A couple of months ago, I was asked to do the cooking for a women's leadership retreat taking place in late December. Although I've never actually cooked for a crowd this size before, my "can do" attitude stepped in and off I went to design a 3-day menu.
Menu design complete, I sent off my quote but soon realised that I should probably practice the dishes that sounded so good on paper. That's when disaster no. 1 occurred.
One of the vegetarian dishes uses jackfruit in lieu of slow cooked lamb shoulder. Jackfruit, or the king of fruits, is an Asian fruit that shreds/ pulls apart just like slow roasted meat. Sounds great on paper, except it's super hard to obtain outside of Asia and I seem to have forgotten just how bad it smells. 30 minutes in the oven and my entire house was covered in the gentle aroma of exploding sewers.
So, to avoid evacuating the retreat, that recipe had to be swapped for something a little friendlier to the nostrils.
This whole baked cauliflower is what followed. It should serve 2-4 people dependent on the size of cauliflower you use but I shamelessly ate the whole thing in a sitting. Basically, it's insanely tasty and I wouldn't want you to miss out so here is the recipe.
Ingredients (Serves 2)
1 large cauliflower, leaves removed and stalk cut back
1 lemon, juice and zest
Leaves from a small bunch of parsley
seeds from 1/2 pomegranate
black pepper to season
For the flavour paste:
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
leaves from 4 sprigs of thyme
2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C.
Mix together the flavour paste ingredients and rub the mixture over the cauliflower.
Put the cauliflower in a casserole dish, squeeze over the juice of a lemon and season with black pepper. Pop the lid on the casserole and bake in the oven for an hour.
Take the lid off and bake for a further 15 minutes. Put the pistachios on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 15 minutes.
Remove the cauliflower from the casserole and cut into two pieces.
To serve, put half a cauliflower on a plate, sprinkle over a generous pinch of lemon zest, a small handful of parsley leaves, pomegranate seeds and pistachio.