Wednesday, 2 April 2008

A veggie bonanza

The problem about writing this book is that you not only have to use up all your own leftovers but those of well-meaning friends.

"You wouldn't like some carrots and cauliflower, would you?" asked my neighbour wistfully. "We've just got a whole lot more in our veg box." By bequeathing them to us she feels she's not wasting them so I feel bound not to let her down. Free dinner anyway.

I scrubbed and sliced the carrots and put them in a pan with a teaspoon of mixed ground coriander and cumin and half a teaspoon of vegetable bouillon powder, gave them a stir, put just enough water in the pan that they wouldn't catch, covered them and left them on a low heat until they were tender (about 25 minutes). This is the way I normally cook carrots - you get a much more intense flavour than if you boil them.

I cut up and steamed the cauliflower, made a quick white sauce, added a bit of cheddar, decanted half the cauliflower into a shallow dish, poured over the sauce, topped it with the rest of the cheese and flashed it under the grill.

Odd combination, cauliflower cheese and carrots but it worked out fine. Potatoes would have been a good addition but we're cutting down on carbs at the moment.

I dressed the leftover carrots with a little vinaigrette, some extra coriander and cumin and some dried dill and the cauliflower with the same dressing plus some garlic, hot paprika and capers. These will make cooked salads for tomorrow with . . . er . . . I'm not sure what yet. Chopped cashew nuts or sesame seeds would go quite well with the carrots. Haven't got any fresh herbs though at the moment which would make a good last minute addition.

If I had been feeling even more frugal I could have blitzed the two veg into a soup, with the water I used for steaming the cauliflower.

And if I'd had leftover potatoes I could have made a dry cauliflower potato and carrot curry which we could have eaten with some raita and a dal. The leftovers from which (the dal) could have been made into soup . . .

Quite satisfyingly creative, frugal eating. So long as you're prepared to cook a bit.

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