This is not a vegan nor vegetarian cookbook so dispel that thought immediately. The subtle flavour of the cauliflower allows it to fit nicely into any dish, from a beef tagine or curry through to biryani, pastas or even cheesecakes and muffins. Leanne Kitchen covers them all with 70 recipes from around the globe – Turkish, Indian, American, Malay – to ably demonstrate why Cauliflower is King.
The cauliflower is ideal to get necessary vitamins and minerals into your diet, particularly for families with children who are resistant to eating their vegetables. The cauliflower’s many health benefits include low carbs and being a great source of dietary fibre, vitamins C, K and B, minerals like magnesium and potassium, and a nutrient called choline, which Kitchen explains is essential for brain development (page 8).
In her brief introduction, Kitchen also gives an interesting background on the cauliflower before talking about how to pick the right one off the shelf and how to cook it properly. The book then dives right into the cooking with snacks like cauliflower popcorn, starters, soups, salads, main meals and more.
Cauliflower is King offers plenty of full-colour photos and drawings with the gritty feel of the paper matching the texture of a floret. It’s a nice touch to put cauliflower front and centre in the mind. Each recipe begins with an introductory paragraph followed by clear lists and instructions, including any preparation required. As with all recipes however, it’s wise to read through it the day before because necessary preparations are not highlighted – such as the need to soak legumes for hours before you start cooking.
I’ve used cauliflower mash for years as a replacement for mashed potatoes but I’ve never experimented any further until now. The Roast Cauliflower and Garlic Mash on page 124 sounds much better than my own humble version and is one I’ll be trying next time I’m in the mood for some mash.
Leanne Kitchen’s cookbook is full of surprises, the most notable being just how easy it is to incorporate cauliflower into almost any dish. The recipes I sampled were simple to make but incredibly tasty. I tried two recipes on separate guests. Both went back for seconds. One went back for thirds. And both took leftovers away with them. One of those was a 12-year-old lad whose mother struggled to get him to eat vegetables. No further review is necessary than that success story.
Cauliflower is King is most definitely royalty in my own kitchen now.
Crunchy Cauliflower Penne Bake (page 62)
The recipe says this fantastic dish serves 6, but it was the one my near-teenage guest dived into three times before taking some home with his mum. I also had two serves and left overs for myself. Six is a very conservative estimate.
The cheesy sauce of this pasta bake blends well with the other flavours which come from capers, anchovies, sun-dried tomatoes, basil and parsley. It’s a n interesting blend that works wonders. I did hesitate at using anchovies, knowing that many people don’t like them, but I chopped them fine as instructed, and their flavour was subtle.
This bake has great texture as well as great flavour. I crumbed up some toasted Afghan bread instead of the suggested day-old sourdough bread and I’m happy with that choice. I’ll do the same next time. This recipe uses up a few dishes in the kitchen but it’s not hard to make and well worth the dishwashing.
Cauliflower Dhal (page 126)
My intention was to make this as a side dish but the flavour and texture was so satisfying that we ate this one as a light main meal. Soaking the split peas for 2 hours prior can be replaced by a longer cooking time, which was how I compensated for not reading the recipe in advance. The coconut milk gives it the required creamy taste, but it’s the fresh lime juice that really sets it off. I used a full lime instead of the 2 tablespoon suggested. The dish is said to serve 4 but, as a side dish it would serve a lot more; as a main, perhaps 2 or 3 people, depending on their appetite. Again, this recipe was easy to make with a great payoff thanks to the combination of turmeric, cumin, curry leaves, garlic, ginger and cloves. I’ll be making this for the next pot luck dinner party I attend.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Rating out of 10: 9
Distributed by: Murdoch Books
Released: July 2018