Cheesy Zymarika

March 9, 2022

Cooking in a foreign kitchen does present some obstacles, however, always cook within your own safety zone when entering a strange kitchen.

That doesn’t mean you live on take out, beans on toast or Pot Noodles; it simply means don’t go for something that would be challenging at home where you have all your own toys, gadgets and are on first name terms with that demon in disguise; your oven!

Being on tour meant two things; 1, working in a strange kitchen, and 2, working with what I had in a limited larder.

Some things I travel with; my own chef’s knife, garlic crusher, hand mandolin and a bread knife. I carry some extras like salt, pepper, herbs and spices (not many but the main attractions such as Italian herbs, Thyme, Oregano, and spices, such as as cumin, and possibly mixed spices). Everything else you can source at the local markets or indeed if travelling within the UK, order on line for collection nearer your destination. 

Did I say I prefer self-catering? Basically on holiday I cannot bear the ‘up at the crack of dawn’ business and rushing to breakfast and then evacuating ones room by a certain time. Trying to cram 51 weeks of captivity into 1 of freedom. I am more a sedate creature. On holiday, unless a planned excursion requires an early start, I like to wake and face the day naturally. I like to take my coffee in bed whilst catching up on the world before a leisurely shower followed by a breakfast of my choice. Whether I eat in, abstain or find some quaint local establishment; it is my choice; after all this is a holiday. An escape from the ‘rat-race’ and a time to rejuvenate.

To that end I really fancied a quick tasty dish. I had seen several variations on baked feta which is a favourite meze treat. This one would be a mash up of Greek and Italian cuisine. After all, it is all about the taste.

So I present my “Cheesy Zymarika” (Greek for pasta). 


  • Rigatoni
  • 30% reduced fat halloumi
  • 4 slices cooked ham (the supermarket basics type)
  • 1/2 small brown onion sliced into rings
  • 3 small mushrooms quartered
  • 1/4 bell pepper chopped (yellow in my case)
  • Small bag of cherry tomatoes halved
  • Olive oil spray
  • Italian herbs
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  • Cook the pasta on the hob in salted water until soft.
  • Pre-heat the oven to at least 200C
  • Line a baking dish with olive oil 
  • Add the tomatoes spreading around
  • Season with salt pepper and the herbs
  • Place the halloumi on the tomatoes in the centre
  • Give another couple of squirts of oil especially over the cheese.
  • Now add the remaining ingredients 
  • Add another sprinkle of herbs
  • Place in the middle of the hot oven and bake for a minimum 20 minutes.
  • Strain the pasta
  • Remove the baking dish and using 2 forks break up the cheese and tomatoey vegetables.
  • Add the pasta and toss

Serve immediately with a crunchy salad and to make it go further, a fresh crusty loaf.

Serves up to 4 SYN value 27.5 the entire dish.


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