My mother was a clever cook. Nothing ever went to waste and she knew how to feed a family of six with something as simple as a pot of nourishing cauliflower soup and a loaf of 'continental' bread.
The laundry in the house that I grew up in faced south and had a cement floor which was covered by (stylish) black and white linoleum tiles. There was a large, double laundry tub, also made from cement. My father cut out a sheet of thick fibro to fit over the top of one side of the tub, allowing for extra storage space.
The laundry was one of the coldest rooms in the house. And it was there on that bench over the tubs that my mother kept her cauliflowers. Always. Pure white, they were, and huge too. Mum made sure of that. 'Tsk, tsk,' she would mutter, shaking her head in disapproval if my father ever came home from the store with anything less than a perfectly white, enormous specimen.
That (slightly pedantic) penchant was passed on to my mother's youngest. For I, too, always seek out brilliant white caulis of a decent weight and size. Oh, and the florets must be tightly packed!
I do love cauliflower and more often than not, you will find one in my refrigerator, sometimes there are two. I enjoy eating them plain, just lightly steamed; or topped with a low fat cheese sauce and served as cauliflower cheese; or cooked with spiced sweet potatoes and pumpkin. From time to time I make my mother's soup with sour cream. And Peter loves my cauliflower bhajis, and cauliflower soufflé [recipes soon, soon].
One of my most favourite ways of preparing cauliflower is to make a simple mash. It makes a very good accompaniment to white fish as well as meat, and is a cracker of a topping for any sort of pie. It really is quick, simple and completely delicious!
CREAMY CAULIFLOWER MASH
You don't need fancy equipment to make this dish, but if you happen to have a food processor, stick blender, potato masher, or indeed, a Tefal Cuisine Companion, it helps!
500g head of cauliflower
75g cream cheese (preferably low fat)
sea salt and pepper, to taste
Method for the Tefal Cuisine Companion (#CC):
Cut the cauliflower into florets and place the florets into the Cuisine Companion steamer basket. Pour water to the 0.7L mark in the bowl. Pop the steamer basket over the #CC bowl, seal the lid. Steam at P100 for 15 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender, but not overcooked. Remove the basket from the #CC bowl, pour out the water from the bowl and pop the bowl back onto the base. Fit the Ultrablade to the #CC. Place the cooked cauliflower florets into the bowl. Process on speed 12 for 30 seconds. Add the cream cheese, salt and pepper. Process in bursts of 30-40 seconds on speed 12 until the cauliflower mash is well blended and smooth. Serves 4.
Method for food processor/microwave/hand mashing:
Cut the cauliflower into florets, place them into a steamer basket over a pot of simmering water and cook until tender. Or place into a dish with a little water, cover with cling film and cook on high for 7 minutes in a microwave until tender. Place the cooked florets into a food processor with the cream cheese, salt and pepper, and blitz until smooth. Or place the florets into a Pyrex bowl with the cream cheese, salt and pepper, and mash by hand or with a stick blender.
Notes: leftovers can be refrigerated and reheated the following day. If serving as a topping for pie, sprinkle with some shredded cheese, then pop under the grill briefly, or use a blow torch to melt the cheese.
Tell me dear readers and fellow cooks, do you enjoy cooking with cauliflower? Are you a frugal cook?
Hello. I'm Liz, a writer, cook and traveller based in Canberra, Australia.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.