• This unexpected combination turned into a delicious hit! Try it!

    Recipe by Christine Capendale

    Styling and photograph by Hein van Tonder

    Pear and haloumi salad with spicy caramelised walnuts and poached pear vinaigrette

    Serves: 4
    Total Time: 30 mins + 40 mins, to poach



    • 500ml (2 cups) water
    • 220g (1 cup) white sugar
    • 150ml sweet wine
    • 2 cinnamon quills
    • rind and juice of 1 lemon
    • 2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
    • 2 star anise
    • 9 firm pears, peeled and halved

    • 2 tbsp butter
    • 2 tbsp castor sugar
    • 100g walnuts
    • 1 tsp chilli flakes

    • 2 poached pear halves, cooled and cored
    • 60ml (¼ cup) olive oil
    • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
    • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
    • 3 tbsp cooking liquid from the pears
    • SALAD

    • 400g haloumi, cut into slices
    • 100g baby spinach, washed and dried



    For the poached pears, in a wide, lidded saucepan placed over medium heat, slowly bring to a simmer the water, white sugar, sweet wine, cinnamon quills, lemon rind and juice, black pepper and star anise for 10 minutes to infuse. Gently lower in the pears, cover and poach until soft but still firm, about 30 minutes. Remove the pears and set aside to cool. Reserve 3 tbsp of the poaching liquid for the vinaigrette. Core the pears once they are cool.


    For the walnuts, heat the butter and castor sugar in a frying pan. Add the walnuts and chilli flakes. Stir gently until caramelised. Pour onto baking paper or a silicone mat and allow to cool.


    For the pear vinaigrette, using a stick blender, blitz together all the ingredients until smooth. Set aside.


    In a non-stick pan placed over medium-high heat, fry the haloumi until golden brown on both sides.


    In a griddle pan over high heat, chargrill the cut surfaces of the remaining pears to make char lines and warm them through.


    For the salad, on each of 4 plates, place 4 pear halves on a bed of baby spinach leaves, add some caramelised walnuts, haloumi slices and a little pear vinaigrette.


    Imka Webb

    Imka Webb is a freelance digital marketing expert and the digital editor of Food & Home Entertaining magazine.  www.imkawebb.com