Thursday, 19 June 2014

Cauliflower Kedgeree

Ok it's official - winter has settled in for the long haul, which for Auckland just means rain, rain, and a little more rain! It can be so hard to get motivated to do anything on those long grey days, and an umbrella pretty much becomes part of every outfit choice as you never know when the next soaking may occur. Growing up in Christchurch, rain was usually a lot more predictable and you could work your day around it a little more, whereas I am slowly learning (after nearly 8 years!) in Auckland that it can strike anywhere, anytime so be prepared and you can't let it interfere with your daily plans! And, of course you can indulge in hearty winter meals that keep you warm inside and are packed with nutrients to keep those winter bugs at bay - like this yummy cauliflower kedgeree!

That being said, it was my daughter 5th birthday (a few weeks ago now, but I'm not very good at keeping up to date with these things!), and we decided to go all out and give her and her friends a day they would remember at Rainbows End. It was a perfect, warm, sunny day, and she had an absolute blast! It is kind of hard to wrap our heads around being the parents of a 5 year old now, and the whole school thing has taken a lot more learning on our part than we had anticipated! There are a whole new set of rules, regulations, routines, systems etc to get our heads around, and it has taken a little bit of getting used to, but on the whole I think all of us are starting to get used to it and settle into a little bit of a new groove. Kaylah in particular has taken to it like a duck to water, thankfully, and she is absolutely thriving. It is such a relief to see her settled in, and she runs up to me every day at pickup full of tales of everything that happened - it is all still so new an exciting, and we are going to be so sorry to loose that enthusiasm over time as it is just so darn cute!!

Now, this wouldn't be a food blog without a little mention of the birthday cake, and although it does not strictly meet the criteria of a clean eating blog (it is covered in fondant icing which has colouring and goodness only knows how many other nasties lurking), the actual cake itself was a gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, soy-free, nut-free cake made with coconut sugar, (one was banana chocolate chip, the other was carrot), and although I did use some buttercream icing in to layer it (my concession on birthdays - sometimes a little good old fashioned buttercream is called for!), the cake itself was very much true to the clean eating way. My kids are not fans of the fondant icing to eat anyway, so they tend to leave it on the side...although for this party all of the kids did indulge in some coloured hearts - they seemed to be the most popular part! I prefer to work with fondant for the decorating as it can create so many cool looks, but I know that many people don't eat it, so I always encourage people to feel free to leave it to one side, as it really isn't the best stuff! That being said though, there is always room for a few days of the year where you just let go of all of the worry about what to eat, and just enjoy your day for what it is. There has to be some room for flexibility in any diet or lifestyle choice (provided it is not based on allergy or intolerance) as there can be so much tension associated with being 'perfect' at all times, and this in itself is not healthy either!

So, here are a couple of pictures of the cake, just as a little aside to the main intention of this post!

 Ready to rock, just awaiting the final touches...

 In the party room, blends in with the super colourful backdrop!

Just needs a birthday girl to blow out the candles :)

Ok, so now back to the real purpose for this post! I had some fish in the freezer leftover from hubby's successful summer fishing trips (they have been a little more few and far between lately with the onset of winter, and certainly not as lucrative when they do happen! Fresh fish has such an amazing flavour, and I tend to keep things fairly simple when preparing it as it is so delicate and really needs nothing too much added. When fish is slightly older, or has been in the freezer, it lends itself more to curries, pies etc that pack a little more flavour punch, as the taste of the fish is stronger, and it needs something to balance it out and take away that 'fishy' taste. This kedgeree has a really nice hit of flavour from the turmeric and garlic, and combined with a few simple vegetables and topped with a poached egg, this meal is a trove of nutrition for winter wellness. Turmeric has so many fantastic bug fighting benefits, and we should all be including loads of this wonder spice into our diets. There is also garlic and ginger in the recipe for awesome flu-fighting capabilities, and a good dose of greens with the addition of spinach or silver beet. 

Instead of the traditional rice, I used cauliflower rice to make this dish, but you can stick to the original white rice if you prefer. The meal is free of gluten, grains, dairy, nuts, soy, and sugar, and can be made very quickly for a satisfying mid-week meal. 

Kedgeree is traditionally a breakfast dish from England - an old style colonial meal inspired by travel to India in way back when. This would definitely make a good breakfast alternative, so make extra and you can reheat in the morning - it was just as good the second time around when I had it as leftovers for lunch the next day.

Mmmm - golden kedgeree topped with a gooey poached much goodness!

What's not to love about an oozy egg?!

Cauliflower Kedgeree

Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, sugar free

2-4 fillets of firm fleshed white fish (can vary the amount depending on how many people you are serving and how much fish you like), cut into chunks
1tbsp coconut oil
about 1/2 -3/4 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
3 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
2cm cube of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
8 swiss brown or button mushrooms, cut into quarters or eighths
1/2 onion, finely sliced
1 cup silverbeet or spinach, roughly diced
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp curry powder (or more to suit tastes)
juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup water (roughly), or fish/vegetable stock
handful of fresh coriander to garnish
salt and pepper to taste

1. Rice your cauliflower. Get our a blender or food processor and pulse the cauliflower florets until finely 'riced'. You may have to do it in a couple of batches. 
2. In a large frying pan or pot, heat the oil over medium heat.
3. Add the onions and cook until just starting to soften, then add the garlic and ginger. Cook for about 1 minute until fragrant, then add the cauliflower. 
4. Cook the cauliflower for a couple of minutes until well blended with the onions and garlic. You can add a little water at this stage to stop it sticking to the pan and to add a little moisture. 
5. Add the fish, mushrooms, silver beet, curry powder, and turmeric. Cook until fish is cooked through, and cauliflower has softened. Again, you may like to add a little more water or stock through the cooking process if it seems to be getting a little dry or sticking to the pan.
6. Once fish and cauliflower are cooked, remove from heat. Add the cherry tomatoes and lemon and give them a bit of a mix in to combine. Leave to sit for a minute or two to allow the heat from the meal to slightly soften the tomatoes. Season to taste

Serve topped with a poached egg and a handful of fresh coriander. You could also use boiled eggs if you prefer, or if you already have some ready to go in the fridge.