Braised cauliflower with mustard sauce

This is a thing of beauty.

At least for me.

The first time I cooked this meal my daughter was still an omnivorous human and my older son had regular panick fits imagining that a meal could potentially not have some kind of meat.

After eating this for the first time my daughter said: “if you want us to eat vegetables, this is how you have to cook them”.

Please don’t blush daughter, you’ve come a long way. She is now ferociously vegan (but not that annoying kind, after all, her boyfriend is a meat afficionado); my oldest son no longer contemplates murder whenever we have a vegan meal (which is quite often) and has a vegan girlfriend. Our youngest prefers vegan butter and oat milk to their dairy equivalents. Our middle son (where is the middle? I don’t know, but I also don’t know how to designate him, number 3 perhaps?) never liked meat much.

I am not by any means saying that society is headed to veganism – yes I am,🎼 la-di-da -, what I am suggesting is that there are other ways of eating that do not pollute as much as the meat industry and they are good.

Perhaps even healthier and certainly more fun.

It’s a question of common sense: there is a plethora of vegetables and only 5 main kinds of meat you can eat. Look at the incredible array of vegetables you can cook.

Brocoli, cauliflower, aubergine, courgette, tomatoes, all kinds of beans (part of the Protein Group and the Vegetable Group), spinach, pak choi, asparagus, peppers, sweet potato, onions, garlic, ginger, cucumber, mushrooms (technically a fungi, which is another one of those that bridges food groups), pumpkins, peas, carrots… There is even an emoji for most of them. I know some of them are symbolic (🍆🍑 – what??)

We’ll leave it there, I guess I have proved my point.

So this dish is usually eaten either with rice, couscous or quinoa because it is quite rich. The meat lovers can use it as a side.

By the way, let me tell you that the bad rep quinoa has is a mystery to me. Maybe it has had smug advocates, maybe the clean eating gang? Has it somewhat imperiously been considered the food of the gods? I don’t know. Truth is I love it because it is light and pretty nice. A bit like rice, you will not eat it on its own of course. (You will, however, support Peruvian economy if you do eat it as per https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/jul/17/quinoa-threat-food-security-improving-peruvian-farmers-lives-superfood.)

I sometimes feel that people have high expectations for healthy food that go way beyond what they expect from what they normally eat. Quinoa, like rice, needs a perking up from whatever you eat it with. Which is what happens to boiled potatoes, pasta etc. It has to have something else going for them.

So here we go.

Ingredients:

Olive oil

3 cloves of garlic

Salt & Peppa (ha!) to taste

Half a head of cauliflower

For the sauce:

1/3 of Alpro Soya Cream

A splash of Mustard (the kind you like)

Italian herb mix

Cut the cauliflower florets in two after profusely washing them with running water.

IMG_7794.jpg
See the stalk up there on the left? That’s cauliflower too, only not in the shape of mini-trees. Use it as well, cut into small bits. I have seen way too many people throw it away as if food always had to be delivered by mother nature in cute shapes.
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See the leaves? Keep them, they’re delicious.

Ok, so the next step is pretty easy. Mince the garlic and throw it in a pan with a splash of olive oil. Not too much or the sauce will be too rich. Add the cauliflower, a pinch of coarse salt and ground pepper. You will have to mix quite often because there is a fine line between unedibly burnt and braised. You want the latter.

 

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See?

In the meantime, start your mustard sauce.

In a mug or a bowl splash some mustard sauce. Add the Soya Cream, some salt and Italian herbs. Mix it with a spoon until the sauce is yellow. If it isn’t add more mustard.

 

 

I did not measure the time because I am not built that way. In our household, time is an immensely elastic and highly subjective thing. Sorry. But I can tell you that it is probably more than 10mns before you can add the sauce in. For two reasons, 1) the cauliflower has to cook, 2) the sauce is absorbed quite quickly so you need it to be done in the last 5mns.

Have you been mixing the cauliflower? Good. Now add the sauce, once the vegetables look like the image above and stir a bit more so that they incorporate the sauce. If you enjoy creamy sauces, turn the heat off almost as soon as the sauce is evenly distributed.

Note: you can also use this sauce with vegan gnocchi. You either add it to the cauliflower or cook it on its own. I personally do not understand how anyone can eat such a thing, but everyone else seems to love it, so there you go.

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