’ll find Bahraini seaside living at its best (closely rivalled by Amwaj Islands), a landscape of blue and white and clean, sandy beaches which are frustratingly hard to find on this very sandy isle! Add a few restaurants, coffee houses and a chocolaterie into the mix and there you have it.
As you can probably imagine by now, all this provides the perfect backdrop for lazy days spent by the pool, walking on the beach, kicking back with a good book or, if you’re so inclined, cooking up a storm.
On our last visit we feasted on BBQ roasted veggies with halloumi cheese, marinated steak, chicken skewers, corn on the cob and cheddar & mushroom stuffed mini burgers. That’s right, got to take all opportunities to feed my ‘mini’ obsession.
Coming up with the recipe for those little wonders was a combined effort with my partner in crime, Matt, and involved a little bit of this and a little bit of that, none of which was written down. I have spent the last couple of weekends trying to recreate them and will share the recipe very soon.
In the meantime, here is the recipe for BBQ roasted veggies with halloumi, a version of which was introduced to me by my neighbour. It’s very easy and ripping open a pouch of steaming hot veggies at a BBQ has a nice kind of laid back and rustic feel to it. The quantities are only a guideline, you can play around with them to find your perfect mix.
*For more information visit the official website for the Shaikh Ebrahim Center.
INGREDIENTS1 medium eggplant or a few baby eggplants**
2 peppers/capsicum (mix of red, green, yellow or orange)
1 red onion
200g halloumi cheese (I use low fat halloumi)
8 cloves of garlic, unpeeled and bashed with the flat of a knife
¼ cup chopped parsley
½ tsp chicken or vegetable stock powder or ½ stock cube
Sea salt & black pepper
** I didn’t in this case, but I usually use baby eggplants as they can be thrown straight in and don’t need to be covered with salt before using to remove the bitterness.
If not using baby eggplants, cut the eggplant into slices about 2cm thick, lay out on a plate, sprinkle generously with salt and set aside for 15 mins. Rinse the slices and pat dry.
Heat up the BBQ. Cut a piece of aluminium foil about 1.5m long and double it over.
Cut the first six ingredients into 2-3cm cubes. Put in a bowl with the unpeeled garlic cloves and parsley and mix well. Put the piece of foil on a flat surface and lay the cubes out on the foil leaving a gap around the edges and a long enough piece of foil at one end to cover the veggies and create a sealed pouch. Sprinkle the stock powder over the top and season with salt and pepper.
Fold the foil over the top of the veggies and cheese and seal all of the edges. This should leave you with a square or rectangular shaped pouch. It is important that it is well sealed as it is the trapped steam that will cook the veggies.
Give the pouch a gentle shake and place on the BBQ for 10 minutes or until the veggies and halloumi are soft. Place on a plate and rip the pouch open at the table to reveal the steaming hot veggies and cheese.