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How to make flour-free cauliflower cheese, Mushroom pâté, and leek and parsnip soup

11 May 2018


THE only connection between any of these recipes is that they elicited encores from all my Eastertide visitors, whose ages ranged from two to 32 — some vegan. The recipes were gleaned from an old friend, Lil Tudor-Craig, and necessity.

The discovery of a rich, locally produced cottage cheese made producing a Flour-free cauliflower cheese laughably easy:

Half a large cauliflower
125g (5 oz) cottage cheese
1 egg
2 tomatoes, sliced
30-60g (1-2 oz) mature Cheddar cheese, sliced
sprinkling of thyme

Steam the cauliflower, cut into small florets, and drain. In a casserole dish blend the cottage cheese and egg. Pile in the steamed cauliflower and cover the mixture with tomatoes, and then the Cheddar, and top with thyme (or mixed herbs). Bake it or grill it until it is heated through.

Something similar for vegetarians works with tinned artichoke hearts:

1 tin of artichoke hearts, drained
500g (1 lb 4 oz) cottage cheese
1 clove of garlic
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
freshly ground black pepper
a generous pinch of tarragon
a handful of grated Cheddar
Parmesan cheese

Heat the oven to 180°C/200°F/Gas 6. Blend all the ingredients together, pour the mixture into ramekins, and cover with a little Parmesan cheese. Bake them for about ten minutes.

Lil gave us her Mushroom pâté and Leek and parsnip soup at her home in Wales.

For the pâté:

1 lb mushrooms
olive oil or butter for frying
a little garlic
a pinch of tarragon
freshly ground black pepper
a pinch of salt

Chop the mushrooms and garlic and fry them gently, until tender. Lil thinks that organic mushrooms produce less wateriness, but I could not find any, and just drained off the stock for soup (see below). Blend the mushrooms with the herbs and seasoning, and serve the pâté with bread or vegetables.

For the soup:

equal quantities leeks and parsnips
olive oil or butter
freshly ground nutmeg and black pepper
vegetable stock
Herbes de Provence

Wash and slice the leeks, peel and core the parsnips, and chop small. Soften the trimmed leeks in the oil or butter, and add the nutmeg and pepper. Add the parsnip pieces, and turn in the oil for a few minutes. Add the stock and herbs, and simmer until the parsnip is very tender. Blend, and adjust the seasoning and thickness to your taste.

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