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Cooking with cauliflower

Cauliflower cheese is a recipe that is second nature to most Britons, familiar from school dinners onwards. Although a well-made creamy cauliflower cheese can be a delicious example of comfort food, there are more inventive ways to employ this versatile and nutritious vegetable.

Spice up your life

Cauliflower has a great affinity with Indian spices. Florets seem to be a perfect ingredient for curries and spicy starters. A cauliflower and chick pea curry is a vegetarian classic, whether lightly spiced with cumin and mustard seed or simmered in a rich chilli and tomato sauce.

Cauliflower also works very well in pakora, the fried street food snacks made by combining small florets with spiced onion and a batter made of water and gram flour (made from ground chick-peas). The cauliflower should retain a little bite. Pakora are perfect when fresh from the fryer and accompanied by a little chilli sauce and some cool raita, made from cucumber and yoghurt.

Add elegance

A creamed cauliflower soup can be a stylish starter for those dinner parties where you want to impress. Call it Potage Dubarry, if you want to appear familiar with classic French cuisine. It’s very simple to make, essentially being cauliflower, potato, cream and stock blended to a fine consistency. Liven it up with a sprinkling of crisped pancetta or chorizo or, for vegetarians, sautéed wild mushrooms or an expensive drizzle of truffle oil.

Raw cauliflower also works well in a mix of crudités. Ensure you use the finest, firmest and whitest cauliflower you can find and combine with interesting dips that will complement the vegetable’s bland freshness.

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