Or More Accurately, Cabbage-y
Jamie at Home with Jamie Oliver
Curried Cauliflower Fritters
Incredible Baked Cauliflower and Broccoli Cannelloni
Sitting in the midst of a gorgeous vegetable bed, surrounded by huge green leafy plants, Jamie tells us that brassica is one of the most exciting vegetables families. It includes cavola nero, Savoy cabbages, spring cabbages, red cabbages, white and purple sprouting broccoli, kohlrabi, turnips, curly kales, swedes and rutabagas.
WOW! That IS a lot of different varieties all within the same family. Jamie says these types of vegetables sold in the supermarket are boring and “edited”, as he shows us a brilliant purple cauliflower and then a lime green one from his garden.
He’s making curried cauliflower fritters. He cuts the purple one in wedges and breaks off the florets. He cuts the green cauliflower in quarters and then into pieces. He sprinkles the vegetables with some self-raising flour. Then he pours ¾ of bottle of beer into 200 grams (1 ¾ cups) of self rising flour. He beats it until it is the consistency of “partially whipped double (heavy) cream.” Jamie dips the cauliflower pieces and the leaves of kohlrabi into the batter.
Into a coffee grinder, he puts 2 teaspoons black mustard seeds, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, a good pinch of black pepper and salt and 2 or 3 nice dried chilies. “Chili and cauliflower are really, really good friends.” He adds the spices to the vegetables in the batter and mixes them well. Lastly, Jamie adds some turmeric. Just ”mix it quite crudely by hand,” he tells us. Then he plunges the pieces into hot oil. Wow, that looks scrumptious. He notes that in Japan they use chopsticks to mix the vegetables into the batter. In Essex, he says, they use hands.
They look ”fantastic” while frying. He also fries some curly kale and parsley. Jamie directs us to drain it on “kitchen paper” i.e. paper towels after it’s cooked. (Remember my tip of using just one paper towel on top of a bunch of newspapers.) Serve it straight away and eat it straight away, he says and then he adds something strange. He says sprinkle it with MORTON sea salt. Does he mean our garden variety Morton brand? Maybe I misheard him…
The finished fritters look amazing. “Beautiful, beautiful little snack, a delicious way to eat your cauliflower.” Right you are, Jamie.
More shots of bucolic paradise. The next recipe is Ham and Spring Greens.
He’s making an incredible “broff” (I LOVE Jamie, I’m just reporting how he said broth) of slow cooked meat. The meat is an organic ham hock, a very economical cut, which he has simmered for an hour and a quarter.
He peels root vegetables for the broth and readies shallots (or you can use onions) and celery hearts. I HATE celery leaves. Oh, he says the yellow leaves are good and the green ones are bitter. He bungs the carrots into the broth with the ham hock and adds the shallots, turnips, celery heart and a bunch of potatoes, plus bay leaves, parsley and thyme. He cooks the broth for 45 minutes.
“The real hero of the dish is the cabbage.” He goes into the garden to get some. He trims up the spring cabbage by cutting off the stalk and quartering it.
Jamie gives the meat broff a little stir and says the broff is “now as valuable as the meat is.” He tastes the meat. He’s happy. He takes out the meat and pours its broth into a colander over a big pot. He leaves all the vegetables in the colander. He adds the cabbage to the broth, puts some broccoli on top, covers and cooks it.
Jamie carves the meat off the bone. Well, he doesn’t actually carve it. It’s so tender, he just pulls it off. He gets rid of any “knobbly bits” and breaks it into chunks.
He brings the cabbage and broc in the pot to the boil. When perfectly cooked, he plates them. “Look how confident that is. It’s not mucking about.” I THINK he’s talking about the cabbage, but with Jamie you never know.
He adds a bunch of the vegetables that were waiting in the colander to top off the cabbage. He slices up the celery lengthwise and puts it on the plate. The meat goes on top and he splashes the broth over, then adds celery leaves, fennel tops and a bit of olive oil and serves it with English mustard. Natural, good hearty fare. I’ll have to remember this recipe the next time I come home from a Farmer’s Market.
Next is cannelloni with cauliflower and broccoli. Jamie rinses them off outside to get rid of “any of our living friends.” He breaks up the broccoli and it goes into boiling water. He chops up the stalk and florets of the cauliflower and adds them to the water. They cook hard for 6 minutes to cook through.
He finely slices 7 cloves of garlic for 6 people. (Does that mean one clove per person, plus one extra for good luck?) He cooks the garlic in plenty of oil and adds thyme. Then he adds three chilies, and, at the risk of upsetting his wife, he adds a fourth. “Be brave. Be bold.”
Jamie drops in anchovies, which he says will melt and you won’t even know they’re there. Even this simple mixture in the pan looks wonderful. You could cook anything in it from vegetables to chunks of cod to slices of flank steak and it would be beautifully flavored.
He adds the cooked cauliflower and broccoli and stirs it around. “If you want to leave it just as it is as a cooked vegetable, BEAUTIFUL, you’re done!” But he’s using it as a filling for cannelloni, so he cooks it “down, down, down” on medium high heat with lid for 15 to 20 minutes.
Interestingly, Jamie uses crème fraiche as a substitute for a béchamel sauce. He grates a big wadge of parmesan. He says the goal is to make it really cheesy. Jamie, I would never accuse YOU of being cheesy, just your food. He says you have to add a lot for it to be a substitute for cheese sauce. He adds a good pinch of pepper, stirs it well and he tastes it. It’s good.
The filling has cooked down. He cools it. He takes out his tomato passatta - there’s a little message on the screen telling us that it’s tomato puree. Thank you, I thought he said cassata and I was confused. He adds just a bit of red wine vinegar and salt to give it a “bit of a twang”. He pours quite a lot of the tomato mixture in the bottom of his dish.
The recipe says to mash the filling with a potato masher before cooling it. Jamie doesn’t mention that, but it does look dealt with in a similar manner. He puts his vegetable mixture in a plastic bag and cuts the end off. Can’t he just use a piping bag? It’s reusable, Jamie.
He squeezes it into the UNCOOKED cannelloni shells. How interesting! I’ve used uncooked lasagna sheets, but never uncooked shells. And that’s why he needs to be sure he has plenty of moisture on the bottom.
He fills each one up nicely. He says he can’t think of an easier way to do it, “unless you have an official piping bag and I’m a chef and I don’t have one.” I know what I’m getting you for Christmas, Jamie….
He finishes filling them. He puts big leaves of basil on top and then the cheesy crème fraiche and then black pepper. Jamie grates over the top a whole load of Parmesan and then adds little knobs of mozzarella, which are optional, but he likes them.
THAT is superb looking. He cooks it for one hour at 190°C “until boiling, like you wouldn’t believe and golden crisp on top.” WAIT, Anglicism alert on the screen. 190°C is 375° F. Darn! I was about to tell you that.
He takes it out. It is beautiful. “Still nice and moist, let’s have a look at these little darlin’s.” Wow. “C’mon son,” he murmurs as he coaxes a few shells onto the plate. I want him...sorry, that.
Some rocket with a little olive oil and a squeeze of lemon goes next to the shells. Jamie says he’s giving the finished dish to Brian, his gardener, who spends so much time eating the roots, he’s happy to give him the flowers now.
“If anyone cooked that for me, I’d be well-chaffed,” Jamie says, according to my closed captioning. I think they meant chuffed. Where’s the translation for that? I guess we know Jamie well enough to know he means he’d be real happy to eat that wonderful dish and I’m happy just watching him.