“And When You Least Expect It, You Will See the Mountain Move…”

… lines from my little red book

All through my university days, and even while I worked, I had this little red book with a checked Scottish cover, in which I penned down quotes and poems I liked. I’d always had this thing for ‘words‘, and I still do. The quote, which formed part of a poem I’d saved, seemed an instant click with my battle of making the kids eat their veggies.
As they grow up, it’s becoming an uphill task. They are increasingly fussy about not eating their ‘greens‘, their vegetables and the outright ‘healthy’ stuff! The rebellion is quite strong, but Mum’s resolve is stronger, and we often find ourselves back at the bargaining table. No veggies = No dessert! Have now decided to make sure that the veggies get into them by gently coaxing them, and am on the look out for appealing and fun recipes!

Look no further shouted the gorgeous Ottolenghi cookbook … a cookbook which Hilda presented to me in London. It is my current firm favourite. I love Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s style of narrative, love the pictures, love the stories, love the way they credit the recipe when needed … and love the refreshing flavours they present. It’s a happy mix of cultures, of childhood influences, of sharing with each other, of evolving tastes, and yet at times, touching roots! Passionate book!

The chargrilled broccoli is one such interesting recipe from this beautiful book. It’s as simple as it is good looking. My kids enjoy eating food that looks good! Judge a book by the cover, or rather, a dish by it’s looks? Yes, fortunately or unfortunately, that is what they do! So the chargrilling ensured half the battle won. The flavours of garlic won the rest, and now I don’t have to cajole them into finishing the broccoli. Least expected to see this mountain move, but they will eat about 6-8 florets happily. Then the adults fight to finish the rest of this finger licking good salad!

My only addition to the recipe is a squeeze of lime juice to the garlic & oil as I enjoy the twang of citrus! The good thing about this salad is that you just need to blanch the broccoli for ONLY 2 MINUTES, and then leave it to drain. I do this much earlier, and then chargrill it just before serving. On a hot grill this takes just 5-7 minutes, and offers a fun and flavourful addition to the table. As the authors say, “In all honesty, broccoli is a boring vegetable and you need a magic touch to bring it to life.”

This magic is en route to Sudeshna of Cook Like A Bong who is the guest host for this months Monthly Mingle. She has chosen a great seasonal theme for the new year – Winter Vegetables and Fruit, and this fits in perfectly with my Ten in 10 plans!!

Chargrilled Broccoli with Chilli and Garlic
Minimally adapted from Ottolenghi – the Cookbook
About 500gms of broccoli, broken into florets
4tbsp olive oil
4-6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 mild red chillies, thinly sliced
Coarse sea salt and black pepper
Juice of 1 lime

Bring a large saucepan of mildly salted water to a boil, and blanch the florets for only 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and quickly transfer to a bowl of ice cold water to stop cooking. Drain and allow to dry completely.
Toss with 3 tbsp of olive oil. Season with coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
Heat a grill pan till extremely hot. Grill the broccoli for a few minutes till they get chargrill marks, turn over and repeat for the other side. Don’t cramp the pan, and do it in several batches if need be.
In a small pan, heat the remaining olive oil with the garlic and chillies, and keep over medium hat until the garlic begins to turn golden brown. Take off heat, add juice of 1 lime.
Pour the flavoured oil over the hot broccoli and toss together well. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Note: You can garnish it with toasted flaked almonds or thinly sliced lime just before serving, if you like.
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