Quick Cauliflower and Potato Curry, Jasmine Rice, Apple and Fennel Salad

This is a quick and easy recipe for enter­tain­ing. The extra turmer­ic is good for you, and it gives the pota­toes and cau­li­flower an appeal­ing yel­low col­or, which looked good with the red toma­toes. I served it with white rice and some pars­ley for gar­nish. For the sal­ad,  I had some fen­nel left over from the day before. The feath­ery greens from the fen­nel bulb dressed up the sal­ad, and were tasty. I also had some car­rot cake left over from the day before for dessert.

Quick Cau­li­flower and Pota­to Cur­ry
2 onions, diced
3 cloves gar­lic, minced or pressed
About 3 medi­um pota­toes, diced
Near­ly half a head of cau­li­flower, cut into flo­rets
1 can diced toma­toes
1 tsp cur­ry pow­der
1 tsp turmer­ic
Pars­ley or kale for gar­nish

Stir-fry the diced onions in a dry skil­let (no oil) until they are very brown. You can add a lit­tle bit of water from time to time if they start to stick. Add the minced gar­lic and fry that for about 30 sec­onds. Then add about 3 cups of water and the pota­toes, cau­li­flower, and diced toma­toes. Add the spices. Cov­er and sim­mer until the pota­toes and cau­li­flower are ten­der. Serve with rice. Gar­nish with pars­ley or kale.

It’s hard to give an exact quan­ti­ty for the pota­toes and cau­li­flower, because their sizes vary, and some skil­lets are big­ger than oth­ers. If I fill my skil­let with veg­eta­bles, it yields about 6 serv­ings.

Because we had com­pa­ny, I want­ed to serve a par­tic­u­lar­ly tasty kind of rice, so I made white jas­mine rice accord­ing to the pack­age direc­tions. I made more than I need­ed, because I would be eat­ing the left­overs for lunch the fol­low­ing day. Jas­mine rice is a nat­u­ral­ly fra­grant rice vari­ety from Thai­land. I didn’t have any brown jas­mine rice, so I used white. Bas­mati rice, brown or white, would also have worked well.

Apple and Fen­nel Sal­ad
Fresh let­tuce, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
1 sweet red apple, cored and diced
1 car­rot, peeled and shred­ded
1 stalk of fen­nel, diced
Fen­nel greens for gar­nish
Dress­ing made from rough­ly equal pro­por­tions of bal­sam­ic vine­gar, hon­ey, and pre­pared mus­tard, sprin­kled with thyme

Roasted Autumn Vegetables with Mushroom Gravy, Apple Salad, and Carrot Cake

I put this meal togeth­er because the roast­ed veg­eta­bles and the car­rot cake are both baked at 350 degrees. I pre­pare the veg­eta­bles and put them in the oven, then make the car­rot cake. While the car­rot cake is bak­ing, I have time to make the mush­room gravy and the sal­ad. Then I have time to tidy up the kitchen and set a nice table.

I don’t give mea­sure­ments here, because the veg­eta­bles vary in size any­way. I just keep chop­ping up veg­eta­bles until I have a big serv­ing for each per­son. I used about half of the bulb of fen­nel, so I’d have some left over for sal­ads over the fol­low­ing few days. I also saved all the feath­ery leafy bits of the fen­nel for use in gar­nish­ing sal­ads.

Roast­ed autumn veg­eta­bles
1 bulb of fen­nel
Pota­toes with nice skin, scrubbed
Parsnips, peeled
Sev­er­al cloves of gar­lic, peeled
1 red onion, peeled
1 c water or veg­etable stock

Cut up the veg­eta­bles into small chunks and place them in a bak­ing dish. Mix the herbs into about half a cup of water or stock, with about a table­spoon­ful of bal­sam­ic vine­gar. Pour over the veg­eta­bles. Put it in on the bot­tom rack of the oven and turn the oven on and set it to 350 degrees.

Car­rot cake
After you put the veg­eta­bles in the oven, make the car­rot cake. I used Mary McDougall’s recipe for raisin car­rot cake (, except that I added a half tea­spoon of car­damom and I sub­sti­tut­ed a gluten-free all-pur­pose flour for the whole-wheat flour. Put the cake in the oven on the mid­dle rack. When you put the car­rot cake in the oven, stir the veg­eta­bles and add the rest of the water and herbs.

Apple sal­ad
While the veg­eta­bles and cake are bak­ing, chop up a very sweet red apple, some cel­ery, and some raw Jerusalem arti­chokes (sun­chokes), if you have them. Toss them with a rasp­ber­ry-fla­vored vine­gar and serve on a bed of let­tuce. The vine­gar keeps the apples and sun­chokes from turn­ing dark before you serve them. If your apples aren’t over­ly sweet, you could add a lit­tle bit of the sweet­en­er of your choice to the vine­gar before mix­ing it with the apples.

Mush­room gravy
Stir-fry a chopped onion over medi­um heat in a dry pan until the onion is very brown. Then add two cloves of minced gar­lic and fry for anoth­er minute or so. Then add 2 cups of water and ½ chopped fresh mush­rooms or a hand­ful of dried mush­rooms. Let it sim­mer slow­ly until you are about ready to serve the veg­eta­bles. Then com­bine ¼ cup of corn­starch with anoth­er cup of water. Mix thor­ough­ly, then stir it into the boil­ing mush­rooms. Keep stir­ring until it is thick­ened. You can adjust the amount of water and corn­starch until you get the desired vol­ume and con­sis­ten­cy. Serve the gravy over the roast­ed veg­eta­bles.

How Strong Are Gorillas?

Gorillas Are Enormously Strong!

Take it from some­one who knows:

No one knows [how strong goril­las are], because you can’t take a goril­la down to your local gym, obvi­ous­ly, and if you did it would be at your own per­il and the oth­er gym mem­bers’ per­il. We don’t know, but sci­en­tists esti­mate it to be about 10 times stronger than a full-grown man. And cer­tain­ly some of the things I’ve seen here at the zoo, 10 times stronger is prob­a­bly fair­ly cor­rect. For exam­ple, when I’m mov­ing things around inside their enclo­sure, there might be very large logs which I’m lit­er­al­ly unable to move, so I might call a cou­ple of oth­er keep­ers over, and between the three of us, we will slow­ly man­han­dle it, per­haps a few inch­es across the enclo­sure. Bob­by then will come in and then just with one hand will be able to swipe that same log a good few feet with­out any effort.

—Daniel Sim­monds, Goril­la Keep­er, ZSL Lon­don Zoo