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Cauliflower Groundnut Stew, 3 ways!

A sumptuous stew, plus recipes for sombre times.

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Groundnut soup with carrots instead of cauliflower, topped with Furikake (Japanese sesame & seaweed), spring onions, smoked paprika & avocado oil

I was keen to share a tropical salad to usher in the sunshine, a grilled platter as we prepare for the outdoor season, or even a delightful dessert as we celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee in the UK but this past week has been filled with bucketing rain and tears from mourning. And even though the skies are clear and the sun is ablaze at this moment, all I really want to do is curl up in bed with a hug in a bowl. A bowl filled with heartwarming groundnut stew, inspired by the sumptuous West African wonder I grew up loving.

The humble cauliflower. Wonderfully absorbent but otherwise boring…turned sumptuous in a heartwarming groundnut stew

Let’s start with wonderful news!

Gosh, we are growing! Thank you for being here, and a big welcome to our new subscribers. If we were together at a supper club we would toast with a glass of hibiscus, ginger and elderflower with a splash of English sparkling wine. We do have some of the best made right here in Sussex. CWL has also recently been recommended on Substack and with such big bright lights shining on this newsletter, subscribers have been swooping in to cook with us. If you are new to this community of wanderlust and flavour seekers, do check out the archives for previous feasts and chatter from my Plantain & Squid Fritters in Accra, How I am shaking things up for you, How to Cook Plantains which you might need for our friendship to truly thrive, this first instalment of quick and easy recipes exclusively for our members with Tender-stem Broccoli, ‘Steak' Wild Garlic & Smoky Tahini from a previous post, my cookbook reveal, and a peek into one another’s shopping lists which has been a lot of fun.

In this, our second newsletter with Quick & Easy Recipes to fall in love with and to keep you inspired, I’ve got the wholesome cauliflower (which of course can be bland if left to its own devices) cooked into three different, heartwarming and easily adaptable recipes for that hug in a bowl that makes the sadness and struggles of life just a little bit more bearable, if only I could actually eat it.


A sumptuous stew for sombre times

Although spring ushers in glorious days of sunshine, a fresh and intoxicating sea-breeze for us by the seaside here in Sussex, the evenings have been cool and sometimes rather chilly, leaving one scrambling for the covers or a warming meal to tuck into. Sadly, this period has also called for the comfort of cooking to soothe both myself as a cook, the personal reward in feeding others and in eating food that feels like home. Rosie, a friend I have known for over 10 years, passed away in April and we just attended her funeral a few days ago. Death is so final. This is the first of my friends to pass away and it has left me calling her name a few times, wondering if she can hear me, drowning in the philosophies of life and death, contemplating the value of life and just how much time one has to do all the things one dreams of. And then waking up to more news of more deaths in the world. When all else fails, including words,…heartwarming food is always a guaranteed consolation. Food is a great healer, and that’s why I have been binging on Marks & Spencer shortbread cookies. I suppose it could count as food.

As wonderful as I know these groundnut recipes are, and how comforting they will be to you, because I have developed them in many variations, and served them at countless feats, it is too bad that after eating peanuts all my life, now in my mid 30’s I have developed a nut allergy. I had suspected it for some time and it wasn’t until after I finished writing Africana, having tested almost 200 recipes, a small handful of them with nuts, I started to react to them and since, it’s been confirmed by my doctors. I am so lucky to have finished my book before this new revelation and because I had always taken nut allergy sufferers into account when hosting and writing recipes, I have a stash of tricks up my sleeve for substituting nuts. I may no longer be able to eat this hug in a bowl but you sure can.

You will notice I go back and forth using ‘groundnut’ and ‘peanut’. For as long as I can remember, I have comfortably used both names interchangeably in the same sentence and never really noticed until I started teaching. I may have even done this in my book, much to the chagrin of my editor, Jo. A friend of mine recently asked, “What is the difference between groundnuts and peanuts?" Something I imagine quite a number of people will ponder. To which I answered, “They are the same thing, although the size and species vary from region to region.”

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Roasting peanuts in my cast iron skillet…

The secret to the best groundnut stew or groundnut anything!

While I will suggest natural peanut butter for ease, I promise you that in order to really enjoy a unique depth of flavour in any recipe using groundnuts, one must roast one’s nuts! I am yet to find a natural and store-bought peanut butter that tasted as bewitchingly satisfying, as nutty and flavourful as one I roasted and blended myself, and the process could not be easier. Simply place the nuts spread out onto a baking tray and roast in a hot oven at 180°C/160° fan/356°F for 15 - 20 minutes or until your desired colour, or pan roast in a skillet or frying pan which I prefer for its therapeutic tendencies.

I get lost in the process of stirring and patiently watching the nuts turn from pale gold to a glistening gold as it releases some of their natural oils and then to a deeper golden brown. By roasting your own nuts, you have the power to roast them to your desired darkness, and I say the darker the better, of course as long as they are reasonably dark and not burnt.

The smoked paprika and roasted peanuts come together to create an illusion of a dish cooked over burning wood. However you choose to enjoy this, as a stew, blended into a chunky or smooth soup or as a dip to accompany your favourite vegetables or bread, I hope it brings you as much comfort and joy as it brings me sharing them with you.

Lerato x

A heartwarming bowl to tuck into…

Cauliflower Groundnut Stew, 3 Ways

Feeds up to 4

Time: 30 minutes

The full video is for paid subscribers

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Lerato Umah-Shaylor