Cauliflower for days.

Roasted Cauliflower Salad 4

Cauliflower seems to be having a moment in the sun lately.  When I was growing up, it was much dreaded on any dinner plate…having been boiled to within an inch of its life, tasteless and with an awful texture.  Now, however, we’re starting to see just what a magic little powerhouse it really is – versatile, tasty, practically fat free and packed with vitamins C and B-6. How could you say no?

Cauliflower is showing up in everything from the ever-trusty cauliflower cheese (comfort food heaven) to being finely ‘riced’ and used as a carb-friendly substitute to grains, being steamed and shaped into pizza bases, or being roasted whole with spices as a hearty vegetarian main course.  It holds other stronger flavours brilliantly, and it lends itself to so many interpretations – so it’s unsurprising that the humble cauli has become vegetable of the hour 🙂

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Farro way.

Farro Salad 2

Gluten isn’t always kind to me, but I can sometimes tolerate it well in far less refined forms – such as farro, a beautiful chewy pearled grain of wheat, that you can cook in a similar way to brown rice.  It makes a hearty addition to soups and stews, can be used instead of rice in risotto, and it lends a really satisfying texture and flavour profile to grain salads.  Farro is also high in protein, complex fibre and calcium, so if you can tolerate grains, this is a good one to go for!

I loosely adapted this recipe from one by Yottam Ottolenghi (probably a very close second to HFW in my list of food heroes), using ingredients I had to hand at the time.  Not only was this a delicious salad, it kept really well for about 4-5 days in the fridge – so a great one for preparing ahead of time for work lunches.  I added a bit of hot smoked salmon, soft goats cheese and some red veined sorrel from the garden to mine…and it was so delicous, my mouth is watering just thinking about it!

Farro & Pomegranate Salad

Ingredients

  • 250g farro
  • 1 cup of stock (I used chicken but you could also use vegetable stock)
  • 5 spring onions, chopped (white parts only, use the deep green tops for my warm potato salad!)
  • 1/2 red onion, finely sliced
  • 60mls extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbs sherry vinegar
  • 2/3 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup flaked almonds, lightly toasted
  • Small handful of chopped flat leaf parsley
  • Seeds of one pomegranate
  • Salt & fresh black pepper

Method

  1. Rinse the farro in cold water, then place in a medium saucepan with the stock and another cup of cold water. Bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer for about 10 minutes – at about the 7 minute mark, give it a little taste test, you still want it semi-firm and chewy, not mushy.
  2. Drain the farro and transfer to a mixing bowl.  While it is still hot, add the spring onion, red onion, olive oil, vinegar, allspice and cumin, and salt and pepper to taste.  Sitr, then leave to cool completely.
  3. Once cool, add the parsely, almonds and pomegranate seeds and mix.  Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed, and serve.

Tofu tacos.

Tacos 3

I mentioned when I posted my Tasty Baked Tofu recipe ealier this week that I was planning to test out using it for a meat-free taco.  Well, the results are in and it was a success!  So much so, i’m writing this at 9:30am and i’m already salivating over them…is it a thing to have tacos for breakfast?  If not, maybe it should be 😉

This is so easy i’m not even sure it constitutes a separate recipe, but i’ll write up what I did for those of you who want a bit of a guide.

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Veggie bonanza.

Veggie Bonanza

Some nights, it’s all about the veggies for dinner – pictured above is a beautiful farro & pomegranate salad, grilled baby zucchinis, stuffed zucchini flowers with tarragon, garlic green beans, roasted pumpkin with cumin, and roasted mushrooms with goats cheese & thyme.  Soooooo delicous!

The zucchinis, zucchini flowers, green beans, garlic and herbs were all from my garden…so glad to see my efforts showing up on my dinner plate at long last.  It’s making all the hard graft so satisfying.

This is also a perfect illustration of my pathalogical inability to cook for one…I just can’t do it!  Well at least I have leftovers for lunch today…and who doesn’t love leftovers.

As Julia Child might say…Bon Appetit!

 

Magical carrots.

Carrot Tart

Carrots are pretty amazing little nutritional powerhouses.  Packed with beta-carotene (which gives them their vibrant orange colour), they’re fantastically antioxidant, and have a list of health benefits as long as your arm.  In western herbal tradition, carrots have been variously used as a treatment for night blindness, whooping cough, and cancerous tumours – to name but a few things – and researchers are now isolating various compounds in them that have indeed proven to be beneficial for some of the many ailments they’ve been used to treat over hundreds, if not thousands, of years.  I love it when science catches up with folklore 🙂

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Noodles for dinner.

Zucchini Noodles

But not just any noodles…yes i’m finally trying out zucchini noodles, and they are GOOD.

I know the best veggie noodles are made with a spiralizer, so a while ago I bought a hand-held one on eBay…well you know that saying about ‘you get what you pay for’, it certainly proved true in this case.  My $3.47 plus free postage proved a waste of time and money because it was worse than useless, and my fancy piece of green plastic ended up in the bin, but not before mangling one of my zucchinis in the process!

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Zucchini madness.

Zucchini

I absolutely love zucchinis – they’re so versatile.  Which is a good thing too because once those babies get going in the garden, they go MAD.  This year, i’m trying to keep ontop of them, partly by making sure I pick some of them while they’re still small and attached to the flowers, and partly by remembering that if you turn your back on them for just a second, they’ll have exploded into veritable monsters before your very eyes – so once they start reaching a resonable size, I pick them there and then.

I’ve been collecting a little cache of go-to zucchini recipes over the past few years, so the backlog doesn’t get out of hand.  I think this was part of what made me wait so long to pick the beetroots last year – I simply didn’t know what to do with so many of them!  Now i’ve realised that having a few reliable, delicious recipes to hand for all the anticipated garden bounty is definitely the way to go – and this recipe for gluten free zucchini fritters is one of that collection.

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