I can’t quite believe it. I’ve actually grown a cauliflower! Okay, I know it’s still in its early stages – no bigger than a ping-pong ball – but the plant looks healthy and the slugs don’t seem to have found their slimy way to it yet.
What’s more, I’ve got five more littl’uns on the way. I can’t help having a peek behind their tightly curled inner leaves. I’ve topped up their grow-bags with compost, firmed them in and put them in a sheltered place, so hopefully there’ll not be too much root-wobbling going on when the winter winds arrive.
I’ve never managed to grow cauliflowers before, and they’ve a way to go yet. I hope I’m not tempting fate when I say I’d like to celebrate the first one with something a bit more adventurous than a Cheese Sauce (I’m sure this was invented to cover up the slug and pigeon devastation that befalls many a cauliflower).
I loved this book when I first bought it six years ago but forgot I had it, until my mum ‘lent’ it back to me last weekend! Despite its strap line, it’s not a recipe book in the conventional sense. Instead, it proposes a selection of flavour pairings that go well with a core ingredient from the book’s clever ‘flavour wheel’. This throws up some unusual combinations (Heston Blumenthal’s Cauliflower & Chocolate Risotto, anyone?) and reminds you of the should-be-obvious ones, like a seasonal Cauliflower & Walnut Soup.
It’s not just a reference book though… Each combination is augmented with entertaining facts, chef’s anecdotes and sometimes the author’s own experiments, which fires your imagination to invent a few combinations of your own. An extra wide margin would have been useful for all those pencil notes you’ll inevitably want to make.
My copy’s now got top-spot on the wobbly stack by the bed. I’m hoping mum won’t miss it.
Do you have a favourite ‘go-to’ book for interesting flavour combinations for vegetables? Please share below if you do!