“Does the smell of bacon make you want it?”
“Don’t plants feel too?”
“Wasn’t Hitler a vegan?”
… just some of the delightfully irritating questions vegans shake off on a daily basis. “What can you eat?” carnivores ask, pupils morphing into one of those tiny kaleidoscopic wheels on a Mac before it crashes.
Food, dudes. Real food. Hundreds of plant-powered ingredients are at a herbivore’s fingertips everyday; they are Mother Nature’s heavyweight champions of fibre. I envy a vegan’s commitment. Their bowel movements must be like Christmas presents.
Given I am happily institutionalised into marital bliss with all its obligations and sacred rituals, I like to flirt with everything that crosses our front door. This week, it was vegan. The guest. Not the husband.
I wanted to thrill my guest, in the only way available to me (through my pantry). I quickly learned that with just a bit of mental parkour, you can turn any vegetable into a thundering drama queen and steal the show.
So here’s the recipe.
Cauli & Caper Toast
Cauliflower toasts are scorching their hipster mark across NYC restaurants. With the right flavours, cauli toast is pretty fantastical. This dish has quickly become the litmus test of trendiness across cafes. Who knew a bleedin’ cauliflower could cause such a stir?
1 large head of cauliflower
Splash of olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
Fire up your oven to 210 Celsius, gas mark 7.
Cut 2 or 3 large slices from your head of cauli. Aim for about 2cm thick so it won’t collapse on you. I slice down the centre, using the core to hold it all together. Rub all over with olive oil and cumin. Then roast flat for 20-30 minutes or until slightly charred and golden. Throw the capers on top, halfway through cooking.
To plate up, crown with a poached duck egg like in the picture, or and some hummus for a vegan supper. The capers will give fabulous pops of ‘salty lemon’ to the finished dish. Fried chorizo is achingly good too. Hakuna matata.
Here’s an interview of me, and my potty mouth talking to a journalist in NYC, on the release of the US edition of The Virtuous Tart cookbook………..
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