Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Cauliflower "Schnitzels" with Fruity Salsa

I was a vegetarian for 22 years, at times eating fish and at times eating vegan. Yet, I never felt the need to eat meat replacements. So no veggie sausages and the like for me. During my transition in the mid- to late 80's I tried soja mince and tofu but both left me cold. I realised that eating vegetarian food can be very satisfying and emulating your meat and two veg was completely unnecessary.

About five years ago, I started eating meat again because my body craved it though most of our meals are still vegetarian.

The other day I wondered what it would be like to do something different with cauliflower and the "schnitzels" – though I don't like calling them that but can't think of anything else –were the result. We had them tonight and, OMG, they were sooooo yummy. I think this may very well become one of our staples.

Instead of simply drizzling the schnitzels with lemon juice, I concocted a fruity salsa that is really gorgeous and would also go well with steamed or fried fish.

Cauliflower schnitzels:
1 cauliflower
bread crumbs
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 egg
olive oil

Fruity salsa:
2 kiwis, finely cubed, half of the cubes mashed
zest of half a lime
juice of half a lime
juice and flesh of half an orange
1/2 red chili, deseeded and finely sliced
fresh coriander chopped, if at hand
1 tsp of honey

1.First  made the salsa by mixing all the above ingredients to give them a chance to marinate. I didn't have any coriander but think it would go really well with this salsa.

2. Next, I removed the leaves from the cauliflower and cut it into 2 cm thick slices. I cut off too much of the stalk and ended up with lots of bits and only two actual slices. Lesson learned.

3. Boils plenty of water, add salt and pepper and blanch the cauliflower for 3 minutes. Remove and plunge into iced water to prevent it from cooking further. Pat dry with paper towel or a clean dish towel.

4. Beat the egg in a deep plate, season with pepper and salt. Pour the breadcrumbs onto a dinner plate. Dip the cauliflower slices into the egg first and into the breadcrumbs next. Do the same with the remainder of the cauliflower

5. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan. Fry the cauliflower schnitzels and florets over a medium heat for 10-15 minutes until they're golden and the vegetables are tender.

6. Serve with the salsa.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Cauliflower and Broccoli Bake with Breadcrumb Topping

The aubergine is optional. I put it in because I didn't want to waste it. Great as a side dish or  with a leafy salad as a main dish.

1 small cauliflower
1 head of broccoli
1 Kabanossi sausage
1/2 aubergine
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
200 g sourdough bread
fresh herbs, rosemary, thyme & sage or basil, thyme & oregano or coriander & lime zest
1 garlic clove
1 red chili
extra virgin olive oi
fresh lime or lemon juice

1. Cut the bread into chunks. Peel the garlic. Half and deseed the chili. Wash the herbs and chop very coarsely. Place all the ingredients into a food processor. Season with pepper and add some olive oil. Add more olive oil as required. Set aside.

2. Cut the cauliflower and broccoli into florets. Place into two separate steamer inserts. Start with the cauliflower. Steam for 5 minutes. Place the steamer insert with the broccoli on top and steam for a further 3 minutes. Remove and rinse both vegetables immediately under very cold water or plunge into a bowl of water and ice cubes. Drain and pat dry.

3. Slice the aubergine and cut into small bits. Finely slice the Kabanossi.

4. Lightly oil an oven-proof dish an add all the vegetables, season with pepper and salt and drizzle with oil. Scatter the Kabanossi slices over the top. Cover with tin foil and bake in a preheated oven at 200 °C/gas mark 5 for 30 minutes.

5. Remove the cover and top with the breadcrumbs. Bake for a further 10 minutes until the breadcrumbs are golden. To serve drizzle with a little lime or lemon juice.

1. For a vegetarian version omit the sausage. It'll still be as tasty.
2. Use chorizo instead of Kabanossi sausage.

Pork Tenderloin in Filo Pastry

I got the idea for this recipe from something my mum told me about involving puff pastry and bratwurst sausage meat (Bratwurstbrät, for my German readers). But I thought puff pastry would make this dish really rich and I do love filo pastry. Also, I can't get the raw bratwurst meat here in the UK but there are lots of sausages, all raw, to choose from. In the end, we settled on cippolatas and I had a rough idea what I was going to do with the ingredients when a thought struck me. Apples! I love apples with pork. So here's how it turned out. Do I have to say that it was just D E L I C I O U S? ;)

As there are just two of us, I cut the pork fillet in half and made two parcels one of which I popped in the freezer for another time.

Also, I'll leave the quantities for potatoes and broccoli up to you. We eat a lot of vegetables, a whole 500 g head of broccoli in this instance, and didn't have a starter or dessert with this.

(serves 4-6)

1 large pork tenderloin, approx. 500 g
400 g of pork sausages of your choice
2 apples
1 packet of filo pastry, 250 g
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2-3 garlic cloves
olive oil
broccoli florets
small potatoes

1. Place the potatoes in the bottom part of a steamer, add salt and pepper. Boil some water and pour over the potatoes. Cover and boil for 5 minutes. In the meantime, cut the broccoloi into florets, wash and place into the steamer section. Season with pepper and salt. Place on top of the potatoes, cover and steam for 3 minutes. Remove the broccoli and rinse under icecold water to prevent the veg from cooking further. Pat dry with kitchen paper. Boil the potatoes for another 2 minutes, then drain. Place the potatoes and broccoli into a roasting tray, season with pepper and salt and drizzle with olive oil. Set aside.

2. Remove the skin from the sausages and place the meat into a bowl or plate. Crush the garlic and mix. Set aside.

3. Quarter and core the apples and cut into thin slices. Heat a little butter in a frying pan and fry the apples until golden. Remove from the pan and set aside.

4. Heat a little olive oil in the same frying pan. Season the meat with pepper and salt on both sides and fry for a minute on each side until browned. Remove and set aside.

5. Pour a generous amount of olive oil into a small dish. Place the first sheet of filo pastry on your worktop and lightly oil it. Add the next sheet and keep repeating until all the filo sheets have been used up.

6. Now assemble the dish. Spread the sausage meat onto the filo pastry leaving a generous rim to allow the pastry to be folded over and seal the contents in. Next, scatter the apple slices over the sausage meat. Now, place the tenderloin on top of the apples. Fold the pastry in from the sides, then from the top and bottom. Lightly oil all around. Turn so the seam is underneath. With a sharp knife cut a couple of crosses into the pastry and peal back the four corners. This will allow the steam to exit while cooking the meat.

7. Heat the oven to 200 °C/gas mark 5. Make room in the middle of the roasting tray and add the meat. Cook in the oven for approx. 45 minutes until the pastry is golden and the meat is cooked.