Tuesday, December 04, 2007

High Days and Holidays

A mention of discards reminded me of yesterdays supper. Beloved chose Cauliflower Cheese (yet again) which as mentioned before is very easily made: the cauli florets taken off the stalk, put into a poly bag (end open), put into the microwave and cooked on High for 4 - 7 minutes depending up amount, size and how soft you wish them to end up. Put these into a dish, mix in some grated cheese, stir more grated cheese into a tub of creme fraiche, dollop this on top of the cauli as you would cheese sauce, more grated cheese on top of that and then put under a preheated grill until brown and bubbling.
The creme fraiche pot and lid was then washed and dried ready to hold individual servings of ice cream, or to use as a mould for panna cotta, or for storing chicken stock in the freezer - to name but a few uses.

Using a cauliflower always means the leaves and stalk are left - and this can be quite an amount. I had saved one lot left from an earlier cauliflower, and these (after trimming off the worst bits) I added to yesterday's leaves and core (the two together weighed 400g), chopping them roughly and putting in a covered pan to simmer in one third water, two thirds milk (enough to cover). My idea was to cook them until soft and then blitz them to make a cauliflower soup, sprinkling in a little grated cheese I had saved. They took about 45 minutes to soften (if I had chopped smaller and grated the core they would have softened faster), and instead of blending, decided to mash them into the liquid using my potato masher. This made a very chunky soup which, after the addition of the cheese, plenty of black pepper, a pinch of salt and a grating of nutmeg, tasted very good indeed. Would of course make a creamier soup if I had whizzed it down, and smoother if the puree had been rubbed through a sieve. But yesterday my plan was doing quick and rustic and the less washing up the better, so took the easy route.
Suffice to say, I will never, ever again throw away the cauliflower leaves and stalks for they are worth using in their own right, either blitzed down to a soup, or served chunky style as a vegetable in a cream sauce.