How long is it since you have had cauliflower with white sauce? Not since a visit to your Grandparents for Xmas in 1980? Well, I hope to change that with this baked dish – Cauliflower Gratin with Bechamel Sauce with Blue Cheese and White Pepper. It is topped with breadcrumbs which gives it a crunchy, delicious texture to contrast the softness of the cauliflower.
What’s not to like about Roasted Cauliflower? In this house it is considered one of the best ways to treat cauliflower. This recipe rubs florets with cumin powder and sumac (for a delightful tang) and roasts them slowly until golden and tender.
The cauliflower can be cooked whole, of course, and we sometimes do that. When there are not so many of us for lunch or dinner, we break it into florets to avoid excessive left-overs. I have included instructions for both whole baked and floret-baked.
This is such a good dish.
Similar recipes include Cauliflower Gratin, Roasted Cauliflower, Grape and Creamy Cheddar Salad, Roasted Cauliflower and White Bean Puree, and Rice and Cauliflower Pilaf.
Cauliflowers – remember the days when it was overcooked by our Mothers, and a watery mush was slopped onto our plates? Eww! Or a dish of cauliflower, overcooked again, covered with cheese and baked? Oh maybe not, you might not be old enough. But thank goodness, the understanding of cauliflower has come a long way since those days. The things we can now do with a cauli! Roast it, grill it, rice it, fry it, deep fry it, the variations are endless.
This is a simple but beautiful soup, the recipe was given to me by the multi-talented Ilva, food photographer and former food blogger. It is so simple and so good, in a gentle sort of way. I have added almonds to her recipe and some white pepper which I love with cauliflower.
Some of the quickest and really good spicy dishes from India are those that take a vegetable or two and stir fry them with a few spices. These subzi dishes are wonderful side dishes, or make a simple lunch or supper served with rice or Indian flatbread.
Many of our Winter root vegetables are not as common in India, and most uses of them take existing recipes and replace the vegetable (e.g. carrot) with turnip, swede, parsnip, etc. As the Indian diaspora settles around the world, and as European and American vegetables make greater appearances in India, this will change over time.
This recipe takes a bunch of Winter vegetables and magics them into a subzi. Turnip, Swede and Cauliflower are used. Mixed with onions and spices, it makes a curry worthy of Winter. For freshness, scatter loads of coriander on top and finish with a squeeze of lemon or lime.
Achari means pickling, and achari dishes are made with the same spices that are generally used for pickling vegetables. Using mustard oil gives the cauliflower great colour and favour – grab an Indian Mustard oil at your Indian grocer, or your Supermarket might carry an Australian one. Similar to most achari dishes, amchur is used to give a delicious tang to the dish.
This is a simple sabzi dish to prepare when you feel like eating a chatpata snack.
Similar recipes include Achari Mushrooms.
If you are a reader of our Winter posts you know that we love to use the oven at any time of the day. It warms the kitchen, living areas and us. Plus it fills the space with the most delicious of aromas.
This is a great dish to throw into the oven on those cold days to warm the space and provide great food. Use the roasted vegetables as a side dish, or as a hot or room temperature Winter salad with a yoghurt and cumin seed dressing.
The recipe needs enough small-diced vegetables to pile into your baking dish to a depth of 5 cm, so I use a small baking dish for this one. And we are going to slow bake them for a couple of hours, so leave yourself enough time. We often make it first thing in the morning for lunch time salads.
Similar recipes include Sautéed Butternut and Spinach with Roasted Mushrooms and Roasted Garlic, Turnip and Swede Gratin, Butter Braised Turnips, Vegetables with Indian Flavours, Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Figs, Baked Parsnips with Parmesan.
Cauliflowers, roasted whole, have become a fashionable item for sometime – perhaps you might say it is going out of fashion, along with cauliflower steaks. But riced cauliflower still makes a regular appearance and I am glad about that – late onto the bandwagon as usual, I tried it for the first time recently and it is quite amazing.
So it is a surprise that Ottolenghi has a roasted whole cauliflower recipe in his new book Simple. And simple it is – par boiled then roasted with butter and oil before serving with a green tahini sauce. Elements of Ottolenghi, without all the hoohaa of his other books.
In a way, though, it is shockingly simple. It almost doesn’t feel quite right, doesn’t feel quite like Ottolenghi. Even the style of the book has changed – the texture is different (different papers used), the layout is different. I am in 2 minds about the style changes – I wanted it to have all the lux of over-the-top Ottolenghi cookbooks, but with simpler recipes.
The book defines simple in 6 different ways (the first letters of which spell out SIMPLE), and each recipe is labelled to indicate which of these various simplicities it belongs to. For me, the most important simplicity is S ie Short on Time. In my household, somewhere between 6 and 8 dishes are made daily, so spending a minimum of 1 hour on an Ottolenghi dish does not make efficiency sense, even though we might adore the dish. HOWEVER, in defence of Ottolenghi’s other books, they contain recipes that can be a whole meal. That is not the case in Simple. TBH, you’d have to make 2 or 3 dishes to make a whole meal from Simple, or pair one dish with other plates of food.
Another first impression is that, reading through Simple, many of the recipes feel like half-recipes. That is not a criticism! It is a comment on the way he layers textures and flavours in his other books, and thus the simplicity of this book shocks! For example, take Whole Roasted Cauli. I might have expected Roasted Cauli, pureed, with cooked and toasted chickpeas, a tahini dressing and herb oil topped with baby falafel with a sumac dust. No, wait! That actually sounds great! (makes note to self). But here in Simple, we have only the cauliflower with a tahini dressing. It does make the recipes very accessible for weeknight cooking. And, for all its simplicity, this dish is a cracker!
Again, the comments on simplicity are not a criticism, it is an emotional response. We all have these when confronted with change. During my project of cooking Plenty More I often lamented the complexity (especially of time) and hankered after some Elizabeth David recipes. I have my wish now, although perhaps the style of Simple is a little like Elizabeth David on a small dose of steroids. She can specify recipes in 2 or 3 lines. Ottolenghi still takes a page or 2 for each dish.
Truthfully, I can’t wait to dive into this book and get to know it as intimately as I know the others.
“I like to serve this in the centre of the table, for people to share with drinks at the start of a meal. We break the cauliflower apart with our hands, dip the individual florets and crisp green leaves into the sauce and sprinkle with salt.”
It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking through Plenty More (nearly finished), but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.
Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. As we cook more, you will find all of our dishes from Simple here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.
We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.
Winter brings more substantial salads – no more Summery cubes of tomatoes tossed with cubes of cucumber and a layer of red onion rings. Enter salads with noodles, grains, lentils, dried beans. Barley, freekeh, chickpeas – all perfect during winter.
Today’s salad uses Burghul or Freekeh. I really recommend exploring your local Middle Eastern shop for their varieties of Burghul – there are at least half a dozen. Select one type that you want to experiment with. There are several varieties of Freekeh too, and you can mix Freekeh and Burghul together if you like.
This salad, almost a pilaf, is tremendous, and the combination of lemon, mustard, garlic and crunch of nuts makes it. It is based on a Bittman Salad. For three years (2016 – 2018) we had a project of cooking through his 101 salads, and this one is in the 90’s. We made all of the vegetarian ones and modified as many of the non-vegetarian ones as possible. After making so many salads, we became committed daily salad eaters.
Are you after other Burghul dishes? Try Burghul, Walnut and Yoghurt Salad with Pomegranate, Burghul and Chickpea Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Burghul, Walnut and Tomato Salad, Quick Burghul Salad, Cauliflower and Burghul Kitchari and Mung Bean and Burghul Kitchari.
You can check all of our Bittman Salads here. All of our Burghul dishes are here, our Freekeh dishes are here, and all of our many many Salads are worth browsing. Or eat seasonally and explore our Early Winter dishes.
I roasted cauliflower for my daughter one day and she was delighted. She was not a fan of cauli, but eating it roasted was another experience. It changed her cauli-eating life.
Roasted cauliflower has a sweet, intense, nutty flavour.
This is the barest of recipes, to give you the gist of roasting cauliflower. And then you can play with it in any way that you like. Add toasted hazelnuts. Drizzle with pomegranate molasses. Throw tons of herbs at it. Roast garlic with it. Make a herb oil and drizzle over it. Eat hot. Cool it to room temperature and make a salad out of it. Add to pasta. Put it on a mezze or antipasto platter. Put in a tomato sauce. Or, eat it just as it is.
Are you after other Cauliflower recipes? Try Roasted Whole Cauliflower with Green Tahini Dressing, Aloo Gobi, Slow Cooked Cauliflower with Lime and Spices, and A Plate of Cauliflower.
Pakora are a favourite street food in India, and one that can easily be made at home. Recipes use a chickpea flour batter into which vegetables are dipped and then deep fried. I like to serve these Pakora with sea salt and lemon juice only, but they are commonly eaten with Indian sauces and chutneys. One word describes them. Delicious. Incredibly delicious. Have a glass of chai with them – I also love them with a small cup of spicy rasam.
In frying the pakora (also called pakoda, bhajji and bhajiya) the aim is to cook the vegetable in the same amount of time that the batter takes to become crispy. It is about temperature, so it is a good idea to test-fry a few pieces before cooking the whole batch.
The types of vegetables that can be used include potatoes, onion rings, eggplant, sweet potatoes, softer pumpkins, lotus root, cauliflower and greens such as spinach, kale and amaranth leaves. Make sure that any greens are really dry before using.