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I am sure most of you can relate when I talk about the kids going wild. Yesterday was such a day. From the minute we woke, Alexander was what I can only describe as a demon child. Behaviour that I have seen before but not for an entire day. A cranky morning, yes for sure, a tired afternoon, yes but a whole day of pushing, hitting, biting, crying and plain old fashioned bad behaviour. I was very tempted to add a dash of whiskey to my morning coffee it was that bad! We went to visit friends in the morning, and boy was that a bad decision. When we finally got home, I was absolutely not leaving the house again that day. No way! Today however, it is like I have a totally different child. He awoke and whispered in my ear “good morning mummy, I love you”, from that moment I knew it was already a better day than yesterday. And as the morning progressed, it had become a far superior day. We had snuggle time, we got dressed, Alexander even chose a shirt and linen trousers to wear (you should have seen the look of surprise on my face) and we had breakfast and went shopping. I mean, model child… “Please mummy”, “thank you mummy”, “can I help pack the bags mummy”. What a fabulous morning we have had so far. And what made it even better was that Alexander allowed me to do some meal prep for the week ahead.

So here I am, writing a post about a new salad, while my child is playing with his Fire Man Sam toy on the floor beside me. No tears, no arguing, no drama!

I had half written this recipe up about two years ago and never finished it. So armed with my star child and feelings of super mamma powers, I can finally share this. When Alexander goes to his dad this afternoon, I will make it again and take some photos. I went back to work this week, and really wanted to change my eating habits. I have to instil some discipline upon myself (if I do it for Alexander, I really need to lead by example and do it for me too). Trying to avoid bread and wine during the week. Not saying no to it, but avoiding it. More salads, vegetables and water. So here goes, to a fresh start.

A new year, a new me and a brand new recipe. Happy new year everyone!

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CAULIFLOWER, SPINACH & GRILLED VEGETABLE SALAD

This salad is a version (not as well put together and pretty as) of Donna Hay’s zucchini and cavolo nero and cauliflower ‘tabouli’ salad.

It is packed with vegetables and actually simple to make. A little messy but simple. When is making cauliflower rice not messy? I don’t buy cavolo nero, as it always seems to go to waste; instead I opt for spinach which I use in a lot of dishes in my house, so very little waste.  I also don’t use goat’s curd. I whip Greek yogurt and goat’s cheese together as I usually have those items in my fridge.

  • 3/4 of a head of cauliflower, about 300 g
  • 50 g quinoa
  • 500 ml of boiling water
  • olive oil
  • 1 large courgette
  • some tenderstem broccoli, I did 8 stalks (2 or 3 per serving)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 90 g spinach leaves
  • a large handful of fresh coriander
  • 60 ml of Greek yogurt
  • 25 g goat’s cheese
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • salt and pepper

THE HOW

Firstly rice the cauliflower. Chop into small florets and blitz in a food processor. Turn out into a large heat proof bowl. Next mix the quinoa into the cauliflower rice. Pour boiling water over (just barely covering the cauliflower and quinoa). Cover and set aside for 20 minutes.

Slice the courgette and then the garlic. Heat a griddle pan and drizzle with 1 tbsp of olive oil. When the pan is smoking slightly, add the courgette and the sliced garlic. Allow to sear and cook and then turn the courgette over. I am always too impatient and turn them over too quickly, so I never get that gorgeous sear that all the books do. 1 Large courgette usually takes two batches of grilling. Remove the first batch of courgettes and garlic (the garlic cooks quickly so I remove it before doing the rest of the courgettes so not to burn) and put in a dish or plate. Once the last of the courgette is cooked, leave the pan on the heat and char the tenderstem. This takes about 2 minutes on both sides.

Once the vegetables are cooked, set aside and see to the cauliflower. In a fine sieve, drain the cauliflower and quinoa. This actually takes a while as both the cauliflower and quinoa soak up excess water, so leave to stand over a bowl and every so often, gently stir.

While the cauliflower is draining, pop the spinach and coriander into the processor (you can save on wash up time, and use the same unclean processor as used for the cauliflower. Blitz until it resembles finely chopped herbs.

spinach

Once the cauliflower is drained, turn into a clean bowl and fluff up with a fork. Add the spinach and coriander crumble. Add salt and pepper and some lemon juice if you like, I usually omit the lemon in case my sister comes over. Mix the bowl together. Be generous with the salt. The cauliflower needs a good bit of seasoning.

rice and herbs

To make the yogurt sauce, simply blitz the yogurt and goat’s cheese with some salt and pepper together.

Ladle some of the cauliflower mix onto a plate, top with some yogurt, tenderstem, grilled courgettes and maybe some finely chopped peppers or tomatoes for colour if you have some.

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