We held each other tightly for over an hour before he had to take leave to catch his flight back to Madrid. His arms were wrapped around my neck and shoulders like a thick scarf.
Our silence expressed more to each other than we had ever said in the eight years that we had been together. I felt intoxicated by the lemon-sage scent of his skin.
The screech from the metal wheels of the train rubbing against the metal tracks, made me loosen my grip.His marble green and amber eyes held my gaze, said exactly what I wanted hear.
“You know that I’ll always love you!”
I mouthed the words, “I love you too,” as my tears outlined the contours of my cheeks.
I watched him step inside of the train and held my body tightly, as if to prevent myself from exploding. I followed his manly gait, clothed in his dark blue army jacket and his tan jeans, which fit so beautifully around his body. I followed his feet, covered up in his timberland shoes, that we bought together the year before. And then, he was in the train. Gone. I watched the train disappear into the darkness of the tunnel, and knew that this would be the last time I would ever see him again.
It was that night, that I started to have dreams about Carl; a boy whom I had not seen since I was 7 years old.
…and with that snippet from my opening chapter, I will leave you with a recipe for the dinner that I had the night when I finally decided to complete my novel! This recipe creates an amazingly delicious cauliflower steak that was not created by me, but by Gordon Ramsey. You will never want to have cauliflower cooked in any other way after this. Trust me.
Charred Cauliflower Steak with Mushrooms, Olive and Lemon
A Gordon Ramsey inspired amazingly delicious Cauliflower steak recipe
- For the Charred Cauliflower
- 2 medium heads cauliflower (each should be large enough to produce 2 “steaks”)
- 11 tablespoons) olive oil
- 4 tablespoons harissa powder
- Zest from 1 lemon
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1⁄2 cup vegetable stock
- For the Olive Pistou
- 1 cup Black Kalamata olives, pitted and quartered
- 1 Cup Green Castelvertrano Olives, pitted and quartered
- 1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 lemons (for juice and zest)
- 2 tablespoons flatleaf parsley, roughly chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- For the Mushrooms (Porcini Mushrooms)
- 4 Tablespoons of Olive oil
- 8 porcini mushrooms or any other type
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter Zest of 1 lemon
- 8 mint leaves
- Sea salt or kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste
- For the garnish: 2 Tablespoons of extra virgin oil
- lemon zest and juice
- 2 packs of garlic or hive blossoms
- Step 1 Preheat your oven to 325°F/165°C.
- Step 2 Prepare your cauliflower by peeling off the leaves and cutting off the stem, so that you have like a flat base for the cauliflower. Wet your knife generously, as Gordon suggests, before slicing into the steaks, as this gives you a nice clean cut
- Step 3 Cut off 1 inch from the left and the right side of the cauliflower. This will leave approximately 2 inches of the centre. Now, slice this centre into two and you will end up with 4 one-inch slices of cauliflower. Prepare your baking pan with about 8 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Step 4 On top of the oil, you want to sprinkle 2 tablespoons of your harissa powder and 2 teaspoons of sea salt.
- Step 5 Rub the sides of each sliced cauliflower “steak” with the olive oil and harissa mix. Pour another tablespoon of olive oil mixed with the remaining harissa powder over the sides. When you are done coating all of the steaks, sprinkle each one again with 2 teaspoons of the sea salt.
- Step 6 Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil in your large cast-iron skillet and put on medium-high heat (If you have more than one pan, you can heat up both simultaneously).
- Step 7 Once the pans are “smoking,” put in the steaks and let them brown on each side for 90 seconds, or until the edges begin to char.
- Step 8 Once done, add 2 tablespoons of butter (or unscented coconut oil mixed in with a tablespoon of a nut milk if you are vegan). Cook the butter until it is slightly brown, and it releases that beautiful nutty flavour.
- Step 9 When the butter froths up, add the vegetable stock. Let this cook until it just begins to boil.
- Step 10 Remove the steaks from the stove and put them in the middle rack in your preheated oven to roast for 8 to 10 minutes.
- Step 11 Test your steaks to make sure that they are done. If your knife pushes through the cauliflower easily, then they are done. You should not feel any resistance. When they are done, let them rest on a serving plate while you work on the Olive pistou and the Mushrooms.
- Step 12 To make the Olive Pistou: Mix the olives, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, and parsley
- Step 13 Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Step 14 To make the Mushrooms: Heat a large sauté pan to medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Cut the mushrooms into 1⁄4-inch slices lengthwise and put aside.
- Step 15 Cut the shallots in half lengthwise then turn them onto the cut side for stability to thinly slice.
- Step 16 Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the shallots and garlic to the pan and continue to cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, or until the shallots and garlic are translucent.
- Step 17 Zest the lemon into the pan and add the olive pistou. Stir together.
- Step 18 Lower the heat to medium-low. Thinly slice the mint and sprinkle it over the mushrooms.
- Step 19 Turn off the heat and season to taste with more salt and pepper.
- Step 20 Plate 2 steaks with the cores facing each other. Spoon the olive pistou/mushroom mixture over the steaks. Finish with a drizzle of the olive oil, a sprinkle of lemon zest, and a drizzle of lemon juice. Tuck the garlic or chive blossoms into the mixture atop the steaks.
- Step 21 Plate the cauliflower steaks individually if serving as a main.