Warm cauliflower and aubergine salad

Cauliflower has officially made a come back. Its no longer that plain, overcooked until watery vegetable but rather the hero of so many different dishes.  We’ve seen it as pizza bases, a rice alternative, in cakes, in bread and of course flavoursome soups. But my favourite way has got to be roasted until the edges are charred and crispy and the inside still has a little bite. Here it is roasted with turmeric, cummin and cinnamon which lifts the mellow flavour of the cauliflower while also adding a little sweetness.

Now don’t get me started on eggplant because it is quite possible one of my favourite things now after years of hating it as a kid. Roasting, like the cauliflower has got to be my favourite way to cook it. Once again the edges get crispy and charred but the inside is buttery soft and so delicious.

I’ve paired these two beautiful vegetables with green lentils, lots of fresh parsley, sweet dates, tangy pomegranate jewels and a creamy tahini dressing to really create a satisfying salad that is perfect for any day or night.

Warm cauliflower and aubergine salad

serves 4 as a side or 2-3 as a main 

  • 1/2 large head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp cummin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 aubergine, sliced into wedges
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp smokey paprika
  • 1/2 C green lentils
  • 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 of a preserved lemon, finely chopped
  • 2 C baby spinach leaves
  • 5 medjool dates, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 c raw almonds, roughly chopped
  • pomegranate jewels, to serve
  • tahini dressing, to serve (recipe below)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Line two baking trays with baking paper. Toss the cauliflower florets with 1/2 the olive oil, the turmeric, cumin and cinnamon. Spread out on the baking tray and place in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes.
  2. Slice half way down along the wedges of aubergine, making sure not to cut all the way through. place on the other baking tray and drizzle with the rest of the oil, the chilli flakes and paprika. Place into the oven for 30 minutes, or until charred on the edges and soft and gooey on the inside.
  3. Rinse the lentils before placing in a saucepan and covering well with lots of water. Bring to the boil over medium heat before turning to low, covering and cooking for 20 minutes. Refresh under cold water and set aside.
  4. Combine the cooked lentils, roasted cauliflower, parsley, baby spinach and preserved lemon in a large bowl. Add the roasted aubergine on top followed by the almonds, pomegranate jewels and spicy tahini dressing.
  5. Serve immediately.

Spicy tahini dressing 

makes 3/4 C 

Ingredients 

  • 1/4 C tahini
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • water, to thin, about 3/4 c

Method 

  1. Place everything but the water in a bowl and stir to combine. Slowly add the water until the desired consistency is reached. Its nice to have it quite runny so its a good drizzle consistency.
  2. Use for the salad and store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Enjoy!

 

Vanilla cream cake with seasonal fruit

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This may sound like a totally indulgent and luxurious dessert but really its not so bad for you at all! The ‘cream’ filling is made from raw cashews and coconut milk which is fluffy and flavoursome and so much better for you than a regular cream filling! Along with a nut base and fresh seasonal fruit on the top it’s the perfect guilt-free treat. My mum has been going all out and taking a slice for her morning tea at work, piled high with sweet figs and tangy passionfruit it’s the perfect morning indulgence. It would also be beautiful on an afternoon high tea platter.

The cream cake filling is scented with vanilla beans and raw local honey which adds not only sweetness but floral fragrances making it the perfect backdrop for whatever seasonal fruit you have on hand. I have chosen figs and passionfruit as our garden is bursting with them both at this time. Plus, the sweetness from the figs and tang from the passionfruit work beautifully together. I would also say mango and raspberries would be a delicious topping. Strawberries, kiwifruit, peaches and even cherries. Choose whatever fruit you have available in abundance and by doing this you will be getting the tastiest option. Sprinkle a few little mint leaves on top and you have a picture perfect and flavour packed treat!

For the base, I have chosen to use mainly buckwheat groats as these make the dessert a little lighter, there’s only so many nuts we can have, right?! But by including a few walnuts the base still has a delicious nutty flavour and is packed with nutrients.

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Notes about the recipe

I like to make the cream cake and place it sliced in a tupperware in the freezer without adding the topping. This way it will last up to 1 month frozen. Before serving I simply remove the desired amount of slices 30 minutes prior and top with the fresh fruit topping. 

To achieve a really creamy filling it is best to use a high speed blender, such as a vitamix. 

Vanilla & honey cream cake with seasonal fruit 

makes approximately 16 slices

Ingredients

for the base

  • 1/2 C raw walnuts
  • 3/4 C buckwheat groats (buckinis)
  • 1/2 C shredded coconut
  • 8 fresh dates, pitted
  • 4 dried figs
  • 2 tbsp virgin coconut oil
  • a pinch sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

for the cream filling

  • 2 C raw cashews (soaked overnight)
  • 1/2 C full fat coconut milk
  • 2 T raw honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean powder
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil

for the topping (choose whatever locally grown, seasonal fruit you have available)

  • 1 C sliced fresh figs
  • 4 passionfruit, pulp only
  • a few fresh mint leaves
  • edible flowers to decorate, if desired

Method

  1. Start but soaking your cashews overnight or for at least 6 hours.
  2. For the base, place the walnuts, buckwheat and coconut into a processor and blitz for about 1 minute, or until a rough crumbly textures is achieved. Add the dates, dried figs, coconut oil, sea salt and cinnamon before processing again until a sticky texture.
  3. Press this mixture firmly into a lined 20×30 cm tin. Place into the freezer.
  4. For the cream filling, drain the cashews and place in a high speed blender along with all the other filling ingredients. Blitz for 2-3 minutes or until a VERY creamy texture is achieved. Check the balance of flavours as you may need to add a little more honey if you’ve got a sweet tooth.
  5. Pour the filling over the base and place back into the freezer to set for 4-6 hours. Once completely set slice into 16 bars. If serving now top with fig slices, passionfruit pulp and mint leaves and let sit for 30 minutes to thaw.
  6. Otherwise store the slices in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Enjoy!

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