So it’s not a revolutionary concept – the use of cauliflower in place of white potato. However, as with most things, everyone has their own particular way of making it that they profess to be the best. And, this is mine. Well…one of them. Because as the saying goes ‘there’s more than one way to skin a cat’ (every time I say that I dread to think how that saying ever came about?! Let’s not explore that idea..).
Sometimes you get in on a cold day, and just want comfort food. Maybe you’re feeling a bit sniffly and a bit bunged up. In these cases, a big bowl of something yummy, filling and comforting is what’s called for. Plus, no painful peeling of potatoes and starch covered hands. If you’ve ever peeled potatoes before, you’ll know that feeling – most definitely not the most pleasant!
Not only this, but there are the health benefits of cauliflower. If you read my Chocolate Chip Soda Bread recipe post, you’ll know that I’m a first year Applied Food & Nutrition student. I find it so fascinating, but unfortunately I’m still having to work up my concentration levels after not having been in education for a few years. The brain too, needs training, and boy am I realising it! This also brings me to the depressing reality that, at the ripe old age of 22, I’m classed as a ‘mature student’. Oh. Oh. Ohhhh. It makes me feel so old! Yet at the same time still feel like I’m about 16?! I look 16 too, apparently – I’ve lost count of the number of people who don’t believe me when I tell them my age!
Anyhow, this week we were looking at bioactive compounds and phytochemicals: non-nutrient compounds and chemicals found in plant based foods and micro-organisms which, unlike vitamins and minerals, are not essential for us to survive. But what they can provide, is numerous health benefits beyond what the basic essential nutrients do. There’s still a lot of research going on around them but so far there’s a plethora or evidence such as the prevention/decreasing the risk of:
- cardiovascular diseases,
- neurological disorders,
- chronic inflammatory diseases,
- bone, muscular and skeletal diseases
- metabolic disorders.
We also looked at the bioavailability of different foods, how cooking can alter them, the different compounds fruit and vegetables contain, and what the colours indicate. The old saying ‘eat a rainbow’ couldn’t have been more appropriate for today’s lecture! Whilst I find it super interesting, I am conscious that this is the sort of topic that you could get really bogged down with if you get obsessive trying to apply it all, when in reality, just eating a range of different fruit and veg will probably suffice just as well without all of the brain ache. After all, life is for living, not worrying whether your meal has a full span of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and goodness knows what else.
So without rambling too much about a topic that isn’t really much related to a recipe for cauliflower mash (sorry!). My inner nerd broke to the surface once again and I did a bit of research on what the old basic cauliflower can provide. As it turns out, a whole lot more than you would think for a white cruciferous vegetable! But more on that for another post.
- 320g cauliflower, frozen (see note for fresh cauliflower)
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp nutritional yeast (opt)
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 30g cream cheese
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- almond milk
- salt, to taste
Essentially, this is blending cooked cauliflower, with the above ingredients. Don’t get too caught up in being super precise – I’ve just detailed it how I’ve found it easiest to make with minimal mess and fuss!
You can skip the use of xanthan gum if you like – it makes it more like a puree and gives extra volume. If omitting, you won’t need as much additional almond milk/water.
- Place frozen cauliflower florets in a large microwaveable bowl, cover with a plate and microwave for 3 minutes.
- Use a pair of scissors to chop the now partially defrosted chunks into much smaller pieces. Cover with water about half way up, cover and microwave again for about 4-5 minutes or until tender.
- Using a hand blender, blend into a puree. Add in the mustard, onion powder, garlic powder and nutritional yeast (if using) and stir it all together. Add the xanthan gum to the middle of the bowl, and spoon a blob of the cauliflower mash over the top of it – just so it doesn’t get too gummed up in the blender!
- Add a splash of almond milk and blend again until it’s the thickness you’d like.
- Cover and microwave until it bubbles. Add in the cream cheese and Worcestershire sauce, plus however much almond milk or water you require for your desired consistency, and blend again. Enjoy!
Note: if using fresh cauliflower, skip to step 2.