food for thought

by michelle

cauliflower pilaf + fried root veg + spinach and yoghurt

with one comment

This vegetarian meal is loosely based on a Jordanian Maqluba which normally includes meat, rice, and fried vegetables placed in a pot, which is then flipped upside down when served. The recipe is adapted from one by Henry Dimbleby and Jane Baxter which appeared in The Guardian. 


Preheat your oven to 200ºC (º400F). Heat 1 litre (34 fl oz) of vegetable stock until just boiling. Whisk in 1 tablespoon of chilli paste, 1 tablespoon of tomato paste and a pinch of saffron and set aside. Wash 350g (12.3 0z) of rice well in cold water and leave it to drain. Cut 400g (14 oz) of cauliflower florets and slice an equal amount of butternut pumpkin. Toss them in a little olive oil and season well. Flash fry them to colour them but don’t cook them through. In a large pan, gently heat some olive oil. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of rice and arrange 1 onion and 3 leeks all cut into thick slices. Mix together a pinch of ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of ground fennel, 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, ¼ of a teaspoon of ground cardamom, ½ a teaspoon of ground allspice, a pinch each of cumin and coriander and a good pinch of salt. Sprinkle ⅓ of this spice mix over the leeks and onions. Now layer the cauliflower, squash, rice and the rest of the spice mix. Finish with a layer of rice, whisk the stock well and pour it over the pan contents. Shredded kale can also be layered with the vegetables.Turn up the heat for 2 minutes, cover the pan and turn the heat down to low. Leave the rice to cook for about 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave for a further 15 minutes. Traditionally now is the time to invert the contents of the pan onto a large plate but I chose to leave mine in the pot. Garnish with a handful of toasted pine nuts, a pinch of dried chilli and 1 tablespoon each of chopped coriander and mint.

These quick-fried root vegetables are almost like a pickle.


You can make this with whichever root vegetables you have to hand. We had carrots, parsnips, turnips and fennel. Celeriac and beetroots would be good too. Peel and cut all the vegetables into thin matchsticks or julienne. Sprinkle with a little salt and leave in a colander for about an hour. Squeeze out any excess moisture. Heat some olive oil in a large pan. Add 1 teaspoon of roughly crushed cumin seeds and cook for 1 minute before adding the shredded vegetables. Stir-fry for 5 minutes then add the juice and zest of 1 orange, 2 teaspoons of honey, 1-2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Cook for a further 5 minutes. Season with salt to taste.

This spinach and yoghurt dish adds creaminess and a bit of crunch.


Cook 250g (9 oz) of spinach leaves in a little olive oil until wilted. Drain well, allow to cool and squeeze out any excess moisture. Chop roughly and mix with 1 clove of crushed garlic, 1 chopped red chilli and 1 cup of yoghurt. Season well and serve sprinkled with a pinch of dried mint, and 50g (1¾ oz) of toasted walnut pieces.


One Response

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  1. love today recipes Mish!

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