Foiled By Oil: Jamie’s Cauliflower Fritters

23 May

Thanks to everyone who voted in the inaugural Celebrity Can’t Cook Challenge. You may remember Gordon Ramsay’s Lancashire Hotpot was pitted against Jamie Oliver’s Curried Cauliflower Fritters – and lost.

So ladies and gentlemen I give you the results….

I was going to make these a night my husband was away but then realised I was a bit scared. I have never deep fried anything before and thought that if I was going to be boiling up vats of hot fat it would probably be a good idea to have someone else around. And I was right…

I mixed up the beer batter that involved adding some seeds and spices to give it a curry flavour. So far so good:
I then cut some florets out of a cauliflower, cut through their stalks and dusted them in flour, while I heated up some oil in a regular pan.

My husband came in at this point and suggested that my normal sided pan was slightly too shallow for the amount of oil I needed (the oil was dangerously close to the top!) and changed it for the high sided pail.

We waited. How would we know when it was ready I asked? He dripped some water into the hot oil and it spat it back out again with a loud hiss nearly giving me a heart attack. It was ready.

I was a bit scared so after dipping the first floret in the spicy batter he tossed it into the pan for me. Then after giving me a metal slotted spoon (putting the original plastic one I had picked up back in the drawer) he left me to it. I threw another one in just to show I could too (and ducked).
My bubbling cauliflower fritter took on a gorgeous golden hue and so I gingerly fished it out and popped it onto the waiting kitchen roll. I cut into it, the cauliflower was rock hard and still raw. But the batter was crispy and lovely:
Is it meant to be like that? Surely not.
Should I have par-boiled the cauli florets first? The recipe didn’t mention that. Or used much smaller bits?

I turned the heat up and kept them bubbling away hoping that the veg would cook too before the batter blackened. But of course this happened:
I still had loads of batter and hot oil left so dispensed with the raw cauli and decided to proceed with a courgette which worked a lot better and cooked quickly:
These were delicious and worked out quite well. But sadly the curry taste of the batter was lost, I’m not sure where it went.

I think as an experiment in the kitchen this has taught me a few things:

  • Batter cooks quickly in hot oil, cauliflower doesn’t
  • Par-boil hard veg in future
  • Use high-sided pans and metal implements when dealing with hot oil
  • Turn the extractor fan on at all times

I’d definitely try deep frying again but maybe with something a bit lighter.
So thank you for forcing me to try something different.
I shall be posting a new Celebrity Challenge soon…
I’m not sure this is what Jamie had in mind?



7 Responses to “Foiled By Oil: Jamie’s Cauliflower Fritters”

  1. Tony 23/05/2012 at 2:47 pm #

    Al I admire your decision to deep fry. I want to deep fry and thought about assailing a Hugh F W recipe along the same lines (deep fried veg). However I was was cowed by my mum’s experiences in the ’70s. Hard black chips. Blue smoke everywhere. Everyone coated in light smear of oil vapour. Every monday night. You have given me the confidence to try. Bless you for that my darling. Tx

    • Alice Can't Cook 28/05/2012 at 11:35 am #

      Ah Tony, deep frying has the same memories for me and it really isn’t something I would consider doing ordinarily. But I do like things like tempura etc so will try again. Give it a go. x

  2. Dan 23/05/2012 at 4:07 pm #

    Cauliflower is a tricky beast isn’t it? We used to make Broccoli Cheese Melts in the olden days at Fridays & they were amazing. A small floret covered in a ball of Provelone cheese then battered & deep fried. Zucchini fries also scrumptious. x

    • Alice Can't Cook 28/05/2012 at 11:36 am #

      Yes I think the zucchini strips would work well here. I’d love to try again but yes think cauli was just a bit too hard. Love the idea of cheesy broccoli!
      Thanks for reading honey xxx

  3. Jenny Eatwell 24/05/2012 at 8:02 am #

    I suspect what happened here was that the oil was too hot, which is why the batter cooked long before the cauliflower had a chance to. You’re absolutely right, par-boiling before frying is the way to go – especially if you don’t have a custom-built deep fat fryer. The difference with one of those, is that you can set the temperature you want to be frying at. For the cauliflower fritters, you’d have set it quite low, so that they could spend longer in the fat and so cook through. 🙂 Good ruse on swapping to a courgette though! Not sure I’d have thought of doing that. 🙂 You’ll have to make a note in the book to up the curry spices, if ever you do that recipe again.

    • Alice Can't Cook 28/05/2012 at 11:38 am #

      Make a note in the book? This is why you are a cook and I’m not. That would NEVER have occurred to me!
      Yes I think cooler oil and par-boiling. Although I am keen to try with courgette again and maybe another lighter veg like maybe pepper and brocolli.
      But I was surprised I thought only restaurants battered anything these days, I shall def do it again.
      Thanks as always for your very helpfull comment JE xxx


  1. One Year On… A Poem! | - 21/08/2012

    […] Oliver’s Fritters won the vote but still got burnt I’ve been a student but still haven’t learnt There has been SO […]

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