Caulifornication

Please excuse the pun. I’m tired and I can’t think of anything else right now.

I was looking for an accompaniment to some plain old roast chicken and had a cauliflower and a leek in the cupboard so I adapted a potato and leek al forno recipe. The resulting dish, however would probably serve as a main dish on it’s own (vegetarian if you omit the lardons)

  • Half a cauliflower, broken up into florets
  • 1x leek
  • 2tsp turmeric
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 2 rashers of thick cut smoky bacon (optional if vegetarian)
  • 500ml double cream
  • 2 slices stale bread
  • grated parmesan

I blanched the cauliflower florets in boiling water and turmeric for about 5 mins then cooled them rapidly under the cold tap. When cooled, slice thickly.  The leek was sliced, blanched for 3 mins and drained.

Meanwhile the anchovy fillets and the garlic were chopped and heated in the pan until the garlic had softened. Then add the bacon chopped into small pieces if using. Cook until the lardons are starting to get a bit crispy then add the leeks and sliced cauliflower florets. Cook covered for a further 5 mins on a medium heat. Add the creams, stir, and cover tightly with foil. Place in a hot oven (200C) for 30 mins.

After half an hour, remove from the oven, uncover and sprinkle the parmesan and the bread (crumbed in the food processor) over the top. Return to the oven for 10 mins or until the top is browned.

I served it up with roast chicken and pickled carrots. The carrots were dead easy and took about 5 mins to prepare: Add 1 cup of white or apple cider vinegar, one cup of water, 1 tsp salt and 3 tsps. sugar to a pan. Bring to boil so salt and sugar are dissolved. Using a peeler, cut a couple of carrots into ribbons and place in a bowl with dill and garlic. Pour the vinegar over the carrots and allow to cool. When cold, discard the liquor, dill and garlic and serve.

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Spiced Caulistilton soup

Some weeks ago I bought what I thought was a bargain. 500g of Stilton for a pound. There was a reason it was a pound: it was almost runny. I didn’t discover this until I opened the cheese one evening. It was also a bit too mature, even for me.

Nevertheless I didn’t bin it I just did the usual and put it back in the fridge. Yesterday I noticed there was a cauliflower lurking in the veg drawer so today I’ve made a sort of cream of cauliflower and Stilton soup which we’ll have for tea tonight.

Ingredients

1 medium cauliflower

500g Stilton (or other blue cheese)

3 shallots

bunch of spring onions

1tsp each of coriander seeds, cumin seeds and turmeric

1/2tsp black peppercorns

1 litre chicken stock (or veg stock)

knob of butter

300ml double cream

Finely chop one shallot and the spring onions. Sweat them off in the butter. Meanwhile toast the coriander, cumin and peppercorns and grind. Add the turmeric and add to the shallot/spring onions.. Stir well to combine then add the cauliflower florets and the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer until the cauliflower is soft. Meanwhile slice the two remaining shallots and shallow fry until crispy. Set aside, pat dry and allow to cool.

Add the cheese and the cream and bring up to the ‘almost boil’. Use either a stick blender or food processor to blitz the soup until it’s, er, soupy.

Serve with warm crusty bread and crispy fried shallots.

Cauliflowerish Soup

Just the thing on a rainy and cold May Day bank holiday.

I had some leftover veg and some bits that were rapidly approaching the bin so I thought I’d try and turn them into a tasty soup. It worked.

I took a red pepper, some wilty rosemary and chives and a half corn cob left over from dinner yesterday. 5 mins in butter and oil then added a medium cauliflower, chopped, one medium potato, cubed, a small bundle of chopped french beans and a pint of milk. I brought it up to the boil then left to simmer for 30mins until potato and cauliflower were soft.


Blitz in a food processor/mash/stick blend until smooth. Season and serve with fresh bread


Cor.