Sunday 6 January 2019

Cauliflower Puree with mushrooms, wilted spinach and cashews (vegan)

I thought I'd start off my 2019 in the right way with getting back to a bit of blogging whilst I still have the time in my 2 week Christmas holiday from uni placement. I feel like I've somewhat neglected this blog recently and I'm not going to stress myself out over it as I've been more focused on doing what I love, working in food development full time (just thought I should explain, I haven't disappeared off the face of the earth or anything!) But when I got back to food styling this weekend, I did forget how much I enjoy this too so it's great that I can still manage to do an odd recipe here and there, (and not completely forget that this does still exist!)

Of course, being so predictable, as is the most of the food bloggers out there now with doing what I'm doing, it has to be a vegan/healthy recipe in tribute to the time of year that is January or shall I quote 'Veganuary'?! FYI it's also gluten and carb free, just saying. The cauliflower works great here as a potato replacement by creating this lovely smooth, dreamy, creamy puree akin to the pure comfort food of mash. I wasn't intentionally trying to cut out the carbohydrate as I don't believe in that dieting malarkey and I certainly couldn't cut it out anyway as I'd miss it way too much, I was simply trying it out as I'd never made a cauliflower puree before. 

You could be quite creative with this and make it into whatever you fancy, if having no meat doesn't float your boat, you could quite easily serve this alongside some, I think roast lamb or beef would work well here. 

Eating with the seasons is something I'd like to get into tune with this new year, not a resolution as such but I'd like to strive for it where possible. It's not always realistic to get down to a local farmers market in the cold dark and wet days of January, idyllic - hmm perhaps not. But cauliflower is actually at its best now in the UK so this is perfect for a January day. Swiss chard would be brilliant in replacement of spinach, so even though it's not around yet (we have to wait till around July for that), my idea is that I would be clever in swapping produce in and out, like for like for what would work well in substitution.

Someone who really advocates seasonal eating and I may as well just say it, an idol of mine, is Anna Jones. Her most recent book - The Modern Cook's Year: More Than 250 Vibrant Vegetarian Recipes to See You Through the Seasons, is just so beautifully written and styled and the fact that it won the Observer Food Monthly Awards 2018 for Best new cookbook is proof that readers must agree too. I had the pleasure of working with Anna when I did some uni work experience on her shoot for this book and I'm just so glad to have done it as it has inspired me in many ways. So go buy it people!

Cauliflower Puree with mushrooms, wilted spinach and cashews (vegan)

Serves 2


For the cauliflower puree:
1 small cauliflower, broken into florets
1 tsp soy sauce or 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
pinch of salt and pepper
120ml (roughly) unsweetened almond milk
1/2 a garlic clove

1 tsp sesame oil
1 small onion, diced
200g baby button mushrooms, sliced in half, small kept whole
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp soy sauce
pinch of pepper
handful of cashews
190g washed baby spinach


Boil the cauliflower until soft, about 7-8 minutes but make sure it is cooked depending on the size of the florets as this will effect the smoothness of the puree. Drain, rinse and add the cauliflower to a  blender or food processor. Add the soy sauce or nutritional yeast if you have it, salt, pepper, unsweetened almond milk and then mince the peeled garlic and add. Blend until smooth. You may need to add more milk depending on the size of the cauliflower head and how thick you prefer it. 

Place the lid on the blender to keep it warm whilst you continue. Heat the sesame oil in a large non stick frying pan, add the diced onion, mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until everything is soft. Add the garlic powder, soy sauce, pepper and cashews and mix. Add the spinach and cook for a further 2 minutes until the leaves have wilted down. Remove from the heat. 

To serve, fill bowls with the cauliflower puree and top with the mushroom mix. Can be reheated the next day but is best served hot straight away. 


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