Time for Korean Fried Cauliflower

We went out at lunchtime, myself and a colleague had planned on going to the vegan pasta place by Queens Square, however I had forgotten that the Redcliffe Bridge was closed as they repaired it. So it would have been a a somewhat long detour to get there. Instead, we headed to St Nicholas Market and after looking at what was available, he and I went with the Korean Fried Cauliflower from Daily Noodles by Larkin Cen.

market stall

I had mine with rice and Green Thai sauce, he had his with noodles and katsu sauce.

We took our food back to the office to eat it.

The cauliflower was nice and the batter was crispy. The sauced had soaked through into the rice. It would have been nice to have the sauce on the side, so the cauliflower could be dipped into it. Even so, it was a nice dish of food.

Daily Noodles use to be called Woky Ko and I have had chicken from them before. I did say back then:

The chicken was nice and crispy, the sauce was quite tasty. I did enjoy the dish, but I don’t think it would be something I would have again.

Dyrham Park

Dyrham Park

We were visiting Dyrham Park, a National Trust propety, and after walking the grounds and visiting the house, we made our way to the stables for a cup of tea and something to eat.

It was half term, so the place was quite busy, and there was something of a queue. It would appear it was busier than expected, as they had sold out of a lot of their menu items, and it was only approaching one o’clock.

In the end the only items left were a vegan sausage roll, and a spicy cauliflower pasty. So we had one of each, mine was the cauliflower pasty. I also ordered for myself an espresso and a can of 7Up.

The pasty was served to our table, on its own on a plate. I wonder if they use to serve a salad garnish with it? I think it would have been enhance with a little salad on the plate. To be honest I might have even paid extra for some salad.

Well the pasty was nice and hot, the wholemeal pasty was excellent, and I really liked the spicy filling, the spices did somewhat overpower the flavour of the cauliflower, but I could still taste the cauliflower in there.

The coffee was nice.

This wasn’t a meal, more of a snack. Having visited a lot of National Trust properties this year (the benefits of membership) I have been wondering why the menu at these places are quite limited. As well as scones and cakes (naturally) the main menu items are pasties, baked potatoes, and soup. They sometimes have meals, but often the choice is only one or two. At Dyrham Park they did have a nice sounding Italian sausage casserole on the menu, but yes, you guessed, it had sold out.

I suspect that the menu has been derived from what sells, what was popular, and what makes money. Cooking a pasty and keeping it warm is much easier than cooking a meal. People are probably more likely to pay £4.55 for a pasty, then say £9.95 for a meal when visiting a property. I suspect the profit margin on the pasty would be much higher than the meal as well. Of course the profits from the cafe does support the property as well.

Overall I did enjoy our snack and drinks.

My time at the Ginger Pig Kitchen

I was once asked where I go to eat out in Weston-super-Mare and I recognised that most times I go out to eat are in other places. When eating locally, as a family, we usually end up in Bristol, as part of doing something else. It doesn’t help that quite a few places that we use to frequent have closed down.

So it was a nice to go out to eat at a local bistro in Weston-super-Mare. I and others visited the Ginger Pig Kitchen recently (as in January) for a “Christmas” dinner.

“At the Ginger Pig Kitchen we’re proud to be serving Modern British bistro food, made from fresh, with passion, using local suppliers and produce. We trust that with every visit you make you will get great service in a great environment.”

The environment is certainly interesting with pipework and wooden tables and what felt liked random chairs.

The menu looked inspiring and interesting, and it was quite difficult to make a choice, but as this was a booked meal I had to make my choice the week before! I also prefer not to do this, as what I felt like eating last week, may not be what I feel like eating now. However I did think I made the right choices.

For my starter I had the Cauliflower Bhaji, which was served with mango yoghurt chilli jam and crispy onion.

I got two bhaji, made from onion and cauliflower. They were crunchy and crisp outside and soft inside. I couldn’t really taste the cauliflower, but they were nice and spicy. I liked the crispy onion, but I do feel that it needed more yoghurt. Overall I did enjoy the bhaji and they were really tasty.

We then had a watermelon gazpacho in a spoon, which was quite nice and zingy. 

Forgot to take photograph of the spoon before drinking the soup.

My main course was I think the house speciality, which was Woodbarn Farm pork belly. It was served with a GPK black pudding bon bon, mashed potato and a braised carrot. On the plate was also a scattering of green leaves, crispy onions and something else.

It was quite a small piece of pork belly, but was well cooked. The cracking was crisp and crunchy, but wasn’t going to be teeth breaking. The pork was tender and tasty.

The GPK bon bon was nice and meaty, I think it could have had a deeper flavour. I did like the use of crackling as the bon bon stick. The mashed potato was nice and creamy, but I would liked to have had a gravy with a deeper flavour, the same could be said for the braised carrot. 

On the plate was also a scattering of green leaves, crispy onions and something else. I am not sure what this was and what it added to the dish. It did add texture, but I was a little underwhelmed by this addition to the dish. Overall I did enjoy this plate of food and it was delicious.

I had a choice of desserts, in the end I went with the cheese and biscuits. I had three pieces of cheese, crackers, chutney, fruit, and celery.

I did not eat the celery. Overall it was okay, nice cheese and nice accompaniments.

It certainly was a popular establishment and was full all evening. Took a photo of the restaurant (at the top of this post) as we were leaving and was now nearly empty, but that’s because it was late. The service was excellent, warm and friendly. I really enjoyed the food, it was delicious and it is certainly a place I would visit again.

Spiced Cauliflower Salad

Spiced Cauliflower Salad

This recipe for a cauliflower salad was inspired by a dish I once had in a cafe in Wapping Wharf (sadly now closed).

Take some fresh cauliflower and cut it into thin slices, I usually use about a third of the cauliflower when making the dish.

In a bowl add some mayonnaise, a splash of olive oil and half a teaspoon of curry powder. The olive oil thins out the mayonnaise making it easier to coat the cauliflower slices. The curry powder adds spice and warmth to the dish.

Stir and coat the cauliflower slices with the mayonnaise mix, do this gently so you don’t break the cauliflower too much. I also add some unsalted cashew nuts as well to the salad. Season with salt and pepper.

Spiced Cauliflower Salad

Spiced Cauliflower Salad

This recipe was inspired by one I saw in a magazine.

In a foil lined roasting pan, add some olive oil (and a splash of sunflower oil) and place in a hot oven for ten minutes to heat through.

Cut some potato into 2cm cubes. I used Maris Piper potatoes.

Add the potatoes to the hot roasting pan and roast for ten minutes.

Break the cauliflower into florets and halve the bigger florets, so the pieces of cauliflower are of an equal size. You can also add the cauliflower leaves as well.

Add these to the roasting pan and mix with the potatoes.

Cook for another fifteen minutes.

Sprinkle on some garam masala and stir and toss the potatoes and cauliflower.

Cook for another ten to fifteen minutes, or until the potatoes are crisp and brown.

Remove from the oven.

On a serving plate arrange some leaves of Romaine lettuce. Top with the potato and cauliflower. Add some pomegranate seeds and thinly sliced red onion.


Soft Cauliflower Bites

The last time I went to Wahaca it was just before lockdown. In May 2022 I was up in London for an event with my son, and afterwards we decided to get something to eat. Our first choice was Bills in Victoria, but they were full. So, I suggested that we head to Oxford Circus and go to Wahaca. We caught a tube across London.

We arrived to find there was a bit of a wait for a table, well it was a Friday evening in London, not too surprising. We decided that we would wait. It wasn’t too long before a table was free, we sat down and looked over the menu.

We chose six dishes, the one we started with, was the Mexico City nachos, and we had three plates of tacos.

We had a side dish of the crispy cauliflower bites. These are deep fried buttermilk-battered florets of cauliflower, with roast jalapeño allioli.

This is one of my favourite dishes from Wahaca. I remember the first time I had them back in 2019.

These sounded really interesting and they looked great and tasted even better. I was really pleased to have ordered these. The little florets of cauliflower were covered in a light buttermilk batter, deep fried and were crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The roast serrano allioli was interesting and really worked well with the cauliflower. I think this was my favourite dish of the trio I ordered and would like to have them again.

I have had the dish a few times again since then.

This time, well, to describe the cauliflower as crisp, would be plain wrong. The florets were quite soft. I think they had been cooked and left for too long. The flavours though were excellent. 

Pan frying some cauliflower

Sometimes I like to roast cauliflower, sometimes I make cauliflower cheese, other times I like to pan fry my cauliflower.

I recently cooked some pan fried cauliflower florets.

These were cooked in butter with some Schwarz seasoning.

The key for me is to ensure that the cauliflower is cooked, but that it isn’t overcooked and falls apart. 

I also slice the florets in half to have a flat edge when they go in the pan. I like a nice caramelisation on the edges which adds texture and flavour.

Gluten Free Cauliflower Cheese

I have in the past really enjoyed the truffled cauliflower cheese from M&S, however as before, it seems to have disappeared from the shelves at M&S.

For a recent Sunday lunch I decided that I would make my own cauliflower cheese, which would be gluten free.

I didn’t really follow a recipe, as partly I didn’t want to make too much, also not sure how appropriate recipes are when using gluten free ingredients.

I first made a cheese sauce, this was done by melting butter in a pan and then adding a similar amount of gluten free plain flour to make a roux. To this I added some milk to make a sauce. What I have found is that gluten free flour can thicken quite a lot, so don’t add too much. This is then cooked over a low heat to blend and thicken.

Once the sauce starts to thicken enough, I added greater cheddar cheese. I use a mature cheddar as I like a strong cheese flavour. I find you don’t want the sauce too thick, as cooking in the oven will thicken the sauce even more.

In an ovenproof dish I place the cauliflower florets, trying to ensure that they are all of a similar size. This is then covered in the cheese sauce and then place extra grated cheese on top.

Echoing the M&S dish, I added some small cubes of gluten free bread to add crunch.

This was then cooked in the oven for about 30 minutes.

Pan Fried Cauliflower

Pan Fried Cauliflower

Though I do like cauliflower cheese sometimes it is nice to cook cauliflower in a different way. For a recent Sunday roast, I pan fried cauliflower florets in butter and some Schwarz seasoning.

The key for me is to ensure that the cauliflower is cooked, ensuring that it isn’t overcooked and falls apart. I also like a nice caramelisation on the edges which adds texture and flavour.

I also slice the florets in half to have a flat edge when they go in the pan.

This time I cooked in the pan slowly over a low heat, but if in a hurry I usually brown in the frying pan with butter before moving to the oven to finish off. The oven was quite full this time, so that’s why I did it in the pan instead.

Slow Roasted Pork Salad

Back in the summer for an evening meal, we had slow roasted pork belly with potatoes and salad.

The pork belly was from M&S and comes already seasoned. It has no rind, so you don’t get crackling, but slow roasting usually (for me results) in rubbery crackling anyhow. It is a tasty joint and a favourite in our house.

I did small roast potatoes, using Maris Piper potatoes which are par boiled and then roasted in hot oil in the oven. I generally add a little butter towards the end of cooking to add colour and a final crispness.

The salad included a personal favourite of thinly sliced raw cauliflower in a spicy mayonnaise. We first had this eating out at a  cafe in Wapping Wharf in Bristol. We stole the idea and now have it on a regular basis.

Overall a delicious meal and very tasty.