Saturday 31 October 2009

Purple Pleasures, Purple Dinner

A few weekends back I was visiting family and I was talking to my niece about my green post. When Quin was little she loved asking everyone their favourite colour and so she is quite aware that I love purple as much as I love green. Do a purple post, she suggested. She took my camera and set off taking some purple photos. Here is her purple arrangement.

We went looking for more purple. My mum often has irises in a vase:

Grace helped by pointing out some purple flowers in the garden:

Then we had a photo of Quin’s leggings, Ella’s top and Maddy’s bracelet.

My parents had been to Europe recently and contributed a photo of purple flowers at Kensington Palace:

I got home and started looking around for purple. We have a big purple sofa but other than that, we have splashes of purple, which are considerably less than the swathes of green. Purple books:

Purple bits and pieces, mainly from around the kitchen:

Sylvia’s purple clothes:

A purple design on a baby blanket (stitched by my high school teacher Mrs M whose passion for literature lingers with me even today):

I thought I might find a purple house on my walks around the neighbourhood but it was not to be. I looked and looked but was lucky to find a fencepost and a letterbox:

There were many purple flowers in gardens. I had hope of finding deep purple roses but finally had to settle for a pale mauve one:

I did find a purple picnic table at the Railway Hotel:

And some purple grafitti on the wall:

I came to the conclusion that there is not enough purple in our lives. It is all around us but only in small patches of colour. I want more. More purple beetroot burgers. More purple plum chutney. more purple blueberry soup. More purple cherry salsa. So I had to add to the purple recipes.

I wasn’t sure what purple food to feature until I came across a purple cauliflower at La Manna Fresh. It is a rare joy to find such an oddity. In fact, I haven’t seen one since my first blog event post very early in my blogging when I couldn’t for the life of me work out how to focus my camera properly. I had to buy it and all the other purple food I could.

Unfortunately due to the season, I was unable to find some fine purple discoveries over the past few years but you can see photos in older posts featuring or purple congo potatoes or purple asparagus or dried dragonfruit. Given time, I might even blog with purple basil and purple butter lettuce. In the below photo you can see my purple haul of cauliflower, beetroot, sweet potato, aubergine, cabbage, onion, garlic, potatoes, passionfruit, blueberries and beetroot chips.

My head was spinning with ideas. Dips. Stirfries. Soup. The first night I made cauliflower falafels that were a little too salty and not quite purple enough, despite purple ingredients such as purple corn flour, pomegranate molasses and red onion. I also made a dairy-free tahini sauce based on Tofu for Two’s sauce and added beetroot dip but it just ended up pink.

I wanted some really really purple food. Finally I settled on Fran’s recommendation of trying Cauliflower Rice. It was the perfect way to feature some of the purple cauliflower, which became an even deeper purple when cooked. (Alternatively I had considered a purple cauliflower mash.) With the view of keeping it simple, I then took my purple cabbage – it reminds me a bit of Edvard Munch’s painting, The Scream – and fried it up with lots of butter and salt. I roasted some beetroot and eggplant to add to the purple vegetables.

For the ultimate purple meal, I piled purple cauliflower rice, fried purple cabbage, roasted beetroot, roasted eggplant, falafel in layers on my plate. I finished it off with some tofu sauce that I would like to think is a very pale purple. It was dark, intense and full of butter and salt. I loved it. E was not so keen. We had leftovers that went into a purple soup the next day with some potatoes, sweet potato, lentils and water.

Not content with the purple falafel fry-up and soup, I also made a purple juice, which was delicious. It was unusual for me to strain it. I don’t have a fancy elecronic juicer and usually just puree with a hand held blender in a tall jug but this was too seedy and pulpy and I found using the bottom of a glass rather than a spoon helped the juice get through the strainer quicker.

I am dedicating this post to Quin who I know will love it. If you too have a passion for purple, I can highly recommend these dishes!

Cauliflower Falafels
Serves 4

  • ¼ purple cauliflower, chopped and steamed
  • ½ bunch parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp purple corn flour
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • red onion, chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1-3 tsp pomegranate molasses*
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • 1-3 tsp tamari*
  • black sesame seeds and oil spray for baking

Note: I used 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses and 1 tsp tamari but the falafels were a little sweet and needed more seasoning. It was ok as the cabbage, cauliflower and sauce were quite salty. However, I suggest checking the taste and gradually adding teaspoons of both pomegranate molasses and tamari.

Place all ingredients except black sesame seeds and oil spray into the food processor and blend to make a paste. Line a baking tray with baking paper and drop teaspoonfuls onto tray. Use damp fingers to shape as round balls. Spray with oil spray and sprinkle with black sesame seeds. Bake for 30 min at 230 C.

Tahini Sauce:
Adapted from Tofu for Two
serves 4-6

  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • cup nutritional yeast
  • 70 g tofu (optional)
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp agave syrup (or sugar)
  • 2 tbsp beetroot dip (or additional 1 tsp agave syrup)
  • juice of 1 small lemon
  • cup water

Place all ingredients in food processor and blend til combined to make thickened sauce. I added more water than Heikki because I wanted it to be a pouring consistency but add the water gradually until you have your desired consistency.

Cauliflower Rice
Adapted from a book my sister has (I will get name soon)
Serves 4

  • ¾ purple cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ red onion finely chopped
  • ½ tsp salt

Roughly chop cauliflower, then blitz in food processor til finely chopped. It will look a little like rice. Melt butter in large frypan over low to medium heat. Lightly fry onion and garlic for a couple of minutes. Add cauliflower and fry for about 5-8 minutes til cooked. If you are using purple cauliflower you will notice it changing colour when cooked.

Fried Cabbage
Serves 4

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • ½ red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ purple cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp salt, or to taste (it was quite salty)

Fry onion and garlic in butter and oil for a couple of minutes in a large frypan. Add the remaining ingredients and fry over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes or until cabbage is cooked and a little crispy around the edges.

Dukkah Roasted Eggplants and Beetroot
Serves 2

  • 2 japanese eggplants, diced
  • 1 beetroot diced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 heaped tsp dukkah

Toss eggplants and beetroot with oil and dukkah in a roasting dish. Roast for 50-60 minutes at 230 C until dark and soft.

Purple Passionate Pine Pom Juice
Makes about 2 glasses

  • ½ pineapple, trimmed and chopped
  • pulp of 1 passionfruit
  • arils of ¾ pomegranate
  • ½ punnet (60g) blueberries

Blend till mushy. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, using the bottom of a glass or other objects to push the juice through quickly. Discard the pulp left behind in sieve. Drink the juice and enjoy!

On the stereo:
Vauxhall and I: Morrissey


  1. My purple wearing Mother in Law would love this meal and she's a vegetarian too! :)

  2. I LOVE this post! I adore purple too, and you're so right, there's not enough purple in the world! I love the idea of purple falafel... and making rice out of cauliflower is SO clever! All your purple photo compositions are incredibly gorgeous!

  3. wow, what a purpletastic post! I love purple too and had been thinking along similar lines for a rainy day post. My neighbour on the allotment is growing purple cauliflowers and he says the bugs seem to steer clear of them because of the colour.
    There's a house round the corner from us that has lilac painted woodwork and is owned by a lady who frequently wears purple, drives a purple car and walks her purple dog, oops, I mean walks her white terrier on a purple lead with a purple collar)

  4. Lovely colour! A purple cabbage has been in my fridge for a week but I still haven't find the right recipe. The colour is so strong that any other ingredient may become purple so I think I'll cook it with just some garlic and olive oil...which is what we do with all the vegetables in Italy!! :-D

  5. LOVE all time favourite colour.

    Thanks for sharing... :D

  6. Thanks Lorraine - purple was my favourite colour when I was a little girl (I even have a school photo of me wearing purple jumper and purple jeans), and is a feminist colour so I loved it when I was a student and now it just full of happy associations - I can highly recommend this meal to make any purple lover happy!

    Thanks Astra - yay for more purple love - the purple cauli rice is great if you ever get the chance

    thanks Nic - it is fun to do a quirky post every now and again - once I get an idea in my head I need to do it - your neighbour sounds great - like the woman that the poem "When I am old I will wear purple" was written about

    Thanks Sabrina - sometimes simple is best - my fried cabbage made me think I should have purple cabbage more

    Thasnk Juniiz - glad to share the purple love :-)

  7. Original post! Thanks for sharing :)

  8. Love the color-themed posts! That cabbage DOES remind one of The Scream ;) All that purple! Must try the falafels. (PS--email coming soon!)

  9. wow that purple cauliflower is incredible!!! i think purple is the best colour for you in terms of food

  10. Thanks Karine

    Thanks Ricki - it was hard to cut the cabbage because it looked so beautiful

    Thanks Philippa - I agree purple is very good for you - isn't it the colour of anti-oxidants :-)

  11. Wow! I can't believe all the purple stuff you have and found. What an awesome post. =)

  12. I love your sharing all this purple. Everything is so attractive, especially the food.


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