• This vegetarian-friendly dish is perfect for an autumn evening as main course. This is one of my signature dishes and I always make sure to include it on my menu during the autumn and winter months

    Wine suggestion: Cavalli Cremello 2015 – a white blend made up of chenin blanc, chardonnay and Verdello. The wine goes well with rich and creamy dishes, has a slight hint of vanilla and will perfectly complement the richness of the cauliflower in this dish.

    Cauliflower 4-ways – a celebration of cauliflower

    By Michael Deg Serves: 4
    Cooking Time: hrs 30 mins



    • 1 whole cauliflower
    • 50ml olive oil
    • 15ml (1 tbsp) dried thyme
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

    • 50g brown sugar
    • 100ml white wine vinegar
    • 200ml white wine
    • 200ml water
    • 2 thyme sprigs
    • 1 whole star anise
    • 5 whole cardamom pods
    • 15ml (1 tbsp) turmeric
    • ½ cauliflower, broken into small florets
    • 200g tempura flour
    • 200ml sparkling water

    • 1 whole cauliflower, roughly chopped up into florets (reserve the stem, unchopped)
    • 500ml (2 cups) thick/double thick cream
    • salt, to taste
    • 100g butter

    • 1 cauliflower stem (reserved from the cauliflower purée above)
    • 50ml olive oil + extra, to drizzle
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

    • 200g sultanas
    • 400ml orange juice
    • TO SERVE

    • 200g plain macadamia nuts
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • Parmesan
    • sunflower shoots, to garnish (optional)



    For the roasted cauliflower, preheat the oven to 180°C, peel the outer leaves from the whole cauliflower, then rub in the olive oil and thyme, and season to taste. Place in a roasting tray and roast whole in the preheated oven, 30 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Once cool to the touch, take a paring knife and break down the cauliflower into bite-sized florets. Set aside until needed.


    For the pickled tempura cauliflower, make a pickling liquid by combining the sugar, vinegar, wine, water, thyme and all of the spices. Bring this mixture to a boil in a pot. As soon as it boils, remove from heat and allow to cool down in the fridge. Add the small cauliflower florets to the chilled pickling liquid and allow to rest (this is best done 24 hours before serving). Make a tempura batter by mixing the tempura flour with the sparkling water and whisk well until smooth. Set aside until needed.


    For the cauliflower purée, using a wide-based pot, sweat off the roughly chopped cauliflower in the butter over medium-low heat. Season with salt to taste, then add the cream and bring to a boil. Once soft, transfer to a blender and blitz until very smooth. Pass the purée through a fine mesh sieve to make sure there are no lumps. Reserve in a pot until needed.


    For the raw cauliflower, using a mandolin, shave the cauliflower stem very thinly, then drizzle with olive oil and season to taste. Set aside to chill in the fridge.


    For the sultana purée, bring the sultanas and juice to a boil, blitz in a blender and pass through a fine mesh sieve. Reserve in a squeeze bottle in the fridge.


    For the macadamia nuts, preheat the oven to 180°C. Season the nuts to taste and roast in the preheated oven, 10 minutes.


    To serve, reheat the roasted cauliflower florets, about 8 minutes at 180°C. While they are in the oven, deep-fry the pickled florets coated in the tempura batter. In a deep fat fryer or large, deep pot, heat the oil to 170˚C. Use a sugar thermometer to check the temperature of the oil if using a pot. Fry the florets until golden brown, about 3 – 4 minutes, then drain on paper towel.


    Warm the cauliflower purée in pot set over low heat, stirring continuously, as to not burn the sides. Once all of the above items are warm, begin to plate, starting with the cauliflower purée, followed by your roasted cauliflower (about 3 florets per plate) and then the tempura cauliflower (3 pieces per plate). Arrange the macadamia nuts (about 10 per plate) among the items, followed by dots of the sultana purée around the plate. Add the raw, shaved cauliflower and lastly, use a microplane to grate Parmesan all over the dish. Garnish with sunflower shoots (if desired).

    Imka Webb

    Imka Webb is a freelance digital marketing expert and the digital editor of Food & Home Entertaining magazine.  www.imkawebb.com