Archives for posts with tag: cauliflower

Last week I found I was sharing my kitchen with a lone mouse who seemed to enjoy my suppers as much as I did! It stopped me in my tracks and put me right off cooking.

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Thanks only to the wonderful Nick, I have managed to curtail the Mr Mouse visits and now I am feeling more like getting back into the kitchen so it was wonderful this weekend to get back to my therapeutic session that I treat myself with when I am not working. I get that some people would think it such a chore to spend time in the kitchen cooking but for me it is relaxation and therapy. I have perfected such a lovely pesto paste that is a must have during the week to serve on toast with tomato, in pasta, with chicken, in thick Italian-esque soups. The options are endless. Its the combo of basil and rocket as well as pine nuts and walnuts that make all the difference.

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And I always top up my granola when a batch runs down making the most of whatever flakes and nuts I have in the cupboard. I guess it is more of a toasted muesli than granola as I use very little fat and sugar, just a bit of coconut oil and again whatever I have in the cupboard in terms of syrup or honey. But mostly it is just slowly baked toasty grains and nuts. Maybe it should be called Meusola. I added a pan of beautiful stewed Yorkshire forced rhubarb to serve as this is smack bang in season and taste fab with just a clementine poached with it and squeezed out, some vanilla and a touch of ginger syrup.

With breakfast and supper taken care of, it was time to address the cauliflower sitting in my fridge. I have written a few times about the mighty cauliflower and how much I love its flavour and versatility. I am always on the look out for recipes to try and this one caught my eye. I was not familiar with the term ‘tot’ but now I know it, I think there are many applications. I roasted my cauli rather than boiled just to get more flavour and also so that I could use the extras as veggies in my lunchtime salads. Ricing it with the rest of the ingredients takes seconds and then the fun shaping which could be anything you want. I love the fact these are baked beauties as I am not one for frying. But in hindsight a little bit of mozzarella in the middle of one of these shaped as a ball would be a take on arancini that I think would escalate them even further..

The recipe suggests tomato ketchup, or other sauces/dips but I opted to make supper with the addition of eggs and the ultimate dipping sauce: a runny yolk!

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The lovely girls in my shop have rather generously shared their lergy with me this week and whilst I am sure at their age it is easy to brush it off, I have to admit to finding it a little harder. Bring on the antioxidants.

Whilst I peruse with interest the books of Amelia Freer, Ella Woodward and Hemsley and Hemsley they are a bit too worthy for me. I do believe in cooking from scratch, avoiding processed food and a big chunk of fruit n veg. But my dishes are probably a bit more in the real world of eating. My weekly shop puts good food in the fridge, freezer and cupboard and ensures there are options throughout the week with a bit more time at weekends to experiment.

So when I opened the fridge this afternoon, pretty hungry after my massage and return power walk I was drawn to a slightly sad old cauliflower (OK – I realise how daft that looks now I have written it). Anyway. This brassica is a new revelation for me with my healthier hat on. Gone are the cauli cheese options and in come roasting, ricing and charring which all deliver flavour through the cooking  method before you do anything else at all.

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Today was cauliflower steak day as I needed to feel meaty and full. But I took the opportunity to roast the rest of the florets so I have them this week for lunchtime salads. Cutting right down the middle is quite satisfying. Just pan fry in a bit of oil (I am using avocado oil at the mo) either side to brown and then chuck in the oven for 15 minutes or until cooked.

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Meanwhile I knocked up a dressing from what I had. Tomatoes were a must given their health properties and for me where there are tomatoes, there is also garlic, chilli, olive oil and lemon (juice & rind). Add to that spring onion, capers and parsley and there you have it.

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By the time I had chopped and mixed together the cauliflower was pretty much ready. Just a chance to clear away and then I could relax and take in the sunshine, not only on my plate but also in the garden. I must get better after that!

 

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A few years ago when I was still in my old M&S job, we were contemplating the January marketing campaign and as ever I had a major disagreement with the Marketing Director. I had presented healthy eating, which was always peaking at this time of year. Great new soups, fruit salad, probiotic yogurts (they were new then, honest) soy glazed salmon etc. were tasted with him. Said Director literally threw them back at me saying that he ate pies & stews in January so that’s what we would be promoting. I never did have the guts to point out that he hardly represented our target customer and thanked my rounders teacher for making me a good catcher…as well as the yogurt manufacturer for his sturdy pots.

Six months later, the January TV campaign featured the fastest line that we ever did put on telly…. prepared fruit salad with fresh pomegranate seeds. It beat any erupting chocolate pudding or slices of roast chicken hands down. I tell you this not to be smug, but to emphasise that January is always a month when we do nod to health and that’s just the way it is.

But what exactly is healthy? Rosemary Conley’s low fat diet of the 80’s was usurped by the high protein Atkins approach in the 90’s. These days the 5:2 diet fights for top spot with the Paleo way of eating and now we all understand so much better that refined sugars are actually the devil and good natural fat helps with your body’s absorption of various vitamins. January is a time when every media outlet is promoting some opinion on what we should consume and frankly it is all a bit confusing.

Another old boss of mine, Jody Scheckter at Laverstoke Park Farm, kept it simple. No processed foods. And honestly I think he is onto something. His organic, biodynamic food comes from a great farm that starts with the soil and its nutrients before it progresses through the field or animal to our tables. He really walks the walk and seeing that every day for a year opened my eyes to the benefits.

These days I try to do as he says and January seems to be a great month to make even more of an effort to be good. I generally keep it natural, cook from scratch and keep the red meat to a minimum. In fact, I tend to eat veggie quite a lot of the time but want to find alternatives to my old stalwart: veggie stir fry.

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Cauliflower steak

 

So imagine my surprise to find that the answer to this dilemma lies in the humble cauliflower. This unassuming vegetable has quite the following across the globe. From the USA to South Africa, I am reading about how it provides a great base to create clever vegetarian meals, disguised as your favourite indulgence. The lovely Campari and Sofa team shared this article showing how to make cauliflower ‘bagels’ amongst other things and it seems that cauliflower steaks are the way to take your ‘meat’ input these days. In fact if you haven’t tried ricing cauliflower and disguising it into some other meatfest dish then you really haven’t lived!!

My caulipizza

My caulipizza

The other week I came home and tried it all out for myself with a caulipizza recipe that I had saved from Crush online and it really did work. The lovely Nick at work told me about Anna Jones’ recipe in her great veggie book: A Modern Way to Eat. We are all hooked on that book at the mo and her addition of oats and ground almonds to the base mix apparently make all the difference so I will be going back to try that one soon. In the meantime, I would like to doff my cap to the humble brassica that is cauliflower and suggest you embrace it too. Cauli cheese anyone?

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