Chef, Cookbooks, Cooking, Food, Recipes

Flash Food – Laura Santtini

There was great excitement in Hey Pesto! this week when thanks to  Irish Food Bloggers Association I receieved a review copy of Laura Santtini ‘s new book Flash Cooking  from Quadrille Publishing.

This book is about ‘fast, healthful, easy-to-prepare, nutritious, flavour-packed meals, that look great, taste extraordinary and promote well- being’ ; in fact I would almost describe it as a lifestyle book rather than a cook book!

I loved the introduction and the definition of the concepts involved , for example ‘Flash Cooking (3) – show one’s culinary genius in public’!

What appealed to me most were the flavour tables for seasonings, glazes, rubinades, pastes, finishing bits, dressings etc. – they’ve opened up a whole new world of experimentation for my kitchen. And I’m delighted to say that, with a few exceptions, they’re all store cupboard ingredients.

Laura’s alchemist’s approach was definitely a ‘hook’ for me (once an engineer…) but don’t let this put you off !   The recipes are straightforward and easy to follow and most importantly, in the case of the ones I tried – they work!  Oh and the taste sensations – WOW!

The photography is stunning – my favourites are the antique cutlery shots. But I have to mention my pet peeve – there isn’t a picture of every dish 😦

My verdict – this book is NOT leaving my kitchen and I foresee lots more flavour experimentation in my future! 🙂

My advice – put it on your Christmas list! *****

There are so many recipes I want to try, including:

  • Tea-steamed Sea Bass with Vanilla Star Anise Olive Oil
  • Duck Breasts with Black Magic Elixir
  • The Dog’s Bolognese
  • Curried Sweet Potato and Ginger Soup

but this one caught my eye straightaway:

Flash Glazed Cauliflower Cheese Steaks

What you need:

  • 1 large cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp harissa paste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (plus extra for frying)
  • Sea salt & black pepper
  • 75g Feta Cheese
  • Pomegranate Vinaigrette to serve

What you do:

  • Preheat oven to 180 C/160 C Fan/ Gas 4
  • Cut 2 thick slices of cauliflower from the centre, from top down through to the stalk, to give two ‘flower steaks’
  • Mix the harissa paste with the olive oil and brush over the ‘steaks’ on both sides
Brush the steak with the harissa paste & oil mix
  • Heat some oil in frying pan and add the steaks – fry until golden on both sides
Fry until golden
  • Then brush the steaks with any remaining glaze and  transfer to the preheated oven. Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Crumble feta cheese over the steaks and return to the oven until cheese becomes golden and starts to melt.

Laura suggests serving this with the Pomegranate vinaigrette and being delighted to find a use for the bottle in my cupboard I was happy to oblige!

  • To make the vinaigrette
  • mix 1 tsp of pomegranate molasses, pinch of freshly ground cumin, juice of half a lemon and lots of fresh mint.

When I tasted the vinaigrette on its own I found it rather sweet but this excess sweetness disappeared once it was mixed with the cauliflower steak and the feta.

The flavour combinations made my mouth zing!

Spot the difference!

This great recipe has already earned its place in my book of favourites! Thanks Laura!

I think the Lemon Halloumi recipe will be the next one to try……………


  1. Delighted to see The Tasty Tart  mentioned in the credits – well done Tara!  
  2. Thanks to Mark from Quadrille Publishing for sending me the book!

11 thoughts on “Flash Food – Laura Santtini”

  1. I love this recipe. We eat Cauliflower with a cajun spice and it is a great snack.
    I cannot wait to try this, it looks so pretty!
    Sounds like a very interesting book Yvonne.

    1. Hi Mona
      It is very interesting and I’ll definitely be playing with the flavours in my kitchen. I’m going to use the cauliflower dish as a vegetarian alternative on my menu.

  2. Not a fan of anything hot, i.e. Harissa, but great idea for my unopened Pomegranate Molasses. Will try this, as I am always looking for new ideas with, “ordinary” vegetables. Must look out for the book too. Well done!

    1. Thanks Colette!
      Great thing about the book is all the possible alternatives – you could replace the harissa glaze with the ‘balsamic glaze’ – 1 tsp pesto, 2 tsp thick balsamic vinegar; season to taste.

  3. I couldn’t figure out what that was when you posted the photo on Facebook. It looked like some sort of gigantic mushroom sliced
    – now it makes sense – its a slice of cauliflower !

    Intrigued to know what The Dog’s Bolognese is made of !

  4. Hi Yvonne,
    it’s my first day alone after Christmas and my daughter’s wedding on Dec 29th. I had forgotten that home could be so peaceful. I’ve treated myself to cauliflower steaks as above with baking Cooleeney instead of feta and chopped coriander instead of mint (whatever was in the fridge…)on a bed of green leaves . It was just gorgeous. And virtuous ( January detox and all that). A perfect dinner for one. Funny how cosmopolitan cauliflower and cheese can get!
    Happy New Year to you.

    1. Hi Catherine

      Happy New Year to you too. Hope the wedding went well?
      The cauliflower is good isn’t it – must put it back on my own list. There’s lots of other lovely dishes I have to try in the book….


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