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!
Yield: 3 – 4 servings
1 head cauliflower – tough stalks removed
1 cup chicken stock / Water
3 Tbsp fresh cream
1 Tbsp butter
Salt & Pepper for seasoning
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 🙂
Photography by Darren Bester
Anyone who ever had the Mushroom & Cauliflower soup at Sinn’s Restaurant in Wembley Square, Cape Town will know what I was trying to achieve here ! That soup was one of those meals … You know the ones, where you think about it for days, weeks or in this case, years afterwards. So I had no choice, but to try and recreate it … Is it as good as the original? In my eyes … sadly No, but its a close second and did bring me some comfort 🙂
For the Mushroom Soup:
1 Onion, chopped
4 Sprigs of Thyme, chopped finely
2 Garlic Cloves, crushed to a paste
400 grms Mixed mushroom selection, chopped
50grms Dried porcini mushrooms soaked in 2 cups of water for 30 minutes
50 grms Butter
250ml Vegetable Stock
Salt & Black Pepper for seasoning
Sweat the onion in a little olive oil for 2 minutes before adding the garlic, thyme and butter. Cook until the butter has melted and the garlic is no longer raw (approximately 2 – 3 minutes). Add the fresh mushrooms & dried mushrooms along with the water the mushrooms were soaking in and the vegetable stock. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to food processor and blend, while slowly adding the cream. Season with salt & pepper, taste and adjust seasoning until you are happy.
For the Cauliflower Soup
A few glugs of olive oil
2 Onions, chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, crushed to a paste
125mls Dry White Wine
1 Large head cauliflower, stalks removed & chopped
1 Litre Chicken Stock
Salt & White Pepper for seasoning
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat, add the onions and sweat gently until the onions are translucent and soft. Add the garlic and wine and cook until most of the wine has evaporated. Stir in the cauliflower and chicken stock and raise heat to bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 20 or so minutes until the cauliflower is soft. Transfer to food processor and blend until very smooth, should take a few minutes. You might have to do the soup in batches if your processor is not big enough. Transfer back to the pot and stir in salt & pepper, taste and adjust seasoning until you are happy !
Plating Up :
Now for the Yin and the Yang … Its actually easier than it looks … get two cups / mugs of equal size and fill one with Mushroom Soup and the other with Cauliflower Soup, pour them into a soup bowl, from either side simultaneously, then simply place your hands on either side of the bowl and give the bowl a quick swirl and Voila!
Garnish ideas: I kept a few of the more exotic looking mushrooms aside and sautéed in some butter. I cut a few cauliflower florets very thinly and did the same thing. Also chopped up some chives really finely with some parsley and mixed with olive oil and then drizzled this over the soup.
With Summer rapidly approaching and the fear of ‘bearing all’ around the swimming pool re-emerging after hibernating all winter long, I decided it was time to start cutting out the carbs to slim down that stubborn waist line. I was inspired when I saw the beautiful candy-striped beetroots in the veg section at my trusty Mothership and this salad just evolved from there. I must say, I’m quite pleased with the end result … not only is it super healthy but its eye catchingly vibrant in colour, tasty and not so predicatlbe.
3 Candy-Striped Beetroots (washed & scrubbed, top & tailed)
1 Pack Baby Marrow (washed, top & tailed)
1 Pack Snap Peas (washed & halved)
2 or 3 Radishes (washed, top and tailed)
1 Generous Handful of Pomegranates
1 Generous Handful of Sunflower Seeds
1 or 2 Rounds of Feta Cheese (Goats Cheese or Buffalo Mozzarella Balls would also work well)
1 Pack Mung Bean Sprouts
1 Packet Rocket
Juice of 1 or 2 lemons
For the Lemon Zest Dressing:
30mls Olive Oil
15mls Balsamic Vinegar
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
10mls fresh lemon juice
Pinch Brown Sugar
2 Cloves Garlic, crushed and finely chopped
Sprinkle of salt & black pepper
Using a mandolin, carefully slice the candy beetroots into thin rounds and submerge in a bowl of lemon juice for 10 minutes. In the mean time, slice each baby marrow in halve lengthways and run down the mandolin creating thing strips, set aside. Now run the radishes along the mandolin, creating beautiful thin little rounds, place in a bowl of cold water until required.
Make the dressing by whisking all the ingredients together. Place rocket leaves on platter, coat with some of the dressing & toss. Remove beets from their lemon bath and scatter over the rocket, togther with the baby marrow slices,snap peas and radishes. Sprinkle over the pomegranates, feta & sunflower seeds. Give another good toss & garnish with Mung Beans. Either Pour over the remainder of the dressing just before serving or serve separately, along side the salad.