Discovering Cauliflower Rice

Another one of those ‘hmmm, not sure’ moments.  Really?  Does that even work?

We don’t eat enough cauliflower.  It’s one of those ‘old school’ vegetables that seem to have fallen out of food fashion here in the UK.

This adventure followed Mrs FoodFitForFelix’s trip to a Paleo workshop at Whole Foods and a recommendation by some good friends.  It’s a good idea to reduce our weekly grain intake and add more variation wherever we can.

Take a cauliflower (or Romanesco Broccoli as that’s what we had to hand), remove the stalk and blitz it in a food processor until it resembles rice.  Fry it for about 5 minutes on a low heat in a splash of oil.  Season.  Done.  Easy.

Romanesco Cauliflower - natural approximation of a fractal

Before

Raw Cauliflower rice

After

We chose to use a tablespoon of coconut oil due to it’s health benefits and serve it alongside Vietnamese chicken and sweet potato curry.

Vietnamese Curry with Cauliflower Rice

Verdict: Amazing. Love it!  This is going to make a regular appearance in our household.  I love discovering new things like this and it’s made all the better by the fact that it’s so good for you. Delicious.  What a great way to eat more (cheap) vegetables AND reduce carbohydrate intake.

The next step is to start experimenting with different seasonings and replicating recipes that include sweated onion and garlic etc.  The coconut oil produced a beautiful subtle flavour and I’d be interested to see how it turns out with rapeseed or olive oil.  I can imagine eating bowls of it as a ‘salad’ with sultanas, nuts, pomegranate seeds and herbs, like you might lift couscous or rice dishes. Lime and coriander? So many possibilities.

Comforting Corn Chowder

From simple things comes greatness.  This is a wonderful example of how a few humble ingredients can be transformed into delicious comfort food with relative ease.  In the last of this month’s Food Revolution challenges, the Ambassadors were asked to make a hearty corn chowder (recipe provided).  The idea is to propagate the recipe, putting our own spin on it and showcasing the concept with friends, family and colleagues.

We had a perfect opportunity with a dinner party already scheduled in the calendar, and I’m glad to say it was easy to adapt the recipe to make it wheat, gluten and dairy free for our guests.  Using soya milk did effect the balance and warranted additional seasoning to counter the sweetness.

Ingredients for Jamie Oliver's Corn Chowder

Ingredients

  • 2 cups frozen sweetcorn (approximately 4 ears)
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • A few celery leaves, chopped
  • 1 potato, cubed
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp gluten free flour
  • 750ml soya milk
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh chives and parsley

Method

Fry the diced onion, celery and thyme in butter until they soften and start to brown.

Sprinkle in the flour and stir for a few minutes to cook it out.

Add the potato and milk and bring it to the boil, stirring all the time so that it doesn’t stick and burn.

Once the potatoes are tender (about 10 minutes), stir in the corn, spring onions and celery leaves.

Bring it back to boil and serve.

Corn Chowder for the JOFR Ambassador challengep.s. I love the idea of smashing up a few crackers to sprinkle over the top.

Meals from Meals

Making meals from the remnants of other meals is essentially what I do most days, unless of course I’ve pre-planned a specific meal and bought exactly what I need in advance.

I truly believe that being able to peer into your fridge and cupboards and put a meal together from whatever you find, is the cornerstone of food education that we’re now lacking, especially here in the United Kingdom.  It’s the classic Masterchef ‘Mystery Box’ challenge although I wouldn’t say my food was that refined.  It ties into food waste, healthy eating and balanced diets.  It enables us to reduce food bills and make wonderful meals that are nutritious and tasty, and it encourages people to experiment in the kitchen and make more of what we have.

Personally, there aren’t many things that I find as satisfying as producing a great meal for my family from what many people would deem ‘nothing’.

I recall gloomy days at university when my housemates and I would repeatedly wander into the kitchen and peer into the cupboards looking for something to eat, eventually accepting defeat and inevitably going to the pub.  There’s little I’d want to change in my life, but I can tell you that I really wish I’d acquired the skills to enable me to ‘rustle something up’: the cupboards were never truly empty – nobody’s cupboards really ever are.  To make it worse, I was already a pretty confident cook back then…

It isn’t something that’s difficult, but there’s no doubt that this particular skill comes from experience, and herein lies the problem; people just don’t cook enough anymore.

It’s super-important for younglings to be taught food education and cooking skills in school, but it’s equally important they’re taught the right skills…  I’m fairly certain I haven’t made a Swiss Roll since 1993.

I had the pleasure of setting the first of this months Jamie Oliver Food Revolution challenges.  A very proud moment for me, which was only outshone by the terrific level of engagement by fellow Ambassadors around the world.  The concept was simple: go and create something delicious from whatever leftovers you find in your fridge.

Give it a go – but then go and tell someone about it!

#KeepCookingSkillsAlive

http://www.jamieoliver.com/us/foundation/jamies-food-revolution/news-content/october-monthly-challenges

Here’s what you can do with some leftover chicken, a packet of noodles and some frozen vegetables.  Plenty more to follow.

JOFR Leftover Challenge

Spooky Spoots

October Food Revolution Challenge time.  Now, as Halloween and its deluge of nastiness is nearly upon us, the Food Revolution decided that the ambassadors should scare themselves…

Scary.

Are there things that scare me?  I suppose there are, but I really love heading out into the unknown – it’s one of the reasons I love cooking so much.  On the other hand, there are expensive ingredients which I’d be nervous about not doing justice to.

They did however specify that the scary-factor could come from cooking a recipe that your family might not like.  Hmmm; picturing tantrums at the dinner table.  Ok, fairly scary.

So what about Razor Clams aka ‘Spoots’ now that we are just out of spawning season.  The Scottish name comes from the way they ‘spoot’ a fountain of water out of the sand.

They really are quite beautiful and fascinating little creatures. Alas I didn’t hunt these ones myself, although it is on my Bucket List to coax a few out of the sand with a tub of table salt.

I cooked these just like mussels; simply steaming them in white wine with a little butter and garlic for a couple of minutes (until they open).

A plate of Razor Clams

Did they like them?   Maybe we’ll try again next year.

Top Tip: don’t eat the dark parts…