I learned that Yotam Ottolenghi’s upcoming book is going to be about desserts. Among all the delectable Ottolenghi’s recipes I’ve made, there are quite a long list of them, the most unforgettable and surprising ones are in the dessert category. Guess what, there is another big surprise! Early this month, Ottolenghi started writing for the weekly Food Section in the New York Times. His inaugural piece, titled “It’s not sugar, it’s the thrill,” among all things, highlighted a rich dessert: pastry nests with poached pears and feta and saffron cream. He has inspired me to cook, to bake and to bake some more.
I’m thrilled making these delicious dishes and cakes. Still, there are much catching up to do. At the rate he has been producing them, I might never taste and test out all these wonderful recipes.
This week, I chose to bake a vegetable cake from Plenty More for a light supper.
There are always a twist that tickles your imagination, some special ingredients make you scratch your head and an unusual technique involved in most Ottolenghi’s recipes. The cauliflower cake is no exception.
The cake is baked in a 9 1/2-inch springform pan. There is no need to make a crust, unlike a quiche. A plus for a light meal during the week. (That gets me thinking about adapting some quiche recipes into springform-pan cakes.) At room temperature after cooling, the cake readily came off the pan, and can be easily cut and served on a plate.
My husband loves the thrill of this cake. Golden brown, custardy with a subtle savory taste. He could not quite figure out what vegetable it was. He peppered me with one question after another. There was a party going on in his mouth and he couldn’t quite identify what all the secret ingredients hidden inside the cake were: cauliflower, onion, rosemary, basil, turmeric, Parmesan cheese, white sesame seeds and nigella seeds. He wanted to get to know this not-your-everyday savory, vegetable cake. He was equally intrigued as he was excited about having something unusual for dinner. I told him that a dear friend, a foodie, insisted that I make this cauliflower cake, if I haven’t done so. We were glad I followed her advice.
The cake is very plain looking and you can’t quite make out the vegetables, even if you want to. Perfect to get kids at their varying stages of a developing palate to eat vegetables.
|Sesame and nigella seeds add crunch around the cake|
Like most Ottelenghi’s recipes, I want to make them again. But time seems to be taken off like a rocket. It’s only the end of February and it feels like spring! Where did the time go?