Kitchen Therapy

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Cauliflower Mac and Cheese – A Donna Hay Recipe Review




We have had a week of cool rainy weather smack dab in the middle of our 2015/2016 Australian summer. I’m not complaining! It’s a nice break from the heat and humidity. It’s also given me an excuse to make some comfort food. To sit by the back door with a bowl of Cauliflower Mac and Cheese and just enjoy the crisp smell and sight of our rain soaked yard. Within days the ground will be parched, dry n hot again. So I’m enjoying this short break from the beach n sandy towels.

Our family loves this recipe so I thought I’d share it. I will also have a record of it on my site here since it is meant to be about the recipes we love and experiment with. A record that I (and hopefully) my children will be able to turn to in years to come and find favourite recipes and laugh over forgotten adventures.

The cauliflower gives the pasta dish a crunch while the garlic and rosemary crumbs add an extra punch of flavor. Great for someone like me who gets bored with the same taste in a dish.

Sometimes I substitute the cup of cream in the recipe with a 250g tub of Philadelphia Light Cream for Cooking, (I actually do this with a lot…). You can find the recipe here, on Donna Hay’s website.

Below are photos of the grey weather we have been enjoying here on the northern beaches of NSW, Australia.


Long Reef (above and below)




Dee Why Beach (above)


My son and his friends jumping at Castle Rock
(I don’t know if that’s the real name or the name the kids have given this favourite hang out near Manly beach)



Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

Anytime I ask anyone in my family, “what do you feel like for dinner?”
I can guarantee you, the answer will be “can you make that cannelloni?”
It is so easy to make and so incredibly tasty and satisfying.
And the best bit… the kids love having the cannelloni for their school lunches the next day!

I process 3 slices of stale bread for breadcrumbs…

I add hot water to the spinach until it wilts, then run cold water over it before chopping…

I place the breadcrumbs, spinach and a cup of grated parmesan in a bowl…

I add the ricotta and season with salt and pepper…

And use my hands to squish it all together!

I open a jar of tomato sauce and cover the base of baking dish
(I prefer 650ml jar of Five Brothers ‘Grilled Summer Vegetables’)

I stuff and layer the cannelloni over the sauce.

Open another jar of sauce and spread it over the top of the cannelloni.
Then sprinkle a good dose of cheese!

Bake for about 30 mins and you’re done!


2 x 650ml Jars of readymade tomato pasta sauce
1 Box Cannelloni Tubes
2 Bunches Spinach (I use two bags of washed baby spinach leaves)
750-800g Fresh Low Fat Ricotta
1 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 Cup Fresh Breadcrumbs (about 3 slices of bread processed)
Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper
2 Cups Grated Cheese (I use Pizza Mix)


1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2. Blanch the spinach by dropping into a saucepan of boiling water for 5 seconds.
3. Put under cold water, then drain and squeeze out any excess moisture, chop.
4. Combine the spinach, ricotta, parmesan, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper.
5. Spread one jar of tomato sauce over the base of a baking dish.
6. Stuff cannelloni tubes with filling and layer over sauce.
7. Pour remaining jar of sauce over the cannelloni, sprinkle grated cheese over the top.
8. Bake for 25-30 mins.


Beggar’s Linguine

A basic skill every therapist learns early in their career is how to “roll with resistance” that client’s put up when touching on issues they may not want to deal with.

This week I used every trick in the bag to deal with the resistance I felt towards this recipe!

From simple reflection, “So you don’t think you’d like to try this recipe.”

To double-sided reflection, “I can see that you’re not wanting to do this recipe but you’re not willing to give up either.”

From reframing, “So this is an exciting opportunity to try something you would never have tried before!”

To agreeing with a twist, “Yes, trying this recipe will be a waste of time because you know they won’t like it, but they will be excited about trying something authentically ‘French’!”

You get the gist…

I actually decided early in the week I wouldn’t even bother with this one. It was just too weird and I would skip it!
I mean, it’s not like it’s compulsory or any thing… right…?

But, (sighing), I knew the key thing to resistance is to not provoke it and to steer its energy towards creating positive change! So…

As I boiled the pasta…I rolled with the resistance…

As I chopped the walnuts (we are allergic to all other nuts!), figs and raisins… I rolled with the resistance…

But them something interesting happened…
As the butter boiled and bubbled and the colour intensified and changed…
I felt the resistance… melting…

At the last minute, I decided to add only half the pasta to the buttery sauce. The whole packet felt too much.
I fried up the left over pasta with some eggs.

By this point, all my resistance was gone and I felt great!
I had completed this week’s recipe and made a last minute switch that I knew the kids would like and eat!

As the resistance eased, I could feel my energy return and myself open to new possibilities!

I started to feel excited by the flavours in front of me…

I eagerly bit into the linguine and… I liked it!
I couldn’t eat too much as it was far too rich and buttery! But the taste was good.
My husband on the other hand felt a bit disturbed with the combination. He said it tasted like muesli and called it “breakfast” food!
The kids took a few bites each and said it was ok, but they couldn’t eat much more than that either.

(I felt incredibly satisfied! I “rolled” with my resistance and instead of getting stuck, I opened my self to new experiences and possibilities. And that felt fantastic!)

If you’re interested in trying this recipe for yourself, and see where it takes you, you can go straight to Dorie’s website and view the full recipe here.

To get a great cross-section of views on this recipe I encourage you to click here and see what other’s who participated in this week’s French Fridays with Dorie thought!