Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Saffron Cauliflower, pinenuts and raisins with Belly Pork

In honour of the Champions League Final at the weekend, we decided on a little Spanish meal, we were supporting Barcelona, controversially... Some slow cooked belly pork with herbs, cooked the same way as my previous post 'Belly Pork and Beans' teamed with Spanish side dishes. Moros y Cristianos, which is a white rice and black bean dish with orange zest and parsley, and a saffron cauliflower with pine nuts and raisins. We even took a little trip to Carruthers and Kent in Gosforth for a lovely bottle of Spanish red wine to complete the plan...

This isn't one of my cauliflowers, they are still babies, just four or five little leaves. I don't know when the actual white cauliflower part, the curd, starts growing but I'm keeping a close eye on them. They seem to be doing quite well so far. Fingers crossed.

I have not really been much more adventurous with cauliflower than a basic cauliflower cheese in the past, and as I'm growing quite a few of them this year I guess I need to learn a few alternatives. The cauliflower is quite earthy and can hold its own with quite strong flavours and spices. My 'Flavour Thesaurus' pairs it with anchovies, almonds, chilli, cumin, garlic, hard cheese and saffron. I doubt all at once.... I'd like to make some sort of smoky cauliflower purée and also a ground almond cauliflower curry at a future date... I will keep on experimenting.

This recipe is enough for 2 or 3 people as a side dish and comes from the 'Moro' cookbook by Sam and Sam Clark. You need to cut your cauliflower in half and keep one half for another day. Remove the leaves, keeping any tiny ones and break the cauliflower into little florets. I tried some of it raw and it is actually very tasty, a bit nutty and musky. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, add the cauliflower, bring back to the boil for one minute and then drain and set aside.

Slice half a Spanish onion into thin slices. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil until hot and add the onion, cook it with a pinch of salt for 15-20 minutes over a low heat. Stir them every 5 minutes to stop them sticking. When they are done drain them, keeping the oil.

While the onions are cooking add about 25 strands of saffron to 3 tablespoons of boiling water and leave to infuse. Also soak 35g of raisins in warm water. Finally lightly toast 2 tablespoons of pine nuts in a dry pan until golden.

Return the pan to the heat and add the reserved onion oil until it is hot. Add the cauliflower and any small leaves and fry until it begins to colour, then add the onions, the saffron water, the pine nuts, and the drained raisins. Mix everything up and cook for 5 minutes until most of the water has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.

This was delicious with the slow cooked soft pork and the mild creamy rice and beans. The football was quite good too...

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Happy cooking! Let me know if you make any of my recipes, send a picture, and let me know any of your own recipes and tips! Anna x