Tag Archives: cauliflower

Romanesco Rigatoni Cheese Bake with Crunchy Nut Topping

8 Jan

Romanesco Rigatoni & Cheese Bake

Romanesco is a fabulously freaky looking thing that tastes like a cross between cauliflower and broccoli. If broccoli florets look like little oak trees then romanesco florets are definitely mini Christmas trees.

Romanesco

This is basically a fusion of two iconic dishes. Macaroni Cheese (Mac & Cheese) and Cauliflower Cheese, which is cauliflower coated in a cheesy white sauce if you didn’t already know. Sometimes gratinated sometimes not. I think it’s a British thing. It’s good to get some extra vegetables in with all that cheeesy carbness so I added some spinach too. Good for the guilt I find.

Romanesco Rigatoni Cheese Bake

This dish is great for using up all the little bits of different cheeses that you might have leftover especially at this time of year. I used some feta, goat’s cheese and grated Manchego. Clear out the fridge food is always satisfying.

Romanesco Rigatoni Cheese Bake

The topping is actually the Hazelnut & Chestnut Dukkah that I made to go on my Moroccan Spiced Cauliflower Soup. The spicy Egyptian nutty crumble give this an extra kick of flavour but you could use breadcrumbs mixed with grated cheese and some spices if you like. The nuts give a nice crunch though. Worth the extra effort definitely.

Romanesco Rigatoni Cheese

Romanesco Rigatoni Cheese Bake with Dukkah Topping

Serves 3-4, vegetarian

You can substitute the cheeses for whatever bits you have around; Stilton, Gruyère, gorgonzola, mozzarella….

  • 1/2 large romanesco (or cauliflower/broccoli), chopped into small florets
  • 300 g wholemeal rigatoni
  • 2 Tbsp flour (I used wholemeal spelt)
  • 2 Tbsp dairy free spread or butter
  • about 300 ml oat milk (or other milk)
  • a good handful of grated manchego (or cheddar/parmesan..)
  • 1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)
  • salt & black pepper
  • a big handful of fresh spinach leaves, chopped (about 100 g)
  • 75 – 100 g Greek feta
  • 75 – 100 g goats cheese
  • about 50 g hazelnut dukkah (recipe here) or use breadcrumbs and grated cheese
  • olive oil and breadcrumbs/flour

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet in a large pan with lots of boiling salted water. About 4 or 5 minutes before it is cooked throw in the florets too. Cauliflower takes longer to cook than broccoli and romanesco so adjust accordingly. When the pasta is cooked and romanesco tender, drain the whole lot in a colander.

While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter/spread in a small pan over a medium heat. When it has melted add the flour, all in one go, and stir for a minute or so. It will form a thick paste, you need to cook the rawness out of the flour.

Add in the milk, stirring continuously, until incorporated, then continue stirring until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes depending. When thickened, remove from the heat and stir in the grated cheese, rosemary, nutmeg, chilli flakes and season well with salt & black pepper. Set aside.

Pour the drained pasta and florets back into the large pan over a gentle heat and pour over the cheese sauce, stirring to combine.  Add in the chopped spinach, stirring to wilt in the warm pasta then crumble (or grate) in the rest of the cheeses (I saved some feta for the top). Taste and adjust seasoning as required. Preheat oven to 200C.

Prepare one large or 3-4 individual ovenproof gratin dishes by rubbing the insides with oil and then dusting with flour or breadcrumbs. Pour the mixture into the dish(es), top with the reserved feta, a generous sprinkling of the dukkah (or grated cheese & breadcrumbs), drizzle with olive oil and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and crispy.

Romanesco Rigatoni Cheese Bake

You can serve this on its own or with a bitter leaf salad to cut through the richness of the cheese. A mix of raddichio and rocket is nice with some olive oil and sweet balsamic vinegar.

Enjoy!!

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Moroccan Spiced Cauliflower Soup with Chestnut Dukkah

2 Jan

Moroccan Cauliflower Soup & Chestnut Dukkah

This is another one of the recipes from my party mezze workshop. We served this spicy, warming soup in little cups with teaspoons. You don’t really need a big bowl of soup as part of a buffet/mezze but a little cup is just the right amount to get you started. I put little bowls of the dukkah on the table for people to sprinkle on top of their soup and to dip their bread into.

Spiced Cauliflower Soup & Dukkah

Dukkah (or duqqa) is an Egyptian spice mix traditionally made with ground hazelnuts. I added some ground roasted chestnuts to the blend for a seasonally festive touch but if you can’t get chestnuts don’t worry. They sell roasted chestnuts at the side of the road here at this time of year, on little stalls. They roast them in big pots, you can see the smoke rising and smell them before you see them.

Chestnut Dukkah

There are millions of different recipes for Dukkah, every family has their own but this is a pretty basic version using hazelnuts, cumin and coriander seeds, sesame seeds and black pepper.

The word “Dukkah” is derived from the Arabic word “to pound”. Not surprisingly, all the ingredients are pounded in a mortar & pestle (or processor) into something between a powder and a crumbly paste. It is served as an accompaniment to meals. You dip your bread in some good olive oil (thankfully we have just taken delivery of this season’s harvest of local olive oil which is like liquid gold) then dip it into the dukkah. The spice mix sticks to the oil, then you taste it and you will be instantly addicted.

Andalucian Olive Oil

Sprinkle it over soups, stews salads, hummus, yoghurt, anything really. It’s my new favourite thing. I’m thinking of using it in a dessert for a bit of savoury kick. You could add it into a crumble mix or maybe it would work with this fig & almond fumble. Then you would have a dukkah fig fumble. Try saying that after few sherries. It’s pronounced Doo-kah by the way.

Cauliflower Soup & Dukkah

Moroccan Spiced Cauliflower Soup with Chestnut Dukkah

Serves 4 -6 (or more if you are serving it in little cups). Vegan, Gluten-Free

  • 1 med-large cauliflower, chopped into small florets
  • 1 leek, cut in half lengthways, rinsed & sliced (or 1 onion chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp harissa paste or chilli flakes (optional)
  • 125 ml water
  • 1 litre veg stock
  • salt & black pepper
  • 1 or 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • a handful of chopped fresh coriander (plus extra for garnish)

Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Cook the leek/onion with a pinch of salt for 3 or 4 minutes until softened then add the garlic and all the spices stirring to coat and cook for another minute or so.

Add the cauliflower florets and the water and stir to coat in the spices. Pour in the veg stock, the cauliflower should be covered by the stock, if not add some water and season well with salt & black pepper. Bring to the boil then lower the heat, partially cover and simmer for about 12 minutes or until the cauliflower is really tender.

Carefully puree with a stick blender or in a processor, taking care not to splatter hot soup everywhere. When completely smooth add a squeeze of lemon and the fresh coriander and blend again.  Pour the soup back into the pan to reheat, taste for seasoning, add more salt or lemon if required. You may need to add a bit more stock or water to thin it down to the required consistency.

Serve topped with some fresh coriander and the dukkah.

Chestnut/Hazelnut Dukkah Recipe

  • 100 g roasted chestnuts and/or hazelnuts, chopped
  • 6 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 Tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 Tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt

If not already toasted, roast the chestnuts/hazelnuts in the oven for 5-10 minutes, watching carefully, until golden. Remove some of the skins from the hazelnuts by rubbing them, while still warm, in a clean tea towel and set aside to cool.

If not already toasted, toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan until golden and pour into medium bowl.

Toast the coriander and cumin seeds in a dry pan, shaking occasionally, until fragrant and they start to pop. Pour into a mortar and pestle and grind to a powder. Pour this into the bowl with the sesame seeds.

Put the cooled chestnuts/hazelnuts into a food processor and blend/pulse until finely ground. Stir this into the bowl with the spices and add the salt and black pepper. Mix well. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Moroccan Cauliflower Soup & Chestnut Dukkah

Enjoy!!

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Tandoori Spice Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Quiche

27 Nov

I saw a recipe for a whole head of cauliflower marinated and then roasted in Tandoori spices on Pinterest. Okay I am a bit obsessed with Pinterest but I get a lot of inspiration there and keep it all in one place without having to print things out and leave bits of paper piling up on every surface. The Washer Up is happier anyway. He hates mess and this way I leave less stuff on his art installation which is actually our kitchen table.

I’m not allowed to cook the pumpkin by the way. It’s a study in time and space apparently. Which means he is waiting to see how long it takes for me to mess up the space with my stuff. I love the new light though. Industrial, elegant and huge. It’s beautiful, not everyone’s cup of tea I’m sure. Pinterest made me do it.

So back to the cauliflower, I didn’t have a whole one so I mixed the tandoori spices with some goat’s yoghurt to make the marinade that I tipped over some florets that I had and added some chickpeas for protein and texture. I roasted these and left them to cool and dry out a bit because I wanted to use them as a samosa filling. The samosas were fabulous but we only had enough filo pastry for four, which we ate for dinner, so no photos I’m afraid. The technique is the same as for my recipe for Sweet Potato Samosas if you want to go down that route.

Because I could only make four samosas I had lots of filling left so I decided to throw them into a quiche for lunch the next day. Tandoori Cauliflower Quiche, that is Franglo Indian in case you were wondering where to file it.

The pastry is my olive oil spelt flour favourite that is quick, simple and delicious with anything.

Just writing out the recipe title below I had a brain wave that I had seen this recipe before somewhere. A little research brought me to Food To Glow who made practically the same thing a few months ago. It just goes to show that nothing is original even Franglo-Indian leftovers quiche. We do have very similar taste in food so I suppose it is inevitable, subliminal serendipity or something!! Thanks Kellie ;D

Tandoori Roasted Cauliflower & Chickpea Quiche Recipe

Makes 1 large quiche, Vegetarian

Tandoori Spice Mix Adapted from My New Roots

You only need 1 Tbsp for this recipe

  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 Tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1/4 whole nutmeg grated
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 1/2 sticks cinnamon, broken
  • 1 Tbsp turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp paprika

Grind everything except last 2 ingredients in a mortar & pestle or spice grinder to a powder then mix with the turmeric & paprika. Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place.

  • 350-400 g cauliflower florets
  • 200 g cooked chickpeas, rinsed & drained
  • 1 Tbsp tandoori spice mix (recipe above)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 pot (125 ml) goats or Greek yoghurt
  • 50 gr toasted almonds or cashews
  • a handful of fresh coriander

Tip all the ingredients except the nuts into a plastic freezer bag, seal and mix together well by smushing it about in the bag with your hands. Leave to marinate in the fridge for 1 hour minimum.

Preheat the oven to 180C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Tip the contents of the freezer bag onto the tray and spread out evenly. Roast for 25-30 minutes until dried and slightly browned then leave to cool. Stir through the toasted almonds/cashews and chopped coriander. Taste and add more salt & lemon juice as required.

You can use the cooled mixture as a filling for samosas, see recipe here or continue on to make the quiche.

Makes a 28-30 cm quiche. Vegetarian. Pastry recipe from Chocolate & Zucchini

  • 250 g spelt or wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp tandoori spice mix (see above)
  • 4 Tbsp (1/4 cup) olive oil
  • up to 120 ml (1/2 cup) cold water
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 pot (125 gr) goat’s yoghurt (or greek yoghurt)
  • milk ( I used oat milk)
  • salt & black pepper
  • a handful of grated manchego/cheddar (optional)

Lightly oil & flour your tart tin. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt and spices, drizzle in the olive oil mixing/mashing it in with a fork until well combined (a bit like crumble mix). Measure out the water then drizzle slowly into the flour a bit at a time and mix it in with the fork until just absorbed then bring it together with one hand kneading a little just until it forms a cohesive ball. you may not need all the water. Do not over work or it will be tough. You can refrigerate it now if it is warm.

Preheat the oven to 190C. Roll it out on a lightly floured surface, turning it quarter turns as you go to stop it sticking, to the correct size about 2-3 mm thick. Flour your rolling-pin and roll the pastry onto it lifting it gently over to the tart tin and unroll the pastry onto the tin. Push the pastry into the tin (do not stretch it) and trim off the excess. Keep it to make a little tart if you have enough.

Prick the base of the tart all over with a fork. Separate one of the eggs and use the white to brush all over the base of the pastry and the sides. Bake for about 8 -10 minutes until the egg white is cooked and the pastry is starting to dry out. This creates a barrier and stops the bottom from becoming soggy when you add the liquidy filling.

Spread the roasted cauliflower chickpea mix over the base of the pastry in an evenish layer, you will probably not need all of it. In a measuring jug whisk together the two remaining whole eggs and the extra yolk then add the goat’s yoghurt and whisk again. Add enough milk to take it to the 450 ml mark, season well with salt & black pepper and mix again.

Open the oven, put the tart on the middle oven shelf, pull it out and then pour the egg mixture into the tart, top with the grated cheese (if using), gently push the shelf in and close the door. This stops the mixture slopping everywhere hopefully.

Bake until the quiche is just set and nicely browned about 30-40 minutes. Leave to cool slightly and serve warm (not hot) or at room temperature.

Serve the quiche or samosas with a green salad and a yoghurt, lemon & mint dipping sauce.

Enjoy!!

Spiced Cauliflower and Red Onion Savoury Picnic Cake

23 Apr

Gourmet picnics are big news in Cape Town, espsecially in the winelands. Well it makes sense doesn’t it? Most of the wine estates have beautiful grounds, so why not make use of them. While we  were in South Africa we enjoyed three picnics. The first at The Roundhouse overlooking the stunning coastline around Camps Bay. The second at Bramon Wine Estate just outside Plettenberg Bay where our table sat amongst the Sauvignon Blanc vines. And the third at Boschendal, one of the oldest traditional Cape Dutch wine estates in Franschhoek, dating back to 1685.

We sat under ancient trees enjoying the view, while our picnic was prepared.

Ordered the wine, one of my favourites: the Boschendal Chardonnay Pinot Noir blend a lovely wine with a slight apricot blush.

They actually offer a Vegetarian Picnic option which is a first. It included a duo of potato salads, quiche, salad, sweet chilli vinaigrette, sundried tomato & spinach wraps, red pepper pate, caramelised onion pate, chocolate & macadamia nut brownies, cheese & biscuits, red onion maramalade and a french stick. We had trouble finishing it all.

Le Pique Nique, as it is called, is very good value, you get a lot of food and can enjoy their fine wines surrounded by Agapanthus, my favourite plants. I am a little obsessed with them actually.

So, inspired by the picnic food idea and eating outside. I came across an Yotam Ottolenghi recipe for a Cauliflower Cake. Ottolenghi is another one of my obsessions, I love his food and find it endlessly inspiring. See this post and this one for proof of his influence over my recipes.

He makes a big round cake in a 24 cm cake tin, I halved the recipe and cooked mine in a loaf tin. I also added some more spices because I can’t help myself. It’s kind of like a quiche without the pastry.

Spiced Cauliflower & Red Onion Savoury Picnic Cake

Makes 1 loaf, vegetarian. Can be doubled to fill a 24 cm cake tin.

Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi Prep time: 20 mins Cooking time 45 mins

  • about 400 gr cauliflower broken into medium florets 
  • 1/2 large red onion, peeled
  • 1 or 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp finely chopped rosemary
  • 5 medium eggs
  • a handful of fresh chopped coriander
  • 90g spelt flour (or plain)
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 80-100g grated manchego or vegetarian parmesan
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds

Heat the oven to 180C. Put the cauliflower florets in a large saucepan, cover with water, add a teaspoon of salt, bring to the boil then lower the heat and and simmer for 10 -15 minutes, until quite soft. Strain, and leave to drain in the colander.

Meanwhile prepare the batter. Cut a few 1/2 cm rings off one end of the onion, set aside to decorate the top of the cake and roughly chop the rest. Heat the oil in a pan and on a medium heat sauté the chopped onion and rosemary for about 6 minutes, until softened and slightly caramelised. Remove from the heat and leave to cool down.

Sift the flour, baking powder and spices into a large bowl, and add the parmesan, one teaspoon of salt and plenty of black pepper.

Add the eggs and coriander to the cooled onions and whisk. Then add the egg mix to the flour mix and whisk to eliminate lumps. Add the cauliflower and fold in gently, trying to keep some florets whole.

Use baking paper to line the inside of the loaf tin. Brush any visible sides of the tin with oil and dust with flour. Tip in the cauliflower mix, even out the top with a spatula and arrange the onion rings on top. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Bake the cake in the centre of the oven for 40-45 minutes (for both sizes of cake), until golden brown and set. Serve warm or at room temperature.

The reason I called this a picnic cake is because it is equally good served warm with a lemon & olive oil dressed cucumber salad with fresh mint as a light evening meal or served room temperature the next day as part of a picnic lunch, wherever you happen to be, office, lawn or beach.  Just cut yourself a slice and relax.

A very nice glass of wine always helps too….

For more information about Boschendal Wine Estate visit their website here.

Aloo Gobi Filo Tartlet – My Guest Post at Como Water

28 Jan

The inspiration for this dish came to me because at the moment, where I walk the dog in the mornings, they are harvesting potatoes and cauliflowers.

One of my favourite Indian dishes is Aloo Gobi which is potatoes and cauliflower cooked in a spicy masala. It is real Indian comfort food, the potatoes and cauliflower are meltingly soft, this is no time for al dente vegetables!

 Serving it in a filo tart shell just gives it a little contrast in texture. The delicate crisp filo is the perfect vehicle for the Aloo Gobi and it makes it look a bit more special too.

The recipe for this tartlet is over with Tiffany at Como Water. I was really honoured when Tiffany asked me to guest post on her blog.

I first “met” Tiffany as a friend on Foodbuzz and quickly discovered that we have very similar values and taste in food. I would even go as far as to say that we are foodie kindred spirits. I really hope that one day that we can meet in person and have a very long lunch somewhere gorgeous! This is her introduction:

When I was fourteen, I decided to defy the codes of my family and of my community.  I stopped eating meat. With a splash of age, a sprinkle of food documentaries, a dash of books about the food industry, and a bushel of life experiences, vegetarian and vegan food went from being something I approached rather nonchalantly to becoming a way of life. I started comowater.com to share information and to share my meatless meals, to dialogue with people who approach food from perspectives that may be similar to or very different from my own, and to showcase what I cook on average nights and on special occasions. This site is not about conversion or pushing an agenda. Instead, I hope that folks–vegetarians, vegans, flexitarians, pescatarians, and carnivores alike–come to comowater.com to be inspired to make their own vegan and vegetarian cuisine prepared with passion and love.

She also has a “When You Need a Boost Page” filled with really inspirational quotes. This is one of my favourites:

“Everything you could ever want or to be, you already have and are.” ~I Heart Huckabees~
Hop over to Como Water for the recipe and have a look around while you’re there. Say hello to Tiffany from me!

Spiced Cauliflower Fritters with Lemon Coriander Yoghurt Sauce

11 Jan

I’ve been watching these cauliflowers growing over the last couple of months and up until a week ago I thought they were cabbages. Suddenly the creamy white florets appeared and grew very quickly inside their leafy layers.

Cauliflower is one of those vegetables that I used to hate but now love, like aubergines. I think I had a bad cauliflower cheese experience at some point that put me off them for a long time.

Continue reading

Individual Cauliflower Cheese Pies

27 Feb

I used vegetable suet and wholemeal flour to make this pastry. I’ve had this packet of vegetable suet in the cupboard for a while and not really known what to do with it. Proper suet is a made from the fat deposits around the kidneys of an animal. I know, disgusting. Vegetable suet (I used Atora Light) has 3o % less fat and is made with vegetable oil. Much more appetising, don’t you think?

Suet can be used to make dumplings, pastries, pies and puddings.  The classic Steak & Kidney Pudding is made with suet pastry and so are most of the traditional Pork Pies. But don’t let that put you off!

The vegetable suet was really easy to work with, so much easier than using butter. You just stir the suet granules and flour together and add water. That’s it, no messy rubbing butter into flour business. You don’t even have to chill it before you use it (although I put it in the fridge while my filling cooled down). It’s definitely a much quicker option if you’re pressed for time or just very impatient, like me.

Don’t be scared about the pastry being that soggy, doughy pudding pastry either, unless you like that sort of thing! Even using wholemeal flour it turned out to be light, flaky and delicious. I followed the pastry recipe on the box (which was for a quiche) but you can send off for an Atora recipe book if you want to make that strange, soft pudding pastry. 

I knew I was going to make a cauliflower cheese because I had a cauliflower getting bored at the back of my fridge. I toyed with the idea of making dumplings with the suet and doing a Cauliflower Cheese Cobbler (which I will definitely try next time) or even a Cauliflower Cheese Quiche. But I am a sucker for individual pies (don’t like sharing, only child!) and The Washer Up wanted to see if I could make his favourite pork pie-like pastry with the suet, so pies it was.

Instead of making a white sauce with butter & flour for the Cauliflower Cheese, I cooked the leeks in the butter and put the cauliflower florets in a freezer bag with the flour and seasonings and shook the bag to coat the cauliflower. This way when you tip the floured cauliflower to the butter & leeks you get the white sauce base to add your cream or milk to and only use one pan, result!! This is a Nigella trick she uses to make her chicken & mushroom pot pies. Anything that saves time and washing up is a definite bonus….

Individual Cauliflower Cheese Pies

makes 4 small individual pies, vegetarian

  • 150 gr self-raising flour (I used wholemeal self-raising)
  • 75 gr vegetable suet (Atora Light)
  • 3 or 4 tbsp iced water
  • salt & black pepper
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into 1 inch or less size florets
  • 1 leek, halved lengthways, rinsed & sliced
  • 30 gr butter, plus extra for buttering pie dishes
  • 30 gr plain flour, plus extra for flouring
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • a few sprigs thyme leaves chopped, about 1/2 tsp
  • a pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • salt & black pepper
  • 1 pot creme fraiche about 200 ml
  • about 100 – 150ml veg stock 
  • 50 gr mature cheddar, grated
  • 50 gr Greek feta, or Lancashire crumbly, crumbled
  • 50 gr manchego or parmesan grated
  • 1 egg, beaten, for glazing

Butter & flour your pie dish/dishes and put them in the fridge. If you like you can make your pastry first and leave it in the fridge while you make and cool the filling. Mix together the flour, suet, salt & pepper in a bowl and stir in enough iced water to make a firm but not sticky dough. Wrap it in cling film and put it in the fridge.

Heat the butter over a medium heat, in a large frying pan with a lid.  Fry the leeks in the melted butter with a pinch of salt for a few minutes until softened. Meanwhile put the cauliflower florets, flour, nutmeg, thyme, chilli flakes, salt & pepper in a freezer bag, seal it and shake it so that the cauliflower is coated with the seasoned flour. Tip the contents of the freezer bag (including the excess flour) into the pan with the leeks, stir and cook out for about 2 minutes.

Add the creme fraiche, stir to coat the cauliflower, then add in 100 ml veg stock, stir, cover and leave to cook for about 5-7 minutes until the cauliflower is tender crisp.You can add some more veg stock if it is too dry. Then add in the cheeses, turn off the heat and stir to melt the cheeses.  It should be a thick cheesy sauce clinging to the cauliflower with not too much liquid or the pastry might get soggy. Check seasoning and leave to cool.

Preheat the oven to 200 C and take the pastry out of the fridge. Cut the pastry into four and roll out one piece at a time to a thickness of about 3 mm. Cut about a third off of the pastry and set aside for the lid. Push the pastry into your dish, you may have to cut bits off if it overlaps too much and stick bits in the gaps, this is fine. Just make sure it’s about the same thickness all the way round so it cooks evenly. Fill it right to the top with the cooled filling and push it down well.

Roll out the reserved third to about 3 mm thick and use another pie dish to cut a circle the same size as the top. Keep any pastry offcuts in cas you need them. Roll the circle out a little to make it slightly bigger, but not much.  Brush the edges of the pastry that will be touching the lid with the beaten egg then lay the lid on top. Push it down with your fingers, then crimp around the edges with a fork to seal it. Trim of the excess pastry round the edges, make 2 holes in the top with a sharp knife and brush the top with beaten egg.

Repeat with the other 3 pies and cook in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until puffed & golden brown.

Serve hot straight out of the oven with a simple green salad or some green beans, it’s delicious. Equally good served at room temperature for lunch with some beetroot chutney if you want to go down that ploughman’s/ pub lunch route.

Ahhhh.. Pub Lunch. There are not many things I miss about the UK but lunch (or even just a packet of cheese & onion crisps) in a pub garden on a sunny day is one of them. That, and Grandad’s pickled onions. Which would be great with this, by the way. Maybe Michelle could bring some over in May (hint). Now, you really wouldn’t want that to break in your luggage……………..!

Cauliflower Souffle with Brie and Rosemary

8 Jan

This is all part of my cauliflower education. I used to hate it. A hideous, watery, childhood cauliflower cheese is the culprit I think. Thanks to The Washer Up, who persuaded me to reaquaint myself with it, I now love its delicate flavour, texture and versatility. With the addition of a little rosemary it takes on a very grown up and elegant disguise quite unlike any childhood packet cheese sauce memories…..

You start by making a cauliflower puree which can also be used as a base for soups, stirred into a risotto, as a sauce for pasta with spice toasted breadcrumbs or as a side dish. Scallops with bacon & cauliflower puree is a classic combination. The puree works really well with curry flavours added to it as well as the more traditional nutmeg & rosemary I am using for this recipe.

Cauliflower Souffle with Brie & Rosemary

makes 4 small individual souffles, vegetarian

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets. This makes more puree than you need for this recipe but you can use it for other things (see above)
  • 1 or 2 tbsp milk
  • salt & pepper 1/2 tsp each
  • freshly grated nutmeg ( about 1/4 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • about 125 gr brie, cubed
  • 3 or 4 tbsp finely grated parmesan
  • 25 gr butter
  • 40 gr plain flour
  • about 165 ml milk (I used goat’s milk)
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • butter & flour for greasing dishes/ramekins

Put the cauliflower florets in a large pan of boiling, salted water and cook until very tender about 10-12 minutes. Drain, transfer to a large bowl or food processor, add 1 or 2 tbsp milk, the nutmeg, rosemary, salt & pepper and blend with a stick blender (or process) until very smooth. Leave to cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Butter 4 small souffle dishes/ramekins and put in the fridge. Heat the butter, over a medium heat until melted and cook  gently until slightly brown(not burnt). Dump in all of the flour and whisk it into the butter, it will go into a sandy paste. Whisk and cook out the flour for another minute or so then gradually start adding the milk, bit by bit, whisking all the time and cook until it thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheeses, egg yolks & pinch of cayenne pepper. Take about 220ml (1 cup) of the cauliflower puree and put it in a large bowl then stir in the cheese/egg mixture combining everything well. Butter the souffle dishes a second time and put back in the fridge. (This ensures they don’t stick when rising).  Whisk the egg whites in a cold bowl to stiff peaks, take 1 large spoonful of the whites and mix it into the cheese mixture to loosen it. Check for seasoning, add more salt if necessary. Then, carefully & gently, fold in the rest of the egg whites with a spatula a bit at a time until just incorporated. (Don’t over mix). Take the souffle dishes out of the fridge, flour the insides and gently scrape the souffle mix into the dishes, just to the top. Run you thumb all around the inside of the rim to take the mix away from the edge. (This helps it rise evenly).

Bake in the preheated oven for 15-17 minutes until well risen & golden on top. Do not open the oven before then!

Have your serving plates dressed with a green salad, ready to go, before you get the souffles out of the oven so you can serve them immediately, to a standing ovation…..!

Please don’t be scared about making souffles. If you follow this recipe it is a really simple, impressive and delicious starter or lunch dish. By double buttering and flouring the dishes they will not stick and running your thumb around the inside of the rim lets them rise evenly and beautifully. You just have to be organised, confident and ready to serve straight away.

Such an elegant dish, a million miles away from watery cauliflower cheese!

You can also serve these as a Twice Baked Souffle. I made four so we had two for lunch and the other two I cooked at the same time and left to cool. When they were cool I easily removed them from the souffle dishes wrapped them in cling film and put them in the fridge. To serve just preheat the oven to 200 degrees and cook for about 15 minutes to heat them through.

They don’t puff up as much but this may be an easier option for entertaining. You can make them beforehand and just heat them up when you need to, they are just as delicious and moist inside. I kept mine in the fridge for two days before reheating them again and they were still fantastic.

Thanksgiving Mezze Part 2: Spiced Cauliflower Soup

23 Nov

So, the next dish I have chosen for my Thanksgiving Mezze is a Middle Eastern Spiced Cauliflower Soup. Cauliflower is one of those vegetables that gets a lot of bad press from being either under or over cooked. It isn’t the most inspiring of vegetables but it does take on flavours really well and it makes fantastic soup. You should try this, it might just change your mind, it did mine….

Middle Eastern Spiced Cauliflower Soup Recipe

Serves 4 – 6 vegetarian

  • 1 medium cauliflower chopped into florets
  • 1 leek, cut in half lengthways, rinsed and finely sliced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  •  2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  •  1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  •  1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp harissa paste (if you don’t have it use cayenne pepper)
  • 1/2 tsp ras-al-hanout*
  • 1/2 tsp zhoug*
  • 125 ml water
  • 1 litre veg stock
  • salt & black pepper
  •  fresh lemon juice about 1/2
  • a handful of chopped coriander (plus extra for garnish)
  • a spoonful of mashed potato (optional)

* Ras-al-hanout & Zhoug are middle eastern spice mixes. If you don’t have them don’t worry your soup will still have lots of flavour.

Heat about 2 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan add the leek and cumin seeds and fry for about 2 minutes on a medium heat. Add the garlic and the rest of the spices/pastes fry for another minute, stirring to cook the spices. Add the cauliflower and the water and stir to coat the cauliflower with the spices. Cover the cauliflower with the veg stock, season well with salt & pepper and cook with the lid on for about 10 – 12 minutes until the cauliflower is really tender.

When the cauliflower is soft leave to cool slightly and transfer the whole lot to a food processor (or a large bowl with a stick blender)and process carefully until very smooth. Add the mashed potato, if using, and fresh coriander and pulse again. Put the soup back into the pan to heat up, squeeze over the fresh lemon juice and taste for seasoning. You may need more salt & pepper. Add some more stock if it needs thinning down a bit.

Serve drizzled with a swirl of greek yoghurt and some fresh coriander leaves. Cauliflower never tasted so good…..



Every month Nancy from http://Spiciefoodie.blogspot.com hosts a round-up of the month’s best recipes. Spicie Foodie is a beautiful blog with amazing photographs and really tasty recipes. This month I have chosen to post my Indian Dhal Soup with Aloo Parathas & Mango Chutney as my favourite November recipe. (Click on the “Your Best Recipe” badge above to see it). The round-up will be published on Spicie Foodie on 30th November.

Cauliflower, Parmesan and Rosemary Risotto with Spice Toasted Breadcrumbs

4 Nov

I don’t actually like cauliflower I think I had a disgusting cauliflower cheese once and that put me off for life. The Washer Up is always going on about how delicious it is so I thought I’d give it another chance but there is no way I’m doing cauliflower cheese..

I found a fabulous recipe for cauliflower risotto where the cauliflower melts into the dish so you don’t actually know it’s there. The flavour is amazing with the parmesan & rosemary really rustic, comforting, warm and delicious especially with the spice toasted breadcrumbs to give it that extra texture and heat. You really should have a go at this it is now my favourite risotto and, as I said, I hate(d) cauliflower!…

Cauliflower, Parmesan & Rosemary Risotto with Spice Toasted Breadcrumbs

Serves 4 Vegetarian

Adapted from Jamie’s Italy by Jamie Oliver

  • 1 medium head cauliflower
  • 1 slice of wholemeal rustic bread toasted
  • a pinch or 2 of dried chilli flakes
  • salt & black pepper
  • About 1.5 litres veg stock (You may need more if you are using brown rice)
  • about 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 400 gr arborio rice or I used brown shortgrain rice
  • 25oml white wine or vermouth
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 120gr freshly grated parmesan plus extra for garnish
  • salt & black pepper
    Put the toasted bread in a food processor or alternatively chop finely with a knife, then add about 1 tbsp of the olive oil, the chilli flakes, salt & pepper, stir to combine and set aside.
    Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a large saucepan. Meanwhile prepare the cauliflower by tearing off the green leaves and cutting out the stalk. Chop the stalk very finely and cut the florets into 1 inch pieces. Drop the florets in the simmering stock put the lid on and leave to boil away gently.
    In another large saucepan, heat about 2 tbsp butter & 1 tbsp olive oil over a medium heat then add the onion, garlic and chopped cauliflower stalk and cook for about 15 minutes until very tender. Add the rice, stirring to coat it with the oil for about a minute then add the wine and stir until it has been absorbed. Add a ladleful of the hot stock, the chopped rosemary and a good pinch of salt and stir until the liquid has been absorbed, then add another ladleful of stock. Continue adding the stock a ladleful at a time until the rice is half-cooked. By now the florets should be really soft ( if they are not take the rice off the heat for a bit). Start adding the florets to the rice with the stock, crushing them into the rice as you go. Continue until all the cauliflower has been added and the rice is cooked. This should take about 20 minutes depending on the rice. If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked add some boiling water. It should be a pourable consistency.
    When the rice is cooked turn off the heat, stir in the parmesan and some butter, cover with a lid and leave for 2 minutes. Taste for seasoning, add salt & pepper to taste. Serve immediately in warmed bowls topped with the crunchy breadcrumbs and extra parmesan.
    Enjoy and try to keep your dog from eating it!!

Rufus was licking his lips and so were we…

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