Roast Cauliflower with Pea Mash and Cinnamon Pumpkin

Glamourising vegetarian food…one dish at a time… 

One of my pet hates when dining out is – poorly constructed, extremely repetitive, flavourless and lack lustre vegetarian meals. Once in a while I have no problem with the commonly available vegetarian meals in most restaurants such as pumpkin gnocchi or a vegetarian pizza (that seems to have every vegetable in the world on it). However each time my husband and I go out his meals are so fancy with different textures, colours, flavours and mine the same old boring pumpkin gnocchi.

I want to ask professional chefs out there – what have we vegetarians done to you? why can’t pumpkin gnocchi be as glamourous as confit duck. I mean if you can make something dead look that good on a plate, shouldn’t it be easier with a vegetable that doesn’t bleed? Ok! I should stop being such a meanie, but the whole point is – vegetarian food can be made equally glamorous if not more. Today’s recipe is just that – GLAMOUROUS!

In this recipe I have used vegetables that are available all year round, cooked them with some techniques and spices that orchestrate a symphony of flavours with each bite.  This dish is truly a vegetarian’s delight.

Ingredients:  16  Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 2

  • One medium cauliflower
  • Two cups of peas (I used frozen)
  • One cup of pumpkin, peeled and cubed
  • Four tablespoons of light Greek yogurt
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Eight to ten fresh mint leaves
  • Two to three pods of garlic, smashed
  • 1.5 teaspoons of smoked paprika powder
  • Two teaspoons of ground cumin powder
  • One teaspoon of ground cinnamon powder
  • 0.5 teaspoon of chilli powder
  • 0.5 teaspoon brown sugar
  • Six tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • One tablespoon of butter
  • Salt to season
  • Fresh watercress to garnish (optional)

Begin by thoroughly washing the cauliflower and break it into large-sized florets. Steam the florets for five to seven minutes until slightly tender.

Prepare a marinade using four tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, one and a half teaspoons of cumin powder,smoked paprika powder and smashed garlic. Marinate the cauliflower florets for 15 minutes prior to roasting, ensure each floret is thoroughly coated with the marinade (add more oil/powdered spices if necessary).

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and roast the marinated cauliflower for 20 minutes.

For the pea mash –  steam the peas for five to seven minutes. In a bowl add the steamed peas, fresh mint leaves, a tablespoon of extra virgin olive, juice of half a lemon and salt as per taste. Using a stick blender blend all the ingredients until smooth.

For the cinnamon pumpkin – melt one tablespoon of butter in a pan, once melted add the cinnamon powder and a pinch of brown sugar. Add the pumpkin cubes once you smell the cinnamon aroma. Season with salt as required and cook the pumpkin until tender.

The final component is the chilli oil yogurt – add one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, half a teaspoon of chilli powder and cumin powder and juice of half a lemon. Mix all the ingredients well and add this dressing to the yogurt. Before serving air the yogurt by mixing it rapidly in a circular motion for one minute. My vegan readers feel free to omit this step.

To assemble – spoon the mash peas on the plate, place the roasted cauliflower on top of the pea mash, add the cinnamon pumpkin pieces around the pea mash and finally add a dollop or two of the chilli oil yogurt. If you love your greens like I do, garnish with fresh watercress leaves.

Get ready to scintillate your next dinner party with this quick, easy, lip smackingly delicious, glamorous meal.

Chicken Schnitzel with Mash Potatoes and Roast Veggies

Mother in law’s speciality dish…

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Growing up in a Hindu household, I had never eaten meat. Even after moving to Australia I continued being a vegetarian – this was about to change. The first time I met my mother in law (my husband and I were newly dating), she had invited me for dinner and surprisingly my husband forgot to tell her I was then a pure vegetarian Anyway, I arrived at their house and as always was so hungry, I could hardly wait for dinner. When we get to the dinner table my mother in law said ‘I have made one of my specialities’, I couldn’t wait to find out what it was. Turns out it was Chicken Schnitzel with mash and roast veggies!  That day I couldn’t I tell her I was a vegetarian, it would just be so rude and clearly I could forget about making an impression.

So that day was the first time I ate chicken and now the only time I will eat it is if my mother in law makes her schnitzels. Given its one of my husbands favourite meals, I have learnt how to make this from my mother in law.

It is such a quick meal to make during the week, especially when you are longing for home cooked comfort food and missing your mother. Everyone has their own take on Schnitzels, I like to use free range chicken tenderloins, they are so lean and there is no fuss about trimming the fat or cutting them evenly. They come ready to use! 

Ingredients:  20   Cooking time: 45 minutes

Serves: 2

For the schnitzel

  • One pack of free range chicken tenderloins (usually has about 12 strips)
  • One cup of panko breadcrumbs
  • Two eggs, beaten
  • One cup of plain flour to dust
  • One teaspoon Italian herbs
  • One teaspoon chilli flakes
  • Salt to season
  •  Vegetable oil for shallow frying

For the mash potatoes

  • Four to five medium sized potatoes, peeled
  • Half cup skim milk
  • One tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to season

For the roast veggies

  • One cup cauliflower florets
  • Four carrots, peeled and cut into sticks
  • One cup brussel sprouts, cut in halves
  • One cup squash, cut in cubes
  • One teaspoon rosemary leaves
  • Four to five pods of smashed garlic
  • Two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to season

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.

Now place all the vegetables in the baking dish, add rosemary leaves and smashed garlic, drizzle with olive oil and toss them well. Roast in oven, turning them once for about 30 – 40 minutes,  until lightly crispy and golden. Remember you can use any vegetables available in your fridge, just be mindful of the cooking time.

To make the mash potatoes, cut the potatoes in cubes and boil them in salted water until completely tender. Drain potatoes well and return to the saucepan on low heat. Now roughly mash the potatoes, add milk and olive oil and mash the potatoes once again. Beat them with a wooden spoon until the mash is fluffy.

Lets prepare the schnitzel. Combine breadcrumbs, chilli flakes and Italian herbs in a bowl. Season with salt. Place flour in a bowl and whisk egg and milk together in another shallow bowl.

Coat the chicken tenderloin in flour first, followed by the egg mixture and finally cover with breadcrumbs. Do this for each piece of tenderloin until all are prepped and ready to fry.

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Heat oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Cook chicken in batches for 4 to 5 minutes each side or until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain.

To assemble place the potato mash on a plate first and top it up with the chicken tenderloin strips, add the side of roast vegetables and there you have it an easy, lip smackingly delicious meal.

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