Cauliflower and cape broccoli

 Cauliflower and cape broccoli

Season: December to March

Home-grown cauliflowers are available all year, but in the winter months we grow something called cape broccoli, which has dark-purple curds instead of the creamy-white. This has a more distinctive flavour and is good, I think, to ring the changes. They’re both cooked in the same way, so remove the tough outer leaves, keeping the younger tender ones, which not only can be cooked and eaten, but their presence in the cooking imparts extra flavour.

To cook a cauliflower:

First of all separate it into largish florets by turning the cauliflower upside down, then just insert a small sharp knife and cut through to separate the heads into about 3 inch (7.5 cm) florets. Then place them, along with the leaves, in a steamer, sitting them up vertically (ie stalk-side at the base, flower heads up). Now pop a bay leaf in, which has a fragrant affinity with cauliflower. I also add some salt, and I like to use another very English flavouring, nutmeg, which I grate lightly over the surface of the florets.

Now pour in boiling water from the kettle and steam for 6-7 minutes, or until tender when tested with a skewer. Serve with a little butter, or grated cheese. One medium cauliflower will serve 4 people.

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