Wow, has it gotten cold these past few days! Yesterday was almost gloves weather. Of course, yesterday was freaky weather, what with the tail end of Hurricane Gonzalo hitting the British Isles, but it certainly shows that the summer is well over.
This time of the year brings with it a hankering for comfort food. The type of food that’s good for the soul, that warms you up from the inside. Creamy soups with crusty bread to dunk, pasta with rich sauce and oodles of cheese, pies….. You know the type of food we’re talking about. The stuff that’s so absolutely good, except for your waistline.
The thing is that it’s easy to (conveniently) forget about the latter during these months. We are, after all, wearing more layers, and it’s easier to hide underneath the thicker clothes. The baggy sweaters will cloak any tummy increase and a little upper arm jiggle is perfectly shielded under long sleeves.
Until that one day comes when you try to pull up a pair of jeans that fit comfortably just weeks before only to find that they won’t go beyond your tights. And if by some miracle you manage to tug them up and close the button, you will have to hold your breath or they will certainly pop.
We’ve had those days. More times than we dare say. You see, we love food. For us food is not just for eating. We also love cooking. It’s our hobby and we enjoy it. Cooking is therapeutic. What else can you do that delivers quasi instant gratification like cooking does? And the fact that we both enjoy cooking and love doing it together, makes it even harder for us t stay away from the kitchen.
But here at The Londinium Project we’ve been making a momentous effort to eat healthily. Which, we have to say, has not been easy. Aside from the fact that dinners of salad and grilled chicken can become very boring after a while, there’s very little satisfaction in cooking the same thing every single day.
So we’ve been working hard to find new recipes to try. Ones that are not just good tasting but also low on the calorific intake. We’ve been doing our best to switch fattening ingredients with more health conscious ones.
Yesterday we bought some cauliflower and wanted to do something new with it. We’ve been steaming cauliflower and broccoli, but we simply wanted to spice it up. We remembered one of our favorite recipes, from Thomas Keller’s fantastic Ad Hoc At Home cookbook — cream of cauliflower soup. We’ve made that soup so often and actually found a way to make it healthier by replacing heavy cream with fat free half-and-half. Keller’s recipe also calls for sauteeing some cauliflower florets in butter to get them crispy and serve them over the soup.
While we didn’t have enough cauliflower for the soup, let alone the other ingredients, the sauteed florets sounded like a good side vegetable. Since we didn’t want to use butter, we tried a different method, and it worked fantastically. What you need:
- A cauliflower, cut into pieces
- Three cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper
We weren’t in the mood to mince the garlic by hand, so after grinding the pepper flakes, we threw the cloves and pulsed them until they turned into a paste. We then put the mixture into a large bowl, added the thyme (it might be a good idea to grind it, but we had already put the grinder away) the salt and pepper and the olive oil and mixed together. We then put the florets in the bowl and tossed until they were covered. We then lay them on a baking sheet. We used aluminum foil to avoid having to scrub the baking sheet afterwards. We then put the dish in a hot oven with the broiler turned on, turning the florets until they were golden brown all over.
One thing that we’ve learned when making cauliflower is that a little bit of char is actually good. Almost burnt cauliflower is actually quite tasty. And if you want to add even more flavor, add some BBQ sauce. An all-time favorite is Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey BBQ Sauce, but we haven’t yet found it at our store, although we’ve just discovered that Amazon stocks it. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait for it to be delivered and postpone our gratification.