Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Sicilian Pasta

May 6, 2021 by General Administrator

This is a bit of a production, but the flavours you will create are remarkable. The dish tastes of the sea, of warm evenings outdoors, of blue skies. Make it now.

Pasta with Cauliflower, Currants, Pine Nuts and Saffron Onions
Serves 4

80g currants (or raisins)
230ml white wine
60ml olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons more
2 medium onions, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon saffron threads
100g coarse breadcrumbs
700g cauliflower, cut into very small florets
3 garlic cloves peeled and chopped
8 anchovy fillets, rinsed and chopped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
handful of parsley, large stalks removed and coarsely chopped
12 sprigs of marjoram, coarsely chopped
450g short pasta shapes

First plump the currants: put the currants and wine in a small saucepan over low heat. Bring to the boil and—as soon as it reaches the boil—remove from the heat and set aside for at least 30 minutes. The currants will absorb the wine.
Now prepare the saffron water: put the saffron and 60ml of water into a small bowl. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds or so, or until the water boils. The moment the water boils remove and set aside for at least 5 minutes. (Of course you can do this on the stove.)

Now make the saffron onions: put 60ml of oil into a frying pan over low heat. When hot add the onions and a pinch of salt and cook for about 8 minutes, or until the onions are beginning to soften, but still remain golden.
Add the saffron water and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 more minutes, or until the onions are very soften and have turned a beautiful saffron colour. Don’t let them burn.

Toast the breadcrumbs: toast the breadcrumbs in a dry frying pan for 5-8 minutes, or until they are a golden colour. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. You can add some oil if you prefer. You can also make them in a 150C oven—they’ll take about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the cauliflower: put the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 60ml of water into a separate pan. Bring to the boil and then add the cauliflower. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, or until the cauliflower is extremely soft. Check every now and then to make sure there is enough water—don’t let this boil dry—and add more if necessary.

Once the cauliflower is soft, make a well in the middle of the cauliflower and add the garlic, anchovies and pepper flakes. Sizzle over low heat until the anchovies have broken down and merged with the rest of the ingredients in the pan.

Now add to the cauliflower the saffron onions, currants (and any remaining wine), parsley and marjoram.

Your sauce is now ready.

Cook the pasta according to the package directions whenever you are ready to eat. Reserve about 60ml of the cooking water when you drain it. You will add this to the finished dish.

To serve, combine the pasta and sauce and toss well. Add the reserved cooking water and heat over a low flame for a minute or two until it’s hot and well blended. Top with the breadcrumbs and serve with a glass of white wine, imagining yourself on a balcony in Sicily.

Recipe adapted from Christopher Boswell, Pasta: Recipes from the Kitchen of the American Academy in Rome (2013).

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: For the man who doesn’t like kale

January 3, 2020 by General Administrator

Here is an excellent topping for punchy vegetables such as kale. The key ingredient is fresh turmeric root, which you can get at Gaia, on Regent Place in Leamington, and doubtless elsewhere. You whizz up the turmeric with cashew butter, the juice of a few of the clementines you have hanging around from Christmas, and a bit of mustard.

The original recipe (from The First Mess) combined this with raw, shredded Brussels sprouts, toasted sesame seeds, sliced spring onions and fresh dill to make a very good slaw but I think this will go well on top of anything in the brassica family. This recipe is dedicated to the nice person at Canalside just before Christmas who swapped his unwanted kale for my unwanted rosemary.

Super Turmeric Sauce
serves 2

2 tablespoons cashew butter
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
juice of 3 clementines
2 inch piece of fresh turmeric, peeled
5 tbsp olive oil

Combine the ingredients in a blender and whizz until smooth.

Recipe adapted from The First Mess, where you can find the recipe for the Brussels sprouts slaw, and also a salty maple-roasted squash and ginger rice which goes very well with it.

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Spicy Coconut Cauliflower

May 9, 2019 by General Administrator

Cumin-scented cauliflower, yellow from turmeric, cooks with Canalside chile and a subtle coconut-poppy seed glaze. The result is spicy, satisfying and beautiful. Eat it topped with toasted almonds, fresh coriander, yoghurt and a squeeze of lime. Yotam recommends serving with flatbread, but it’s pretty delicious just on its own.

Poppy-Seed Cauliflower with Coconut
Serves 2

40g poppy seeds
60ml sunflower oil
½ – 1 Canalside dried red chile, de-seeded if desired, and shredded
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced fine
1 large cauliflower and leaves, broken into 4cm-sized florets, leaves shredded
150ml coconut milk (approx.)
To serve
1 handful fresh coriander, shredded
1 small handful flaked almonds, lightly toasted in a dry pan
plain yoghurt
1 lime, halved

Put the poppy seeds in a small bowl. Pour over just enough boiling water to cover them. Leave them for half an hour, and then whiz them in a blender or food processor, or crush them in a mortar and pestle, so that they begin to break up a bit. Set aside.
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large sauté pan for which you have a lid. When it is hot add the chile, turmeric, cumin and garlic. Turn the heat to medium and sauté for 4 minutes, stirring often, until the garlic starts to brown and the mixture gives off a nice smell.
Add the cauliflower leaves and florets and toss with the spices. Stir for 2 minutes, until the cauliflower has turned an attractive yellow.
Add the coconut milk and the poppy seeds. Add enough coconut milk to make a little sauce, but not so much that it is soupy. Turn the heat down a little and cover. Cook for 4 more minutes, until the cauliflower has begun to soften.
Uncover and turn the heat up to medium-high. Cook for 8 more minutes, stirring regularly, until the cauliflower is tender and has begun to caramelise and the liquid has evaporated.
Serve topped with fresh coriander, toasted almonds, yoghurt and a squeeze of lime.

Recipe adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi, The Guardian, 16 Feb. 2019.

Ali’s Recipe of the Week: One for the Store-cupboard

April 25, 2019 by General Administrator

Rebecca’s having a break this week and hopes to be back with another recipe next week.

With the cauliflower crop getting going, the moment may have arrived to do the first preserving of the year (that is, if you haven’t already made marmalade, perhaps using some delicious La Jimena seville oranges).

Piccalilli is as versatile as any savoury preserve in that you can flex the recipe according to what is available. Most piccalilli recipes call for courgettes, green beans, tomatoes, and other summer veg. However, if all you have is roots and PSB (purple sprouting broccoli) that combination will also make a perfectly good version of this tangy preserve. Luckily my book of preserves from the Women’s Institute can oblige with a suitably flexible recipe for any time of year! I’ve been know to make a version with cauliflower, onions (admittedly these are perhaps the two essential vegetables), carrot and swede!

Many piccalilli recipes call for the vegetables to be brined overnight, but this one breaks that rule, which simplifies the recipe and results in a delicious accompaniment for a ploughman’s lunch. And unlike chutneys which rely on evaporation of the liquid to thicken the preserve (which can sometimes take hours), as this one is thickened with flour it has a much shorter cooking time.

Accommodating Piccalilli from the W.I.
Makes about 2.7kg (6lb) = 6 average sized jam jars
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

1 large cauliflower, broken into florets
450g (1lb) pickling onions – if you’ve still got any little Canalside onions left, they’d be perfect!
1.4L (2 1/2 pints) white malt vinegar (apple cider vinegar also works well)
900g (2lb) mixed vegetables, diced or cut into 2.5cm (1 inch) lengths
2 fat cloves of garlic
450g (1lb) caster sugar
50g (2oz) dry mustard (i.e. mustard powder)
115g (4oz) plain white flour, sieved
25g (1oz) ground turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp salt

In a large preserving pan, summer the cauliflower and onions in 1.1litres (2 pints) of the vinegar for 10 minutes.

Add the other vegetables, garlic and sugar and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Mix the mustard, flour. spices and salt with the remaining vinegar and add to the cooked vegetables, stirring all the time to prevent lumps from forming.

Stir well and simmer for a further 10 minutes.

Spoon into cooled and sterilised jars and cover with vinegar proof tops. Label and store for at least 2 weeks before using. It will keep for months (I think I’ve even kept it for more than a year) with the flavour improving and mellowing as it ages.

From ‘Best Kept Secrets of the Women’s Institute: Jams, Pickles and Preserves’ by Midge Thomas

Rebecca’s recipe of the week: A Very Pleasant Soup (made with carrot and cauliflower)

April 6, 2017 by General Administrator

This week’s recipe is for a really nice carrot and cauliflower soup.

Lemony Carrot and Cauliflower Soup
Serves 4

1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and diced
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
500g carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1½ teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons white miso
1 small cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
½ teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice, or to taste
a little more olive oil, for serving
smoked paprika, for serving
coarse sea salt, for serving
coriander leaves, chopped, for serving

In a large, dry pot over medium heat, toast coriander seeds for 2-3 minutes, or until fragrant and dark golden-brown. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and crush coarsely.
Return the pot to medium heat. Add the oil and heat until warm. Stir in onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly coloured, 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute more.
Add carrots, crushed coriander seeds, salt and 6 cups water to the pot. Stir in the miso until it dissolves. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook, uncovered, 5 minutes. Stir in cauliflower and cook, covered, over medium-low heat until the vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes.
Remove the soup from the heat. Using an immersion blender, purée the soup until smooth. You can of course also use a blender.
When you’re ready to serve, stir in the lemon zest and juice, drizzle with a little olive oil, and sprinkle with paprika, sea salt and coriander.

(Recipe adapted from New York Times Cooking.)

Rebecca’s recipe of the week: Super Noodles!

March 17, 2017 by General Administrator

This recipe can be made with either cauliflower or sprouting broccoli. Do you have any coriander left over from last week? Use it here!
Frying tofu transforms it from soft (and bland) to crispy and very, very tasty. ‘Keep your hands off that tofu!’ I had to tell my sons whenever I made this, or else there wouldn’t be any left to add to the finished dish.

Coriander Noodle Bowl
Serves 4.

one Canalside cauliflower or 120g sprouting broccoli
1 bunch of fresh coriander
zest of one lemon
juice of half a lemon
2 large cloves of garlic
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon salt
150ml olive oil (for the dressing)
250g soba noodles
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil (for frying the tofu)
280g firm tofu (this is the weight of a standard packet of tofu, but you don’t need to be precise about getting exactly this amount)

Cut the cauliflower into nice, bite-sized florets. If you’re using sprouting broccoli split any very thick pieces into thinner sprigs.

Bring a big pot of salted water to the boil.

Meanwhile, make a dressing: blend the coriander, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, cayenne, salt and olive oil together using a food processor or hand blender, or, if you’re so inclined, you can chop them together by hand. Taste it to see if it needs any more salt, or perhaps some more lemon juice. If it’s too thick you can add more olive oil. Once you’re happy with the taste set it aside while you cook the noodles and vegetables.

Cook the soba noodles in the boiling water. They should take about six-eight minutes to cook but check the packet.

WHEN THEY ARE NEARLY TENDER (about a minute or so before they are done) ADD THE CAULIFLOWER OR BROCCOLI and cook for the noodles and vegetables together for a final minute or so. You don’t want to really cook the vegetables much. (Unless you hate very al-dente vegetables—in that case add them sooner and cook them longer.)

Drain the noodles and vegetables and toss with the dressing. Set aside while you prepare the tofu.

Slice up the tofu as if you were making chips. You can make thin or thick sticks, as you prefer.

Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat until it’s hot, and fry the tofu, a little at a time. Turn it carefully so that all sizes get nicely crispy and golden. Remove the crispy bits as they cook and add them to your noodle mixture.

When all the tofu has been fried toss everything together and serve.

(adapted from 101 Cookbooks.)

Jo’s cauliflower recipe suggestions

May 21, 2012 by General Administrator

Below, please find:
Perfect Creamy Cauliflower Soup
Cauliflower & Pea Cream Soup
Toasted sandwich filling
From Jo Wheeler, here are a couple of soup recipes using cauliflower, both taken from ‘Fit For Life’ by Harvey & Marilyn Diamond. She says they’re both really nice, and she adds, “Sorry if the recipes look quite lengthy – it’s mostly herbs & stuff, so don’t be too daunted!”

Perfect Creamy Cauliflower Soup

2 Tbspns butter
1 Tbspn olive oil
1 med onion – chopped
6-8 spring onions – chopped
1 clove garlic – chopped
2 stalks celery – chopped
2 med cauliflower (hooray!) – cored & coarsely chopped
1/2 tspn sea salt
1/2 tspn curry powder (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tspn dried thyme
1 tspn dried basil
1 tspn dried marjoram or savoury
6 cups water (though I find I often need to add more later on)
2 Tbspns light miso or 2 tspns veg bouillon
Freshly grated nutmeg to taste (optional)

In large pan, melt butter & add oil. Add onion, spring onions, garlic, celery & cauliflower. Then add seasonings, mix well & cook uncovered over med heat for seversal mins – stir frequently.

Add water & miso (or bouillon), bring to boil & simmer, covered, over med heat for 15 mins or until cauli is tender.

Puree until smooth, adding nutmeg if desired.


Cauliflower & Pea Cream Soup.

5 cups water
1 med onion – chopped
1 stalk celery – chopped
2 spring onions – chopped
1 med cauliflower – cored & chopped into 1″ florets
1 teaspn sea salt (optional)
1 Tbspn white miso or 1 teaspn veg bouillon
2 cups fresh or frozen peas
1 teaspn dried dill (or 2 Tbspns fresh)
1 Tbspn fresh parsley -chopped
1 teaspn dried basil
1/4 teaspn dried sage
1/4 cup fresh coriander
2 teaspns butter

In large pan, bring water to boil. Add onion, celery, spring onions, califlower, salt & miso/bouillon. Return to boil & simmer, covered, for 10 mins. Add peas & herbs, return to boil & simmer for further 10 mins. Puree until smooth & add butter when reheating. Adjust seasonings.


Jo says, “Mashed cauliflower also makes a surprisingly delicious toasted sandwich filling (honestly!!) but it doesn’t use very much of it at a time. Just steam some, then mash it with some mayo, dijon mustard, finely chopped celery & season to taste. Top with alfalfa, grated carrot, shredded lettuce etc & toast the whole sandwich in a sandwich toaster (buttered side out!) Yum!! (My kids LOVE these)

You could also just stuff in a regular sandwich, wrap, or pita & omit the toasting bit.”

Judy’s cauliflower recipe suggestions

by General Administrator

Below, please find:
Cauliflower and mustard seed
Cauliflower and potato
Roasted cauliflower

From Judy Steele come two curry style recipes. She says, “the first one has been a favourite in our house for at least 30 years. The one below is more substantial and a bit more fiddly but very good”

Cauliflower with mustard seeds

One cauliflower, divided into florets
1 dessertspoon yellow or brown mustard seeds
vegetable oil and butter for frying
2.5cm piece root ginger grated
1 tsp turmeric
3 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
Salt and pepper

Heat oil and butter, and when very hot add mustard seeds. They will soon start to pop out of the pan. Add ginger and turmeric and stir, then add cauliflower and stir to coat all the pieces. Sprinkle the rest of the spices on top, and stir and fry again. Add two or three tablespoons of water, cover tightly with a lid, and allow to cook gently until just tender and water has evaporated.
Cauliflower and potato

The recipe suggests deep frying the potato and cauliflower first, but I don’t think it’s necessary, and it’s healthier not to. See what you think.

1lb potatoes
1 cauliflower
sunflower oil
1tsp cumin seed
2 bay leaves
pinch asafoetida (optional)
1tsp sugar
1tsp turmeric
salt to taste
1 ½ tablespoons grated ginger
2 tbsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander
2 ripe tomatoes or canned tomatoes
4 tbsp yogurt
1tsp chilli (or one chopped chilli) (optional)

Peel or scrub potatoes, divide cauliflower into florets. Heat a small amount of oil and add cumin seed, bay leaves and asafoetida. When seeds pop, add everything except yogurt, potato and cauliflower. Add yogurt a spoonful at a time, stirring well between spoonfuls till it is mixed in. Stir and fry the mixture until you see oil coming to the surface. Then add water to come about half way up the vegetables. Cover and cook until vegetables are tender. You can bubble down the sauce if it’s too thin at the end, or add water to thin it down if you think it’s too thick.

Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s roasted cauliflower

You can also do this on the barbecue, but leave the florets a bit bigger
than if you were going to roast them in the oven. He says have them as a
nibble with drinks.
1 cauliflower
2 lemons
Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp smoked paprika

Heat the oven to 220C/425F/gas mark 7. Cut the cauliflower into medium-sized
florets, rinse and let some of the water remain clinging to the florets. Put
them in a bowl, squeeze over the juice from one of the lemons, and season
Put the florets on a baking sheet and toss them with olive oil and more salt
and pepper. Dust on the paprika, cut the remaining lemon into six segments
and scatter these in the tin. Bake for 25-30 minutes, turning once, until
slightly caramelised at the edges. Squeeze over the juice from the roasted
lemon segments and serve at once, scattered with a little flaky sea salt.

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