Cauliflower and pomegranate ‘couscous’ with octopus

This light cold salad was a completely experimental creation of mine. I’ve been wanting to do something resembling couscous, but neither myself nor my husband are friends of the wheat couscous. I think cauliflower is a great, healthier replacement of it, as well as the texture of the cauliflower working very well. I’ve also recently been wanting to utilise pomegranates in cooking, and thought these two ingredients were going to be the ones I was going to build the rest of the dish around of. The pomegranate and the grapes bring sweetness, and to balance this I added lime juice and capers, and it worked really well. The end result is a delightful couscous salad that is fresh, sweet, sharp, salty and earthy all at the same time. You can serve the octopus warm or cold, I served it cold.

1 cauliflower
2 pomegranates
20 red grapes
1 lime – juice
3 tbsp capers
1 dl pine nut kernels
2 spring onions
handful of pea shoots
225g cooked octopus

1. Place all the cauliflower florets in a blender, and process to a grainy texture.

2. Cut the pomegranates in half. I find the easiest way to pick the seeds out without breaking the juicy outer coating, is to break the fruit by had piece by piece, and remove the seeds by hand. Half the grapes lengthwise.

3. Add  the lime juice, capers, finely chopped spring onions and coarsely chopped pea shoots. Cut the octopus to pieces of your liking. I cut the thicker ends of the tentacles to about 5-10mm thick pieces, and the thinner ends longer.


Seafood pasta

This is a simple and tasty dish, and I would also encourage everyone to have a go at making their own pasta. You only need two ingredients for basic pasta; flour and eggs. You can then make different variations with tomato purée, spinach or even squid ink if you’re feeling adventurous. For this recipe I used tomato purée. The octopus I use is already cooked (steamed in it’s juices), so it doesn’t require much additional cooking.

Serves 3
250g flour, preferably fine 00 grade pasta flour
2 eggs
1 tbsp tomato purée
200g cherry tomatoes
juice of one lemon, or 2 tbsp.
1 courgette / zucchini
25g bunch or parsley, chopped
2 octopus tentacles, about 225g
90g small scallops
1-2 squids, about 150g, thinly sliced
150g raw king prawns
2 shallots
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
pinch of salt, to taste
coarsely ground black pepper


1. Measure the flour in a bowl. I used fine 00 grade pasta flour, but I have also in the past used normal plain flour. Make a well in the centre, and tip the eggs in. Start mixing the eggs with a fork, slowly incorporating the surrounding flour into the eggs. When it gets quite firm, I find it’s difficult to continue mixing with the fork, so I change to kneading by hand. Even though I use large eggs, I don’t tend to use all of the flour. Keep the dough soft, but not sticky.

2. I wanted to make tomato pasta today. For this, warm the purée in a pan, and once you’re happy with your standard dough, knead it into the dough. To make it easier to mix it into the dough, make sure your workstation has flour on it.



3. I would recommend investing on a pasta rolling machine. At a low cost you will get a useful helper to your kitchen for pasta making. Cut the pasta dough into four pieces, and repeat the steps with all of the pieces. Flatten the piece into about 1cm / half an inch thickness. Set your machine on the biggest setting (7). Push the end of the piece right onto the rollers, and roll. The piece should now go through. Once the dough has come out, fold in half, and put through the same setting again. After this, reduce the setting to 6, and roll through once, then same with settings 5,4 and 3.


4. With floured hands, pat the pasta sheet on both sides. Then, roll the sheet through the tagliatelle roller. Separate the tagliatelle strands, and place on a baking sheet. Once you have prepared all dough pieces this way, leave to dry while you prepare the seafood sauce.


5. Finely chop the shallots and garlic, and fry in olive oil for 1-2 minutes.

6. Add the squid and king prawns, and fry for about 3 minutes. Then add the small scallops, and fry for another 3-4 minutes, stirring. Season with salt and pepper.

7. Add the courgettes to the pan, and fry, stirring, for 2 minutes. Pour the lemon juice into the pan.

8. Add the octopus and tomatoes, and heat through.

9. Tip the chopped parsley into the pan, and stir.

10. Boil water in a large pan, with a good splash of salt. Add the pasta into the boiling water. The fresh pasta will only need to cook for 3 minutes. Strain, and add to the seafood sauce.