These days when I fleetingly look in the mirror, consciously or not I look out for very different signs as compared to a few years ago. I’m not so much checking for neat eyebrows, tidy make up or how large my eyes appear (yes that indeed used to be a consideration a lifetime ago), but the checklist is wearily composed of; do I look tired, how many grey hairs are peeping through, do I spot any facial hairs and mostly…do I look healthy?
Pre-child I had promised myself that I wouldn’t let myself go. As I geared up for motherhood my husband heard reaffirmations from me a million times or more that I would continue to shop at my favourite boutiques, wear make-up, go to the gym and still have time for a facemask. It wasn’t until in recent months, when well intending friends pointed out how lovely it was to see the ‘old me’ back that it dawned on me, that I had faded quite a lot…into dark holes of formless, halfway-house and never-ending leggings. I have thrown them all away now, the leggings I mean.
It was going pretty well, I was eating more fruit and I felt light and springy as did my hair. Since then there has been a bit of dip in the bounce partly due to a fatigue induced ravenous appetite. My appetite has been as relentless as my schedule of work and toddler and I caught a flash of self-assessment whilst shopping today. Along with more sleep, it is time to behave well again on the food front but I can’t entertain the thought of any of these juice diets or carb-cycling thingies. I am a temperamental when hungry and I cannot and will not eat beans on toasts and when my husband suggests cereal for dinner after a long night and train journey home at 10pm, I just cannot. Eating cereal for dinner would be just hitting rock bottom.
I am satiated with bold colours and spice, deep texture and might. I crave vegetarian fast food. I tell myself that I must eat healthy recipes, whilst I am gratified by aromas that invite my fingers into the food and draw moisture to my mouth. And this vegetarian recipe for roasted cauliflower Manchurian (or Gobi Manchurian) cuts it. It’s a take on a popular indo-Chinese recipe, but I haven’t fried the cauliflower. It still hits the spot.
Ingredients to serve 2-3
A medium head of cauliflower cut into large florets
1 ½ tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. minced ginger
1 tsp. minced garlic
A generous pinch of Chinese 5 spice powder
6 tsp. of corn flour
For the sauce
2 tbsp. tomato ketchup
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. siracha sauce
1 tbsp. agave nectar
1 tbsp. freshly chopped coriander
3 spring onions, finely chopped
- Heat the oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Coat the washed cauliflower with the Chinese 5 spice powder, garlic and ginger paste, soy sauce and then finally the corn flour.
- Place each of the florets in the oven and roast them until they are crisp and lightly browned. This should take 45 minutes.
- Once cooked, remove the cauliflower florets and place them in a large bowl. Combine the cauliflower florets with the sauce and toss them until they are evenly coated.
- Serve the cauliflower Manchurian hot. I served with wholemeal tortilla and beansprouts, as a wrap.