Thursday, 14 January 2016

Cauliflower Couscous

Another new year, another round of self-flagellation in the Recipe Junkie household... And when you're making cauliflower couscous, you know it's got to be bad...

The age crisis that I blithely ignored as I turned 40, feeling full of the joys, life beginning and all that. Well it all came crashing down around me in the car the other day on my way to Carmarthen. I was heading for an appointment to see an absolutely gorgeous and lovely practitioner of the Bowen technique in a bid to sort out my ever problematic back. If you're in the area and need sorting out, I recommend her. But I digress.

As I avoided the floods and negotiated the broken roads (where the floods had receded) a voice echoed around my head: 

"This year you will be 44". 


I have no idea where the voice came from, and there's no good reason why 44 should be any different to 40 - but then it's only 6 years to being 50 and where does that leave me?!

Being the person that I am, I have given myself several good talkings to since, and thought I'd got over it. But no! Another 'old' moment befell me at the optician when, during a routine eye check, the young whippersnapper (who tried to sympathise with me by telling me that he'd be turning 30 this year - I had to stop myself for trotting out all the trite guff about how great being 30 is...) advised me that "Not this time, but probably in a couple of years we're going to have to think about varifocals!".


I might as well just go out and shoot myself now...

Then I found my copy of "When I am old I will wear purple" and decided that it wouldn't be all bad, as long as I don't just let old happen to me. I know people who have done this - become old, adopted an old mindset, determined that they couldn't do anything to improve the situation, and metaphorically, if not actually, walked themselves to the old people's home and bolted the door behind them.

This of course will not happen to me. I cannot do anything about the numbers (or, perhaps the varifocals) but I can prevent the 'old'. 

Being the new year and all that, in a bid to stave off being old as long as possible. I have taken the opportunity to once again resolve to eat better, make sure I get enough exercise - drink 8 glasses of water a day. I am even doing Dry January - but that has as much to do with an ill-judged strawberry daiquiri on New Year's Eve as anything else (there are some parts of my life where, it seems, I will forever be 17).

I am currently contemplating A Modern Way to Cook by Anna Jones and Diana Henry's A Change of Appetite. Interesting reading. I even have a jar of coconut oil in the cupboard - and yes, I have been using it to bake with. (Incidentally it's also fab as handcream - I have some lush stuff fragranced with lemon balm. Heaven).

And as always the case, there are pounds that absolutely MUST be shed. Not many, but I am conscious of them creeping back on and being harder to shift when they do. Not doing much for my self image, and I can't afford a new wardrobe. So back to my old favourites - spinach soups fragrant with lemon grass, ginger, chilli and not much else; carefully measured portions of porridge, making sure I scrape away any leftovers fom the kids plates IMMEDIATELY. In a bid to livening things up (!) I have even stooped to making couscous out of cauliflower. Not adding deliciously roasted florets to a chunky couscous rich in good things like chorizo, olive oil and the like. Not that at all. Rather, that thing that was all the rage with the 5:2ers (oh yes, that was me, briefly, wasn't it...) where you whizz up cauliflower and pretend its carbs. Cauliflower couscous. And surprisingly, it was very tasty.

I can't promise that I won't be reaching for Chef Fatboy's 'Cooking with cream, cheese and extra butter' shortly (you mean you haven't got that one? It's very good). But for now, a bit of restraint and plenty of chilli and lime is doing wonders for me!


Cauliflower Couscous

This is based on a recipe from the Abel & Cole Veg Box Companion by Keith Abel.

Serves 2-4 depending on whether you're eating it on its own - I ate about half of it with some cooked mushrooms for my supper and will have the rest for lunch tomorrow...

100g sunflower seeds
1 reasonably large cauliflower
1 fat garlic clove
1 red chilli
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinammon
Zest & juice of a lime
Seeds from a pomegranate
A good handful of parsley

Toast the sunflower seeds in a pan until golden and nutty then set aside (remember that if the pan is too hot, they might burn even off the heat, so tip into a bowl if necessary)

Trim the leaves from the cauliflower and roughly chop into florets. Peel the garlic and deseed the chilli.

Chuck the florets, garlic and chilli into a food processor and whizz up till it looks like couscous, then tip into a big bowl.

Sprinkle over the ground spices and stir through the cauliflower along with the sunflower seeds.

Stir in the lime zest and juice, the pomegranate seeds and finally chop up the parsley and add that.

Leave it for a few minutes - I was worried that the ground spices would taste a little 'raw' but they mellowed for being left to marinate - and then eat!


  1. 44? I can barely remember being that young. (I also can't remember where I've put my keys and many other things - but I digress). I would walk into a home but have you seen how expensive those places are? I just make a nuisance of myself in coffee shops and restaurants instead. My beloved has been on a health and weight-loss "journey" for a while now (very successfully, to be fair) and so I'm well aware of cauliflower in all its pulverised forms and, thanks to her acquaintance with a man who makes shouty videos on Instagram, I'm also well versed in coconut oil. I even microwave the cauliflower when rice is out of the question. Do I actually enjoy the cauliflower? Well, yes, when made in a way like yours it's pretty damn good. Do I feel better or younger? Of course not, don't be silly. I've been trying the Dry Jan but I'm craving the Fazed-out Feb already.

    1. Making a nuisance of myself in coffee shops is the sort of behaviour I'm planning to adopt. I know 44 isn't really old - I think the whole ageing process hit me all of a sudden. I enjoyed my cauliflower - but am looking forward to enjoying a G&T more, I have to say

  2. 44? I turned 55 last year so quit ya whingeing! As a funeral celebrant, I've quickly learned it's better than the alternative...I'm going to try your cauli cous cous, sounds very good, if not a little worthy!

  3. 3 Researches SHOW How Coconut Oil Kills Belly Fat.

    The meaning of this is that you actually burn fat by eating coconut fats (including coconut milk, coconut cream and coconut oil).

    These 3 researches from major medical journals are sure to turn the conventional nutrition world upside down!


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