Halloumi, za’atar and honey parcels

Za’atar – meaning ‘wild thyme’ in Arabic – is an increasingly popular Middle Eastern spice blend of toasted sesame seeds, thyme, marjoram or oregano, sumac and salt, which can be sprinkled liberally onto flatbreads, mixed with olive oil as a dip or even tossed over roasted veg. The za’atar in this recipe really brings a new flavour dimension to these crispy, salty, spicy and sweet phyllo morsels. Amazing as a canapé or a starter, these can be made ahead of time and frozen.

Preparation time : 15 min Cooking time : 30 min Servings : 8 - 10 parcels
  • 2 or 3 sheets phyllo pastry
  • 100 g butter - melted
  • 1 block (200 - 250g) halloumi - chopped into 8 - 10 sicks (approx. 1cm thick)
  • 40 - 50 ml runny honey
  • 40 - 50 ml za'atar spice
  • fresh thyme - to garnish

Preheat the oven to 180 °C.

Brush a sheet of phyllo pastry with melted butter and fold it in half.

Using a sharp knife or scissors, cut the pastry in half and in half again, so you have four equal rectangles of phyllo pastry.

Lay a stick of halloumi on one end of a phyllo rectangle and roll into a cigar-like shape, encasing the halloumi in pastry. 

Repeat with the remaining phyllo sheets until you have used all the halloumi sticks.

Fill a baking tray with your halloumi parcels and brush with melted butter.

Bake for 30 minutes or until golden and beautiful.Remove from the oven, drizzle each one with 5 ml (1 tsp) honey and top with a 5 ml (1 tsp) sprinkle of za’atar spice. 

Garnish with curly stems of fresh thyme and enjoy.

You can freeze the unbaked version. Take out of the freezer to thaw at least two hours before baking.

Reprinted with permission of Kate Lund and Rebecca Lund from their Delish Sisters cookbook published by Penguin Random House South Africa.

Halloumi, za’atar and honey parcels