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Hot Chocolate

Cauliflower Couscous

January. Three syllables, one whole lot of pain.

Belly bloated, bank balance bare and a grim month of puritanical woe ahead. Sure, we spent the last few weeks feasting like sumos, swilling booze like spring water and inhaling great slice of ham. But there’s no need there’s no need to fall into some deep culinary depression.

This is a dish of surprising complexity, with a whole gamut of textures, and flavours too: the char of the roasted cauliflower, the creaminess of the sauce, toasted warmth from nuts and cumin, sly sweetness from dried fruits, and the verdant kick of chopped parsley. It’s a great vegan dish, but one that will delight even the most fervent of meat eaters.

THE INGREDIENTS - Serves 6

1 cauliflower (about 600g); olive oil, for roasting and frying; 2 banana shallots, diced; 2 garlic cloves, diced; juice of ½ a lemon; 1 tsp ground cumin; 3 tbs water; 1 stick of celery, peeled and diced; 25g pine nuts, toasted; 25g hazelnuts, toasted; 25g pistachios, toasted; 25g golden raisins, 25g dried apricots, chopped; 50g podded edamame beans; a small bunch of parsley, chopped.


THE RECIPE


Break the cauliflower into florets and slice half of them into thin, 5mm slices, so you can see the cross-section of each one. Place any un-sliceable edges in a food processor along with the remaining half of the cauliflower and pulse until you have a rough mixture that resembles bread crumbs.

Put the sliced cauliflower on a roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil and place in an oven heated to 200°C/Gas Mark 6 for 15 minutes, until golden and crisp at the edges, then season with salt and pepper.

Warm a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the shallots with a pinch of salt over a medium heat for 6-7 minutes, until they turn soft and translucent. Stir in the garlic and pulsed cauliflower and turn the heat up to medium-high. Fry for a further 5 minutes, until the cauliflower is catching and beginning to take on some colour. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and ground cumin.

Take a quarter of the fried cauliflower mixture and blitz in the food processor with the water and a tablespoon of olive oil until completely smooth, to make a quick dressing.

Stir the roasted cauliflower through the remaining fried cauliflower and toss through the celery, nuts, dried fruit and edamame. Drizzle with the cauliflower dressing and parsley before serving.


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