Cheese scones and fried scallops: Claire Thomson’s cauliflower snacks – recipes | Food

Cauliflower cheese scones

These are best eaten just warm from the oven, spread with salted butter and a good blob of dijon mustard.

Prep 15 min
Cook 45 min
Makes About 10 (depending on the size of cutter

400g cauliflower, broken into roughly 1½cm florets
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
450g self-raising flour
110g butter (unsalted or salted, to taste), very cold and grated (or diced small), plus extra to serve
160g cheddar (or similar), grated
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
, or to taste
1 egg, beaten
200ml milk
Dijon mustard, to serve

Heat the oven to 220C (200 fan)/425F/gas 7. Arrange the cauliflower in an even layer on a roasting tray, season generously and drizzle with the olive oil. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until soft and with a good amount of colour, then remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Put the flour and butter in a large bowl, then use your fingertips to mix them to a fine breadcrumb dust. (Alternatively, use a food processor, pulsing in short, sharp bursts, then tip out into a bowl.)

Add the cheese to the dough mix and season well with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add the roast cauliflower, and stir to combine.

In a small jug, whisk the egg and milk, then stir in all but two tablespoons of the mix into the flour bowl (try not to overwork the dough). Bring everything together quickly and with as little mixing as possible, then tip out on to a lightly floured surface and gently roll out to about 4cm thick.

Using an 8cm cutter, stamp out circles of dough; for the last scone, collect the offcuts, roll them together, then cut (don’t worry if it’s a bit scrappy). Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the scones with the reserved egg and milk mix.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until risen and lightly golden brown, then remove and leave to cool on a wire rack for at least five minutes before serving with butter and mustard.

Whipped cauliflower with tahini and lemon

Claire Thompson’s whipped cauliflower with tahini and lemon

This super-soft, creamy cauliflower is the perfect canvas for pumpkin seeds, feta and mint. Serve with flatbreads for mopping.

Prep 10 min
Cook 15 min
Serves 4 as a light lunch or starter

800g cauliflower, broken into small florets
Salt and black pepper, to taste
2 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half
½ tsp ground cumin
1 heaped tbsp tahini
Juice of 1 lemon

60ml olive oil, plus extra to serve
50g pumpkin seeds
100g feta
, roughly crumbled
½ small bunch mint, leaves picked and roughly chopped
Flatbreads, to serve

Boil the cauliflower in well-salted water for five to eight minutes, until very soft, then drain and leave to cool slightly. Tip the cauliflower into a food processor or blender, add the garlic, cumin, 50ml cold water, tahini and lemon juice, and blend. Add all but a tablespoon of the olive oil and blend again to combine. Season well, adding more lemon, tahini, cumin or olive oil, if you think it necessary (it should be highly flavoured). Tip on to a large serving plate and spread out over its surface.

In a small pan on a moderate heat, heat the remaining olive oil, then add the pumpkin seeds and a pinch of salt, and toast, stirring, until the seeds are crackling and have taken on a bit of colour.

Tip the toasted seeds over the cauliflower, sprinkle with the feta and mint, and drizzle with a little more oil. Serve with warm flatbreads.

Cauliflower ‘scallops’ with salt and malt vinegar

Claire Thompson’s cauli scallops.

I’ve taken the idea of chip-shop potato scallops and applied it to cauliflower stalks and their pale leaves, battered and deep-fried to serve with a good pinch of salt and splashed generously with malt vinegar.

Prep 5 min
Cook 15 min
Serves 4 as a side

400g cauliflower stalks and leaves (florets will also work here)
150g self-raising flour
50g cornflour
250ml sparkling water
Vegetable or sunflower oil
, for frying
Salt, to taste
Malt vinegar, to taste

Cut the cauliflower stalks into 1cm-thick pieces. In well-salted boiling water, boil the sliced cauliflower stalks and leaves until tender – 30 seconds to a minute for the leaves and two minutes for the stalks – then drain and leave to steam dry.

Next, make a batter: put the two flours in a large bowl, whisk in the fizzy water in a thin, steady stream to form a smooth batter, then set aside.

Fill a medium, high-sided saucepan a third of the way up with neutral cooking oil and heat to 180C (use a digital thermometer, or test by dropping in a small cube of bread – it should sizzle and turn brown and crisp within 30 seconds).

Dip the blanched cauliflower in the batter and, working in batches of two or three pieces at a time, carefully drop into the hot oil – it will sizzle. Fry for about one and half to two minutes, until crisp and golden, then lift out with a slotted spoon or spider and drain on kitchen paper. Repeat with the remaining cauliflower and batter, then sprinkle with salt and a generous splash of malt vinegar, and serve immediately.

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