Cauliflower mash | vegan

It’s probably already out of fashion now but cauliflower mash, I took a while to get to meet you but now I have, it’s true love.

My gorgeous friend Maria-Elena (check her out on Insta @thewellnessfountain) made me the most delicious cauliflower mash a few weeks ago & I swore I would try it at home.

With a dairy-free 1 year old, I opted to make this version vegan but of course you could swap olive oil for butter if you prefer.

INGREDIENTS
700g cauliflower (approx 1 small cauliflower)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
salt, to taste
It’s not essential but I recommend popping fresh herbs of your choice on top – thyme, oregano, finely chopped rosemary or parsley

Note: I infused my olive oil with rosemary, thyme & oregano from my garden which is really a fancy way of saying I threw some herbs into a jar with the olive oil & let it sit for 24 hours.

METHOD
1. Chop the cauliflower roughly into quarters
2. Throw the cauliflower in the thermomix – whizz it up on speed 5 for about 15 seconds. If you need to after this, remove the lid & scrape down the sides
3. Add in about 200g water (you could also use stock if preferred)
4. Set the timer for 15 minutes & 100 degrees celsius, on speed 3
5. When the time is up, be super careful as it will be piping hot – I hold a little sieve (a tea leaf strainer does the job) to tip in the squeezed lemon & olive oil
6. Give it one last whizz – just about 10 seconds on speed 4 (no heat required)
7. Once this is done, give it a taste & check you’re happy with texture & balance of flavours. I of course add more olive oil on top & some fresh herbs

Getting kids to try new foods (from a Mum!) 

Everyone will have a different opinion on this but I recently read an article by Justine Lebrun on the I Quit Sugar website which you can find here.

Whilst I agree with many of the points raised, & like that she is a Mum so has experienced it first hand, every family situation is different.

For the last 2 1/2 years, the Father of my little people lived away from home 5 nights a week. Last year I was working 4 days a week, pregnant, managing a pretty big renovation & part of the time living with my parents. Not to mention having a newborn.

This year he is back in town, leaving home at 430am every morning & returning home somewhere between 6-7pm. With a crazy 7 year old, an even crazier 5 year old & a 3 month old who is still “witching” at dinner time, meals aren’t always the peaceful event you hope for. As a matter of fact, my 7 year old asked me tonight “why is it so quiet?” with the witching baby being jiggled in the Baby Bjorn while I attempted to cut / boil / cook dinner. It’s harder than you think.

Nevertheless, our method with me generally as a “single mum” with 3 kids is: the boys sit up on bar stools & eat their dinner. I generally pick at the vegetables I’ve presented them (that I know they won’t eat), modelling how much I loooooove cauliflower. At the same time I can stack the dishwasher, talk to the kids & keep moving so the baby doesn’t wake. We are a “no screen” household from Sunday evening til Friday afternoon every week, however this year my son in year 2 is going to have to make PowerPoint Presentations so some screen time will have to happen (nooooo!). Both boys also have some online Maths homework.

During the week, they are exhausted from school & I find that if I’m going to try a new meal, Saturday, Sunday or Monday is best. Tuesday-Thursday they are too tired to want to try new things. I’m guessing many families are similar.

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself – there aren’t too many adults who only eat crumbed fish & spaghetti bolognaise. If you’re going to crumb it, use a healthy crumb – my go to is either straight quinoa flakes; or a combination or quinoa flakes, sesame seeds, chia seeds & almond meal – depending on what we have in the pantry.

Make it fun & colourful. Cut the veggies in a different shape – try sweet potato in wedges one night & discs another; make carrot sticks into match sticks one night & noodles another. Cut long thin pieces of cucumber, or thin discs. Use a spiraliser. Make it different every night. Don’t make a fuss over what isn’t eaten.

Most importantly, be realistic with your expectations – I haven’t eaten meat in nearly 20 years but my sons like meat (currently). I don’t like pasta, they love it. I could eat salad & veggies all day, every day, whereas they feel slightly different! I do sneak veggies into their bolognaise (usually grated cauliflower & zucchini) but that’s more of a nutrient than a taste issue for me.
We agree as a family that sweet potato is the best veggie ever & that frozen bananas make the best smoothies. We all love my crumbed fish & cucumbers.
We all love whole fruit.
My 7 year old & I share a mayonnaise addiction whereas the others don’t see the fuss. It’s the same throughout life- we all know someone who hates coriander right? How about anchovies? I love both but there was a time where neither were on the Menu for me.