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Cauliflower 2!

Eddie Mair | 10:03 UK time, Wednesday, 30 January 2008

What a response! Lots of emails about cauliflowers...and a recipe or two too. Do let us know if you try any of them...just click on Comment

Fi Bird says: "I was really pleased to hear Polly Tyrer encouraging children to cook, even cauliflower – bravo, bravo. However, may I add one comment with regard to the recipe for kids, during salt awareness week – please don’t add salt to the baked potato especially if you are adding cheese? Children aged 7-10 only need no more than 5g of salt a day (and younger children less). During Stirrin’Stuff’s children’s cookery workshop we add no salt but when we make pesto I then ask if there is salt in the recipe, ‘no’ the children reply with confidence - but then I tell them about parmesan cheese and this hardly even features on our processed food black list."

Lisa in Edinburgh sends this "from the cranks recipe book!

1 medium potato
1 medium onion
1 medium cauliflower
1oz butter
1 pint veg stock
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
ground nutmeg to taste
1 pint milk
salt and pepper to taste

1. chop potato and onion and saute in pan with butter until onion transparent
2. break cauliflower into florets and throw in too with stock, nutmeg and parsley
3. bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes
4. add milk, allow to cool and blend

ta da! totally child-friendly too..."

We got this from exuberantFlower:
"Cauliflower Paprikash
Make sauce of 2 tbs butter, onion, 2 tbspn flour,tsp horseradish,cup sour cream, cup yogurt. Add 2 tsp paprika and salt and pepper.
Steam florets of Cauliflower.Add to sauce.
Cook 12 oz. noodles.
Spoon sauce over noodles.
Top with dill, chives and extra paprika.

Fred in Ilford emailed: "I snapped up 2 caulis this afternoon in the market. I've had cauliflower in curry and other Indian dishes; stir fry and other Chinese and Thai dishes; with cheese; in picalilli; raw and of course as meat and 2 veg."

Bethan recommended Re: Cauliflowers..."Jamie Oliver's 'Incredible baked cauliflower and broccoli cannelloni'."

Sabrina wrote: "For 18 years I have been cooking it very little because I was under the impression my husband didn't like it. It turns out, for which I don't blame him, he just doesn't like it over-cooked as it is almost invariably served in most households and restaurants.
But lightly cooked with a good cheese sauce, or even lightly cooked with just butter, stir fried with potatoes and chilli, coriander, cumin and turmeric, any of the many Indian recipes, in Spanish omelette (very unauthentic!!) it goes down a treat.
I would be very sorry to lose the cauliflower."

"How about a cauliflower smoothie?" asked Andrew Reece.

Peter Hood says: "Cauliflower can be used in a curry, as your interviewee indicated. Also, the recipe cauliflower cheese can be made more interesting;

Make up a roux frying in shallot and garlic, add the flower and then water to taste; add the cheese and let it melt into the roux adding more water as necessary, then add freshly ground pepper, and parsley.
Meanwhile your cauliflower should be steaming in the steamer, with potatoes on the lower level, and additionally some leek with the cauliflower in the top level. The smell of the onions, garlic and the onion smell of leek is divine.

I use cauliflower regularly, and I appreciate the British farmer. I look with apprehension to the days when other countries out shop us as they grow richer, and I look with apprehension to the forthcoming energy shortages that will impair farming.

Until recently we've not had an energy policy, since the early 80s when it was a curriculum feature on the politics and technology component of my philosophy and politics degree.

Everything is connected, and thus the nuclear debate has to be aired honestly! No greens for the greens if we have no nuclear power. ;->"

Janet Amoroso recommends this: "Cauliflower Moussaka is a lovely recipe and definitely a cauli recipe with a difference. I found this recipe in Saralh Brown's 'Vegetarian Cookbook', published by Dorling Kindersley Ltd, 1984.


Tomato Sauce:
450g tomatoes, skinned and coarsely chopped; 2 sticks celery, finely chopped; 1 med onion, finely chopped; 2 cloves garlic, crushed; 1 tsp chopped marjoram; 15ml or 1tbsp tomato puree.

Cheese Sauce:
40g butter
25g wholewheat flour
2 eggs
50g grated cheese

olive oil for frying
350g aubergines, thickly sliced

Put all sauce ingredients into a pan, cover and simmer gently for 15 mins or until you have a thick sauce. Stir occasionally. It can cook for 30 mins without harm.

Bring milk to boil and poach cauliflower for 5 minutes. Drain reserving the milk. Add enough water to make it up to 300ml. Chop cauli finely and season well.

Heat butter until it foams, sprinkle over flour and stir it in and cook gently for 2-3 mins. Add reserved cauli milk gradually, stirring well until thoroughly mixed. Simmer gently for 5 mins.

Allow to cool and then whisk in the eggs and cheese and season well. Preheat oven to gas mark 4, 180 Celsius.

Meanwhile, heat 30ml oil in a large frying pan and lightly fry aubergine slices on both sides (I steam them instead!). Drain on kitchen paper.

Mix half of the cheese sauce with the cauli. Lightly grease 1.7 litre (£ pint) ovenproof dish. Put in a layer of aubergines, then one of cauli mixture, and cover with tomato sauce. Continue in this order until all ingredients used, finishing with a layer of aubergines. Cover with the rest of the cheese sauce and bake for 30 mins.

Serve hot (Serves 4) Enjoy!"

Jay Venn says "They are brilliant, if not overcooked. Here is a recipe born of necessity in a visit to the Welsh Marches, and it is world class (she says modestly) It takes ten minutes start to finish.

1 white or green cauliflower

Vinaigrette made with a ‘nutty’ flavoured oil (walnut or sesame are particularly good) and the vinegar of your choice – or what you have to hand

Sunflower seeds

Big bunch of watercress, washed and chopped

Break the cauliflower into florets and steam it until it is tender but not soggy

Toast the sunflower seeds, and mix them, hot, in the serving bowl with the vinaigrette. It will sizzle a bit, very pleasing.

Chuck in the (hot) cauliflower and the watercress. The watercress will wilt somewhat.

Serve immediately, still warm or serve cool. Either is good."

Deborah gives us her "family favourite:

4 potatoes
5 ripe tomatoes (or 1 tin chopped tomatoes)
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 fresh chilli
1 tablespoons of oil

Prepare the cauiflower by washing thoroughly and cutting it into small florettes
Scrub and cut the potatoes (without peeling) into small cubes
Cut up the tomatoes

Heat the oil and add the cumin seeds and turmeric and chilli, Once the seeds start popping add the potatoes, stir in and fry up quickly, after about a minute turn down the heat and add the cauliflower pieces, stir again and add a small amount of water. Lay the tomotoes on top, cover and lower heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Uncover, test for seasoning, add salt and remove chilli. Leave to stand for a couple of minutes. Serve with yoghurt or chutney and naan bread."

Tristram writes: "A response to your call for cauliflower recipes: The twentieth-century surrealist Lee Miller served her artistically-minded guests a pair of cauliflower 'breasts' in pink sauce.

Then there was this: "Hello. Just a wee note with a recipe for cauliflower


Mix cauliflower florets with sliced bananas and mayonnaise.

It may sound like a strange combination, but it tastes great, honest!!
Shirley Pearson

And howsabout thisfrom Fionnuala Quinn: "Cauliflower! As I listen to PM, I have, right now, cauliflower cooking for my children's tea. (ages 3, 5 and 7). They have all eaten it since babies and love it.

We get it from our local organic box scheme. It is a fantastic vegetable, which we add to various staple receipies, and I would be mad to se it go.

Cannot we get rid of strangely coloured and textured sweets instead?"

Dr Valerie Stewart wrote: "As it happens, I'm cooking a cauliflower cheese right now. However, here's a suggestion for making cream of cauliflower soup slightly different and 'gosh, what's that flavour?' ... steep a camomile teabag in the stock you use for the soup for about five minutes. That's from my stock of recipes using secret ingredients, and I think you'd find it delicious.

Right. I'm about to tuck into cauliflower cheese made with local cheese and local crusty bread and butter. Yummy. "

Jan says: "Cauliflower can be simmered whole for a few minutes before you cook pasta (in the same water) then remove the cauli and while the pasta is cooking chop it up and saute with chopped garlic in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Mix the drained cooked pasta with the cauliflower and serve sprinkled with parmesan cheese and seasoned with black pepper"

Jenny Ball reveals: "I was just cooking an early tea when you mentioned the possible demise of the cauliflower. I'm cooking a stir fry of cauliflower, onions, pepper, leeks, any other veg I can find, with bacon. When its cooked I stir in some creme fraiche and crumble Blacksticks Blue (an award winning delicious soft blue British cheese) on top. Its delicious.
Long live the cauliflower!"

A lovely recipe from Judith Calderbank: "Butter bean & cauliflower salad

Tin butter beans
1 cauliflower
40z button mushrooms
6 tblsp green herb dressing

Cook cauliflower florets in boiling water for 3 mins.
Put in bowl with beans and sliced mushrooms.
Add dressing toss well & serve.
( Green herb dressing - heaped tablesp parsley
tabsp mint chopped , chopped chives, clove garlic 5 0z natural yoghurt, 4 fl oz oil juice 1/2 lemon salt & pepper) "

John Roberts said: "Too much on cauliflowers. As Mark Twain noted (in Puddin'Head Wilson): "Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.""

James Lindesay suggests this: "CAULIFLOWER ‘ALLA SICILIANA’

This vegetable gets mixed reviews in the cookery literature. Elizabeth David, no less, disliked its ‘coarse flavour and soggy texture’, but others have found distinctive and interesting things to do with its dramatic curds. The Indians cook cauliflower well, and so do the Italians; this recipe is one of a number that claim to be the Sicilian way with the vegetable. What they have in common is that the cauliflower is braised in olive oil and stock (or wine).

1 large fresh cauliflower
200ml vegetable stock (homemade or a cube)
75ml extra virgin olive oil
25g sultanas
25g pine nuts, lightly toasted in a dry pan
3 tbsp capers
3 cloves of garlic (peeled and sliced)
A bunch of coriander leaves (about 10g), finely chopped
the usual seasoning
lemon juice

Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC. Strip the cauliflower of its leaves and stalk, and cut into 2cm slices. Lay the slices in a small roasting tin. Pour over the stock, and sprinkle 1tbs. Cover with foil and cook in the oven until tender (about 45 minutes). The foil should be removed about halfway through.

While the cauliflower is cooking, prepare the dressing. Soak the sultanas in hot water until soft (about 5 min). Put the remaining olive oil in a pan with the garlic slices and warm over a low heat for 5 minutes. Then remove the garlic and add the sultanas, pine nuts, capers and chopped coriander.

Drain the cauliflower and place in serving dish. Cover with the dressing, and season with salt, black pepper and lemon juice to taste. "

D O'Kelly wrote: "Cauliflower Soup: with the stock from boiling cauliflower, and milk, make a white sauce with sauteed onion and lots and lots of chopped sauteed garlic. Add cauliflower and heat through. "

John Perkins in Cumbria wrote: "The kids loved them raw - just about the only vegetable they would eat!"

We clearly have listeners of all ages: My son Harry (4 and a half years old) listened to your item on cauliflower (he is a PM fan) and said "I love cauliflower". Bob Bowie, Nettlestead, Kent"

Sarah in Worthing contacted us: "How I agree with the nice woman talking about cauliflower you just had on. My kids love it - in fact, they ask for cauliflower cheese for dinner often.

A very underrated veg - break it into florets, toss it in some oil and ground cumin and roast for about 20mins. Or braise it in olive oil, red wine and chilli. Yum!"

And last but not least: "The best way to cook cauliflower is to cut it into little florests and cook it slowly in carrot and coriander soup. The flavours balance each other beautifully. Everyone I serve this to absolutely loves it. Try it and see. Phyllis Brighouse, Wirral"

A cauliflower the day before yesterday.


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