Today, wet, grey, not cold, but a bit sort of flat. Grizzly cat, in and out, in and out (so annoying!). In the distance a builder using a chainsaw to chop wood, birds running scared, reminds me of the dentist. Starving. Forgot to drink my tea and it’s cold. The biscuits I had to gnaw on were all crumbled and went all over the computer keyboard. That’s my day so far. How are you faring? But something that cheers me up is talking about one of my favourite vegetables: Cauliflower.
I’ve made it the hero this week, not just because I love it, but because it is well-priced right now and it is so versatile. If you live in sunnier climes, there are still plenty of recipes that will work for you. Grated raw and blanched, or sliced wafer thin on a mandoline, and dressed with gutsy flavourings, it’s a summer salad. But I’m in love with roasty-smoky-spicy dishes right now, and I’ve given the perennial family favourite Cauliflower Cheese an update. Just look at the picture. Don’t you want to eat that? Sauced or not, it is a plate of deliciousness that not many would turn down. Yep, cauliflower cheese made in the traditional way is still a lovely comforting dish I serve a couple of times a year, but now I’ve got this whole roasted baby down pat I’m moving on. Roasted Cauliflower with Smoked Paprika & Fennel Seeds
For the record, cheese sauce wasn’t invented in a packet. It’s not hard to make and a few tips will ensure success every time. Buy decent cheddar, not cheap high-fat stuff, a nice dry tasty cheese, and you’ll be adding flavour. Finish the top with a sprinkle of smoked paprika for a cheat’s way to add extra colour and zing. Gorgeous. Cheese Sauce
And here’s the traditional Cauliflower Cheese still looking great, all golden, chunky and hunky and very edible.
There are heaps of cauliflower recipes on Shared Kitchen, and for good reason: it is so versatile as mentioned, it sucks up flavour in a curry but holds its shape, fries to a gorgeous golden crunch, takes to a pep up with salt, acid or chilli, and performs well in every major cuisine. Not sure about cauliflower ice cream though. Or sweet cauli fritters. Nah. I’m sticking to the savoury dishes. Cauliflower Salad with Mandarins & Fried Almonds is a quirky little dish. Florets sit atop a sauce of tahini, yoghurt and pomegranate syrup, with mandarins and spiced almonds. Cauliflower needn’t be boring.
My son Luca is a fan, too, particularly of anything roasted or fried (that’s so very Italian!). Whenever I visit he seems to be pulling a tray of some kind of roasted vegetables out of the oven, or just putting one in. Here’s his latest mix Luca’s Traybake of Vegetables. I use the word traybake to denote vegetables lightly coated with oil and seasonings cooked in a shallow tin, as opposed to, say, roasted potatoes which are traditionally roasted in oil or fat in a deeper tin.
Well that’s it, cauliflower every which way. Read up about it – there are plenty of tips and heaps of other ways to prepare it.
Ciao for now