Tag Archives: cauliflower

So what’s the alternative to chips?

FullSizeRender-16

If you have ever tried to give up carbs, or even just tried to eat fewer of them then I don’t need to tell you how hard it is to feel full – and how easy it is to feel deprived.

Now I am seven years into my own carb-free journey, I am much less deranged with deprivation than I was for the first year during which I would – literally – go to bed dreaming about bread, cake and crisps. But there is no denying the fact that sometimes all the green veg in the world, delicious as they may be, just don’t quite cut the mustard on the fullness front.

And, since the secret to being happy on a carb-free diet is to find ways not to feel deprived, these three dishes are total stalwarts on my weekly menu, being that holy trinity of easy, delicious – and satisfying.

They each involve quite large and unwieldy vegetables though, so these are three recipes where it really pays to have a robust and sharp knife and, in the case of the cauliflower rice, a food processor. Having said that, I have made it with a grater, and it’s fine – just a bit more work. The other thing to mention about cauliflower rice is that when I first made it, I used to microwave it, which totally does the trick. But roasting it, with a bit of oil, both brings out the flavour and dries it out too, which is a good thing when you are eating it with curry or something else a little bit saucy that needs mopping up.

The faff of both the celeriac and the squash is mainly in the preparation. You really do need a decent peeler but once you have one – I use the sharp peeler from Lakeland which is under a fiver but honestly the best peeler I have ever used – you will make short work of even the toughest and rootiest veg. And the faff-factor is so worth it for the resulting crispy gorgeousness, which is so good it can even eclipse actual chips!

FullSizeRender-18

Cauliflower rice

1 medium sized cauliflower

½ fresh chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped

handful chopped coriander

ground nut oil

Preheat the oven to 200C. Remove the outer leaves from the cauliflower, cut it into quarters and remove most of the thick core, then cut each quarter into two or three chunks. To avoid overloading the blender, blitz it in two or three batches, for 30 seconds or so, until the cauliflower resembles fine rice. If you are grating, use the coarse side of the grater.

Toss the rice in a drizzle of oil in a baking tray and spread it out to a thin, even layer. Then roast for 12 minutes, mixing halfway through cooking. Season after cooking, and add the finely chopped chilli and coriander (or other herbs, depending on what you are making to serve with it).

FullSizeRender-17

Celeriac chips with home-made aioli.

 1 celeriac

ground nut oil

salt and pepper

paprika

Preheat the oven to 190C.
 Wash and peel the celeriac, which is no mean feat! Slice off the top and bottom and cut the celeriac into thumb-thick slices and then into fat chip shapes (or thin, if you prefer).

Put in to a large bowl and toss in a little oil, and sea salt then put into the oven. After 15 minutes carefully toss the chips with two spatulas (so they don’t disintegrate) then cook for another 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Season with a dusting of paprika.

Aioli

½ small clove garlic , peeled

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

1 large free-range egg yolk

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

285 ml extra virgin olive oil

285 ml olive oil

lemon juice , to taste

Smash up the garlic with one teaspoon of salt in a pestle and mortar, or with the flat of a large knife. Place the egg yolk and mustard in a bowl and whisk together, then start to add your oils bit by bit. Once you’ve blended in a quarter of the oil, you can start to add the rest in larger amounts. When the mixture thickens, add lemon juice. When all the oil has gone in, add the garlic then season to taste. Et voila!

FullSizeRender-19

Spicy butternut squash

1 squash

oil

salt and pepper

mild chilli powder

Preheat your oven to 190C. Peel and de-seed your squash, cut into 1cm cubes as evenly as possible (easier said than done, so don’t get too hung up on accuracy).

Before putting into the roasting pan, I put them into a large bowl to toss them in oil using my hands to make sure they are evenly coated. Once in the pan, shake pretty liberal quantities of chilli powder and sea salt and again, toss to make sure they are coated. A word about chilli powders: I use Sainsbury’s mild chilli powder which is as good as its word but be warned that other types of mild chilli powders can be no such thing so it is a good idea to proceed with caution if you haven’t tried whatever brand you are using before.

Roast for 25-30 minutes before gently tossing and dislodging any cubes that are stuck, and finish cooking for another 20 or so minutes or until they are totally soft when you fork them, and deliciously chewy and caramelised.

Pizza (yes you can)

IMG_2343IMG_2344

I’d heard tell that you could make pizza using cauliflower but, frankly, dismissed the idea out of hand: repulsive, obviously – right?

But then someone sent me a link to this recipe and, in a fit of New Year ‘Why not?’-ness I decided to try it. Because pizza is probably the best example of something you that you don’t even allow yourself to hanker after, after a while on a carb-free diet – because what’s the point? You will never, ever have pizza again, I used to tell myself on particularly dark days, looking woefully at Tom’s empty ‘lone wolf’ pizza delivery box. But it’s not true! I tried this; it was super-easy to make and took a total of about eleven and a half minutes to prepare and twenty minutes to cook. I used ready-made pasta sauce for the topping, plus ham and mushrooms that I happened to have in the fridge, which puts it into the category of a very quick, very easy, and also pleasingly fun supper.

And the other thing to mention is…you know that stuffed-to-the-brim feeling you get after eating a whole pizza? Like you yourself have morphed into a (slightly regretful) giant dough-ball? You just don’t get that when the base is made from cauliflower.

I served it with a zingy coleslaw made with carrot, spring onion, cabbage, and raw beetroot (which makes it quite beautiful to look at) and home-made mayo. And a green salad. Then we scoffed the lot! So, now we can eat pizza together, and Tom is a lone wolf no more. Hurrah!

 

1 handful cheese shredded or grated

1 tsp dried oregano

1 eggs beaten

1/2 tsp garlic crushed

1/2 tsp garlic salt (I didn’t have any so used celery salt)

1 handful mushrooms/ham or whatever toppings you like

1 ball mozzarella shredded (I used cheddar because I can’t have mozzarella)

1 cauliflower florets chopped into chunks

1 tbsp tomato sauce for pizzas (I found a jar of pasta sauce made by ‘Organico’ which is just tomato, basil, olive oil garlic i.e. no added sugar: a rarity!)

Rice the cauliflower in the food processor by pulsing until it looks like grain. Do not over-pulse or you will puree it. If you don’t have a food processor, you can grate the whole head with a cheese grater.

Put it into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 8 minutes – without adding water. One large head should produce approximately 3 cups of riced cauliflower (if you have left over you can store it in the fridge for a week).

Preheat the oven to 230C and spray a flat baking tray with non-stick cooking spray (I used quite a lot for fear of sticking).

In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup of cauliflower, the egg and mozzarella. Add oregano, crushed garlic and garlic salt and stir.

Transfer to the baking sheet, and using your hands, pat out into a 9” round. You can brush olive oil over the top of the mixture to help with browning (I didn’t).

Bake for 15 minutes and then remove and cool.

Add sauce, toppings and cheese to the crust. Place under a grill at a high heat just until the cheese is melted, about 3-4 minutes.

Dance a little jig of joy that you are actually about to eat PIZZA!