Posts Tagged ‘cauliflower’


This lunch seemed to invent itself over the course of an hour.

I was looking for something new to do with eggs.

I wasn’t having much luck–just the usual suspects–but then remembered the cauliflower and broccoli florets–not many–in the fridge.

Steam and serve with poached eggs over them, I thought…. Delicious.

But why not sear them on the griddle after a brief blanching (5 mins)? Even better.


Then I remembered the little individual gratin dishes I’d bought recently.

One each–I love that!

Blanch, sear, remove them to a bowl, season well and sprinkle with olive oil (2 tbs) to coat them, while they are still warm.


Distribute them in two of the dishes with sprinklings of parmesan and left-over breadcrumbs.


I was beginning to feel hungry.

I set the oven to 200C/400F.

I had just enough vegetables for two layers so a sprinkling of the parmesan/breadcrumb mix on each and a drizzle of oil to finish.

Twenty minutes in the top of the oven and the little dishes came out sizzling.


I poached two eggs each.

Thumbs up from Meredith until she started the clear-up.

I am writing this from the dog-house…

[MW writing here: Spilled egg whites all over the counter top and not cleaned up!]







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The smokiness here comes from smoked paprika.


It makes for a delightfully different take on a traditionally Italian way with eggs.


This is adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s richer version. I have substituted coconut milk for the cream and lessened the amount of cheese.

I cooked it long and slow on top of the stove and managed to brown the top with a manoevre described below…still no oven or grill!

1 small cauliflower (or half a big one)

6 eggs

4 tbsp coconut milk*

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

75 gm/2.5 oz grated parmesan +25gm/1oz more for the topping

2 tsp smoked paprika

Steam the separated cauliflower florets to just tender and set aside.

In a bowl whisk together the coconut milk, the paprika and the mustard.

Add the eggs and carefully whisk them in.

Mix in the parmesan and season with salt and pepper.


Heat the olive oil in a 26 cm (or 10 inch) frying pan.  Brown the cauliflower in one layer on one side for a couple of minutes (no need to turn them to brown them completely).


Pour the eggy mix over the cauliflower–shake the pan a little to get an even distribution of cauliflower.


Cook the frittata on the lowest possible heat, using a heat diffuser if you have one, until there is just a small pool of liquid left on the surface.

To brown, simply slide the pan under the grill for a minute.

With no oven or grill available, I had to be bold!

I laid a flat plate, roughly the circumference of the pan, on top of the frittata then with my left hand on the back of the plate and holding the pan’s handle with my right hand I flipped the whole thing over, then slid the frittata back into the pan to briefly brown the top.


The challenge made me feel good–but I ran the risk of it all ending up on the floor!

I made the fennel and orange salad from my new cookbook, Healthy Eating for Life, to contrast  the blousy smokiness of the frittata.


*The difference between coconut milk/cream and cream of coconut is fully explained here: 



It looks like milk, it is NOT sweetened and it does NOT taste of coconut!

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We had simple salmon fillet for supper the evening that we returned from the clinic.

The next night I felt a little more adventurous, but in need of something easy and preferably from a single pot–a ladleful of taste over some basmati brown rice; comfort food that cooks itself.

I looked in the fridge and found a cauliflower in good condition, a leek and a bottle of chickpeas on the shelf in the larder and I knew there were a few small tomatoes left to gather at the end of the garden–perfect!

I love buying cauliflowers–their tight white heads look so tempting and beautiful.

However sometimes they stay in the fridge–not exactly forgotten, but requiring some thought.

What am I going to do with that cauliflower?!

Cosy cauliflower curry–why not?

Here goes…!

1 onion--chopped small

2 garlic cloves–chopped

2 tblsps olive oil

1 tsp black mustard seeds

1 tsp each of turmeric, cumin powder and ginger powder

1/2 tsp each of coriander powder, cayenne powder

8oz tomatoes–chopped roughly

1 pint/450 ml stock–I use organic vegetable stock cubes

1 cauliflower–separated into bite-size florets

1 leek–cleaned and sliced

3 tblsps cooked chickpeas (from a tin [a can] or bottle–you may not need the whole tin. Spoon out the required amount and drain off any liquid–but no need to rinse.)

salt and pepper

2 tblsps of whisked low/no fat yogurt or coconut cream (my new discovery; more on that in future posts)

  • Sweat the onion and garlic in the olive oil until they soften and begin to colour.

  • Add the mustard seeds and let them cook for a minute.

  • Add the rest of the spices and mix them in.

  • Add the tomatoes, stirring them into the spice mix and cook for five minutes to break them down a little and form a sauce.

  • Add half the stock and cook for a further 5 minutes–reducing it a little.

  • Mix in the sliced leeks and the broken up cauliflower–you may find you only need half the head–making sure the vegetables are immersed in the liquid.

  • Cover and cook on a low heat for 30 minutes–checking now and then in case it’s drying up–as it very nearly did for me!
  • (Add more stock as you need and cook on.)
  • Add the chickpeas and cook a further five minutes.

  • When the vegetables are tender, turn off the heat and let it cool down.
  • Fold in the yogurt or coconut cream.
  • Gently reheat to serve over some basmati brown rice.
  • There was a thumbs-up from Meredith as she helped herself to a spoonful more (see above)!

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When a hero dies (Levon Helm) it’s comforting  to hear of other heroes or in this case heroines, flourishing.

Two such are revered veteran  food writers and cooks  Claudia Roden

and Madhur Jaffrey

They are both in their  70’s and both have new projects.

Claudia Roden (75) is publishing  The Food of Spain and Madhur Jaffrey (78) is relaunching herself on the Good  Food TV Channel with a new series to accompany her new book, Curry Nation.

Madhur Jaffrey had come to mind when I felt a yen for something with an Indian flavor for supper tonight–but couldn’t find a focus for the fancy, until I spotted a nest of cauliflowers offering themselves on the small table stall of a local grower early this morning.

I was pretty sure Madhur Jaffrey had a good recipe for cauliflower in her book  Indian Cookery; so I bought the middling sized one and headed home for breakfast.

Here it is–adjusted a little:

for 2--as a main course:

1 medium cauliflower–the head separated into small bite size florets

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

2 cloves of garlic–chopped fine

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon salt

  • Soak the cauliflower in water for a half hour–then drain the florets.
  • Heat the oil in a pan large enough to hold the florets in a single layer.
  • Add the fennel and mustard seeds and sauté until they start popping.
  • Add the turmeric and the cayenne.
  • Add the garlic to the pan and let it colour lightly.
  • Add the drained florets, salt and 3 tablespoons of water.
  • Cover and cook for 10 minutes–or until the cauliflower is almost tender.

Brown basmati rice, red lentil dhal and yogurt sauce accompanied it–my yen was satisfied!

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This is pushing it, I know–cauliflowers have been featuring a tad too much lately.

We had this for supper the other night and Meredith said, “What is this, it’s so creamy? It’s not potatoes is it?  It’s delicious.”

Cauliflower soup,”  I said sheepishly. Somehow cauliflower is not a vegetable that’s easy to own!

This recipe is adapted from one by Nigel Slater that I spotted in a newspaper last week.

The key ingredient is smoky bacon.

1 large cauliflower--broken into florets

2 cloves of garlic–chopped

1 medium onion–chopped

4 rashers of smoked bacon–chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 bay leaves

1 litre/2 pints stock

salt and pepper

  • Gently heat the oil in a pan and sauté the bacon bits until they colour a bit.
  • Add the garlic and onion.
  • Cook the mix on for five minutes until the onion has softened.
  • While this happens break up the cauliflower into florets and add to a large saucepan.
  • When ready add the onion and bacon mix to the cauliflower pan with the bay leaves and the stock.
  • Cover and bring this mix up to the simmer and cook until the cauliflower is tender.
  • Lift a thirdish of the mix out of the pan and into a bowl with a slotted spoon letting the liquid fall back in the pan
  • Liquidise the contents of the pan and test the seasoning.
  • Add back the set-aside florets and serve the soup hot.

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Helen, our hostess here in the Tuscan hills, is an insoucient cook–(a quality I have yet to achieve).

Helen with paprika sauce

She will throw some of this and a little more of that into her tall saucepan and very quickly the aroma of lunch fills her kitchen.

Angelino, one of our host Keith’s expert olive picking team, brought up a very large cauliflower from his garden one morning last week and Helen made a sauce of olive oil, paprika and lemon juice to bathe it in before roasting it in a moderate oven for 40 odd minutes.

She served it with slices of pork fillet roasted with rosemary from her garden the night we arrived.

The cauliflower dish turned out to be one of those you find your fingers sneaking back to when the hostess isn’t looking. Ju-ust one more little piece…uum!

Helen says she’s happy for me to reproduce the recipe here.

1 cauliflower–stem removed and split into smallish florets

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 teaspoon of paprika–(I’m going to try it with the sweet smoked Spanish stuff back at the ranch)

juice of a lemon plus a little extra water (I noticed Helen fill the squeezed lemon halves with water and squeeze them out again–getting the most out of a lemon!)

salt and pepper

oven at 170C/325F

  • In a large bowl whisk the oil, paprika and lemon juice together into a dark red viscous sauce.
  • Add the cauliflower to the bowl and turn them over and over in the sauce.
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Spread out the cauliflower in a shallow roasting tray.
  • Roast in the oven for about 40 minutes.
  • Don’t expect much left over!!

Meredith, not usually a fan, gave it the thumbs up as the best cauliflower dish she’d ever had.

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Cauliflowers (Choux-fleur in french ) look so appealing –their pure white faces peeking through the outer leafing, daring you not to buy them.


This is the third time in as many weeks that I’ve succumbed.

They usually have to wait awhile to get cooked; often because their green cousin–broccoli–is an easier option.

Steamed, seasoned, olive oil and a little lemon juice poured over, broccoli is quick to do and adds a fresh colour to the plate.

Tonight though–it’s pasta with the patient cauliflower as the basis of a piquant sauce.

This is adapted from a Marcella Hazan recipe.

for 4

1 cauliflower–released from its casing, washed and broken into large florets

8 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves– finely chopped

6 anchovy fillets–mashed

1 or 2 small red chillies–depending on your taste–chopped (discard the seeds)


2 tablespoons parsley–chopped

3 tablespoons of toasted breadcrumbs

300g/12oz wholewheat penne or fafalle

Cook the cauliflower florets in salted boiling water until they are tender.

Remove the cauliflower from the pan, saving the water to cook the pasta in later.

Set the cauliflower aside.

Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the chopped garlic.

Sauté it until it turns colour, then take the pan off the heat and add the anchovy mash and the chillies.

Stir this into a sauce.

Mix in the cooked cauliflower, breaking it up into small pieces and  mashing some of it.

Cook it in the sauce for a couple of minutes, then set aside.

You are going to gently reheat the mixture just before the pasta is ready.

Bring the cauliflower water back to the boil and cook the penne or fafalle to your taste.

Drain and add it to sauce in the pan, turning it over carefully but thoroughly.

Sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and parsley and serve from a heated bowl.

Cauliflower is a super food

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I was looking for a new way to cook the seasonal cauliflower, patiently waiting its turn in the fridge. The much used cheesy white sauce, though tempting, is not so good for diabetics. It’s a lovely looking thing, the cauliflower, but is one of those “what on earth am I going to do with it this time” vegetables…!  A recipe in Delia Smith’s Winter Collection gave me the idea for this, which I tried last night. It was so good, we’ll have it again this evening with a salmon fillet.

I sprinkled some dry roasted sunflower seeds over the finished dish.


For 4 as a vegetable or 2 as a main course


1lb/450gm cauliflower–broken up into florets

1 generous tsp coriander seeds—pounded in a pestle and mortar

2 tblsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves—pulped with a small teaspoon of salt in a mortar and pestle

salt and pepper

Set the oven at 200C/400F/gas mark 6

1  Put the cauliflower florets in a large bowl.

2   Sprinkle over and mix in the crushed coriander seeds.

1.  Whisk the crushed garlic and olive oil together.

2.  Mix in this little sauce, coating the vegetables thoroughly.

3.  Spread the vegetables on a roasting tray in a single layer.

4.  Season with salt and pepper.

5.  Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes—checking for doneness after 20 minutes; the vegetables should be tender and charred a little.

6.  Dry roast the sunflower seeds in a pan on the hob and sprinkle them over the roasted vegetables.

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