Tuesday, 7 August 2012

PPN Easy cauliflower cheese macaroni

Winter colds and coughs call for easy meals.  We seem to have had our fair share of snuffles.  Sylvia was sick all weekend and E has now succumbed to the same lurgy.  This Cauliflower cheese macaroni was made a few weeks back when we all had come down with the cold and our energies went into chasing tissues and Sylvia around the house.  I needed something simple for dinner.

This dish is quite similar to one of my favourite pasta dishes but the vegies are cooked with the pasta rather than roasted.  I wrote about Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food a few years back.  The recipes he was teaching people too cook seemed quite challenging for those who weren't in the habit of cooking. 

This recipe comes from one of his cookbooks that seems to be inspired by similar shows in America.  It is the sort of recipe that I would want to be given if I wanted good healthy simple recipes.  However, as I cook a lot, I changed it, added more veg and more flavours.  It was fantastic.

I am sending this pasta to Ruth of Once Upon a Feast for Presto Pasta Nights #275.

On an unrelated note, I wanted to share a gratuitous photo of dolly and  a few things I have heard on the radio recently:
  • Apparently the USA has a lot of high fructose corn syrup because it doesn't have access to cheap cane sugar but in Australia we do have access to cheap cane sugar.  This explains why I don't notice corn syrup in foods I buy here but hear a lot about it being a problem in the USA.  (I was also interested to I was interested to read Kari's note that in Australia white sugar is processed without bone char.)
  • I heard a great discussions about why school students should (or shouldn't) study history recently.  Having studied history to postgraduate level, I was very interested.  I wholeheartedly agreed with those who claimed that history teaches analytic skills and an appreciate for context.  Others in the discussion argued that students should be taught job-related skills, but having seen so many changes to offices since my school days, I would argue the flexibility and an ability to look at the big picture are just as important. 
  • Lastly, the talkback conversation that really made me gasp in disbelief some time ago, was the woman who rang to say that animal rights are far more important than refugee rights.  After all, she argued, an earthworm doesn't have a choice but refugees choose to board a leaky boat.  I was shocked because I am so used to people in the veg*n online community who believe that human rights are important alongside animal rights.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Canberra - of modern museums
Two years ago: NCR Carrot and Fennel Soup
Three years ago: Carrot Cake and the Lost Sock
Four years ago: Easy as Vegetable Pie
Five years ago: Rumbledethumps: death to the red hag!

Jamie's Cauliflower Cheese Macaroni
Adapted from Jamie's Food Revolution
Serve 6

1/2 a head of cauliflower, chopped small
450g dried macaroni (or other pasta shapes)
170g grated Cheddar cheese
140g grated vintage cheddar cheese
a small bunch of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
2 or 3 handfuls of baby spinach, roughly chopped
about 1/3 batch of tofu bacon, diced and fried in olive oil til crisp
about 1/3 cup sundried tomatoes
1 cup yoghurt
seasoning

Bring salted water to boil in a large saucepan (I think I used my stockpot with the pasta insert in it).  Place chopped cauliflower and macaroni in boiling water and bring to the boil again.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or follow instructions on the pasta packet.

When pasta is cooked, drain and return to the saucepan.  Add cheese and stir until melted.  Add remaining ingredients and stir.  The heat of the pasta and cauliflower should warm the dish.  Serve hot.

On the Stereo:
Spandau Ballet (freebie CD in The Mail on Sunday)

25 comments:

  1. Looks great. Jamie is always a go-to for the standards. People can say what they want, but his recipes have always come through for me. Plus, I went to school with him - he was 2 yrs above me.

    Did you ever see a book called World Food Cafe? really good. I was just looking at a cauliflower cheese using coconut milk as well as cheddar last night. Sounds weird eh? But I think I might give it a go..

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    1. Thanks Adam - I've not really got into Jamie's cookbooks - too much meat for me but every now and again I find a good vego dish by him online - if only he would bring out a veg cookbook! I have seen world food cafe but don't know it well - coconut milk in cauliflower cheese sounds interesting

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  2. wow that pasta looks soooooo delicious! i could totally go for a big bowl right about now! And you're right, the USA has a lot of trouble with HFCornSyrup. The biggest problem with HFCS is that it is made from genetically modified, "round-up-ready" corn. The corn is just laced with chemicals, pesticides, fungicides, weed killer -- you name it...and it is in everything - even ketchup! So yes, it is a huge issue, but not a lot of people know, (or care!) You're lucky Australia doesn't have that problem!

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    1. Thanks GF happy tummy - corn syrup does seem ubiquitous in the US according to the stuff I read about it - I was always curious about why I never heard about it in Australia - we are lucky not to have it everywhere

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  3. Your cheesy cauliflower macaroni looks to die for Johanna. I'm fasting today, so really shouldn't be looking at food blog. But it's not the cake that has me groaning, oh no, it's your macaroni cheese!

    The bowls are lovely too and you've put some great points for discussion in there - not sure I can cope with any more foody talk now!

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    1. Thanks Choclette - some days cake is not enough! and when you fast you just want good food! hope you really enjoyed your food at the end of your fast

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  4. What a great list of points. I, too, am flabbergasted than anyone could place animal rights above human - surely they have to be equal if we care about rights at all. I also wish that I had done more history in school, so I certainly support it being a focus. I did Australian history many times over but know embarrassingly little about European, American and even English history. I still need to keep working to educate myself in that area (despite being at university for 8 years and studying arts units at an undergraduate level!).

    It does sound like we are in a fortunate position with sugar too - that is interesting around our lower use of corn syrup. Definitely a good thing in my view.

    (I am ignoring the mac cheese because my tastes don't run that way!)

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    1. Thanks Kari - I wondered if I could make this with my favourite tofu cashew ricotta but that is an experiment for another day!

      the conversation on human rights had me astounded - I think it is dangerous to start putting one above another and it just doesn't make sense to me to not value both. My history knowledge is patchy but I keep learning which I enjoy - travel really helps to appreciate it!

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  5. I'm glad that we don't have high fructose corn syrup as it doesn't sound very good for you at all! :)

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    1. Thanks Lorraine - I think I was relieved to hear I didn't have to duck and weave around this sort of corn syrup in the food aisles :-)

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  6. that does look super easy! amazing! I would have put a tiny dash of mustard in it x

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    1. Thanks Carla - funny you suggest mustard because when I do the roast veg version it has mustard and I did think of it here but decided to follow what Jamie said - will try it another time

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  7. what a great use for cauliflower!

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    1. Thanks Lisa - it is an easy way to get lots of veg into a pasta dish

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  8. Oh heavens, that refugee comment makes me livid. Even though I've now left FECCA, dear heavens the ignorance of people on the topic of refugees makes me sick sometimes.

    Food, however, is a good way to calm the soul.

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    1. Thanks Hannah - it was one of those moment that was meant for yelling at the radio - and I didn't even mention some of the worst things she said - it was astounding - especially the example of free will that she gave

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  9. This looks very tasty, and I like Dolly's new outfit.

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    1. Thanks Cakelaw - Dolly does look very smart - she likes to get dressed each day at the moment!

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  10. I made a slurpy sound when I saw your macaroni. Mmmmmmmmmmm! I am going to make some tonight, after seeing some made with pesto.

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    1. thanks jac - I hope you enjoy it - pesto would be excellent in this dish

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  11. I love your adaptation of Jamie's recipe (which was pretty good on its own). Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.

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    1. Thanks Ruth - indeed, it is one of the best of Jamie's recipes I have tried.

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  12. That does look delicious Johanna - creamy and comforting but with added green - just perfect for cold days.

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    1. Thanks Caroline - nothing as comforting as a big bowl of creamy pasta

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  13. Wow, that sounds lovely--creamy, cheesy, comforting. Hope it did the trick for the colds! Also enjoyed reading the news bits--amazing how much sugar we North Americans can eat!

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