Creamy Cauliflower Salad with Lemon Thyme

Creamy Cauliflower Salad Lemon Thyme

I have been growing some of my herbs in our outdoor area for some time. Some of them have been successful, some died and replaced and even the replacements died. It’s a process I’m learning and in the end, all this will translate into a mini eBook (hopefully) for you guys to download. I will keep you posted on VegFusion Facebook page. So, go and like the page if haven’t done so.

Lemon thyme I used in this Creamy Cauliflower Salad is the one from my own herb garden. I have always thought that buying a bunch of lemon thyme to be used just one thing was waste of money. However, you pick just the right amount if you’re growing your own and the rest of it will still live.

Mixing yoghurt and mayonnaise is a common practice where I come from. It sort of balances the creaminess of the salad dressing. And, here in this recipe, I flavoured this creaminess with Dijon mustard and added some tanginess with white wine vinegar.

Creamy Cauliflower Salad with Lemon Thyme
Ingredients:

1 small cauliflower, broken into small florets
Juice of ½ lemon

For the Creamy Dressing:
2 tablespoons plain yoghurt, thick Greek style
1 tablespoon mayonnaise (I used Plamil Egg Free Mayonnaise which is vegan)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
½ tablespoon white wine vinegar
Salt to taste

2 twigs fresh lemon thyme, leaves separated
Freshly ground black pepper

Method:
• Wash the cauliflower and drain. Broke into small florets.
• Boil enough water in a large pot. Once it starts boiling, add the lemon juice (you can squeeze it directly into the pot) and cauliflower florets. Cook the cauliflower for 10 minutes. Drain and immediately drop the florets into cold water to prevent further cooking. Cauliflower florets should be slightly firm. Once they are cool, drain and set aside.
• To make the creamy dressing: Mix together plain yoghurt, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, extra virgin olive oil and white wine vinegar. Season to taste.
• Place the cauliflower in a salad bowl and dress it with the creamy dressing. Mix well.
• Garnish with lemon thyme and freshly ground black pepper and serve!

Product Review: Authentic Turkish Gozleme

Product Review: Authentic Turkish Gozleme
I have discovered a new product at Costco a few weeks ago: It is the Authentic Turkish Gozleme with Feta and Spinach. You know those traditional Turkish pastries filled with spinach and feta cheese? That’s them.

Gozleme

It is a big pack of Gozlemes I must admit. There are 4 Gozlemes in 1 pack, weighing 1.2 kg. altogether. However, each Gozleme is 300 gr and pretty much handkerchief size. I believe they are produced that way because you want them to fit in your frying pan, right? Traditional Gozleme is very thin and large as they are cooked on top an inverted wok like cooking implement and our frying pans we use in our home kitchen can never be that big. I used to have a very big, square, electric frying pan that I mainly used to make Gozleme. It got old in the end and I quickly realised that they do not make them that big anymore. I bought the biggest one available but it is still tricky.

Because Authentic Turkish Gozleme is quite thick, it takes longer to cook. The other problem its thickness is the moment you cut it, it spills its guts out. That is probably the only negative comment I can say about it. Other than that, Gozleme is becoming very popular in Sydney and these ones are incredibly practical.

Ingredients for Authentic Turkish Gozleme
• Wheat flour (Vitamins: Thiamine, folate)
• Feta cheese (30% milk): milk, salt rennet (non-animal), culture
• Water
• Silverbeet (16%), actually this is English spinach basically
• Iodised salt

Allergen information:
Contains gluten and milk products.

How to store Authentic Turkish Gozleme
Keep frozen. Once thawed, do not refreeze. Keep refrigerated, cook and consume within 24 hours.

Cooking instructions for Authentic Turkish Gozleme
• Remove Gozleme from its bag.
• Place it on oiled hot plate or non-stick fry pan and fry until each face is golden brown.
• Serve hot with a slice of lemon (optional).

Wine Notes: Process of Wine Making

Wine making has been around for thousands of years. It is not only an art but also a science. Wine making is a natural process that requires little human intervention, meaning if you put together the right ingredients in the right environment, the process will take care of the rest. However, they say that each wine maker guides the process through different techniques.

wine making

In general, there are five basic components of the wine making process:
1. harvesting
2. crushing and pressing
3. fermentation
4. clarification
5. aging and bottling

Wine makers typically follow these five steps but add variations and deviations along the way to make their wine unique.

Harvesting
The first step of wine making is harvesting the grapes. The time of picking the grapes determines many characteristics of the grapes and subsequently the wine which is made from them.

Although many wine makers prefer to hand-pick their grapes, the harvesting can also be done mechanically. Once the grapes are harvested, rotten and under ripe grapes are discarded.

Crushing and Pressing
Grapes are crushed with two different methods: using body part or using machinery.

The body part is the process of stomping the grapes with feet and crushing the grapes into must. Think about Aitana Sánchez-Gijón in movie called A Walk in the Clouds, crushing grapes with her feet in barrels. It is the old-fashioned way.

Nowadays, most wine makers prefer to use some kind of machinery to crush the grapes. And for that, a mechanical press is being used. This is a more hygienic way, as you can imagine.

Fermentation
After crushing and pressing, the juice of crushed grapes ferments with the help of yeasts added. Fermentation happens when sugar turns into alcohol. Grapes’ individual properties colour and flavour the wine-to-be. Winemakers can step in at this point and add oak fermentation or oak products into the process to further flavour the wine or add structure.

Clarification
Clarification is the process of removing certain substances like tannins and dead yeast cells. Wine is then transferred into an oak barrel or a stainless-steel tank. Clarification can be done by fining and filtration. During the process, wine is transferred into an oak barrel or a stainless-steel tank and certain substances are added to clarify it. For example, milk, clay, gelatine, egg white or isinglass (sturgeon bladder) are added for unwanted particles to attach to. Then to capture and eliminate the larger particles, the wine is filtered. The clarified wine is now ready to be transferred into another vessel for further aging or bottling.

Aging and Bottling
As a final stage, wine is aged in barrels and tanks to impart some much-needed integration on the various components of sugar, alcohol, grape juice, oak and yeast. Some wines are bottled straight away but some are given additional aging.

Some wine makers prefer aging their wine in oak barrels. The process produces a smoother and rounder wine. During this particular aging process, the wine will be exposed to oxygen which subsequently decrease tannin and increase fruitiness.

After that stage, we come in… as consumers. Because, wine is then ready to be served and consumed with friends and family.

Faux-prawns in a Coconut Cream Sauce

Yesterday, I was tidying up my Indian recipes on my computer. All of a sudden it occurred to me that I haven’t done much Indian cooking recently. I was especially missing my Aloo Matar (potatoes and peas) and it seemed like I may have cooked it a million and a half years ago. I quickly checked the radiation levels in my fridge and for that I mean ingredients. Eventually decided to make my aloo matar and something else. That something else is below…

prawns

My Faux-prawns in a Coconut Cream Sauce recipe was inspired by Meena Pathak’s Chingri malai curry from her book; Flavours of India.

Faux-prawns in a Coconut Cream Sauce

Meena Pathak says that the dish is from the east coast of India. Of course, it uses real prawns but I substituted them with vegan/vegetarian prawns. The recipe also calls for bay leaves but I didn’t have any. So, I left it out completely.
Serves 2

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 vegan/vegetarian king prawns, thawed and cut into 2
½ cup frozen baby green beans
5 baby corns, chopped
½ teaspoon ground turmeric

1 onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic
1 piece ginger (about an inch)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cloves
2 green cardamom pods
2.5 cm (1 in) piece of cinnamon stick, broken into 3 (I used a very thin one)
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon plain natural yogurt
270 ml coconut milk
Salt to taste

Method:
• Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a frying pan and add vegetarian prawns, green beans, baby corn and turmeric. Fry them on high heat until they are crispy. Remove and set aside.
• Place the onions, garlic and ginger in a food processor or blender and process to a fine paste.
• Wipe the pan with paper towel. Add the remaining oil to the pan (1 tablespoon) and add the cloves, green cardamom and cinnamon.
• Reduce the heat, and add the onion, garlic and ginger paste to the pan. Stir-fry over a medium heat for 2 minutes.
• Add 1 teaspoon turmeric and red chilli powder. Sprinkle with a little water and stir well.
• Add the yogurt and mix well. Pour in the coconut milk and return the vegetarian prawns, green beans and baby corn to the pan. Cook over a medium heat for 5-8 minutes until the sauce thickens.
• Serve with plain boiled rice.

Anah Daata Sukhi Bhaava! (Bon Appetit!)

Recipe: Aloo Matar (Potatoes and Peas)

Aloo Matar

Aloo Matar (Potatoes with Peas) is one of my favourite vegetarian Indian dishes of all time. Partly because it was the first Indian dish I ever learnt to cook.

Aloo means potato and matar means peas, by the way. It is a dry style Indian dish which can be added to other dishes like a daal or another main dish. I found the recipe in Shehzah Husain’s Vegetarian Indian cookbook many years ago. I make changes all the time like (you know me) but I have the original recipe here for you. Enjoy!

Aloo Matar (Potatoes and Peas)
Ingredients:
Tomato puree (1 large tomato)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon garlic pulp
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons corn oil
2 onions, diced
125 g (4 oz) peas (I use baby peas because they cook faster)
300 ml (1/2 pint) corn oil
3 potatoes, roughly diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
½ green pepper, deseeded and sliced
½ red pepper, deseeded and sliced

Method:
• Mix the tomato puree, ground coriander, chilli powder, garam masala, garlic, turmeric, salt and lemon juice together in a bowl and set aside.
• Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onions and fry until golden brown. Pour the tomato puree and spice mixture into pan, lower the heat and stir-fry for about 3 minutes. Stir in peas and set aside.
• Heat the remaining corn oil in a karahi or deep frying pan to 180C, or until a cube of bread browns in 30 seconds, add the potatoes and fry them until they have golden edges and are cooked through. Remove the potatoes dice from the pan and add to the peas and spice mixture.
• Finally, add the fresh coriander and sliced green and red peppers and stir-fry for a further 2 minutes. Serve the dish hot.

Anah Daata Sukhi Bhaava! (Bon Appetit!)