Creamy Cauliflower Puree

Creamy Cauliflower Puree

There’s all this fuss about cauliflower these days, its proving to be a great substitute for rice, pizza bases and mash potato.  Aaaah… Mash Potato, how I love thee … unfortunately though, you do nothing for my waistline!  So I thought, let me see how the cauliflower puree phenomenon will stand up against my beloved mash potato.   The result? A creamy, rich, indulgent and delicious ‘mash’ / puree.   Is it mash potato? Well, no but its a very good substitute for those trying to avoid carbs at dinner time.   So quick and easy to prepare and I caught a few fingers licking the plate … mine included  😉  

I served mine with Pork Chops which I fried with olive oil, garlic and sage leaves.   I fried a few of the sage leaves first in the hot olive oil for 3 or 4 seconds before draining on carlton towel and sprinkling generously with salt.   I then set these aside for garnishing.   The oil was then nicely flavoured with the sage, so I added the pork chops, which I had already marinaded in a little olive oil, with a clove of garlic which I crushed into a smooth paste, salt & black pepper.   As far as week night dinners go, it was a goodie! 

Pork Chop cropped for blog picture

Yield: 3 – 4 servings

Ingredients: 

1 head cauliflower – tough stalks removed 

1 cup chicken stock / Water 

3 Tbsp fresh cream

1 Tbsp butter

Salt & Pepper for seasoning 

Method: 

Roughly chop the cauliflower and put in a pot together with the chicken stock.  Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer gently until cauliflower is completely tender.  Strain in a colander, retaining a few spoons of the cooking liquid.  Put cauliflower in food processor and blend until smooth, adding about 20ml of the cooking liquid as you go.  Once processed to a smooth consistency, add the cream and butter and process again until combined. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy ! 

Cooks Note: I use the Woolworths organic ready made chicken stock for this recipe.  The stock freezes well, so I freeze whats left over after I’ve measured.  If you find the puree too thick, add a little extra cooking liquid or even better, extra cream 🙂

Header pic for pork chop resized

Basil Pesto

Basil Pesto

This recipe is so quick, so easy and so tasty!  You’ll never be buying the store version again …

Ingredients: 

3tbs pine nuts

2 big handfuls of fresh basil 

60ml parmesan cheese, grated finely with a microplane or grater

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

130ml virgin olive oil 

Good pinch of salt 

Method: 

Place all ingredients, apart from the parmesan in a food processor and blend until relatively smooth.  Stir in the parmesan and adjust seasoning until happy.   That’s it.  Told you it was quick & easy. 

MarthaWho-Basil Pesto-3

Banana Bread

Banana Bread

Photography by Darren Bester

Another childhood favourite that has stayed with me is Banana Bread.  I can quite easily eat an entire loaf by myself (I don’t, it must be said … but I would , if I could get away with it on the scale and if it wouldn’t scare my husband quite as much as I think it would).  Besides being delicious, its also just so comforting and I wonder if its because it subconsciously conjures up carefree feelings from childhood.  This recipe is so quick and easy that its surprising that the loaf is as delicious as it is. 

Yield: 1 Loaf 

Ingredients:

375ml ripe bananas, mashed 

250ml white sugar 

375ml cake flour 

1tsp baking powder

1tsp bicarbonate of soda

60ml vegetable oil 

125ml crème fraîche 

2 eggs, whisked 

pinch of salt

Method: 

Preheat the oven to bake at 180ºc.  Grease a 23 x 13 cm banana loaf tin with butter or ‘spray & cook’ and set aside.  Mix the bananas, sugar, crème fraîche, eggs and oil until well combined.  Sift all the dry ingredients into a separate bowl.  Gradually stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture, until combined.  Pour mixture into prepared baking tin and bake at 180 for 40 minutes to an hour.  Test with a skewer, if it comes out clean, the loaf is ready. 

Cooks Note: Cooking time can vary depending on your oven and its settings.  Best to start keeping an eye on it from the 40 minute mark.  If you don’t have a baking skewer, an uncooked piece of dry spaghetti will do the job just fine.   You could add walnuts or poppy seeds for a nice variation.

MarthaWho - Bananna Bread -1

Pea, Bacon & Mint Soup

Pea, Bacon & Mint Soup

Photography by Darren Bester 

You say Pea soup and I’m immediately transported back in time… I’m in my family kitchen, I’m a child, my Mom is standing over one of her trusty AMC pots (pots which are now in my kitchen some 30 years on – Talk about quality!), the radio is on and the aroma of pea soup is filling the air ! Yummy, my favourite of all her soup recipes. 

My Mom’s version, is actually Split Pea Soup, made with dry split peas & no-one will ever be able to make it quite like Mom, well not in my eyes anyway 🙂 So when the craving for Mom’s Pea soup hit the other day, I wasn’t about to attempt to recreate her winning recipe, because for me, half the comfort is knowing that my Mom made it for me, but with mom not around to see to this craving, I decided to experiment with a different kind of pea soup.  Feeling inspired by the recent sunny weather we had during our Cape Town winter, I felt like a lighter, fresher pea soup and so opted to use whole peas instead of split peas, I added some bacon because well, its bacon and any opportunity to add bacon to a recipe, I do 🙂 and then a sprinkle of mint to heighten the lightness and freshness of the soup.   

The result? Quick, easy and tasty!  Suitable for a deliciously healthy light lunch or dinner starter.  The beautiful green is so vibrant that it brings colour to any dining table, while conjuring up feelings of excitement and anticipation that Spring is finally, once again, knocking at our door …

Pea, Bacon and Mint Soup

Yield: 4 

500ml Fresh or Frozen Peas

250g Streaky Bacon, diced

1 Large Potato, chopped

1 Litre Chicken or Veggie Stock (I use the organic liquid stock from Woolies)

Handful of Mint, finely chopped

Method: 

Fry the bacon for 5 or so minutes until crisp (keep some aside for garnish), add the potato and stock and cook until the potato is soft, approximately 20 minutes. Add the peas and turn down the heat to a gentle simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat, season with salt & pepper and stir in the mint.  Use a food processor or hand blender to puree.  Pour into serving dishes and garnish with a drizzle of fresh cream and a sprinkle of crispy bacon.  

Cooks Note:  If you don’t have cream at hand, drizzle with a dash of olive oil instead.  The soup can thicken on refrigeration , if this happens just add a little stock or boiling water when reheating to achieve the preferred consistency. 

This recipe was featured on The Pretty Blog: Martha Who’s Pea, Bacon & Mint Soup

Darren Bester Photography - Martha Who_0002