Toasted Cumin and Cinnamon Cauliflower

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I often think that cauliflower gets a little overlooked as a vegetable, unlike its more ‘superfood’ cousin, the broccoli. Boiling it can be bland, like most things, but roast it and add a little spice and textures then you have a truly delicious treat. I wrote a piece a few years ago on the merits of the humble cauliflower here so do check it out.

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This recipe is quick, extremely tasty (ok I know I am biased), full of goodness and great as a lunch to take to work in a tupperware or as an evening meal. It can be eaten hot or cold so is hugely versatile. A slight chill is now in the air in London, although I am still hopeful for an Indian summer, so the warming cumin and cinnamon gives the dish autumnal comforting notes. The sweetness come from the cinnamon and the saltiness from the feta so no extra salt is necessary.

Toasted Cumin and Cinnamon Cauliflower

serves 2 or 4 if serving with another dish 

1 cauliflower, chopped into florets and greenery removed

1 tsp cumin powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

30g pine nuts, toasted

30g raisins or sultanas

1 small handful of fresh coriander

30g feta, crumbled

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees (if using fan). In a large mixing bowl add the cauliflower florets and add the cumin and cinnamon powder along with the extra virgin olive oil. Mix gently with your hands so that the florets are evenly coated.
  2. Place on a baking tray in the oven for 20 minutes, so that the edges are nicely charred.
  3. Meanwhile heat a heavy frying pan and toast the pine nuts so that they begin to bronze. They bronze quickly so keep an eye on this. Add the raisins/sultanas to warm them and allow them to become soft. Place to one side in a bowl.
  4. Once the cauliflower is cooked add to a new mixing bowl and add the pine nuts, sultanas, coriander and crumbled feta. Toss gently and either plate up or leave to cool before adding to your lunch container.

I have also made this with prunes instead of raisins/sultanas, which works really well. Dates would also be another option.

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Indian Cabbage with Fennel Seeds

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Oh the humble white (or green for that matter) cabbage. It’s one of those ingredients that cooked with no herbs or spices tastes, to put it simply, bland. It’s kind of like sprouts. Boiling the hell out of the vegetable just does not do it justice. I have a fantastic sprout curry – have you tried making it yet? If not I absolutely urge you to give it a go. I know I am biased but it’s seriously good and will convert even the non sprout lover. Here is the recipe – click here. Go on give it a try. It’s an alternative way to cook sprouts.

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In the meantime may I encourage you to try picking up a regular white cabbage from the market/supermarket/garden (delete as appropriate) and make this ‘Indian Cabbage with Fennel Seed Curry’. Fennel and sultanas gives it a sweetness but combined with the spices, salt and chilli it becomes a very satisfying savoury dish. I often accompany it with a dal and if I am cooking for others I will often do a meat or fish curry as well.

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Indian Cabbage with Fennel Seeds

Serves 4

2 tbsp vegetable/olive oil

1 tsp salt

2 small potatoes, cut roughly into 3cm pieces

2 bay leaves

1tsp heaped fennel seeds

1 tsp ground turmeric

1/2 tsp of chilli powder

1/2 tsp sugar

half a large white or green cabbage, shredded finely

1 handful of sultanas

1. In a large pan add the oil and a pinch of salt and when it is hot add the potatoes and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes so that the potatoes begin to bronze. Remove from the pan and place on some kitchen paper.

2. Wash the cabbage thoroughly under the tap and then drain using a colander. Set to one side.

3.Using the same pan as you cooked the potatoes, add the bay leaves, fennel seeds, turmeric, chilli powder and sugar. Move them around the pan for 30 seconds before adding the finely shredded cabbage and sultanas. Turn the cabbage and sultanas over in the pan so that they are coated in all the spices. Add the fried potatoes, which will begin to soften whilst cooking with the cabbage. Place on a medium to low heat and simmer.

4. As you have washed the cabbage before adding to the pan you probably will not need additional water, however, if it becomes too dry simply add 2/3 tbsp of water to the pan.

5. Simmer for a further 10 minutes or until the cabbage and potatoes have softened.

Easy hey! So what are you waiting for give it a go and let me know how you get on.

 

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Mary’s Granola Bars

Mary McCartney has been gracing the pages recently of certain magazines here in the UK, namely The Saturday FT Magazine (April 21st 2012) and the June issue of ‘Red’ Magazine. Known for her talent behind the camera it was a revelation, albeit a positive one, that she has just produced a cook book called ‘Food‘ that she wrote and photographed. For those who are unaware, the McCartney clan are passionate vegetarians and Mary has clearly channelled her love of all things vegetarian into her own tome. Between the two magazines I now have just under 20 of her recipes, which should appeal to a wide audience in that they look straight forward to execute and appetising enough to warrant an attempt at making.

I thought that I would follow her take on the granola bar, which to all intense and purpose is a glorified healthy flapjack right? I am always thinking of little snacks to feed Big A and Little Z when I collect Big A from school, so thought Mary’s granola bar idea would be perfect to give them to fill the gap before supper.  I am also a huge fan of agave syrup, (which I also used in this recipe) which was right at the top of her ingredients list.

The recipe is so incredibly easy that it would be perfect for Big A (whose 6) to cook on her own, with a little overseeing from Mama of course! I followed the recipe religiously, but I think I will get creative next time and change some of the ingredients around. For example I think the bars would also be delicious with pecan nuts, hazelnuts, dates, dried cranberries, coconut. If you get carried away with some new ingredients that work do let me know and maybe next time I’ll follow your suggestion.

Granola Bars

Sourced from Mary McCartney’s recipes in The Saturday FT Magazine, April 21st 2012

Makes 12-14 slices

200ml agave syrup

50g butter

4 tbs vegetable oil

1/4 ground cinnamon

1 tbs vanilla extract

200g porridge oats

80g cornflakes

100g almonds, coarsely chopped

100g dried apricots, coarsely chopped

100g raisins or sultanas

2 tbs sunflower seeds

2 tbs pumpkin seeds

 1. Line a baking tray with baking parchment. I used a 25cm x 25cm tray. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

2. Heat the agave syrup in a pan for a few minutes and then add the  vegetable oil and butter. Take it off as the butter melts.

3. Add all the ingredients to the syrup mixture and gently fold in together so that all the ingredients are evenly covered in the syrup.

4. Transfer the contents of the pan to the baking tray and firmly press down evenly.

5. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

6. Take tray out of oven and leave to cool. When it is cool, cut the granola into square, rectangles – whatever shape takes your fancy! The baking parchment will come away easily once the granola has cooled.

7. Store in an air tight container.