Tag Archives: Cauliflower

Cauliflower. Yes again. 

I know I only made a whole roast cauliflower the other day (as a curry), but I couldn’t resist testing out my idea for a chermoula cauliflower for Sunday lunch today to celebrate the last day of #meatfreeweek. It was lovely! I’ve included the recipe for the chermoula spice paste and how to preserve lemons. Although you can now get preserved lemons in most supermarkets, you will probably find it best to learn to preserve your own once you too get hooked on this addictive stuff. Liz x

Start by tipping a tin of tomatoes and a tin of water into a small, deep roasting dish. Add a couple of handfuls of chopped dates and some sliced red onion. Season with salt and plenty of black pepper. If you like, add a tbsp of Harissa for an extra spice kick.

Then prepare the cauliflower by pulling off all the leaves and slicing off the stalk at the base. Put the prepped cauli on top of the tomato and date stew base. Then get on with the chermoula paste.

Chermoula is an incredibly tasty, North African, spicy paste. There are countless variations around, but the key flavours are from the preserved lemon, chilli and spices. Blitz up this red chermoula paste in a small food processor/blender. Or if you don’t have one, you can crush the spices with a pestle and morter, finely dice the lemon, crush the garlic and mix in a bowl.

  • 1 large (or two small) preserved lemon
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • Fresh red chillies, to taste
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil to bring it together, about 2 or 3 tbsp will do

Then smear the paste thickly over the trimmed cauliflower. Sprinkle with a few more cumin seeds and bake for an hour to an hour and a half, depending on the size of your cauliflower. Serve sliced wedges on cous cous with the tomato and date stew spooned over it, cumin roast parsnips and carrots, salad…etc! I made a quick tahini, yogurt and pomegranate molasses sauce too. A deliciously different Sunday roast!

And here’s how to preserve your own lemons. It’s very easy! You will need…

  • A tall sterilised jar or two
  • As many unwaxed lemons as you can squeeze into them
  • A tbsp of salt for each lemon
  • Chillies and herbs (optional)
  • Olive oil

Slice a deep cross into each lemon so they are almost in quarters, keeping them intact at the base. Stuff 1 tbsp of salt into each lemon and squish them down into the jar. Try and fit them in as tightly as possible. Use the back of the tablespoon to squash them down and get those juices flowing. Put the lid on and leave it for a week. Give the jar the occasional shake. After a week put in a whole red chilli and a sprig of Rosemary or thyme, or a couple of bay leaves. The lemons will have released most of their juices but top them up with a little more lemon juice if necessary and then about a cm layer of olive oil. Lid back on and leave to preserve for another 3 weeks before using.


Whole Roasted Cauliflower.


Cauliflowers are great. They are, of course, amazing covered in a cheese sauce and baked into the classic cauliflower cheese. But, they also live an exciting double life as the perfect vehicle for spice. I’ve been LOVING roasting spiced up cauliflower florets for years now so I just knew a whole roasted cauliflower was bound to be something special. And I was right! This was my first ever attempt and I’ve got loads of ideas up my sleeve for variations…see the end. But here’s something to get you started if you fancy a special meat-free roast this weekend. The important thing to remember when roasting cauli’s whole is that they take a long time, over an hour usually. Think giant jacket potato. As always, adapt and adjust to your liking, and let me know how you get on. Liz x 


Whole Roast Cauliflower, Chickpea & Coconut Curry. 

Serves 4-6 

  • 1 cauliflower, leaves peeled off & the base levelled
  • 1 tin of coconut milk
  • 1 (or 2 if you are feeding more than 4 people) tins of chickpeas, rinsed & drained
  • 1 lime, zest & juice
  • 1 tbsp brown mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp nigella seeds
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • A small handful of fresh/frozen curry leaves
  • Sliced chillies to taste
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • An inch or so of fresh ginger, grated
  • Salt & black pepper to taste

Put all the ingredients in a small, deep roasting dish and add a mug of water. Mix and smear the coconut and spices all over the cauliflower. Place in the middle shelf of your oven (200C) and roast for at least an hour depending on the size of your cauliflower. It could take an extra half hour… Keep checking on it every 15 minutes or so and basting it by spooning over the sauce. If your cauli is very big the sauce may start to dry out so add some more water or another tin of coconut milk. Check for done-ness by inserting a skewer into the middle. 

Serve sliced wedges of the cauliflower over some boiled rice and spoon over the lovely, coconutty roasted chickpeas. Sprinkle with lots of chopped coriander leaves and provide lime wedges to squeeze at the table. I love it with lime pickle and mango chutney too! 

Oh and don’t discard the cauliflower leaves! Fry them up in a little oil with sliced chillies, garlic, cumin seeds, salt and pepper! If you can get hold of some okra put that in too! With a squeeze of lime juice. Lovely 😋



Some other ideas I’ve had and which I will be trialing soon…

Smear with chermoula paste, tip in a couple of tins of tomatoes, a tbsp of Harissa paste, some chopped dates and red onions. Season well, drizzle with olive oil and roast. Serve with fluffy cous cous and salad. And a tahini dressing!

Smear with Thai green curry paste. Add coconut milk, lime and spring onions. Roast and serve with rice/noodles and steamed greens.

…or any shop bought Indian curry paste, with a base of tomatoes/coconut milk, red lentils or chickpeas.

Or cover with olive oil and sprinkle fennel seeds, crushed chillies, crushed garlic, dried oregano and seasoning. Roast with a base of tomatoes and serve on pasta or polenta.

Or garlic, Rosemary, butter beans and tomatoes? 

The possibilities are endless! And endlessly delicious. 

Blogging begins…


Well, I have finally managed to start writing the blog that I have been meaning to write for the last few years …the list of reasons why things have taken longer to do than I hoped could go on and on. But now here we are, so let’s just get on with it.

I have been working on The Veg Box Cafe cookbook (mostly in my head) for sometime now and also on some recipe card prints and artwork (which are available to buy at the cafe for £15). But really I need somewhere to keep it all together! Physically and mentally… This busy mum needs a completely separate time and space (and parallel universe) to get properly organised. The big news is we are moving house next week and the property we are renting has a garage which I hope to use as a studio away from sticky, scribbly little fingers. Oh the possibilities…

So for now here is a snap of a simple springtime salad of roast cauliflower, chick pea and spring onion with sumac and tahini and yogurt dipping sauce. That was the day when I gave myself the laughable deadline of ‘this time next year I’ll have written the book’… Hahahahaha ha ha. Liz xImage