Monday, 26 March 2007

Cauliflower and Saffron Bake

Because we all need a few light pink vegetables every once in a while.

So yes, I do actually make things other than cakes. A couple of weeks ago, Graeme shoved a copy of the Guardian's Weekend supplement in my face, exclaiming, "I know something you're going to want to make!" Because it turns out that I am totally food predictable, he was right. I love cauliflower, and the idea of a fragrant cauliflower dish tinted a nice light pink was too much for me to resist. I attempted it last night, as a perfect side to Heidi's 101 Cookbooks recipe for curried noodle patties (which is, by the way, an awesome idea for an "I love comfort food and have lots of stuff to use up!" dinner). We were very happy, spice-filled, campers. I really recommend this as a vegetable side dish for when you're bored with your usual steamed veggies and the like. We both liked that the cauliflower was well-cooked but still retained some crunchiness and was not at all soggy.

The only major change I made to the Guardian recipe is that for some reason I was majorly NOT in the mood for olives (which is a weird freak incident for me) and so I used marinated artichoke hearts instead. So I'm mostly reposting the original recipe, written by Yotam Ottolenghi, here with my minor changes:

The Recipe:

Cauliflower and Saffron Bake

1 medium cauliflower, divided into florets
1 red onion, sliced
70g sultanas
Bunch of marinated artichoke hearts (maybe 100g?) sliced slightly
½ tsp saffron strands, infused in 3 tbsp of boiling water
3 tbsp olive oil
2 bayleaves
Salt and pepper and paprika (I add paprika to most things)
4 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Toss together all the ingredients except the parsley.

Tip the contents of the bowl into an oven-proof dish, shake to even out a bit, cover with foil and bake for around 40-45 minutes. Halfway through the cooking, remove from the oven, lift off the lid, give the contents of the oven dish a thorough stir, cover again and return to finish off cooking. The cauliflower is ready when tender but not too soft.

Remove from the oven, lift off the foil covering and leave to cool down a little before stirring in the chopped parsley. C'est si facile!

What is healthy about this recipe: Everything! Finally a recipe where I can say this.

What is seasonal in this recipe: The cauliflower, parsley, and red onion, were all purchased from the friendly organic farmers at our local farmers' market. Their produce is always seasonal and lovely and a pleasure to use and eat. I am so psyched to see all the herbs sprouting up from the ground these days.

What I learned from this recipe:
Be more adventurous with herbs and spices!

What I will change next time: Maybe a bit more saffron actually, but I am not one for subtle flavours. And I might actually try it with the olives on a day when I'm feeling more olive-friendly.


Anonymous said...

Hi there, thanks to your ex-colleague Tom Brogan, I have just spent a good ten minutes marvelling at your blog; many different delights that I am keen to try. I wonder if you would be interested in a weird but wonderful receipe I came across the other day. I am not a good cook, but I like to think that I am getting better and I was rather proud of this little find. It was a recipe for Courgette & Hoummus Soup. Delish! If you are keen, I could post the detalils up here no problem, but I didn't want to encroach without asking you.

Anyway, thanks for your blog and I'll be sure to keep reading.


Anna said...

Hi Nicola--that sounds delicious, and I'd love to have the recipe! Happy to hear that you're enjoying the blog, we're having fun writing it.

Tom said...

Nicola said: "I am not a good cook"

I can tell you that is not the case. Nicola is actually a very good cook.

emily said...

I loved this recipe too and was just about to post it on my blog when I found your reference to it. If you haven't tried it again with olives yet then you will like it - artichoke hearts sounds like a good alternative though. My partner doesn't normally like sultanas, but even he approved of their inclusion here. And since I gave up dairy, this dish is a nice distraction from the fact that I'm not eating Cauliflower cheese, which I used to really love to make when a cauliflower came my way.