Goodness me, is there no end to the trouble I would go to in order to put up an interesting post? Last week, I decided to make my paternal grandmother's cauliflower dish and also to take photos of it to put up here. I have no photos of Messoda Weston and so the cauli will have to stand as a kind of emblem for her.
When I knew her, she lived in a small three up, two down house in a village near Cardiff called Rhiwbina. She shared the house with my aunt and my two cousins and I used to go there during school holidays. She had one frying pan with no handle, and used a folded-up teatowel to hold the edge of it while she cooked. She always ate after everyone else and would never sit down at the table with us. When she was a young woman, she lived in Port Said, Egypt with my grandfather who worked at Simon Artz, the Harrods of the Middle East. My father and his three siblings swam daily in the Suez Canal.
It's been years since I made this dish and as soon as I started frying up pieces of cauli I understood why. You do have to keep adding more and more oil as it does get absorbed and I try to avoid too much of the stuff for obvious reasons. Still, there's nothing nicer you can do with a cauliflower so for an occasional treat, it's well worth going to to the trouble.
Start with the cauliflower cut up so as to create as many flat planes as possible as shown above. It's difficult to fry the curvy bits to a satisfactory brownness, so the more surfaces you can create that can be brown, the better. Put the leaves into a big casserole dish to line it and add a few bits of garlic in between the leaves so:
Then shake some flour on to a plate thus and season it well with salt and pepper. Mix well to distribute seasonings:
Beat an egg in a dish wide enough to allow you to dip the cauliflower florets. No picture of this.Dip each floret first into the egg and then into the flour, then fry the cauli in vegetable oil. I used rapeseed but sunflower or olive would be okay too. You do have to keep adding a bit more oil to the frying pan so do not put bottle away in the cupboard after your first glug.
When they're nice and brown, lay them on the leaves in the casserole.
Then squeeze the juice of a lemon into about a quarter of a pint of hot water and pour over the cauliflower in the casserole. Simmer the whole thing for about twenty minutes or until a knife goes easily into the white part of a floret.
When cooked to your satisfaction, transfer to a nice dish and serve. It's also wonderful cold the next day if you happen to have any left over.
I hope some of you will make this and come back to this post and tell me how you liked it.