I adore Ottolenghi’s love of vegetables. After all, vegetables are my feel good foods and his recipes are full of delicious and clever ways to enjoy them. Anyone who makes vegetables shine so brightly is an excellent cook in my eyes. I must remember to open his books more often.
A few Christmas’s ago I was gifted Plenty More and whilst I haven’t read much of it, I did stumble upon the cauliflower cake recipe and it is now a firm favourite so I thought I’d share the recipe with you as it makes a perfect grab and go lunch (something I need these days) and freezes beautifully. In these post baby days where I no longer have the time to cook myself whatever takes my fancy for lunch I try to have a few favourites in the freezer because sandwiches aren’t really my jam. I ate enough of those during school. A hearty salad, soup or the occasional pasta are my favourites. And leftovers from dinner are sweet too.
For the year before Charlie was born I was working part time and I adored the few days a week I spent at home where I had as much time as I liked to prepare whatever it was I felt like for lunch. It was a luxury I fully appreciated at the time. Now days, I need something I can throw together in a few minutes, preferably one handed whilst the other hand holds the babe. Avocado and cheese on sourdough with a side veggies is pretty standard fare and much to my disbelief I even find myself putting together a sandwich. Whilst my appetite has somewhat returned, my interest in cooking and food has not. A slice of frittata or this cake is a welcome addition to the lunch rotation. I popped one in the freezer before Charlie was born and have enjoyed slices for lunch with hummous and carrot sticks. It long disappeared so the other day after tiring of the same things for lunch I baked another, it took 2 of bubba’s naps to get it done, and I made some notes along the way so that I could share this recipe with you. I’ve made a few simplifications in the name of speedier preparation and it’s still just as tasty.
(those baby legs are always kicking)
Ottolenghi’s Cauliflower Cake slightly adapted from Plenty More
1 small cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 medium red onion, diced
½ tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
a large handful of fresh basil or parsley, finely chopped
120g plain flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1/3 tsp ground turmeric
150g of grated parmesan or tasty cheese (less is fine, I only had 80g left the other day and it was still tasty)
sesame seeds and nigella seeds to sprinkle
salt and pepper
Preheat the fan forced oven to 180 degrees celsius. Take a 24cm or so tin and grease it with olive or line with baking paper.
Steam the cauliflower until tender. I do mine in the microwave but stove top works well too. While the cauliflower is cooking, heat a generous amount of olive oil in a small pan on the stove. Once warm add the onion and rosemary, and cook until the onion is tender and translucent. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl combine the onion mixture, eggs, herbs, flour, baking powder, turmeric and cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk until smooth. Now gently fold in the cauliflower. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and sprinkle with the seeds. Place in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown and set. If you insert a knife in to the centre it should come out clean.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving. It’s best enjoyed just warm or at room temperature. Individual slices can be wrapped and frozen.
Serve with a green salad or hummous and carrot sticks. Enjoy!
Makes 6 wedges.