Sophie and Mango have got into the pleasing habit of trying out vegan recipes together on a Wednesday evening. This is not exactly a recipe blog, but a catalogue of trial and error, showing our successful and less than successful cooking adventures.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

So you think you don't like cauliflower?


Such a mundane little vegetable... Hated by millions who have been scarred for life by the floppy, grey, sulphurous mass served up in canteens everywhere. Including me.

It took a long time for me to get around to cooking it myself, so that it was still fresh and crunchy and really quite nice.

This recipe, however, takes it one step further... I always thought that potato and cauliflower curry was the best way to cook it, until one evening, with a fridge full of cauliflower (thanks to my veg box) and an empty tummy, I set about with the aid of Google to find a way to make a meal of it.

Roasted cauliflower
Cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets
Olive oil (or any kind of oil if you don't have it)
Garlic, sliced - as much or as little as you like
Chopped almonds

Put all the ingredients into a roasting dish, cook at 200c for about 20-25 minutes, and prepare to be dazzled.

The original recipe may have used pine nuts rather than almonds, and squeezed lemon juice over at the end, but we didn't have any.


There was little chance I could equal the glory of roast cauliflower, of which this was my first experience. However in my own small way I was able to repay Sophie with her first taste of gazpacho. Note that this is what I call gazpacho, loosely adapted from what I remember of my mum's recipe (one of my dad's favourites). My gazpacho has been severely criticised by a Spanish person. However, since said person turned up to 'help' me cook for 30 people about 20 minutes before serving time, then when I asked him to go and get 3kg of ripe apricots from the market, came back with 1/2kg of unripe apricots from the supermarket, I didn't take his criticism very seriously. It's one of my favourites too, although I've been disappointed the last few times I've made it.

1 cucumber
1 red pepper
1/2 red onion
2-3 cloves garlic
6-8 ripe medium tomatoes
Olive oil, lots
Cider vinegar, good splash
Unrefined salt

I know there is a proper way of doing this where you soak stale bread in vinegar and so on, but I can't be bothered and don't ever have any stale bread. I did idly wonder if any delicatessens sell ready-staled bread at inflated prices, but I don't particularly want to find out. I keep back half the cucumber and pepper, then chuck everything else in and liquidise it. You can adjust the oil, vinegar and salt according to taste at the end. Then I finely chop the remaining pepper and cucumber and stir in for crunch. This time it turned out not bad at all, even if I do say so myself.

I also made

Potato salad
Salad potatoes
Red onion, not too much
Fresh basil
Soya cream
Olive oil

Chop the potatoes into quite big pieces and boil or steam until cooked but not too soft. Finely chop the red onion and basil. Cool the potatoes when they're cooked, then mix everything together. This simple recipe originally came from another community I lived in in France. The lady who did most of the cooking was actually a raw-foodist but cooked food for other people. The potatoes were our own, grown in well-rotted toilet compost (yes, that's human poo). The yield was incredible; digging a patch of soil yielded lovely handfuls of golden potato nuggets. They don't seem to have many slugs in the South of France, only the long stripy ones that live in the woods and don't eat potatoes. I wasn't that impressed with it this time, but sometimes it's really nice. Maybe one day I'll work out why.

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