Tuesday, 10 November 2009

No 'snowball' cauliflowers

The snowball cauliflowers that I had planted at the allotment have all been a big disappointment, so I have had to resort to shop bought ones. Over the weekend, D had picked up a cauliflower grown in the U.K with the idea that I would make his favourite South Asian dish: aloo gobi muttar (potato, cauliflower and peas) salan, but too be honest I just didn’t fancy eating rich, buttery spicy food today. Instead I decided to make an experimental dish with it and some other ingredients we had in the kitchen, namely sun-dried tomatoes in oil. I have tried this combination before in a cauliflower and sun-dried tomato tart, but not as a rice dish. This dish resulted in what some people would describe as 'fusion food'.
When served, the cauliflower pilau looked very white, so I scattered over some freshly chopped basil. D dubbed it 'Italian pilau'. Mmm I don’t know what my Italian readers will think of that?! And no, I don’t always pretty my plates of food before serving, but I felt I had to give it that 'food magazine touch' in order to make the dish more appealing to the eye, so I have two shots for one. The above a pretty version of the plated food, almost worthy of being served at a restaurant (I think) and the one below, more of a humble homely serving, which is the way most of us really eat. The dish was surprisingly light with the mild flavour of cauliflower and tomatoes coming through.
Italian Cauliflower pilau
Serves 4
200g basmati rice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp freshly minced basil, plus extra for garnishing
500ml water or vegetable stock
1 small cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
1 – 2 tablespoons of sun-dried tomato in oil
Salt and pepper
Put the rice in a sieve and rinse it until the water runs clean. Set aside to drain. Heat the oil in a saucepan that has a tight fitting lid. Cook the onion over a medium heat, stirring frequently until soft and golden. Add the rice to the pan and stir to coat. Add the cauliflower and sun-dried tomatoes and cook for a couple of minutes. Then add minced basil, seasoning and stock. Cover with the lid and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cook for 30 - 45 minutes, or until the rice and cauliflower are tender and all the stock has been absorbed. Fold in the basil through the rice and serve immediately.


  1. Try Wallaby cauliflowers or any Australian type of cauliflower. They are drought resistant and therefore don't bolt if we get a few dry days. I've been trying for three years to grow a decent sized cauliflower and these were the best I have grown so far.

  2. It looks lovely either way! But the homey version gets my vote :)

  3. Definitely a restaurant standard serving. My meals are served more like the second shot!

  4. I like your two visual versions of the dish - I agree with you about how most of us eat - sometimes I pretty up my dinner for the camera and just dump E's in his bowl or plate :-)

  5. What a beautiful dish! Cauliflower and sun dried tomato are such a great combination, Mmmm!
    I love how you decorated your plate with "food magazine touch", well done!!!

  6. Thank you MandyCharlie.
    I haven't grown one successful cauliflower. At teh moment I have some purple Queen growing in the plot too, but my hopes are not that high. I may yet be surprised who knows. But I will keep in mind your recommendations, when I get round to purchasing some seeds.

    Thanks Jenn. Homely version for me too.

    Thanks Jacqueline.

    Oh Johanna,
    You made me smile. In my case D gets the pretty version and I get the homely version.

    Thank you Oraphan,
    The flavour combination was an interesting one. Quite mild flavours.

  7. I love reading about your experiments - you have such a good success rate :o)

  8. Thanks Nic.
    When I fail in my cooking experiments, I will also let you know.


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