Day 103

Level 2 Chi Kung. Microcosmic orbit.

Spent over three hours walking today (take Katie to school, walk Sherlock on the Heath, collect Katie from school, go home, take Katie to cello, return home to wait for Jack, return to school for ‘meet the teacher’…) which (unsurprisingly) was a bit much for my still-recovering knee.

Made Yotam Ottolenghi’s cauliflower cake for dinner – incredibly yummy. Recipe below – I only used 15ml of olive oil instead of 75ml. I also added 5ml of basil oil as I didn’t have any fresh basil and used black onion seeds instead of sesame and nigella seeds.

Cauliflower cake

Cauliflower cheese sounds to me like the most indulgent of dishes, but to an alumnus of the British school system, it’s a stomach-turning echo of soft florets in a puddle of cheesy water. So I need to work extra hard to convince readers that it’s something they might want to eat. Well, I’ve got a winner here. Serve as a light supper with a salad of sliced cucumber, dill and mint, dressed with a little sugar, cider vinegar and rapeseed oil. Wrapped, it will taste even better the next day. Serves four to six.

1 small cauliflower, outer leaves removed, broken into 3cm florets
Salt and black pepper
1 medium red onion, peeled
75ml olive oil
½ tsp finely chopped rosemary
7 eggs
15g basil, chopped
120g plain flour, sifted
1½ tsp baking powder
⅓ tsp ground turmeric
150g coarsely grated parmesan (or another mature cheese)
Melted butter, to grease the tin
1 tbsp white sesame seeds
1 tsp nigella seeds

Heat the oven to 200C/390C/gas mark 4. Put the cauliflower in a saucepan and add a teaspoon of salt. Cover with water, bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, until the florets are quite soft: they should break when pressed with a spoon. Strain and leave in a colander to dry.

Cut four round 0.5cm slices off one end of the onion and set aside. Coarsely chop the rest of the onion, and put in a small pan with the oil and rosemary. Cook for 10 minutes on a medium heat, stirring from time to time, until soft, then set aside to cool. Transfer the cooked onion to a large bowl, add the eggs and basil, whisk, then add the flour, baking powder, turmeric, cheese, a teaspoon of salt and plenty of pepper. Whisk until smooth, then add the cauliflower and stir gently, trying not to break up all the florets.

Line the base and sides of a 24cm springform cake tin with baking parchment, and brush the sides with melted butter. Mix together the sesame and nigella seeds and toss them around the inside of the tin, so they stick to the sides. Tip in the cauliflower mix and arrange the reserved onion rings on top.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 45 minutes, until golden-brown and set: a knife inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean. Remove from the oven and leave for at least 20 minutes before serving: it needs to be served just warm, or at room temperature, rather than hot.

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