Christmas cooking is over for another year. I realise it is a stressful experience for some people, but I had a great time being able to cook for visiting family. We had a roast goose (turned out very well for a first time experience), plum sauce (I have blogged this recipe before), potatoes roasted in goose fat and assorted other roast veggies. It was all very delicious, but the stand out was a surprising number. It was cauliflower cous cous (named for the cauliflower pretending to be a wheat based thing), from Recipe Community. Its another Matt Stone recipe, like the almond milk rice pudding, so no wonder it worked so well. I chose it because of the Christmassy colours, but really had no idea how it would taste.
Cauliflower is the tofu of the paleo circuit. It is used to stand in for other grains, such as rice or cous cous dishes. It also features in a lot of raw recipes. Thermomix makes the required transitioning of large vegetable into tiny grains very easy. You chop the stalky bits on 6 for a 10 seconds, checking they are evenly chopped (if not, another few seconds after scraping down the sides) then put in the florets on reverse, Speed 5 for 2-3 seconds. You don’t want to make a puree, but rice sized pieces, so keep an eye on it while chopping. Once you have a big bowl full of cauliflower ‘grains’ put them into a large salad bowl and get to work on the rest. No need to rinse the bowl in between all these steps. It all ends up in the same salad.
Shell a bowl full of pistachios. You want to end up with around 100-150g of shelled nuts. Put them in the Thermomix bowl and chop 2-3 seconds Speed 5. Add to cauliflower in salad bowl. Tear up a big handful of parsley and another of coriander. Throw into Thermomix bowl and chop 2 seconds on Speed 6. If you don’t have coriander just double the parsley. Thats what I did. Add to salad bowl.
Sprinkle pomegranate seeds over the salad. I used almost a whole pomegranate’s worth of seeds, but its up to you and your relationship with pomegranates. I love the sharp and sweet taste with a little crunch. There is a YouTube video of how to deseed a pomegranate in a Thermomix if you are interested, along with quite a number of handy Thermomix how to videos. I just did it by hand with a few splatters to add to the Christmas outfit.
The dressing calls for pomegranate molasses, which you can of course make in a Thermomix, but I didn’t have any on me on the day, so I mixed a few splashes of balsamic vinegar, 80g olive oil, the juice of two lemons, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and a liberal grinding of pepper and a sprinkling of salt. I was mixing it in the Thermomix, so thought why not throw in a handful of pomegranate seeds that I was about to add to the salad. Mix it all up, Speed 6 for 10 seconds and you have a tangy dressing with a little sweetness that just melds the whole thing together. Drizzle on dressing and toss salad thoroughly so all components are nicely mixed. You will have people asking for the recipe.
Sure. It doesn’t sound like the most exciting soup. Or vegetable. But whiz it up with some potato to thicken, perhaps some truffle oil if you are being fancy (I just happen to have some in the pantry at all times), sprinkle with cracked black pepper, fresh parsley and some crisped pancetta chips (bacon will do) and you have yourself a high end meal. Even for those ‘soup is not a meal’ folk out there, pair this soup with some gruyere on toast melted in the grill and it will be hard to argue that all the food groups are not getting fair representation.
Having a Thermomix has made me enjoy making soup in a way I have never before. I have dabbled with soups in the past. They have never met my standards. The cooking of the vegetables then transferring to a food processor was the kind of hassle that loses that therapeutic feeling most cooking gives me. Or the draining of a giant stockpot into a colander over a bowl in the sink. I’m not very coordinated so many times hot liquid was splashed about causing not only interesting shaped burns but also a mess that made me regret embarking on the whole process in the first place. Also I have a talent for always choosing a container that is too small for whatever I am trying to pour into it. I don’t know why. But I do it every time.
However, forgive my bias, the Thermomix has changed things. Soups are a breeze, a joy. Just chop onion and garlic in the bowl. Add around 20g oil and saute on 100 degrees for 2-3 minutes on speed 1. Fill the basket with your vegetables of choice (in this case mostly cauliflower, plus about 2 peeled potatoes cut in half). Pour 1 litre of water plus 3 tablespoons of your concentrated vegetable stock (or if you want to keep the soup a whiter colour use 1 litre of chicken stock, which you have of course made previously in the Thermomix) into the bowl. Place the vegetable laden basket inside the bowl and cook for 15 minutes at 100 degrees on Speed 1. Test that the veggies are soft. If not, cook for a further 5 minutes. Add a good splash of truffle oil at this stage, maybe some cumin if you feel like another layer of flavour. Then blend it to a smooth puree (with the MC on) on Speed 9 for 1 minute. Decorate as described above for maximum wow.
The Everyday Cookbook has another version. Recipe Community has a Neil Perry conversion as well which sounds extremely tasty. Of course it has more cream and such. Thermomix recipes are there for the experimenting. Its so easy to do. You’ve just got to try it.