Bagna Caulda with Winter Vegetables

This is a really delicious way of using up all sorts of winter vegetables. You can even use lightly blanched vegetables such as bitter greens but I like it most with a huge selection of raw winter veg. Bagna Caulda, literally meaning “hot bath”, is a warm garlic and anchovy mayonnaise which you dip your vegetables into, a bit like a fondue. Originally from Piedmont in Italy, it is traditionally eaten at Christmas and New Year. I real Winter salad!

 

Winter Vegetables

Really the veg is up to you but I used a combination of

a few young carrots , peeled and finely sliced

sweet baby peppers

a few small raw beetroots , peeled and finely sliced

a few sticks celery , trimmed and thinly sliced, yellow leaves reserved

½ small Romanesco or white cauliflower , broken into florets

1 bulb fennel , trimmed and finely sliced, herby tops reserved

1 bunch radishes , trimmed and washed

½ celeriac , peeled and finely sliced

 

Bagna Cauda

6 cloves garlic, peeled

300 ml milk

10 anchovy fillets in oil

180 ml extra virgin olive oil , plus extra for drizzling

2-3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

To make your sauce, put the garlic cloves, milk and anchovies into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer slowly for 10 minutes, or until the garlic is soft and tender, keeping a close eye on the pan to make sure the milk doesn’t boil over. Don’t worry if it spits and looks a little lumpy – simply remove from the heat and whiz the sauce up with a hand blender. Gently blend in the extra virgin olive oil and the vinegar a little at a time – you’re in control of the consistency at this point. If you like it thick, like mayonnaise, keep blending. Now taste it and adjust the seasoning. Make sure there’s enough acidity from the vinegar to act like a dressing. It should be an incredible, pungent warm sauce.

There are two ways you can serve this – with both you need the sauce to be warm. Either pour the sauce into a bowl and place this on a plate, with the veg arranged around the bowl, or serve the veg in a big bowl and drizzle the sauce over the top. Sprinkle over the reserved herby fennel tops and celery leaves and finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Cauliflower, Bacon and Potato Gratin

Kids on half-term means endless meals to cook. Quick and easy, packed with veg, hot and filling is key. This ticks all the boxes.

Cauliflower, Bacon and Potato Gratin

Serves 4

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

200g smoked streaky bacon

2 large onions, sliced

800g potatoes, thickly sliced

1kg cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets

150g medium-mature cheddar or Gruyère, coarsely grated

250ml double cream

Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the bacon for 5 mins until really crispy. Add the onion and sauté for 12 mins until soft and golden.

Meanwhile, tip the potatoes into a large pan of salted water, making sure they are well covered. Bring to a gentle boil, then add the cauliflower and cook everything for 6-7 mins until both are tender. A knife should easily insert into through the potatoes but don’t overcook or you will have mash! Tip into a colander and drain thoroughly.

Pour the cream in with the onions and add the cheese. Season well with plenty of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Tip in the potatoes and cauliflower and carefully stir. Tip the whole lot into a gratin dish and bake for 30 mins until bubbling. Remove from the oven and set aside for 1 min to rest. Serve straight from the dish with a crisp green salad.

Cauliflower Pakora with Raita

One of the most stressful SuperClubs I have ever done, was at St Mary’s Wimbledon and I did an Indian themed dinner. The starter was Vegetable Pakoras and Onion Bhaajis. But for some reason, the oil, no matter how long I heated it for, would not get hot enough. I tried big pans, and little pans, I tried turning off all the other burners, even turned off the oven, but no matter what I did, the oil was not hot enough for frying. And with 70 people turning up for dinner and no starter …not much fun! Anyway, I guarantee, these are super simple and are stress free.

Cauliflower Pakora with Raita

1 medium-large cauliflower (about 800g), trimmed

Sunflower oil, for frying

For the batter

150g gram flour (chickpea flour)

½ teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

A good shake of cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

For the raita

6 heaped tablespoons plain (full-fat) yoghurt

A large handful of mint or you could try coriander, chopped

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the raita, mix all the ingredients together, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Cut the cauliflower into small florets, no more than 2cm across in any direction, discarding nearly all the stalk.

For the batter, put the gram flour, baking powder, ground spices and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine and get rid of any lumps. Slowly whisk in 175ml cold water, which should give you a smooth batter with a similar consistency to double cream. Add a little more water if necessary – different brands of gram flour will vary in how much they absorb.

Add the cauliflower florets to the batter and turn them, making sure they are all thoroughly coated.

Heat about a 3cm depth of oil in a heavy-based pan over a medium-high heat. When the oil is hot enough to turn a cube of white bread light golden brown in 30–40 seconds, start cooking the pakoras, a few at a time so you don’t crowd the pan. Place spoonfuls of battered cauliflower – just a few florets per spoonful – into the hot oil. Cook for about 2 minutes, until crisp and golden brown on the base, then turn over and cook for another minute or two.

Drain the pakoras on kitchen paper, then serve piping hot with the raita for dipping.

Roast Cauliflower and Chorizo Rice

The combination of roast cauliflower, chorizo and rice is delicious, It doesn’t really matter what rice you use, although obviously the cooking method will change. You could use basmati and create a pilaf or Arborio rice for a risotto, but I chose paella rice as it has a clear connection with chorizo, whereas the others don’t.

Roast Cauliflower and Chorizo Rice

Serves 4

I large cauliflower, cut into florets

1-2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika

Olive oil, preferably Spanish

2 onion, finely sliced

2 cloves of garlic, very finely chopped

400g good quality chorizo, diced

2 chicken or vegetable stock cubes to make 750mls stock

1 pinch of Saffron

250g paella rice

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Toss the cauliflower florets in some olive oil, smoked paprika, salt and pepper and roast on a lined baking sheet in the oven at 180C for about 30 minutes until golden brown. Put a glug of oil into a large heavy bottomed shallow casserole or paella pan on a medium heat, add the onion and fry for around 10 minutes, stirring regularly until completely soft. Add the chorizo and fry to release the oil. Next add the garlic and fry for a minute more. Meanwhile dissolve the stock cubes in 750 of boiling water and add the saffron. Next add your rice to the onions with a good pinch of salt. Pour in the stock and let it bubble away gently, stirring from time to time to avoid sticking. Top up with more stock if it becomes dry and the rice is still raw. After 30 minutes, check the rice is tender and cook a little longer if needed. Season to perfection and serve straight away.

Teriyaki Stir-fry with Cashew Nuts

This is such a great use-up dish at the end of the week, when your fridge is still full of veg and you know your next veg box is coming. You can throw in whatever you like and haven’t even padded it out with noodle, it is just veg, veg and more veg and you can be sure you have got your 10 a day

Teriyaki Stir-fry with Cashew Nuts

Serves 2

Teriyaki sauce varies hugely. My favourite is Waitrose home-brand.

Large knob of fresh ginger

2 cloves of garlic

1-2 fresh red chillies

1 red onions, peeled and thinly sliced

1 red onions, peeled and thinly sliced

Handful of purple sprouting broccoli, sliced finely

Head o Bok, Choi shredded

Few sticks of celery and its leaves, shredded

2 carrots, peeled and then peeled into ribbons

Sweet mixed peppers, sliced, seeds removed

Teriyaki (for gluten free a mixture of Mirin, gluten free soy and Chinese cooking rice wine)

Handful of fresh coriander, chopped

Chopped cashew nuts, toasted

Sea salt

Cut the chilli in half, remove the seeds and finely chop. Scrape the ginger with a teaspoon to remove the outer layer and grate. Peel the garlic and grate it. Heat a large wok or saucepan and add some sesame oil, the  garlic, chilli and ginger. Fry for a few minutes. Add all the rest of the vegetables and stir fry for 5 minutes or so. It is important to keep the veg moving all the time as the name stir fry implies. When the veg is well wilted, add the teriyaki to taste and a pinch of salt if necessary. Remove from the heat and add a little more sesame oil to taste. Add the freshly chopped coriander and chopped cashew nuts and stir well and serve straight away.

Cut the chilli in half, remove the seeds and finely chop. Scrape the ginger with a teaspoon to remove the outer layer and grate. Peel the garlic and grate it. Heat a large wok or saucepan and add some sesame oil, the  garlic, chilli and ginger. Fry for a few minutes. Add all the rest of the vegetables and stir fry for 5 minutes or so. It is important to keep the veg moving all the time as the name stir fry implies. When the veg is well wilted, add the teriyaki to taste and a pinch of salt if necessary. Remove from the heat and add a little more sesame oil to taste. Add the freshly chopped coriander and chopped cashew nuts and stir well and serve straight away.

Aloo Gobi

Riverford supply a variety of different potatoes throughout the year. The qualities of the potato of the moment are always written on the bag ranging from floury to waxy, it is important to choose the right potato for the recipe. Waxy potatoes will never make a good chip, or roast potato for that matter. On the other hand, if you choose a floury potato for your Spanish omelette, you are going to end up with mash. I particularly like the selection of waxy potatoes which Riverford offers. These are quite hard to get hold of in England apart from the obvious new potatoes or Charlotte, which are usually sold very small, making them laborious and time consuming to peel. They are best left whole with their skins on.

Aloo Gobi requires a waxy potato which holds it shape. I used the Alouette potatoes which often turn up in the boxes at this time of year. I like to roast the cauliflower in a little coconut oil and add it at the end to give the finished dish more texture. Serve up on its own with a nan or alongside your favourite curry.

Aloo Gobi

Coconut Oil

2 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced

1-2 small green chilli, chopped

Large knob of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

2 cloves of garlic, very finely chopped

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

1 teaspoon salt or to taste

2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into even small bite size pieces

1 large cauliflower, broken or cut into large bite size florets

1 bunch fresh coriander, roughly chopped

 

Heat some coconut oil in a large heavy bottomed saucepan.  Add the onion and cook until they become creamy, golden, and translucent. Add the mustard seeds, cumin, turmeric and salt. Continue to fry for a minute or two more but do not burn. Add chopped chillies (according to taste). Add ginger and garlic; mix thoroughly. Cook a few minutes more. Add potatoes plus a few tablespoons of water and stir well to ensure that they are coated with the curry sauce. Cover and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes.  Keep checking and stirring every now and then so that it does not catch and burn.  Add a little more water each time if necessary. When the potatoes are about half cooked, add the cauliflower, stir well and cover again.  Leave for a further 10 minutes of so until the potatoes and cauliflower are cooked.  Stir in the cardamom and coriander and adjust seasoning.  Try not to stir to much at this stage so as to keep the texture.  Allow to sit for a while to allow flavours to infuse.

Chickpea, Cauliflower and Butternut Squash Curry

I have been making Thai Curry with Butternut Squash for years but for some reason it never occurred to me to make and Indian Curry with it instead. Butternut squash is very dense and very rich so it is important to cut it with another vegetable. Cauliflower works really well and along with the chickpeas adds texture and interest. As always, I prefer to roast the veg and add them to the sauce at the end.

I think this intensifies the individual flavours of the vegetables as well as stopping the vegetable becoming overcooked.

Chickpea,  Cauliflower and Butternut Squash Curry

3 tablespoon coconut oil

2 medium onions, chopped

3 cloves garlic minced

1 knob of ginger, scraped and finely grated

1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped

2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. ground cardamon seeds (try Spiceways)

1 tsp. ground coriander

1 tbsp. tomato puree

½ a butternut squash diced into ½-inch cubes

1 large cauliflower florets cut into small 1-inch sized pieces

1 tin chickpeas drained

1 tin coconut milk

1 small bunch coriander

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large deep pan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté over medium low heat for 10 minutes until soft and lightly coloured. Meanwhile toss the butternut squash cubes with another tablespoon of coconut oil, salt and pepper and spread out on a lined baking tray and roast until golden brown. Toss the cauliflower with another tablespoon of coconut oil, salt and pepper and spread out on a lined baking tray and roast until golden brown. When the onions are tender, add the ginger, garlic and chilli cooking and stirring for one minute. Next add the spices and tomato puree and cook for a minute more to release the flavours. Season with salt and pepper. Add the coconut milk and chickpeas and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes or so until the spices have mellowed and integrated. Taste the sauce and add more salt as desired. Stir in the coriander and then add the butternut squash and cauliflower. Reheat and serve with basmati rice.

Cauliflower Korma

I’m kicking this week off with a Cauliflower Korma. I have tried this with parsnips before, with great success. You could try it out with what ever you have to hand, and would compliment well with this  mild, nutty and creamy curry.

cauliflower-korma

I like to roast the vegetables for the curry, whilst I prepare the base. This saves time, but also keeps the texture of the vegetables better.

The freshly ground cardomon is super important and if you dont want to spend hours picking the seeds out of the pods yourself, look out for the seeds only in good Indian Supermarkets. Try Spiceway in Kingston Road. It may look unpromising from the outside but it has a really good selection of Indian ingredients.

Cauliflower Korma

1 large cauliflower, broken into even sized, bite size florets

Coconut oil

2 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and grated

Large knob of ginger, scraped and grated

1 fresh red chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground cardamom seeds (you can find these in a good Indian food shop. Try Spiceway)

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground fennel seeds

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tin coconut milk

2 tbsp ground almonds

2 tbsp flaked almonds

Bunch of fresh coriander, chopped

Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Toss the cauliflower with coconut oil and season with sea salt.  Spread out on a large lined roasting tray and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes until the florets are tender and turning golden brown.  Meanwhile, in a heavy bottomed saucepan, fry the onions gently in some coconut oil. Sweat for 10 minutes or so until just beginning to turn light brown. Add the chill, garlic and ginger and fry for a minute more. Add the spices and fry for a minute more. Add the coconut milk and simmer gently until you have the consistency of single cream. Season with salt and stir in the ground almonds and chopped coriander. Check seasoning and adjust to taste. Stir in the roast cauliflower and sprinkle with toasted almonds and serve with rice or naan.

roast-cauliflower

Cauliflower and Chickpea Pilaf

I always forget about Pilafs and that is a silly thing because they could not be a simpler, quicker and tastier one-pot dish. The onions are an important part of this dish to make sure you take care of them. As I was eating my pilaf, I couldn’t help noticing how similar it was to a salad I featured on this blog about a year ago – Saffron Basmati Rice Salad with Lentils, Roasted Cauliflower and Crispy Fried Onions. Just shows it is delicious either hot or cold. A recipe for all seasons.

Cauliflower and Chickpea Pilaf

Cauliflower and Chickpea Pilaf

1 tbsp sunflower oil

2 large onions

1 tbsp curry powder

1 tbsp ground cumin

200g basmati rice

350g cauliflower florets

400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

500ml vegetable stock

50g toasted flaked almonds

handful of freshly chopped coriander

Heat the oil in a large, non-stick pan and add the onions. Cook over a very low heat for 10 -15 mins until starting to turn golden. Stir in the curry powder and cumin and cook for 1 min more. Add the rice, cauliflower and chickpeas, stirring to coat.

Pour in the stock and a teaspoon of salt and stir. Cover and simmer for 10-15 mins until the rice and cauliflower are tender and all the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in the almonds and coriander, then serve.

Cauliflower trimmed

Saffron Basmati Rice Salad with Lentils, Roasted Cauliflower and Crispy Fried Onions

With the weather finally warming up a little, I have got a couple of salads for you this week, but because it is not quite summer yet, they are quite hearty ones with plenty of filling pulses and grains. The other thing they have in common is the unusual salad ingredient of crispy fried onions. I used these on this blog, back in May last year in a Baby Spinach, Wild Rice, Broad Bean, Grilled Asparagus & Courgette Salad. These super delicious crispy onions liven up all manner of salads and the oil can be incorporated in the dressing, working particularly well with rice, lentils or grains.

Crispy Fried Onions

Crispy Fried Onions

Thinly slice a few large onions. Cut off the top end of the onion and peel the rest of it. Slice as thin as possible. A Mandolin is really good for this or you can use a food processor. Place a saucepan on a high heat and add about an inch of vegetable oil. You don’t want to use too much oil as the more intense the flavour the better. Heat the oil to 180⁰C using a thermometer. Add the onions slowly and carefully and deep fry until light golden brown. Be careful not to burn, stirring regularly, especially in the corners where the onions will cook most quickly. Remove with a slotted spoon, straight into a colander lined with kitchen paper over a bowl. Break up any clumps and leave to crisp up. Season lightly with salt. When cool pour the oil into a bottle for further use.

Saffron Basmati Rice Salad with Lentils, Roasted Cauliflower and Crispy Fried Onions Crispy Fried Onions

Saffron Basmati Rice Salad with Lentils, Roasted Cauliflower and Crispy Fried Onions

Crispy Fried Onions

1 cauliflower

100g lentils (I used Puy lentils but you can use any)

150g Basmati rice

A pinch of saffron

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tsp. cumin seeds

Small bunch of coriander

Rinse your basmati rice for 10 minutes or so until the water runs clear. Cover with an inch and a half of water, a good pinch of salt and a generous pinch of saffron. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes until tender. Add more water during cooking if necessary. When cooked, drain and refresh in cold water. This is a salad and it is important that the rice is fluffy and separated. Allow to drain again for at least an hour, if not more. Cook the lentils very gently in plenty of water for about 15-20 minutes until tender. You want them to still have a little bite and texture. Drain for at least half an hour. Meanwhile roast your cauliflower. Cut it into even size florets and toss in a little of the onion oil, plenty of salt, freshly ground pepper and the cumin seeds. Mix well and lay out in a single layer in a roasting pan. Roast in the middle of the oven at 200°C (400°F) for 20 minutes, then give them a good toss to ensure even cooking. Roast for 10 minutes more or until the edges are brown and crunchy. In a bowl mix the rice with some of the onion oil, plenty of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Immediately you will taste the great combination of saffron and subtle onion flavours. Add the lentils and cauliflower and check for seasoning. Add a handful of crispy onions, saving some for the top. Pick the leaves from the coriander and mix through the salad. Pile onto a serving plate and heap crispy onions on top.

brown onions