Tag: cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower with Capers and Preserved Lemon – and about letting go

Roasted Cauliflower with Capers and Preserved Lemon

Eat In My Kitchen will be out worldwide in 34 days (in English, on October 4th) and my German book will see the book stores even earlier, in less than a month, on September 26th. It’s becoming real. It’s the transition from a project that existed as an idea in the heads of a handful of people to a finished, physical book, which will lean against other books in book shelves and hopefully come to use in many kitchens. Soon, this transition will be complete and then it won’t just be my ‘baby’ anymore. Then it will be out in the world, it will live its own life, create lots of stories around food, and I won’t be a part of it anymore. Soon, it won’t be in my hands anymore.

You could say that it’s not really a huge difference to the blog, which is true to a certain extent. For almost 3 years I’ve been sharing my recipes (more than 600) here, in the digital world. Whoever felt inspired cooked or baked them, many sent me pictures or emails, and enjoyed it. This interaction still made me feel like I’m a part of it, a part of my Eat In My Kitchen blog that changes constantly, it grows and evolves. But the book is different, it’s done, it’s printed, it reached the warehouses already, there’s nothing I could change, even if I wanted to. Now, I have to learn to let go.

Although there’s no work left to be done on the physical book, there’s tons of organization left. My book launch events in London, Berlin, Malta, New York, and Washington seem to need my attention 24/7, there are interviews and photo shoots on my schedule, and so many things that come along with a book, things that I never thought about. It felt like a lot of work writing this book, but to send it out into the world seems even more crazy.

I have a habit, whenever my life resembles a rollercoaster, I try to be a little more disciplined and create a rhythm that I stick to. I have my rituals, I take Saturdays off, I go jogging more regularly, I set up more tea time breaks than usual, and I don’t skip dinner. It’s often quite simple, due to a lack of time and inspiration, but that doesn’t matter. I chop my vegetables, nibble on my cheese, and sip at my wine glass (not every night though). I try to create normality within the chaos, a routine, and that helps me.

My current life leads to recipes that neither require much work or time, nor many ingredients. Unfortunately, the time that’s left for my beloved grocery shopping decreased considerably in the past few months. But there’s no need to complain, those dishes created out of spontaneity taste just as good. On one of those late nights, I opened the door of my fridge, I spotted a head of cauliflower, a jar of my homemade preserved lemons, and capers from Malta. I cut the cabbage into pieces, tossed it in olive oil and my tasty preserves, and ended up with the most delicious comfort food. It was a happy night.

If you’re curious about my Eat In My Kitchen book, you can pre-order it here:

Amazon US – Amazon UK – Amazon Germany

Barnes & Noble

IndieBound

Books A Million

Roasted Cauliflower with Capers and Preserved Lemon

 

Roasted Cauliflower with Capers and Preserved Lemon

Roasted Cauliflower with Capers and Preserved Lemon

Serves 2

cored cauliflower, cut into medium pieces, 600g / 1 1/3 pounds
olive oil 60ml / 1/4 cup
preserved lemon, thinly sliced, 1/2
capers, preferably preserved in salt, rinsed, 3 tablespoons
flaky sea salt
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar

Preheat the oven to 220°C / 425°F.

Spread the cauliflower in a medium baking dish. Add the olive oil, preserved lemon, and capers and toss to combine. Season with a little flaky sea salt (mind that the capers are salty) and crushed pepper. Roast for about 18 minutes or until the cauliflower turns golden. Flip the cauliflower and roast for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown, turn on the grill (broiler) for the last few minutes, if you prefer it a bit more crispy. Serve warm or cold.

Roasted Cauliflower with Capers and Preserved Lemon

 

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roastedcauliflowercaperslemon9

Maltese Minestrone with Tyrolean Crêpes Frittaten

Maltese Minestrone with Tyrolean Crêpes Frittaten

This dish combines the two culinary worlds which influence my kitchen activities the most, Malta’s Mediterranean cuisine and Tyrol’s cosy comfort food. I cooked a warming minestrone the way I know it from my Maltese granny Edith, with lots of pumpkin, zucchini (qarabaghli in Maltese) and kohlrabi. This soup can take the most varied collection of vegetables so I also added some cauliflower, celery stalk, potatoes and carrots. It’s a deliciously sweet broth of all the strengthening  fruits of the season, and once the vegetables are chopped, it only takes 15 minutes !

Whenever I sit in Edith’s kitchen in Msida enjoying this comforting soul food, she sprinkles freshly grated parmesan over the steaming dish, but here in the North, I wanted to add something richer to satisfy our strong appetite. In the cold season, I’m a big fan of saturating additions to light and healthy soups, Tyrolean frittaten, called Flaedle in the Swabian region in southern Germany, are one of my first choices. They are made of thin crêpes refined with chives, rolled up in a tight wrap and cut into slim strips. Frittaten look like pancake snails and turn a minestrone into a special treat, the eggy pastry adds a hearty feel to this meal which I absolutely love about wintery soups!

Maltese Minestrone with Tyrolean Crêpes Frittaten

 

Maltese Minestrone with Tyrolean Crêpes Frittaten

Maltese Minestrone with Tyrolean Crêpes Frittaten

For 4-6 people you need

For the frittaten

plain flour, sieved, 70g / 2.5 ounces
salt 1/8 teaspoon
organic egg, beaten, 1
milk 120ml / 4 ounces
chives, snipped 3 tablespoons
butter, to fry the crêpes

Mix the flour, salt, egg and milk to a smooth dough (with an electric mixer) and let it sit for 15 minutes before you mix in the chives.

In a non-stick pan, heat a teaspoon of butter. Pour in a ladle of the dough, holding the pan in your hand and turning it so that the dough spreads evenly and very thinly. The temperature should be on medium-high as the crêpes won’t need more than 1 minute on each side once the heat is set right. When the crêpe is golden on both sides take it out and continue with the remaining dough. Always heat a teaspoon of butter before you add new dough to the pan. Roll up each crêpe very tightly and cut into thin strips (snails).

 

For the minestrone

medium sized onion, chopped, 1
cauliflower, cut into small pieces, 160g / 5.5 ounces
butternut squash, peeled, cut into small cubes, 160g / 5.5 ounces
zucchini, cut into small cubes, 160g / 5.5 ounces
kohlrabi, peeled, cut into small cubes, 50g / 2 ounces
carrot, peeled, cut into small cubes, 80g / 3 ounces
potato, peeled, cut into small cubes, 100g / 3.5 ounces
celery stalk, cut into small cubes, 1
medium sized tomato, cut into small cubes, 1
broth, hot, 1.5l / 3 pints
garlic, crushed, 2 cloves
bay leaf 1
spring onion, thinly sliced, 2
salt and pepper
olive oil

In a large pot, heat a splash of olive oil and fry the onion for a few minutes on medium heat until golden and soft. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add a little more oil and the chopped vegetables (apart from the spring onions), stir and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the hot broth and the bay leaf, season with salt and pepper and cook for 15 – 20 minutes. Stir in the spring onion, season to taste and serve with the frittaten.

Maltese Minestrone with Tyrolean Crêpes Frittaten

 

Maltese Minestrone with Tyrolean Crêpes Frittaten

 

Maltese Minestrone with Tyrolean Crêpes Frittaten

 

Maltese Minestrone with Tyrolean Crêpes Frittaten

 

Maltese Minestrone with Tyrolean Crêpes Frittaten

Ginger Lemon Cauliflower with Pink Peppercorns

Ginger Lemon Cauliflower with Pink Peppercorns

Last weekend we spent a few days in the countryside, we felt like long walks in the forest and good hearty food prepared by my mother. Sometimes I need a break from the city buzz and the village where my mother lives is the perfect place to rest and feast!

A couple days before we left the city she called me to tell me that she spotted a beautiful farm in the area to buy her wood for the fire place. It’s a fairy tail like place surrounded by hills and forest where they also have geese, turkey and fallow deer. My mother got quite excited when the woman who owns the farm offered her a deer that her husband had just shot a few days before. It was wild from the forest which the couple takes care of and not from the farm. In the next few days, I will write more about our kitchen adventure that followed and having to skin and dress the game, but for now I’ll share an easier recipe with you that my mother made for us on the night we arrived.

We reached the hill where my mother lives in the early evening, the perfect time to arrive at her house! That’s the time of the day when we all meet in her kitchen to enjoy a glass of champagne while we’re busy cooking, nibbling and chatting. She had some oxtail leftovers, a recipe I’ll definitely make again in the near future as the meat was fantastic, with an amazingly aromatic sauce. We made some Swabian Spaetzle to soak up all the thick juices and crunchy ginger lemon cauliflower on the side. I’ve already mentioned that this isn’t my favourite of all cabbages but combined with the two spices, it showed its delicate side. I used the same combination of lemon and ginger for a velvety, fresh soup half a year ago and that’s the best way to enjoy this vegetable in my opinion. My mother sprinkled some crushed pink peppercorns on top (her culinary obsession at the moment as you’ll see in the following days) and it was great. That’s exactly what this white cabbage needs, a strong spice attack!

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 Ginger Lemon Cauliflower with Pink Peppercorns

For 4 people you need

medium sized cauliflower, broken into florets, 1
ginger, thinly sliced, 7 slices
zest of 1/2 lemon, plus more to taste
white wine
salt
pink peppercorns, lightly crushed in a mortar, 1 tablespoon plus more to taste

Put the cauliflower, ginger and lemon zest in a large pan. Season with salt, cover the bottom with white wine (1/2cm / 1/4″) and close with a lid. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for about 10 minutes or until the cauliflower is al dente. Season with salt and lemon zest to taste and sprinkle with the pink peppercorns.

Ginger Lemon Cauliflower with Pink Peppercorns

 

Ginger Lemon Cauliflower with Pink Peppercorns

 

Ginger Lemon Cauliflower with Pink Peppercorns

Gratin with Cauliflower and Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Cauliflower + Potato Gratin

This is a recipe my father used to make for us when we were children. We all loved it because of the cheese and mashed potatoes! I still do as it’s one of the few dishes made with cauliflower that I really like.

When I wrote about my ginger, lemon and cauliflower soup I mentioned that I don’t use this pretty white cabbage so often in my kitchen, I only like it in a few combinations. I don’t have anything against its unique taste, it just needs the right treatment to bring out its sweet side. The mashed potatoes are a good choice, seasoned with nutmeg which I also use for the cauliflower to refine its taste, they are a good match. I didn’t want to disturb the mild flavours in the gratin so I picked a soft cheese for the crunchy crust, not too ripe and overpowering. I used a hard Gouda, this Dutch cheese melts well and develops a nice crust under the grill, it’s also the cheese my father used for this meal.

This recipe is very simple to prepare, a whole cauliflower cooked in one piece, pushed into creamy mashed potatoes and baked with cheese to a golden gratin. If you need a quick dinner for a handful of people, this is the perfect choice!

Cauliflower + Potato Gratin

Gratin with Cauliflower and Garlic Mashed Potatoes

For 4 people you need

a whole cauliflower, around 700g / 25 ounces
potatoes, peeled, 650g / 23 ounces
garlic, in its skin, 3 big cloves
milk 200ml / 7 ounces
butter 50g / 2 ounces
nutmeg, freshly ground
salt and black pepper
hard cheese (Gouda, Emmentaler or cheddar), thinly sliced, 100g / 3.5 ounces

Cook the potatoes together with the garlic in salted water for 20 minutes. Rinse the potatoes under cold water for a few seconds and peel the garlic. Mash the potatoes together with the garlic, milk and butter, whisk and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.

Cook the cauliflower in lots of salted water al dente (around 10 minutes), it should be soft with bite without falling apart.

Scrape the mashed potatoes into a baking dish, put the cauliflower on top and push it down. Season the cabbage with salt, pepper and nutmeg and cover it with the cheese. Bake under the grill for a few minutes until golden brown, bubbly and crisp, slice like a cake and serve immediately.

Cauliflower + Potato Gratin

Carnival and a Cauliflower Soup with Ginger and Lemon

Ginger Lemon Cauliflower Soup

A couple weeks ago I wrote about our traditional family feast, a time when we all meet at my mother’s house in the countryside to celebrate carnival. It’s always silly, loud and involves lots of good food. The festive highlight is the making of our “Berliners” which involves each family member. A “Berliner” is a sweet speciality which looks a bit like a doughnut without a hole. It’s made of yeast dough, filled with jam, deep fried in vegetable shortening and sprinkled with cinnamon icing sugar. The jam filling changes with the years, a few weeks ago I filled mine with blueberry jam which became my favourite (for now), they tasted divine! The reason I made them at my home without my family before carnival, was a blog tour I was asked to joined. I decided to share our “Berliner” family tradition. I made them on my own for the first time in my life, they were as good as at my mother’s but it’s more fun with family and friends.

In the end it turned out to be (subconsciously) a wise choice as this carnival will be different. This year there is neither a family feast nor a “Berliner” to enjoy, for us it’s soup instead. A wisdom tooth got in our way and needed to come out quick. Needless to say, a jam filled Berliner isn’t the appropriate food in a situation like this, porridge and soup is more like it!

I have a big, beautiful cauliflower in the kitchen, a cabbage I don’t use so often but in a velvety soup it shows its finer qualities. The sweet taste and smooth texture is great for puréed soups. I don’t add any cream, just broth, onion, garlic and some tangy flavours, lemon and ginger. A piece of ginger simmers together with the cauliflower in the broth before I season it with grated ginger to taste. I add the lemon’s juice and zest when the soup is done, arrange it in plates drizzled with some good olive oil and sprinkle some more lemon zest on top. I’m impressed, it’s still smooth but fresh!

Last week I told you that eat in my kitchen was nominated for The Kitchn’s Best Daily Read Cooking Blog Award 2014Food52 won the award but I want to thank you all for your support and all your votes, with your help eat in my kitchen reached the final!

Ginger Lemon Cauliflower Soup

Ginger Lemon Cauliflower Soup

For 4 people you need

a big cauliflower, rinsed and cut into 5cm / 2″ pieces, around 750g / 1.5 pounds (weight without stem)
vegetable broth 1500ml
onion, chopped, 1
garlic, cut in half, 1
bay leaf 1
ginger, thumbnail sized piece plus 1 teaspoon grated
lemon juice 1 tablespoon
lemon zest 1 teaspoon
salt and black pepper
olive oil for frying and topping

In a large pot, fry the onion and garlic in a little oil until golden and soft. Add the cauliflower, bay leaf, the piece of ginger and broth and bring to the boil. Cook for 10 minutes or until the cauliflower is al dente. When it’s done take out the bay leaf and ginger and put a few smaller pieces of cauliflower (a small plate full) aside before you mix the soup in a blender. Season with salt, pepper, the grated ginger, lemon juice and zest and put the cauliflower pieces back into the smooth soup. When you arrange the plates, drizzle some good olive oil on top and sprinkle with some lemon zest.

Ginger Lemon Cauliflower Soup