Cauliflower & Broccoli

Piccalilli – the Queen of pickles

If you like pickles this is definitely the most popular one – and how excellent for using the glut of different vegetables. You will need a good selection but, use what you have on the allotment, try to avoid going to the shops for what you feel might be missing (tender young runner beans and French beans, young marrow or courgettes, green tomatoes (though I haven’t tried these in piccalilli), small cucumber, cauliflower, small onions or shallots (if the shallots are too large you will need to cut then in ½s or ¼s).

This recipe might seem like a lot of effort, but it is so worth the trouble.


You will need a brine (salt and water) solution – allow 50g (2oz) for each 600ml (1 pint) water. Ensure the salt is completely dissolved. You will need sufficient brine to cover the vegetables in a basin.

Increase or decrease the following ingredients in proportion according to what you have available:

  • 900g ( 2 lb) mixed vegetables Brine – enough to cover the vegetables
  • Spiced vinegar: – for this quantity allow approx 600ml or 1 pt spiced vinegar

Use preferably white vinegar. Ordinary brown vinegar, although fine for flavour and cheaper, will affect the colour of your pickle. Simmer the vinegar with a selection of spices of your choice ( eg. mixed pepper corns, pimento, whole coriander, dried red chillies, a few bay leaves, mustard seeds, etc). Simmer – ( gently) the spices in the vinegar for 15 minutes or so, then strain.

Sauce: –

  • 25g/ 1 oz plain flour 1 tblsp. Mustard powder
  • ½ tblsp turmeric 2 tsp. Ground ginger
  • Vinegar to mix 600ml / 1 pint spiced vinegar ( as above)


  1. Prepare the vegetables ( cut into small pieces, about 1-1.5cm, ½inch size), weigh them – so you know how much sauce to prepare and put into the prepared brine solution – leave for 24 hours.
  2. Prepare the sauce – mix the flour, mustard powder, turmeric and mixing vinegar in a large basin, to make a soft paste. Gradually add the strained spiced vinegar, stirring frequently to ensure there are no lumps.
  3. Return the sauce mix to a large saucepan or preserving pan and simmer over a low heat until it coats the back of a wooden spoon ( reasonably thickly). Stir frequently to ensure there are no lumps.
  4. Drain the vegetables well, but don’t rinse in cold water.
  5. Add the vegetable to the mustard sauce and gradually bring to the boil
  6. Boil for about 1 -2 minutes ( avoid cooking the vegetables)
  7. Pour/spoon into hot, sterilised jars and seal.
  8. Leave for a few weeks before eating to allow it to mature


Although you can use a tempura batter, I do prefer the sublime spicy batter of Indian cooking – higher calorie perhaps but, so delicious.

You can use potatoes, cauliflower florets, mushrooms, onions, carrots, mouli, etc


For the batter:-

  • 100gm( 4oz) gram flour / besan flour
  • 2 tsp ground cumin (jeera)
  • 3 tsp ground coriander (dhania)
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp baking soda( bicarbonate of soda)
  • Water to mix
  • Oil for frying
  • 200ml water approx.


  1. Mix the flour, salt, spices and baking soda in a bowl
  2. Vegetables: wash – potatoes – peel and cut into slices; cauliflower – cut into smallish florets; mushrooms – cut in half; peel and cut into rings; carrots – peel and cut into batons or rings.
  3. Add the prepared vegetables and the water and mix until the vegetables are coated generously with the batter( ensuring there are no pockets of dry ingredients and that all parts of the vegetables are covered)
  4. Add the coated vegetables to preheated oil in a deep-fat fryer or wok. If using a deep-fat fryer, don’t use the basket as the batter will attach to the wire.
  5. Turn the pakoras over as necessary
  6. Fry until the pakoras are evenly brown, then remove from the pan and drain.

Serve with a suitable dipping sauce.

Broccoli and Cheese Flan


For the pastry

  • 175 gm (6 oz) plain flour
  • 75 gm (3 oz) butter
  • 6 tsp. cold water (approx)

For the filling

  • 225g (8oz) broccoli [purple or green are best]
  • 1 medium – large red onion – peeled and chopped
  • Pinch salt sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 110 gm (4oz) mature cheddar cheese
  • 40gms (1½oz) butter


  1. Prepare the pastry – sieve the flour and salt the work the butter into the flour until the texture is like fine breadcrumbs.
  2. Add enough cold water to ensure the mixture binds ( approx.1 tsp for every oz of flour but, a little more may be needed – don’t add too much water or your pastry will be hard and tough)
  3. Roll out the pastry fairly thinly, to line a flan dish or suitable plate (grease or oil well before putting the pastry into it). Trim. ( If you have added too much water the pastry will shrink when cooked).
  4. Bake the pastry case ‘blind’ – without filling – in a fairly hot oven – Gas 6 or 200°C for 15 – 20 minutes until the pastry is golden.
  5. In the meantime, ‘sweat’ the onions in the butter until soft – don’t allow it to brown.
  6. If using solid heads of green broccoli, break into florets and simmer in a littler salted water for a couple of minutes until starting to soften [don’t overcook]. Drain well. For broccoli sprouts – trim and wash… it should not be necessary to precook it.
  7. Beat the eggs, seasoning and milk together in a bowl and grate the cheese.
  8. When the pastry is cooked, remove it from the oven and fill the flan with the cooked onions and the prepared broccoli. Add the egg mixture and top with the grated cheese.
  9. Return to the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Lower the heat and continue to cook until the filling has set and the topping cheese is golden.
  10. Serve with a mixed salad and onion marmalade.


This dish can be served hot or cold, is good for a main meal or in small slices as a starter, or for a picnic.

Cheddar can be replaced by any blue cheese, gruyere or any other suitable ‘melting’ cheese.

Tagliatelle with Sprouting Broccoli and Cheese Sauce

This recipe is one based on a recipe from Jamie Oliver’s ‘Jamie at Home’. While Jamie has made fresh tagliatelle for his recipe, mine has been based on bought dried egg tagliatelle for simplicity. If you have time, do make your own pasta, it is always so much better and Jamie’s recipe is very quick but, do use suitable flour.


For 4 people use:

  • The Cheese Sauce 450gm Tagliatelle
  • 250ml crème fraîche
  • 150gm cheese suitable for melting [ fontina, cheddar, gruyere, etc]
  • 150gm freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Sea salt and freshly crushed black pepper
  • 400gm purple sprouting broccoli, or green broccoli heads [white is also good though, it does not provide the same colour]
  • 2 large free-range eggs

A small bunch of fresh marjoram [or oregano] or thyme tips. Pick the leaves and chop finely [my preference is for lemon or orange thyme, which I grow and love to cook with]


  1. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. In a bowl, large enough to rest on top of the pan, put in the crème fraîche, the melting cheese and the parmesan with salt and pepper. Place the bowl over the pan for the cheeses to slowly melt. Meanwhile, trim the ends from the broccoli, then finely slice the stalks diagonally but leave florets whole, though larger ones can be cut in half.
  2. Remove the bowl from the pan and drop the pasta into the boiling water, If using fresh pasta add the broccoli at the same timer and cook for 2 – 3 minutes. If using bought pasta cook according to the instructions on the packet then add the broccoli 3 minutes before the end of the cooking time.
  3. Whip up the 2 eggs, herbs, salt and pepper and your chosen herbs, Add to the cheese sauce and stir in [if necessary re-heat over hot water].
  4. Drain the pasta and broccoli and add to the sauce mixture – the heat from the pasta will cook the eggs in the sauce safely. If the sauce is a little thick, add a little of the cooking water to make it silky and loose. Taste and season as necessary then serve while still very hot. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese to serve.

Gobi Aloo

This recipe is taken from Mridula Baljekar’s book ‘Complete Indian Cookbook’. I love this book and its recipes. I bought it quite some years ago. If you can still buy it I really do recommend it.


  • 3 medium sized potatoes
  • 1 medium cauliflower
  • ½ tsp black mustard seeds
  • 5 Tblsp cooking oil
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 – 2 dried red chillies coarsely chopped
  • 12 – 15 fenugreek seeds
  • 1 medium sized onion, coarsely chopped
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 fresh green or red chilli, coarsely chopped
  • ½ ground cumin
  • 1 Tblsp chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1½ tsp salt or to taste


  1. Peel and boil the potatoes [if using floury potatoes it is better to steam them].
  2. Allow to cool then cut into 2 inch squares or similar – don’t bother to trim.
  3. Blanch the cauliflower in boiling water for 2 minutes – it should remain firm after cooking. Cut into small florets.
  4. Heat the oil over a medium heat in a shallow pan or wok – preferably non stick or cast iron.
  5. Add the mustard seeds and as soon as they start to pop, add the cumin and fenugreek seeds and then the red chillies.
  6. Add the onions and the fresh green or red chilli. Stir and fry until the onions are golden brown…8 – 10 mins.
  7. Add the cauliflower, reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook for 6 – 8 minutes.
  8. Add the potatoes, turmeric, cumin, coriander and salt. Stir gently until all the ingredients are mixed thoroughly. Cover the pan and cook until the potatoes are heated through.
  9. Stir in the chopped coriander leaves and remove from the heat.

Serve as part of tapas, an Indian meal or an Indian style feast.