cauliflower

patch to plate

Cauliflower With Cashew Cheese

We have what we call ‘town’ clothes, and then our farm clothes. Our town clothes are nothing fancy let me assure you, just more of an effort to wear matching socks than anything, which might say something of the comfort level that our farm clothes offer. This recipe comes from the farm clothes end of the wardrobe. It’s a grey hoodie, comfy jeans and favourite socks kind of dish. Nothing pretty, just good food picked at the end of a decent day’s gardening stint, that somehow speaks of all the reasons you’d choose to spend your free time repeatedly scooping soil with your right hand and planting with your left. Scoop, plant, scoop, plant. One of the coolest ways I’ve discovered to embody mantra. And you get cauliflower at the end. It’s hard not to turn into Nature’s ra-ra girl when I’ve spent an afternoon in the veggie patch. Lucky I have my town clothes to bring me back from the brink. Then again, I’ve heard I wouldn’t need those in a commune. Thinking, thinking.

 

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Cauliflower With Cashew Cheese

serves 2 for dinner

 

1 whole organic cauliflower

3 organic baby leeks

1 tbsp organic coconut oil

2 batches organic cashew cheese

2 cups water

1 tbsp arrowroot

generous handful of fresh organic parsley

generous handful of fresh dill

celtic sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

 

I try to have a batch of cashew cheese in the fridge each week, but if this is the first you’ve heard of such a thing (!) you can find instructions to make it here. 

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Roughly chop the cauliflower and leeks and brown them in a pan with some coconut oil. Once you can notice a change in colour with the veggies, remove from the heat and pile into a baking dish. Stir through the chopped herbs.

To make the cheese sauce, mix 2 cups of cashew cheese with 2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of arrowroot. Stir until the arrowroot is smoothly emulsified into the mixture and then pour over the cauliflower. Season with salt and pepper and bake for 30-40 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and golden brown.

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purple piccalilli

Purple Piccalilli with Saffron

This is the kind of purple that stands out as a pretty fancy hue on a Farmer’s Market trestle. Less so as a hair colour, which is where my thoughts immediately went when I picked up this cauliflower. Perhaps I’ve just sealed my fate for my elderly years. What can you do?

As a cauliflower colour, this is so, so lovely and really anything purple gets the vote in my ‘what veggies shall we plant’ book, so we do have some of these beauties growing themselves to an edible size in our garden but in this case the Farmer’s Market just got there first. Either way, there’s cauliflower ideas circling. In technicolour.

I sat this beautiful cauli next to some purple beans from our greenhouse and the incredible, incredible wildcrafted local saffron I picked up at the Full Moon Farm Gate recently, and it was Bollywood on a plate. It had to be something Indian inspired with that level of riotous colour going on. Purple Piccalilli with Saffron – a delicious dish and quite possibly a basis for an extra happy outfit.

This is so good with dahl, or a potato curry, or even just with chapati as a quick snack during the day. Freshly ground spices are the deal clincher and totally worth the mortar and pestle effort, so if I can be a tad bossy and insist on those, I know you’ll love piccalilli if this is the first time you’ve tried it. This recipe is adapted from Pam Corbin’s Preserves Handbook, such a great book for all things English in jars.

 

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Purple Piccalilli with Saffron

makes 4 x 350g jars

 

1kg organic purple cauliflower and purple beans, cut into 3cm pieces

3 tbsp Himalayan salt

1/4 cup potato starch

5 tsp organic ground turmeric

5 tsp freshly ground organic yellow mustard seeds

1 1/2 tbsp whole organic yellow mustard seeds

1 tsp freshly ground organic cumin seeds

1 tsp freshly ground organic coriander seeds

2 1/2 cups cider vinegar (with mother if possible)

3/4 cup organic panela sugar

2 tbsp raw honey

10-15 organic saffron threads

 

Once you have cut the cauliflower and beans into similar sized pieces, sprinkle them with salt, mix through in a bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave for 24 hours. Rinse and drain. This helps to start the ‘cooking’ process without losing the crunch you want in your finished pickle.

Use a mortar and pestle to grind the cumin seeds, coriander seeds and 5 tsp of mustard seeds.

In a measuring jug or glass bowl mix the potato starch, turmeric, ground seed mix from the mortar and pestle with the whole mustard seeds. Add a little vinegar to make a paste and mix thoroughly.

In a saucepan, mix the remaining vinegar with the honey, saffron and sugar and bring to a boil. Take a little of the hot liquid and pour over the paste mix, stir and then transfer the paste mix back to the saucepan and continue cooking over medium heat until the sauce starts to thicken.

When the sauce is ready, remove from heat and add the drained vegetables. Stir to coat the vegetables and then pack into sterilised jars and seal with vinegar proof lids. Leave to mature in the fridge for 4-6 weeks and serve with your favourite curry or in a sourdough sandwich with cashew cheese and rocket. Good stuff.

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the first cauliflower

Cauliflower & Toasted Mustard Seed Soup with Macadamia Parmesan

The first cauliflower of the season arrived in our garden over the weekend. It was a little on the small side but was bound to continue shrinking if it was left to the fat green grub that was sharing it with us. Fair’s fair, he’d eaten the equivalent of a small acreage so it was our turn to make soup. Actually there were a hundred other things I imagined making with the cauliflower but the day seemed to finish before it began and soup was the only thought left. I don’t want to say it as though soup is in some way a secondary option but it’s not exactly rocket science. Either way, I love it, and as simple as it is, I’m always keen to find new ideas for blending things into a puree to dip sourdough into, so hoping the soup thing can still be helpful to other ‘meal in a bowl’ lovers. I’ve been adding macadamia parmesan to everything lately so it went on top with some rocket flowers and surprisingly the spice of the toasted mustard seeds didn’t seem out of context with the pseudo Italian theme the ‘cheese’ and rocket started. Fifteen minutes to a warm belly worked too. It has been crazy cold out here on our hill. Yep, soup and more soup. And then some watching of hungry caterpillars while you eat it. Dinner and a show. How low can lo-fi go you ask?

 

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Cauliflower & Toasted Mustard Seed Soup with Macadamia Parmesan

makes a big saucepan full

 

1 head of organic homegrown cauliflower, or similar

3 organic homegrown potatoes

1 Tbsp yellow mustard seeds

1 litre organic veggie stock

2Tbsp organic coconut butter, or extra virgin olive oil

 

1/2 cup organic, raw macadamia nuts

1 Tbsp organic savoury yeast flakes

1 tsp sea salt flakes

 

fresh organic rocket flowers, if available

 

 

Roughly chop the cauliflower and potatoes and panfry for 4-5 minutes in the coconut butter until nicely browned around the edges.

Add the vegetable stock to cover and leave to simmer until the cauliflower and potato are cooked through. 

 

Toast the mustard seeds in a dry pan until they start to pop. Remove from heat and grind with a mortar and pestle into a powder. Add to the soup.

Puree the soup with a hand blender until smooth and creamy. Check seasoning and salt to taste.

 

To make the macadamia parmesan, simply blitz the nuts, yeast flakes and salt in a food processor until they pull together and resemble crumbs.

Serve the hot soup with a sprinkling of parmesan, a drizzle of olive oil and some rocket flowers if you have them.

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