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.
There is a new Thermomix YouTube video featuring WA chef Matt Stone making almond milk and then making a rice pudding with it. I was tempted to make almond milk because it sounded like a challenge and I tasted a lovely version at a Thermomix consultant gluten free cooking class. So away I went.
I ended up following the recipe given by Quirky Cooking for rice and almond milk. I soaked 50g brown rice and 40g whole almonds plus 4 or 5 pitted dates in 1 litre of water overnight then blended them in the Thermomix on Speed 9 for 2 minutes. Add a tablespoon of either flavourless or complementing flavour oil (eg, macadamia, grapeseed, coconut) to give a creamier texture to the milk. Cook for 6 minutes at 60 degrees, Speed 4. Puree on Speed 9 for 1 minute. Let it cool for a bit. Strain into a vessel through muslin if you have some handy, or a nut bag if you are even handier or through a fine sieve if you are me and new to the requirement for fine straining of nut milks. Keep the resulting sludge and either put it in some kind of cake batter if you are baking straight away or dry out in a low oven for a bit to make it less sludgy and more like an almond/rice/date meal to use later. Or you can look at the video mentioned above and do it his way.
Rice pudding I have not had much patience for. My mother was very good at making it, therefore I have a nostalgic hankering for it now and then. Until Thermomix, however, I have only attempted it once or twice before. Like custard it just takes too long on the stovetop and is too fraught with burning opportunities or an unpleasant outcome that makes me want to throw the saucepan in the bin contents and all and storm off to bed. Now I had made almond milk no problems and I really wanted to see if it would taste nice in a rice pudding as Mr Matt so confidently assured us it would.
The recipe given was a bit large for the two of us, so I halved it. I didn’t bother with the poached rhubarb bit, not having any on me and because I was wanting to use that plum sauce again. I found it interesting that the recipe calls for half almond milk, half pure cream. So if you are non dairy I am guessing all almond milk should work okay, just maybe end up with a bit thinner result. I put in 240g almond milk, 240g cream, a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste I made a few weeks ago (you could use half a vanilla bean split and scraped, or even vanilla essence) and cooked for 8 minutes on 90 degrees on Speed 2. I then added 100g arborio rice (as I am unaware of Rainfed rice as specified in the recipe, something I am sure will be corrected next time I see some of my extremely knowledgeable Thermomix colleagues) and cooked 20 minutes at 90 degrees on Reverse, Speed 2. Matt Stone didn’t say to put on Reverse but I was a little scared not to, not wanting to make rice paste for dessert.
On tasting, the rice was cooked but it needed a little more sugar, so I sprinkled some cinnamon sugar in and poured some plum sauce in then mixed on Speed 1 for 5 seconds (again worrying about turning it into a paste). It made a good amount for two. Sploshing some more plum sauce on top made it look prettier and gave it a great flavour. The almond milk didn’t make itself strongly known, but I did notice that after finishing I didn’t feel like I had a brick in my tummy as I did the last time I ate rice pudding. I think I shall make this again.