Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

For my birthday I received the Jamie Oliver 30 minute meals book. It is unlikely that I will ever actually do one of the complete meals, but there are plenty of great recipes to try. One of the first ones that stood out to me was the Cauliflower macaroni. It looked tasty and had very cheap ingredients. Considering it was part of a 30minute meal I’d say it takes about 25minutes to prepare and cook, with plenty of time for some chatting (or desert making) in the process. It tasted great, and I’d say its  good way to hide vegetables. Who doesn’t love Mac and Cheese!? The crunchy was my favourite and you could do it with or without the bacon. The original recipe had pancetta instead of the bacon, I didn’t have any and I have a freezer full of bacon which worked great instead. Also, I swapped creme fraiche for sour cream, which is pretty similar. It is so easy to buy sour cream here, and not so easy or cheap to buy creme fraiche.

I hope you try this one. Its super easy, delicious, and cheap. Oh and it makes enough to feed about 5,000 people (…8)

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

(time: 25mins, feeds: 8)

Ingredients

6 rashers of bacon

1 large head of cauliflower

500g dried macaroni

250g cheddar cheese grated

4 thick slices of old bread

a few sprigs of fresh rosemary

2 cloves of garlic crushed

250g sour cream

Salt and Pepper and olive oil

Method

Preheat oven to 220c

Place a large pot of salted water onto the stove and bring to the boil.

Place the rashers of bacon in a large baking dish (big enough for the finished mac and cheese) and place in the hot oven. Allow to crisp up.

While the bacon is cooking, trim the cauliflower of the leaves and stalk and roughly chop into medium sized florets. Add the pasta and cauliflower to the pot of boiling water. Return to the boil and cook until the pasta is cooked but  still a  little on the firm side. Drain the pasta and cauliflower and keep a few cups of the pasta water for later.

By this stage the bacon should be done. Remove the bacon from the oven and then the baking dish and set aside. Keep the oven on. Put the cauliflower and macaroni into the baking dish.

In a food processor combine the bread, rosemary, garlic, cooked bacon and a little olive oil. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.

Add the cheese and the sour cream to the pasta with about a cup of the pasta water and mix through with some salt and pepper to taste. Add a little more pasta water if you think you need to cook your pasta a little more, or add less water if you pasta is fully cooked. Once combined, pour the breadcrumbs over the top and spread evenly.

Put the cauliflower mac and cheese in the oven and bake for 8-10minutes or until the breadcrumbs on top are nicley browned and crispy and the macaroni and cheese is bubbling.

Serve while still hot!

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Cauliflower Crust Pizza

When I started this blog my brother in law Kent sent me a link for a cauliflower crust pizza, essentially an Hawaiian pizza with a base made out of cauliflower. Finally I have gotten around to buying a cauliflower and am therefore able to give it a try! My husband and I often make our own pizza usually using pita bread as a pizza base but this was random enough to draw us away from our usual to try something new. It was actually really easy to make, especially using a food processor to shred the cauliflower.  The recipe I used was by Recipe Girl http://www.recipegirl.com/2012/01/16/cauliflower-crust-hawaiian-pizza/#.T1aXBgE_CTo.facebook, however I did change a few things, and as you can see by the pictures the topping is the most obvious!

Lauren’s version of Cauliflower Crust Pizza:

(Gives you one 10 inch pizza – feeds 2-3, prep time: 25 min, cook time: 20 min)

Ingredients:

Crust:
1/2 large head cauliflower (or 2+ cups shredded cauliflower)
1 large egg
2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt

Topping:
1/2 cup tomato passata (tomato puree)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Any other topping you would like: ham, pineapple, salami, mushroom, capsicum, olives etc.

Directions:

Shred the cauliflower into crumbles, this is easily done in a food processor (don’t make a puree) or you can use a cheese grater. You need 2 cups of shredded fresh cauliflower. Place this into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 8 minutes (don’t add any water). Allow the cauliflower 10 minutes to cool.

Preheat the oven to 220C. Line a pizza pan/cookie sheet with baking paper. In a bowl combine the cauliflower (about 1 1/2 cups after cooking) with the egg, herbs, garlic and salt. Pat the crust into a 10 inch round base on the prepared pan (it wont be like dough). Spray the crust lightly with non-stick spray and bake for 20minutes (until golden). Remove the crust from the oven and carefully flip the base over, uncooked side facing up (easiest using another sheet of baking paper on top and flipping it over onto the new sheet). Return the crust to the tray and bake for another 5-10 minutes (until golden).

When the crust is done, spread the tomato passata onto the crust leaving a centimeter around the edge. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the cheese onto the base, add any toppings you would like. Craig and made two pizzas, one with ham, pineapple, capsicum and mushroom, and one with salami, mushroom, fresh tomato, pepper and parmesan. Once your toppings are on the crust sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and bake in the oven at 220C until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Cut into 6-8 slices and serve immediately.