Spicy Sheperd’s Pie with Cauliflower Mash

An old English classic – the Sheperd’s Pie is one of my favourite dishes. I have re-invented it in many different ways, but the latest one is the one I like most. I used cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes and the result was very good. The mash was so smooth and creamy and tasted sublime.

I used plenty of mushrooms and soy chunks (Textured Vegetable Protein) for the base with spices to make it really flavourful. I added some frozen peas as well. You could use any vegetables you like.

Don’t skimp on the butter while making the mash. I also added some fresh cream and cheddar cheese. You could make this dish vegan by using vegan butter and coconut cream instead of fresh cream.

The aroma of the ground fresh coriander with the spices filled the entire kitchen. Really lovely!

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PREP: 30 minutes COOK TIME: 1 hour

Ingredients

11/2 cups soy chunks

200 gms button mushrooms, sliced

1 cup frozen peas

2 large onions, chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp cumin seeds

3 cloves

5 green chillis

2 cardamoms

½ tsp black pepper

2 cups fresh coriander, chopped

2 pieces cinnamon

1 tbsp coriander seeds

Salt to taste

4 tbsp vegetable oil

For the cauliflower mash

1 large cauliflower, cut into florets

½ cup butter

2 tbsp fresh cream

1 cup cheddar/Parmesan cheese, grated

½ tsp turmeric powder

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Butter a baking dish and preheat the oven to 180 C.

Rehydrate the soy meat in plenty of salted hot water. Leave for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, steam the cauliflower florets until they are very tender. Process with the butter in short bursts, using a food processor. The mash should be smooth and creamy. Add the fresh cream, cheese, turmeric, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Drain and squeeze the water from the soy meat. Blitz in the food processor until it is a coarse meal. Do not make it into a paste and don’t add any water. Set aside.

Grind the cumin, cloves, chillis, cardamom, pepper, fresh coriander, cinnamon and coriander seeds in a blender with a little water to a fine paste.

Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onions. Sautè until they are cooked and add the ground spices. Cook with 2 tablespoons of water for a few minutes and add the tomatoes with the salt and turmeric. After a few minutes, add the mushrooms and sautè for about 5 minutes. Add the ground soy meat and cook adding a few tablespoons of water until the mushrooms and the soy are tender. Add the frozen peas and mix well. When the peas are tender (this will only take a few minutes), remove the pan from the heat.

Spoon the spiced soy and mushroom mixture into the buttered dish and spread evenly. Spoon the cauliflower mash on top and use a fork to mark the top. Bake for about 30 minutes.

Cauliflower and Mushroom Gougère

Choux pastry is really delightful to work with – the moisture in the dough becomes steam in the oven and expands along with the air beaten into the dough during the mixing process. This causes the choux to swell up to three times its unbaked size and the result is an airy, feather-light pastry filled with lovely fresh vegetables.

This dish is perfect for special occasions – it looks wonderful as a party dish. The combination of cauliflower with mushrooms and spices makes it really delicious. It’s really rich but you end up wanting to eat more.

This recipe has been adapted from Vegetarian by Nicola Graimes.

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PREP: 15 minutes COOK TIME: 1 hour SERVES: 4-6

Ingredients

8 tbsp butter

11/4 cups plain flour

4 eggs

1 cup Gruyère/Cheddar cheese, finely diced

1 tsp Dijon mustard

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the filling

1 small cauliflower

200 grams tomatoes

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp butter

1 onion, chopped

11/2 cups button mushrooms, halved if large

11/2 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp turmeric powder

11/2 tsp chilli powder

Fresh coriander, chopped

Salt to taste

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 200 C.

Butter a large baking dish.

Place 11/4 cups water and butter together in a large saucepan and heat until the butter has melted. Remove from heat and add all the flour at once. Beat well with a wooden spoon for about 30 seconds until smooth. Allow to cool slightly.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time and continue beating until the mixture is thick and glossy. Stir in the cheese and mustard and season with salt and pepper. Spread the mixture around the sides of the baking dish, leaving a hollow in the centre to take the filling.

Cut the cauliflower into small florets, discarding the woody stalk in the centre.

To make the filling, purèe the tomatoes in a blender and add water, if necessary to make up to 11/4 cups of liquid.

Heat the oil and butter in a large pan and add the cumin seeds. Add the onions after a few seconds and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the salt, turmeric and chilli powder. Add the mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the cauliflower and stir-fry for a few minutes. Add the tomato liquid and coriander. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes.

Spoon the cauliflower mixture into the hollow of the baking dish. Bake for 40 minutes until the pastry is risen and is golden brown on top. Serve immediately.

 

 

 

 

 

Baked Cauliflower

Cauliflower is the star of the culinary world right now with recipes like pizza crusts, rice, etc. It’s one of the best substitutes for a low-carb diet. It’s naturally high in fibre and B-vitamins, has antioxidants and phytonutrients that fight against cancer. It also has choline which is important for learning and memory and lots of other nutrients.

This veggie has a sweet, nutty flavour and is so versatile. It adds smoothness to sauces and texture to other dishes. The recipe that I have chosen is a very old one and it is very popular in North Indian cuisine. It’s called Gobi Mussalam – which literally translates to Whole Cauliflower. The entire cauliflower is marinated with spices and baked.

The result is superb – a tender, moist and spicy cauliflower that just melts in the mouth.

This recipe appeared in the Washington Post and the link is given below.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/recipes/baked-cauliflower-gobi-musallam/16830/

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PREP: 30 minutes  COOK TIME: 50 minutes  SERVES: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 medium cauliflower, washed
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp ginger, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Salt to taste

Marinade

  • 1/4 cup ghee+2 tbsp
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tbsp ginger
  • 4 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 6 cloves
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 cardamoms
  • 1″ piece cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp almonds
  • 1/4 cup coconut, grated
  • 4 tbsp yogurt
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

Grind the green chillis, garlic, ginger, chilli powder and garam masala. Mix lemon juice and salt to this paste. Keeping the cauliflower whole, insert this paste between the florets. It’s easier to do this by turning it over and inserting the paste between the florets. Smear some paste on the top as well. Bring water to a boil in a steamer and steam the cauliflower for 10 minutes or until it is half cooked. Try to keep it in a vertical position. If that’s not possible, then you can gently turn it over after 5 minutes and steam it on the other side for 5 minutes.

Grind all the ingredients for the marinade except the garlic, onions, tomatoes and yogurt.

Heat 2 tbsp ghee in a large pan and add the garlic. Add the onions and cook until they are tender. Add the tomatoes and saute for another 5 minutes. Add the ground paste and salt. Continue cooking for 10 minutes, stirring constantly adding the yogurt one tablespoon at a time. Remove and cool.

Cover the cauliflower with half of the ground paste, dot with ghee and bake for about 15 minutes until it is browned on top and the cauliflower is evenly cooked. Remove from the oven and spread the remaining paste over it. Bake for another 10 minutes more.

Garnish with chopped fresh coriander. Serve with steamed rice.

 

Vegan Zucchini Frittata

I made this frittata for my daughter who’s turned vegan for some years now. A light and tasty dish – it’s ideal for a light summer lunch or supper. It can also be served cold. A refreshing tomato salad would be perfect to go with it.

The oatmeal gives this frittata a moistness and the addition of some spices and herbs makes it delicious. The vegan cheese works wonderfully well on this frittata.

You can also substitute the zucchini with other vegetables such as Broccoli, Cauliflower, Mushrooms or a combination of mixed vegetables.

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PREP: 30 minutes COOK TIME: 50 minutes SERVES: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 zucchinis, sliced thinly
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 green chillies, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3/4th cup chickpea flour
  • 3/4th cup oatmeal
  • ½ tsp asafoetida powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup greek yoghurt
  • 3 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • 2/3rd cup vegan cheese (optional)
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

Grease a round 8” pan or line with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Grind the oatmeal in a food processor or blender. Transfer to a mixing bowl.

Heat the oil in a large pan and add the cumin seeds. Add the garlic, onions and green chillies. When the onions are transparent, add the spinach and salt. Do not cook the spinach. Mix well and remove immediately. Set aside.

Mix the chickpea flour with the ground oatmeal and add the asafoetida, turmeric, chilli powder, baking soda and yoghurt. Add salt to taste and enough water to make a thick batter as for pancakes. Add the fresh coriander and the spinach mixture to this batter and mix well.

Line the zucchini slices in the buttered pan and spoon in the prepared batter on top. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out almost clean. Sprinkle the cheese on top (if using) and grill until the cheese melts. Remove from the oven and let it sit in the pan for 30 minutes. Invert gently on to a serving plate.