Monday, 2 September 2013

Cauliflower Renaissance

Cauliflower ... Not the most popular of vegetables (I think we all have memories of cauliflower that was boiled for an hour and was totally waterlogged - vile) but definitely enjoying something of a renaissance these days. I saw a programme a year or two ago now, championing foods that have fallen out of favour (I was pinned to the chair, with a sick child asleep on my lap and the TV remote control just out of reach) and watched the Hairy Bikers singing the praises of cauliflower. There was a really interesting looking cauliflower cheese that they did; a ramped up, "posh" cauli-cheese that would be substantial enough for an evening meal. It has since become a regular on the dinner rota here, it's a great midweek dinner and also really inexpensive, definitely a bonus - I even wrote a post on it here!

Anyhow, I turned on the evening news on TV one night recently, and caught the last ten minutes of a cookery show on RTE1, and there it was again - the cauliflower. Kevin Dundon was extolling the virtues of the cauliflower, specifically a recipe for green bean and cauliflower biryani. His recipe was really quick and easy and he was really, really enthusiastic about about how fragrant his dish was, so I thought we'd give it a go. I have to say, I was pretty sceptical because it did not look pretty. But my word, Kevin was right - it was SO delicious. Really different and really easy, incredibly fragrant and just fantastic. I even mentioned it on the DinnerLadies Facebook page, I was so excited.

Here's the link to the actual recipe on the RTE webpage, but I've also posted it below too.

Kevin Dundon's Cauliflower and Green Bean Biryani

Cook the onion & spices slowly
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 - 6 cardamom pods
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 150g green beans, cut into 2cm long pieces
  • ½ head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 220g basmati rice
  • 600ml vegetable (or chicken) stock, warmed
    To serve
  • 150g natural yoghurt
  • 50g flaked almonds, toasted
  • Bunch of coriander, chopped
  1. Heat the oil in a large heavy based saucepan over a medium heat. Add the cumin, chilli powder, cinnamon and cardamom pods and cook for a minute or two. Add the onion and garlic and cook slowly (this is critical, you don't want the garlic to burn and you want the onion to soften slowly) and cook until softened - about a further 3 or 4 minutes.
  2. Add the rice and stir to coat in the flavoured oil. Pour in the stock and then add the cauliflower and green beans. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 12-15 minutes, until the liquid has been absorbed.
  3. Remove from the heat and leave to stand for 5-10 minutes, then pour into a serving dish.
  4. Sprinkle with the flaked almonds and chopped coriander, and drizzle with a spoonful of the natural yoghurt.
We've had this twice now, once just alone for a midweek supper (it was fabulous) and again last Saturday night when we served it with a pork chop, to make a slightly more substantial meal. Both were equally gorgeous. It truly is a very fragrant and tasty dish, I really do urge you to give it a go.

PS - we had no dessert as a couple of the apples I'd been planning to turn into a crumble were gone off and I then didn't have enough. So I rustled up some buns quickly, and the DinnerHusband found a punnet of frozen raspberries in the freezer. He chucked half of them into a small saucepan and heated them through with a sprinkle of icing sugar, and he chopped in some large chunks of white chocolate. We served the buns with the raspberry and white chocolate sauce

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