29 February 2012

Spinach & Cauliflower

I am sure many children would hate this blog entry.  Just look at the title!  My children, however, seem to be amongst the minority who actually enjoy both vegetables.  My children also enjoy pulling each others socks off and running around the house with said articles of clothing on their ears...  More on that later.

Cauliflower.  So underrated.  Cauliflower is a wallflower - shy and misunderstood.  But put it into a shrimp stir fry and just watch how the whole dish lights up.  Or puree it up with mashed potatoes and garlic.  Or enjoy cooked into a macaroni n' cheese casserole.  Ah, the possibilities.  Recently, my favourite way to enjoy it is fried.  Mmmm, yes.  When you bite into that crunchy coating and hit the soft jackpot inside... there are just no words.  It is a real treat, my friends.  I have inhaled entire cauliflower heads this way...  Also, my kids will eat these fried cauliflower florets without blinking.  Win.  Case dismissed.

As for spinach, it's on my new list of favourites.  I think everyone has a signature dish that incorporates spinach.  Mine are spinach pies.  They're traditional Middle Eastern fare, and I love them for their versatility (they travel well), their appeal (imagine a palm-sized pastry), and their nutritional punch (this is spinach we're talking about...).  They do take a bit of time - at least, for a mother of two, it certainly takes a while to get from start to finish.  But well worth the effort.  Well worth it.


1 head of cauliflower
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp salt
vegetable oil for frying

Cut cauliflower into florets and wash well.  Place in pot and steam until cauliflower is crispy tender.  Drain and set aside.  Mix flour and salt together.  Whisk in water until it's the consistency of pancake batter.  Heat a pot of vegetable oil until hot.  Dip/roll cauliflower florets in the batter and gently drop into oil.  Cook until crispy and golden.  Drain on newspaper or paper towels before serving.


1 recipe of Amira's Savoury Dough
1 bunch of spinach, washed
1 large onion
1 Tbsp sumac
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
salt, to taste

Prepare dough and set aside.  Wash spinach thoroughly and chop finely.  Squeeze or scrunch out excess water.  Dice onions and add to spinach.  Add sumac, oil and a generous sprinkle of salt.  Mix until spinach and onions are thoroughly coated.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Pinch off a ping-pong-sized ball of dough and roll it out thinly.  Add a large tablespoon of the spinach mixture in the middle.  Join two sides together and then fold up the bottom to form a triangle.  Make sure to join edges extra securely so they don't come apart when baking.  Place on a baking tray.  Bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown.  Can use broiler on high for 2-3 minutes if desired.  Remove from oven and let cool.


  1. Do you have 'go-to' spices/herbs? (and yes, I consider the holy trinity of Garlic/Onion/Lemon in this category) :D

    I've been using a cumin-coriander-giner combination (with garlic and onions) a lot! But I guess in Lebanese cooking its more herbs and the trinity...


  2. Yes, the trinity is sacred in my kitchen. For other seasonings, I guess it depends on what you're cooking. Other popular ones in my cupboard are: allspice, mint, basil, oregano, black pepper, cinnamon. And I love garlic powder. Fresh garlic and garlic powder are not remotely equivalent in my book.

    PS - For obvious reasons, many Lebanese households store large quantities of sumac, thyme and sesame... (read: zahtar)

  3. :) I miss you. I wish we could cook together (again)...