serves 2–4 | prep 20 mins | cook 20 mins
low calorie | gluten free (if gluten-free cornflakes are used) | dairy free
one of america’s favourite junk food snack indulgences – Buffalo wings – can be morphed into a scrumptious, healthier alternative starring the mighty cauliflower. I can’t take credit for thinking of cauliflower in place of chicken wings – they are popping up on bar snack menus all over the place – but I’ve taken the idea and made it my own with a rather addictive cornflake crumb coating, which bakes to crisp perfection in the oven. These taste wicked, but are actually angelic, and are perfect party fodder or great for slovenly munching in front of the TV. Please read about the cornflake coating in the intro for Pea Fritters.
250 g (9 oz) cauliflower florets, about walnut size – 2–3 cm (1 inch) wide
100 g (31/2 oz) cornflakes (opt for a natural, additive-free brand)
coconut oil spray or other oil spray
For the hot sauce
1 tablespoon coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons tomato ketchup
1/2 tablespoon Sriracha or other hot chilli sauce, or to taste
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
1 small garlic clove, crushed or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Add 1–2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds to the cornflake crumbs for extra flavour.
Baking tray, non-stick foil or baking paper and a food processor for whizzing cornflakes (alternatively crush them in a sealed
1 Bring a pan of well-salted water to the boil. Add the cauliflower and blanch for 1 minute, then remove and rinse under cold water until cool. Drain thoroughly.
2 Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) and line a baking tray. Whizz the cornflakes in a food processor until they resemble very
fine breadcrumbs. Place in a shallow bowl and stir through a good pinch of sea salt.
3 Beat the eggs in a small bowl. Dip each floret first in cornflakes, then in the egg, then in the cornflakes again until well coated and place on the baking tray.
4 Spray each piece of cauliflower a few times with oil. Bake for 20 minutes, or until crisp and firm.
5 Meanwhile, make the hot sauce. Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and gently bring to the boil, stirring frequently. Take off the heat, taste for seasoning and set aside.
6 Once the wings are cooked, transfer the hot sauce to a dipping bowl and the wings to a sharing plate. Eat right away.
serves 4–6 | prep 35 mins | cook 1 hour
feast dish | gluten free | dairy free | vegan
fans of beetroot (beet) will swoon at every stage of creating this homage to the crimson root – especially the eating part – and also engaging with its botanical beauty and watching it do its thing with its unfathomable and savage colour. It’s one of a kind. This is my ultimate treatment for a lovely bunch of relatively freshly dug beetroots, fresh enough that their delicious greens are still shiny and lively, their pink stems still taut and crisp. If the greengrocer has removed this precious cargo from the roots, it is probably because the leaves are past their best – the roots keep much longer than the greens, and it may be late in the season. You can substitute chard or
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) beetroots (beets), about 6 small–medium (untrimmed weight minus weight of greens)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons good balsamic vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
300 g (101/2 oz) beetroot (beet) greens (total bunch weight about 800 g/1 lb 12 oz) or chard or English spinach
300 ml (101/2 fl oz) coconut milk
60 g (21/4 oz) shelled pistachio nuts, pounded or chopped with a large pinch of sea salt
Substitute flaked almonds or hazelnuts if pistachios are not available. Serve with cooked grains or crusty bread and a watercress and avocado salad.
Casserole dish suitable for serving at table – oval or rectangular and approx. 20 x 30 cm (8 x 12 inches), latex or rubber gloves for handling beetroot, if desired, and foil.
1 Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and brush the dish generously with oil. Bring the dish near your chopping board.
2 Scrub the beetroots and drain. (Now you may wish to put on some gloves to stop your hands getting stained.) Do not peel, but cut off the spindly root and any scraggles. Pare the rough bits at the top. Slice quite thinly and toss into the dish as you go.
3 Add the oil and balsamic to the beetroot slices along with salt and pepper. Toss with your hands to coat evenly and spread out to cover the bottom of the dish. Cover with foil, place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
4 Meanwhile, prepare the greens. They tend to harbour a lot of dirt. Rinse both leaves and stems first under cold running water and drain the sink thoroughly. Discard any limp or yellowing leaves. Fill the sink to submerge the greens and jostle them about. Leave them while the remaining grit settles. After about 5–10 minutes, lift them out into a colander.
5 Grab a lidded pan that will accommodate the greens. Chop the leaves and stems roughly and place in the pan as you go. Place the pan over a medium heat with just a pinch of salt (no need to add water unless they have dried off completely). Stir, then cover and cook for about 5–7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the leaves have collapsed. Drain and set aside.
6 When 30 minutes is up on the roots, remove the dish from the oven and distribute the cooked greens over the top. Pour over the coconut milk. Return to the oven for 20 minutes, by which time the roots and greens should be gently bubbling in a thick magenta emulsion.
7 Scatter the crushed pistachios over the top. Return to the oven for 5–7 minutes, until the nuts are light golden. Serve right away, or at room temperature.
Tinned coconut milk may solidify if cool. If you open a tin and find lumps and watery juice, empty into a microwave-safe bowl and nuke for 30 seconds–1 minute, then whisk until smooth.
serves 4–6 | prep 10 mins | cook 20 mins
30 minutes or less | feast dish | good source of protein | gluten free
eggplants (aubergines) are like sponges; they are fabulous for soaking up flavours. Here they are first chargrilled to impart a smoky tone, then they drink up a dousing of wine and honey. This main-course salad is a festival of taste and texture. It can be plated individually or artfully arranged on a platter for sharing.
2 large or 3 medium eggplants (aubergines)
60-90 ml (2–3 fl oz) extra virgin olive oil
100 ml (31/2 fl oz) dry vermouth or white wine
3 tablespoons wine vinegar
11/2 tablespoons runny honey
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large handfuls of baby spinach leaves
200 g (7 oz) crumbly or soft cheese, such as feta or goat’s cheese, broken into chunks
4 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
handful of mint leaves, chopped
75 g (21/2 oz/1/2 cup) shelled pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
Substitute an aged balsamic or balsamic glaze/syrup if pomegranate molasses is unavailable.
Chargrill pan (alternatively fry the eggplants in a large frying pan).
1 Slice the stem off the eggplants. Stand them on the severed end and slice downwards, shaving off and discarding the first and last bit of skin. Make slices 1 cm (1/2 inch) thick. Brush each slice on both sides with olive oil.
2 Cook the eggplant in batches. Heat a chargrill pan until very hot. Lay the eggplant slices in the pan and cook each side until translucent and striped with black. Allow to cool slightly, then cut the cooked eggplants into long strips about 2 cm (3/4 inch) wide.
3 Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. (If you have used up all the oil, add a couple of tablespoons to the pan.) When hot, add the eggplants and spread them out evenly in the pan. Add the vermouth or wine all at once – stand back as it may splutter at first. Season well with salt and pepper and cook, stirring gently, until the wine has almost completely evaporated. Add the vinegar and honey to the pan and stir.
Cook for a couple more minutes, while the juices thicken and caramelise, then remove the pan from the heat.
4 Make a bed of baby spinach leaves on each plate and pile the eggplants on top. Scatter the cheese over them. Drizzle with pomegranate molasses, sprinkle with the chopped mint and pistachios and serve.
serves 4–6 | prep 15 mins | cook 20 mins
good source of protein | gluten free (if rice flour is used)
these light and fluffy crustless quiches are baked in a muffin or cupcake tin. Serve hot or warm for breakfast, or with a salad for lunch. They taste good cold too, and their compact form makes them handy for packed lunches and picnics.
2 tablespoons polenta (optional)
1 tablespoon plain (all-purpose) flour or rice flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
100 g (31/2 oz) watercress, washed and drained, chopped
2 spring onions (scallions), chopped
150 g (51/2 oz) cottage cheese
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
60 g (21/4 oz) pine nuts
Greek-style yoghurt, to serve (optional)
Serve with a tomato salad dressed in a balsamic vinaigrette.
12-hole muffin tin, baking tray that fits the tin (optional).
1 Preheat the oven to 200ºC (400ºF). Generously oil a 12-hole muffin tin. Sprinkle the polenta to coat the bottom of each hole, plus a little around the sides. (This is not essential, but goes a long way to preventing the egg cups from sticking to the tin and also adds a nice texture.) Place the tin on a baking tray, if using (this helps distribute the heat evenly).
2 In a pouring jug, beat together the eggs, flour and baking powder with a fork until well combined. Next beat in the watercress, spring onions and cottage cheese. Season well with salt and pepper.
3 Start by using a large spoon to distribute the mixture equally amongst the 12 muffin holes, finishing by pouring in the remaining mixture. The holes should be about two-thirds to three-quarters full. Sprinkle the pine nuts on top and gently
press them in so they are not submerged but are in contact with the mixture.
4 Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 15–20 minutes until puffed and golden. The pine nuts should be golden brown – cover with foil if they seem to be darkening too much early on. Test for doneness as you would a cake – stick a sharp knife in the centre of one of them and it should come out clean. They will set further as they cool.
5 Cool for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edges and gently release from the tin. Serve hot or at room temperature. A dollop of Greek yoghurt is a nice accompaniment.