Tuesday, 18 May 2010

WAYS TO COOK AND EAT CAULIFLOWER

I've seen today on the news that sales of cauliflowers are falling dramatically. The popularity of this vegetable has apparently sunk to an all time low and there are fewer and fewer cauliflower growers in the UK. That's a bit alarming - and I don't really know why - is it the colour? Is it the taste? Or lack of it?
Well, it may be all three, but let's examine the colour issue first. Some people may believe it doesn't rank very highly as a "green" vegetable - but here are the nutritional facts:
  • a 100g raw serving will give you 25 calories - brilliant and filling! Raw? I hear you say? Yeeugh! I hear you cry? Don't knock it 'till you've tried it (more later)
  • 0g fat and 0g cholesterol
  • 3g dietary fibre (10% of your RDA)
  • Vitamin C (a massive 70% of your RDA)
  • Protein 2g
  • Iron (2% of your RDA)
  • Calcium (2% of your RDA)
  • has a very low Glycemic Load (2) and is mildly anti-inflamatory
Cooking lessens these amounts a little but probably not that much, providing you don't cook it to mush!
Okay - back to the raw recipes - you can mix finely cut small florets into salads with broccoli, Spanish onion and your favourite dressing more ideas HERE. Or you can use raw cauliflower in a dip - just wash, drain well until dry, separate into small mouthful-sized florets and arrange on a dish around a bowl of curry flavoured dip or mayonnaise. You can alternate the pieces of cauli with strips of raw courgette and carrot to give your dish some extra colour. Enjoy!

Cooking cauliflower is a bit like cooking brocolli - don't overdo it. If you have a steamer then that works well, but dropping the florets into boiling water for 8-10 minutes (depending on floret size) is all I do and they are still "al dente" - not raw, but crisp and firm. If you want to use it as more than a just an accompaniment vegetable, try Cauliflower Curry, Vegetable Pilau, Roasted cauliflower, or Cauliflower fritters!
The trick with cauliflower is to add some stronger, spicy ingredients to compliment its more delicate taste. And don't forget - despite the fact that cauliflower is often seen as expensive, it's quite bulky and an average head will give you enough for a meal for 2 people, so it is still fairly frugal.

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