Roasted Cauliflower with Saffron Buttermilk and Black Olive Pangrattato

Roasted Cauliflower, Saffron Buttermilk and Black Olive Pangrattato

I was reading a food blog recently, I can’t remember which one, believe me I read far too many, and the blogger admitted that she lives in a food bloggers’ bubble. She meant by this that she is always baking and cooking recipes weeks in advance so she can eventually publish them perfectly timed to coincide with holidays and special events. Easter, for example. Well I am definitely doing something wrong. I only perfected my hot cross cinnabon recipe yesterday which now is so late in the day I can’t even bring myself to post it. Don’t worry, I’ll just rebrand and post it another time to disguise the fact I live in some backward bloggerdom.


Pangrattato prior to frying

I have been thinking about this a lot today as just this afternoon I have finally got round to making the recipe I wanted to post today. I live in the here and now so much so that I have just put down the camera and am expecting to post this in the next half hour, that is 1 hour exactly after I made this dish. Don’t get me wrong, this is no brag, it is a horribly detrimental way to plan, especially if you are a food blogger and want your lovely readers to have the option of making the recipe on the time of year it was intended. But hey, that’s what archives are for right?

saffron buttermilk

I’m definitely an advocate for making resolutions after Easter once all the chocolate has settled. Just so I can course correct the fine resolutions I make in January. I had two this year; not to procrastinate (If my creative writing tutor is reading this I promise I’ll send my two weeks late homework soon) and to forward plan so everything is not last minute. The forward planning I actually have down pat, in fact too well. I am so busy planning things months in advance I fail to see deadlines looming before me, hence the last minute kick bollock scramble that dominates most of my life.

Roasted Cauliflower, Saffron Buttermilk and Black Olive Pangrattato  |  Stroud Green Larder

Happily, this recipe worked out just deliciously first time round. It’s just as well as if it had failed then you would still be admiring last week’s Easter Welsh Cakes. I didn’t really doubt it would be a success though as the best parts are cribbed from chefs who know what they are talking about. The saffron buttermilk recipe is adapted, as all good recipes often are in my world, from Yotam Ottolenghi, he uses it without the saffron as an accompaniment to roasted aubergine. The black olive pangrattato is pretty much down to me but inspired by many a Jamie Oliver creation where I’ve seen him go to the pangrattato well a lot. It sounds impressive but it’s pretty much just a fancy term for breadcrumbs. I used gluten free breadcrumbs here, as I mentioned I have been making and eating a lot of hot cross cinnabons this Easter and am feeling a familiar leaden stomach associated with such indulgence. Obviously if you’re not of a weak disposition like me then feel free to use fully gluten loaded bread, I think Jamie Oliver advocates ciabatta.

I did scoff most of this directly after I put the camera down but whatever is remaining is going to wait until tonight to sit beside a big juicy pork chop where I know it will be an absolute dream. It would also go equally well with a lovely fillet of salmon or as part of a spring buffet table.

Roasted Cauliflower, Saffron Buttermilk and Black Olive Pangrattato  |  Stroud Green Larder

Roasted Cauliflower with Saffron Buttermilk and Black Olive Pangrattato
Serves 4

2 heads cauliflower, about 800g each
2 tbsp olive oil

Saffron Buttermilk
140ml buttermilk
100ml greek yoghurt
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
A pinch saffron

Black Olive Pangrattato
Zest of 1 lemon
Fresh chilli
2 cloves garlic, crushed
100g gluten free bread
1 clove garlic
15 pitted black olives
1 red chilli, seeds removed
2 tbsp olive oil

  1. First make the saffron buttermilk as it has to be left for an hour to infuse.  All you need to do is whisk all the ingredients together with some seasoning, then rest it in the fridge for an hour.  Stir through before serving to make sure all the saffron is mixed in.
  2. The next job is to prepare the cauliflower.  Remove the leaves from the cauliflower and break into florets.
  3. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and drop the cauliflower florets in. Bring back to the boil then simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Drain the cauliflower by tipping into a colander then leave to rest for 30 minutes or until the cauliflower has dried.
  5. Pre-heat an oven to 180°C, then warm a roasting pan with 2 tbsp olive oil inside it. Roast cauliflower for 25-30 mins, turning every 10 minutes, until it begins to brown.
  6. For the pangrattato place all the ingredients, except the olive oil, in a food processor and whizz up until everything has turned into fine breadcrumbs.
  7. Heat the olive oil for the pangrattato in a wide frying pan and then when hot add the breadcrumbs. Fry on high for about 10 minutes until they are golden and crisp.
  8. Serve the roasted cauliflower with a drizzling of saffron buttermilk and then sprinkle over the black olive pangrattato and some parsley and extra chilli.

Saffron Chicken and Herb Salad

Saffron Chicken and Herb Salad

I love all my cookbooks equally.

Actually that’s not true at all, I definitely have some that I give a higher regard to more than others.  And some are just plain useless but they might be signed by the author or kept for sentimental reasons.  I continually cull my cookbooks, especially since I’m a bit of an impulse cookbook buyer and acquire a lot of dross, so this has to be done regularly lest my house become overrun and my husband gets grumpy.  Last week I sent another batch to the charity shop, always a sad day but it had to be done to make way for my new Christmas cookbooks, of which there are many.

Wesley reading OttolenghiI do read and use recipes from my cookbooks all the time but this January I want to make sure all the newbies get christened as soon as possible so they feel truly welcome and part of the family.  So the first one to get the royal treatment was Jerusalem, a book I have been longing for all year.  Ottolenghi’s previous cookbooks, Ottolenghi and Plenty, are my kitchen stalwarts and a first glance at Jerusalem confirms that his third time out is not a disappointment to the canon.
fennelOttolenghi’s recipes seem to made for Januarys.  The ingredient lists always feature fun new spices that you haven’t heard of before and unique ways of marrying herbs and vegetables that can inspire even the most rigid of detoxes. There were plenty of recipes I wanted to try immediately but this salad is the one that leapt off the page, purely because I had all the ingredients in and thankfully used up one of the dozens of oranges I have hanging around.
Chicken Orange and Fennel Salad2

This salad was so zingy and fresh and the method of preparing the orange was a unique way to create a fruit dressing.  I am definitely going to try the same technique with lemons and limes.  The resulting blended orange mixture was slightly bitter from the orange peel but the honey and orange juice added sweetness with a gentle infusion of saffron.  As the orange coated the warm chicken the zesty oils were released and were so delicious with the fennel and herbs.  The only thing I found in the recipe was that in the initial boiling of the orange I topped up the water a couple of times as the liquid was running too low and not covering the orange enough for it to soften.

Another great thing as well is that you yield more orange than is needed and it can easily be kept in the fridge, ready for the next batch you are going to make the following day, which I guarantee you will as it is hella good.

Chicken Orange and Fennel Salad4
Chicken Orange and Fennel Salad5

Saffron Chicken and Herb Salad

Serves 2
Recipe from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamini, adapted for quantities

1 orange
½ tsp of saffron threads
50g honey
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 chicken breasts
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 fennel bulb, sliced finely
Handful of coriander leaves, torn
Handful of mint leaves, torn
Handful of basil leaves, torn
½ red chilli, seeds removed and sliced
½ garlic clove, crushed

  1. Trim and discard 1 cm off the top and bottom of the orange, then cut into 12 wedges, keeping the skin on, removing the pips and place in a saucepan along with the saffron and honey. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for 1 hour until the orange peel is soft.
  2. Blitz the orange with all the liquid in a blender until smooth. Leave to cool.
  3. Toss the chicken breasts with 1 tbsp of olive and seasoning and grill for about 2 mins on each side on a very hot griddle to achieve the char lines, then move to an oven pre-heated to 180°C for 10-15 mins until the chicken breasts are just cooked. Remove from the oven and leave for a few mins until cool enough to handle.
  4. Tear the chicken up with your fingers and place in a large bowl. Add ¼ of the orange mixture and stir to thoroughly coat the chicken.
  5. Add the fennel, coriander, mint, basil, chilli and garlic to the chicken and toss together with the olive oil, lemon juice and seasoning.
Chicken Orange and Fennel Salad3