Cooking is still proving somewhat tricky in our current state of non-kitcheness. We’ve now been without basic household appliances such as a kitchen sink, oven, hob, washing machine and worktops for 5 months and a full year has passed since we saw most of our kitchenware. Our favourite bowls, our pour-over coffee maker, our spiralizer, not to mention all the lovely new kitchen bits we’ve bought in the last year that still sit wrapped in tissue paper, waiting impatiently for their debut performance.
We were supposed to have our birthday party in the new kitchen – mine and Matt’s birthdays are a week apart - but as project completion dates have come and gone, and come and gone (it was originally scheduled to be finished in May…) we had to change location to my lovely mother’s house. Fortunately, she doesn’t mind the burden of a party - ever since I can remember we’ve had parties at home. Really. Great. Parties.
So, we took the party to her beautiful garden – the perfect place for a sunny BBQ and for the plethora of children that seem to be popping out of our friends at an alarming pace these days.
Throwing a party at someone else’s house is not quite so easy as doing it at home. The planning – not one of my strong points – has to be a meticulous. The gadgets you want are never there, the store cupboard will not have the items you need, even if it does it’s unlikely you will be able to find them. The oven will not cook as you need it to. The fridge will have little to no space and everything in it will look completely alien making you feel scared to move or even touch it. And you must navigate your way round a whole new rubbish disposal system. Stressful.
But what a joy it is to actually prepare some fresh food. During these drought months of any kind of kitchen creativity in our house, what an absolute joyful pleasure it is to not only devastate every surface with a barrage of pots and pans, but then to clean up afterwards. Cooking for my family and friends is for me one of the most gratifying ways to spend my time, the lack of which this last year has proved to leave a bigger hole than expected.
Inspired by Ottolenghi as I frequently am – this dish has been adapted from two different recipes, and went down so well at our party that I made it again 5 days later.
Cauliflower and pomegranate salad with spring onions and tahini dressing
2 Cauliflowers leaves and thick stalks removed
1 tbsp turmeric
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
200g pomegranate seeds
Small bunch of spring onions
Salt and pepper
3 cloves crushed garlic
200g Greek yoghurt
2 tablespoons honey
Large bunch chopped flat leaf parsley
Large bunch chopped mint
Small bunch chopped tarragon
Juice two large or three small lemons
Divide the cauliflowers - 2/3 into small florets the other 1/3 keep to one side to be grated later
Put the 2/3 of florets into a roasting pan with a good lug of olive oil, the turmeric, coriander, cumin and salt and pepper. Give a good toss and roast in a hot oven until they start going golden – around half an hour. When they’re done leave out to cool.
Make the dressing in a large bowl – add the tahini, yoghurt, honey, crushed garlic and give a good whisk. Chop all the herbs – leaving some mint for decoration – and add to the dressing, giving a good mix. Add the lemon juice too taste. This will be quite thick at this point so mix in the water until you reach a nice consistency – not too watery but runny enough to coat the salad nicely. Season to taste and set aside.
Half the spring onions lengthways, and then again and cut into 2 inch strips and put into a large bowl or serving dish for salad. Grate the last 1/3 of cauliflower and put into the bowl with the spring onions and the cooled roasted cauliflower and most of the pomegranate – reserving some for decoration. Give the salad a mix and then add the dressing – as much as you like – you can keep it to a minimum or make it quite a saucy salad if you so desire
When it’s all well mixed, decorate the top with a scatter of pomegranate seeds and some roughly torn mint leaves.
Serve with pride – you just made a lovely salad.