India

tahini baked cauliflower with lemon & tomato

30th January 2011

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I arrived back from India, content and complete, with a heart full of beautiful and profound teachings from my teacher and the gentle presence of like-minded friends.  I was excited to come home to see my garden.  I arrived home in the early, early morning and walked out along the paths, the stones crunching under my feet, taking in the shadows and the beautiful, white heads of the cauliflowers glowing under the full moon.  At this time in the morning,  this little garden is eerie but breathtakingly quiet, so beautiful and at peace.  Still sleeping.

Being away from my garden for 3 weeks, I came back to a beautiful, abundant, green vegetable forest.  This was due to all the wonderful rain we had received and the blanket of leaves and mulch I had laid down to keep the weeds at bay.  There were long, crisp leaves of lettuce, some blousey and soft, some crisp and long, and others loose and jagged.  The frilly leaves of the kale, sweet peas’ tendrils reaching up to the moon, the frilled edges of the cabbage leaves sparkling with dew and the wildly, rambling nasturtiums and these enormous cauliflowers.

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tahini baked cauliflower with lemon & tomato

With all that choice of wonderful produce, the cauliflowers were the pick for my first dish.  I love preparing it this way as it feels like I stay true to its essence. The tahini sauce becomes creamy and smooth, complementing the soft, melting flesh of the cauliflower and it is a wonderful, dairy-free meal. Recipe from Sher.

Preparation time – 50 minutes

Serves 4

ingredients 

1 whole/650g cauliflower 

½ cup tahini, diluted with 1 cup water, to a pouring consistency

1 – 2 large ripe tomato

generous drizzling of olive oil

juice of half a lemon

sea salt & freshly ground pepper

a handful of fresh coriander, parsley & arugula leaves

to serve

brown rice

soothing tovve

preparation 

1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

2.  Remove the thicker stalks of the cauliflower and break the florets into smaller pieces – steam for 8 minutes until slightly tender then transfer to a baking dish.

3.  Pour the tahini into a bowl, and whisk in the water, beginning with a smaller amount – the mixture will stiffen up.  Gradually add the rest of the water, until the sauce has the consistency of thick cream, you may need to add more water.

4.  Pour the tahini sauce evenly over the cauliflower, allowing it to drizzle down over the florets.

5.  Place in the oven, and roast for 30 – 40 minutes, until tender and lightly brown.

6.  Remove from the oven, using your hands squeeze the tomato over the top, allowing the seeds and juices to flavour the cauliflower, break up the bigger pieces with your fingers.

7.  Squeeze over the lemon juice, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle generously with sea salt and a good helping of freshly ground pepper.  Garnish with fresh coriander, parsley and arugula leaves.

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Goodness shared from Stacey

making hummus in India

24th November 2009

Now I know I promised some delicious Indian dishes when I was in India, but during my stay, I enjoyed someone else making them, rather than me cooking them.  My dear friend Mary, had organised a wonderful Indian lady with a huge smile to cook lunch for us.   We were quite a big group of  6 hungry adults and 4 hungry, very appreciative children.  Each day there was a new dish, more delicious than the next.  Each day there was a soupy dal, rice, two types of vegetable palya (a dry vegetable dish)and either chapati or rice rotti.  The chapati went very well with the hummus.

When packing for India, I packed a very big jar of tahini for the purpose of experimenting with a hummus recipe that was given to me by a few very important experts in this field (thank-you Noa and Tal).  Also, it is one way that I know the children will get a good dose of protein while we are in Mysore, in the South of India.

There are a few secrets to this recipe; one being the addition of bicarbonate of soda for a softer chickpea, good quality traditional tahini, the addition of lightly toasted & ground cumin seeds, and the addition of the ice water to create an aerated, creamy hummus.

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hummus

Makes about 2½ cups

ingredients

1¼ cup dried chickpeas

¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda

½ tsp cumin seeds

½ cup good quality tahini

salt to taste

juice from ½ lemon, approximately 2 Tbsp, plus more if needed

½ cup ice water

¼ tsp hot paprika

pre-soak 

1.  Soak the chickpeas and bicarb of soda overnight with double their volume in water. Drain, rinse and place in a large pot, and generously cover with water, bring to a boil, skimming off any foam that comes to the surface.

2.  Simmer until the chickpeas are soft, about 2 – 3 hours depending on the brand and freshness of your chickpeas. You will need to add more water as they simmer.  Once done, the chickpeas should be quite soft but not mushy – drain and set aside.

prepare the hummus 

3.  Dry roast the cumin seeds in a small pan, when lightly toasted, turn off the heat and grind to a powder in a mortar and pestle.

4.  Measure out 2 cups chickpeas/350g (any remaining chickpeas can be used as garnish) and place in a food processor attached with an S-blade, run the machine, stopping and scraping down the sides occasionally until the beans are crumbly.

5.  Pour in tahini, add ground cumin, lemon juice, salt, and blend again until well combined.  With the machine still running, start drizzling in the ice water, so that the hummus starts to become fluffy and aerated. Depending on the beans you may not use all the water, or you may need more.

6.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes, taste, and adjust to your own personal taste by adding more tahini, lemon, or salt.

7.  To serve, spread the hummus in a shallow bowl, drizzle with olive oil, more lemon juice, and a sprinkling of hot paprika. You could also garnish with toasted black sesame seeds or an assortment of sprouts.

Serve with freshly made chapati or pita bread.

Lately, I have been sautéing on very high heat – red bell peppers, or tiny cauliflower florets or eggplant cubes until slightly charred. Make a well in the center of the hummus with the back of a spoon and filling it with the vegetables of choice.

Shared goodness from Stacey

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