Friday, 13 April 2012

Friday quickie

To celebrate the fact that nothing too bad has happened to me on this Friday the 13th, I decided to whip up some quickie comfort foods and curl up on the sofa to enjoy them (yes, I do lead such an exciting life...). For me, Friday food has to be something quick and simple, with only a few ingredients and not too much fuss, but it also has to be something yummy. Funnily enough, it also seems to contain cumin very frequently.

I had a cauliflower lying around in my fridge which needed to be used up, so I decided to make roasted cauliflower with yoghurt and pomegranate, a recipe I stumbled upon at Epicurious and have made semi-regularly. Mint is one of my favourite herbs, but I hardly ever use it for some strange reason. Here, I love the freshness of the mint and yoghurt combined with the warm softness of the cauliflower. And it's really quick to prepare (apart from seeding the pomegranate, which is a bit of a messy task, but well worth it when you taste the result).

I also wanted something sweet for dessert (I *will* get back to my "no sugar, no wheat, no dairy" nutrition plan next week, I promise...). The perfect excuse to make this dessert was that I wanted to use up the last quark and cream which were left over from my Easter baking bonanza. This quark dessert is something I can remember all the way back from my childhood, so it truly counts in the category of comfort food. 

Quark is a soured milk product, basically a type of soft and velvety cheese. The taste is very mild, a bit like cream cheese, but a bit more sour and fresh. Back home you can buy all sorts of flavoured quarks, which is something I really miss. Berry quark, vanilla quark, white chocolate and lime quark and many more. In the UK, it seems like you can only get fat free, natural (i.e. non-flavoured) quark. Quark makes a nice, fresh and not too sweet dessert which is great on it's own like served here, or amazing served on meringue nests with a bit of chocolate sauce. There are endless variations you can make by substituting other berries or fruits. A great mix is strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, or mango and banana. If you want to make it more healthy you can completely leave out the whipped cream and mix quark with berries or fruits and maybe a drollop of honey.

And finally, the actual recipe for the roasted cauliflower (serves 2):
1 large cauliflower
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
sea salt flakes, pepper
100 g organic, natural, full fat yoghurt (I prefer Greek yoghurt)
1 pomegranate
a few mint leaves

The howto:
Preheat oven to 200 C. Break the cauliflower up into florets, toss with oil, cumin, salt and pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes, or until the florets look a bit darkened and crispy. Meanwhile, deseed the pomegranate, and mix pomegranate seeds with yoghurt, a pinch of salt and pepper and finely chopped mint. 

One serving contains approximately 280 kcal (13.6g fat, 35.5g total carbs and 9.6g protein). I use MyFitnessPal to estimate nutritional content, and take no responsibility for the accuracy of the estimates.

Ingredients for quark dessert (serves 3-4):
250 g quark 
150 ml double cream
40 g Whittard Rhubarb White Hot Chocolate (or 3 tbsp sugar and 1 tbsp vanilla extract)
200 g strawberries
100 g raspberries

Quark howto:
Mix cream and hot chocolate (or sugar and vanilla extract) and beat until peaks form (the quark is pretty thick so don't overwhip the cream to get a nice smooth texture of the dessert). Mix cream with quark, and add berries. Try to refrain from eating the whole batch in one sitting. Or just overindulge...

One serving (a third of the whole recipe) contains 400 kcal (28g fat, 23.6g total carbs, 13.5g protein).

The verdict:
Cauliflower: yummy. Quark: yummy. Could I have some more, please?

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