Cauliflower

One of my favourite vegetables is Cauliflower and I am happy to munch on some raw florets or a bit of stalk anytime. My grandchildren also love to eat it raw and I pop out a few dips like alioli, cream cheese or couscous and they lap it up, not realising how good it is for them.

Like most vegetables, Cauliflower can be added to any dish to add texture and flavour including salads. However, it also makes a great dish on its own and goes very well with cheese. Below are a few easy recipes like Soup, Cauliflower Cheese and Tempura. My father taught me to make a roux when I was 8 which is the base for all sauces and very easy, but you can buy packets as well. I make the Cauliflower Cheese to go with a roast dinner or on its own for a tasty lunch.
Buen Apetito

Oven-Roasted Cauliflower

5 to 6 cups cauliflower florets, about 1½ inches in diameter (from 1 medium cauliflower)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp sliced garlic
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
2 tbsp grated cheese

Mix all ingredients together apart from the cheese. Pour over the cauliflower and bake in the oven for 25/30 minutes. Sprinkle cheese over the top when it comes out of the oven and serve in 5 minutes.

Cauliflower Cheese

1 large cauliflower
500ml milk
4 tbsp flour
50g butter
100g cheese (cheddar is preferred)

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, then add the cauliflower and cook for 5 mins or just cooked and still firm. Drain the cauliflower, then tip into an ovenproof dish. Heat oven to 220C/200C/gas 7. Put the saucepan back on the heat and add the milk, flour and butter. Keep whisking fast as the butter melts and the mixture comes to the boil – the flour will disappear and the sauce will begin to thicken. Whisk for 2 mins while the sauce bubbles and becomes nice and thick. Turn off the heat, stir in most of the cheese and pour over the cauliflower. Scatter over the remaining cheese.

One Pan Cauliflower and Potato Curry

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion chopped
1 large piece ginger
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp curry powder, or to taste
227g can chopped tomatoes
½ tsp sugar
1 cauliflower cut into florets
2 potatoes cut into med sized squares
1 small green chilli
A squeeze lemon juice
A handful coriander, roughly chopped, to serve
Naan bread and natural yogurt, to serve

Heat the oil in a saucepan. Cook the onion for 10 mins until soft, then add the ginger, garlic, turmeric, cumin and curry powder. Cook for 1 min more. Stir in the tomatoes and sugar. Add the cauliflower, potatoes and split chilli, seasoning to taste. Cover with a lid and gently cook for a good 30 mins, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender – add a drop of water if you need to, but it is meant to be a dry curry. When the vegetables are cooked, remove the chilli if you like, stir in a squeeze of lemon juice and scatter with coriander. Serve with your choice of Indian bread and a dollop of yogurt.

Cauliflower Soup

A knob of butter
1 large onion
1 large cauliflower cut into florets
1 potato cut into squares
700ml vegetable stock (a cube is fine)
400ml milk
100g mature cheddar, diced

Heat the butter in a large saucepan. Tip in the onion and cook until softened, about 5 mins, stirring often. Add the cauliflower, potato, stock, milk and seasoning. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and leave to simmer for about 30 mins until the cauliflower is soft and the potato almost collapsing. Whizz in a food processor or crush with a potato masher until you get a creamy, thick soup. Top up with more milk to thin a little if serving in mugs. You can make ahead up to 2 days in advance, cool, cover and leave in the fridge until needed, or freeze for up to 1 month. When ready to serve, warm through, ladle into mugs or bowls, top with the cheese pieces, then stir through before eating.

Cauliflower Tempura

1 small cauliflower cut into florets
100g plain flour
2 eggs
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Vegetable oil for deep frying

Cook the cauliflower in boiling water for 2 mins. Tip into a colander, rinse under the cold tap, drain well and set aside.

Put the flour in a large bowl with a pinch of salt. Whisk the egg yolks and 175ml iced water together, then whisk into the flour with the oil to make a smooth batter. In a separate, clean bowl whisk the egg whites until stiff, then fold into the batter.

Heat the oil in a deep fryer or large wok to 190ºC. Coat some of the cauliflower in the batter then use a slotted spoon to carefully lift into the hot oil. Deep-fry the cauliflower for 2-3 mins until golden and puffy. Drain on kitchen towel and continue with the rest in batches. Sprinkle the cauliflower with salt and serve with a bowl of alioli or mayonnaise.