Yesterday I decided to delve into my new Ottolenghi cookbook. Actually it’s two months old but I just haven’t been tempted to cook very much from it, as, although the recipes look delicious, they are all vegetarian (a hard concept for some members of my family to grasp) and include exotic ingredients that are hard to find. However, I had a cauliflower knocking around and luckily found this recipe which involves exotic but accessible saffron and green olives. The addition of the jewel like colours and the sharp v. sweet pairing of the acidic green olives and soft red onions elevate the humble cauliflower and produce a dish more elegant than the oft cauliflower cheese. I served it with some pilaff rice and pan-fried salmon. For pudding I made Leon’s deliciously creamy cardamom rice pudding with flecks of vanilla running through. I used to despise rice pudding (due to the out-of-the-packet, wallpaper paste affair that they served at school) but this has defiantly redeemed it for me!
Saffron Cauliflower from Yotam Ottolenghi, ‘Plenty’
Serves 4 as a side dish.
- Preheat the oven to 200˚C
- Put 1½ tsp Saffron Strands in a small bowl and pour over 75ml Boiling Water.
- Leave to infuse for a minute, then pour the saffron and water into a mixing bowl.
- Add 1 Medium Cauliflower, divided into florets (parboiled for 5 mins if you prefer it well cooked), 1 Large Red Onion, sliced, 100g Sultanas, 90g Green Olives, pitted and halved lengthways, 4 tbsp Olive Oil and 2 Bay Leaves. Season with Salt and Pepper and mix with your hands to combine.
- Place in an ovenproof dish, cover with foil and cook in the oven for 45 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender but firm, not soft. Halfway through cooking, stir well then cover again and return to bake.
- Once cooked, remove the foil, allow to cool slightly and then stir in 4 tbsp Parsley, roughly chopped. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Cardamom Rice Pudding from the Leon cookbook
- In a heavy based pan (I used a small casserole pot), melt a tbsp Butter and then stir in 150g Risotto, Paella or Pudding Rice, making sure to coat each grain in butter.
- Pour on 350ml Full-Fat Milk and 400ml Double Cream and stir well.
- Scrape the seeds out of ½ Vanilla Pod and add the seeds and pod to the rice.
- Do the same with 3 Cardamom Pods but don’t add the husks.
- Continue to cook slowly, uncovered, stirring a few times to prevent the rice sticking to the bottom. Let it cook for 30 minutes like this.
- Then turn the heat down to minimum for a final 20-25 minutes.
- Eat it hot or cold.