19 Jul 2015

cauliflower cheese pie

Cauliflower cheese in a pie? I know, insane! And - insanely good! Delicious, amazing, yummmmm! Why has no one ever thought of this twist on a classic before? Okay, maybe they have, but it's only just turned up on my dinner plate.

And really, this is as easy as ... pie. Cook your cauliflower, moosh it up with some cheese and eggs, and encase it in puffed pastry. Isn't anything better wrapped in pastry? You bet. The crisp flakiness is the perfect contrast to the filling, which is creamy and cheesy but not-too-much.

A good shake of nutmeg adds a cosy flavour for the colder winter months, but if I had fresh chives growing in my garden right now (they are dormant for the winter), then their green speckles and freshness would be another nice take on this pie.

Quite simply, I like this and will definitely make it again. A comforting delicious flavour and so easy to make - who wouldn't?
Cauliflower cheese pie
Mum gave this recipe, and I made her write it out how she made it - not how it appeared in her oven's instruction manual. Now you know where I get my tweaking skills from.
  • Preheat oven to 180. Line a 20x20 baking dish (I used my trusty hand-me-down pyrex) with one sheet of (frozen and thawing) ready-made puff pastry, and have another sheet close by for the top.
  • Steam 300 gms of cauliflower, then give it a mash (I whizzed it in my food processor) and allow to cool. You could also use leftovers.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the cauliflower with 2 eggs, a good half cup of deli ricotta or cottage cheese, and a good cup of grated cheese (I used a strong tasty cheddar; some parmesan would be good too). Add a dash of grated nutmeg and some S&P.
  • Add to the pie dish and flatten out lightly. Place the second sheet of pastry on top and crimp the edges together as best you can (which means, don't be too fussy). Wash with a little melted butter or beaten egg and sprinkle with black sesame seeds.
  • Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a light golden brown colour.
  • Enjoy!

12 Jul 2015

it's so cold

Four degrees in my kitchen in the morning. Get in, make breakfast, get out.

It's so cold right now in my kitchen that:
  • my real honey, kept in the pantry, has set rock hard - I can't even scrape a portion off
  • my olive oil, also in the pantry, is thick and cloudy
  • if I take something from the freezer in the morning, and sit it on the bench to thaw out for dinner, chances are it won't have defrosted
  • creaming butter and sugar in a cold stainless steel bowl sets the butter hard again. Last weekend, I had to rest the bowl on a hot water bottle on my lap, and sit in a sunny spot of my living room, to keep the butter soft.
Ah, the joys of cooking in a cold Hobart kitchen!

My back yard and vegie garden, blanketed in a heavy frost

 An icy pyrethrum plant
Frozen broccoli

5 Jul 2015

garden share: july

After a vile and distressing week at work, the very last thing I needed was to inspect my just-about-hibernating vegie garden one Saturday and discover that something had eaten my peas:

That was the last straw, and I will admit that hot pin-pricks of tears came to my eyes. Even nature is against me now? I suspect sparrows, as I am quite heavy-handed with my snail bait (as you can see). So after taking this picture for you (and for dad, to assess if there was any hope of valiant growth, or if should I re-sow), I gave the decapitated pea shoots a good drink of seaweed solution, to encourage them to solider on; threw around more snail bait, in case it was snails; and strung out some sparkly silver Christmas tinsel, to hopefully scare the birds away.
Otherwise, there is not much to report since the last garden update. Just weekend watering if there hasn't been enough rain during the week. I'm not sure if the garlic, carrots, sprouting broccolis, silverbeet and yes peas are growing, or just hanging in there, wishing for warmer sunnier weather, but knowing it's about six months away. I suspect the latter. Just like me.

Nothing to do with the vegie garden: my clivia, finally flowering after who-knows how many years of refusing to. A bit of joy in a winter garden