By Alison Peake

    While we are coming to the end of winter vegetable season – there is one last chance to make the most of them before we head into spring.

    Last month we talked about the brassica family with an emphasis on the green ones, but one that deserves special mention for its versatility is in fact white (well most of the time… but more about that later).

    With a name that sounds so much more romantic in French – Chouxfleur – we are talking about the cauliflower.

    This is one vegetable that can be a soup, an entrée, a main meal or a side dish with equal ease. If you want to know about its health benefits, drop in and chat to ex-Bulldog footballer Farren Ray at Curiously Cauli.

    For recipe inspiration, try cauliflower and leek soup, cauliflower fritters, stuffed baked cauliflower (or save yourself the work and buy one ready to go from Farren) the old time favourite of cauliflower cheese, Korean style fried cauliflower or cauliflower hash browns.

    If you want to cut down on carbs, substitute cauliflower for potatoes or rice.

    Don’t bother buying “cauliflower rice”, just get handy with the cook’s knife and chop it fine, grate it like cheese, or even blitz it in the food processor. Put it on paper towels in a sieve to get the excess moisture out, and you are good to go. Mashed and creamed with butter and a dollop of sour cream and you have your potato look-alike. And did I mention salad? It makes a wonderful base for any number of elegant salad options.

    While you will be most familiar with the white version of the humble cauli, it does have a number of exotic cousins. While you are at the market, hunt out a Romanesco, with amazing green spirals, or purple or yellow, and always remember to ask the grower for information about them if you aren’t sure how to store or cook them.

    Slow Food Melbourne farmers’ markets are at Spotswood and West Footscray 4th and 2nd Saturdays of the month. Check out Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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