Olia Hercules' Cauliflower Fritters #LeithsTakeovers

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Olia Hercules' Cauliflower Fritters #LeithsTakeovers

Photography © Joe Woodhouse

Add a little excitement to your meal plan this week with Leiths alumna Olia Hercules' cauliflower fritters with dill and garlic mayonnaise. This recipe is from her new cookbook Summer Kitchens, which launched just last week.

A simple batter is used all over Ukraine for frying all sorts of things, from chicken or pork schnitzel to whole river fish. I love vegetables fried in this way, and cauliflower is especially good. Normally, plain white flour is used, but buckwheat flour was a popular choice in the past and I tend to use it instead of wheat flour – it is healthier, and much more flavoursome. You can use the batter in this recipe for vegetables other than cauliflower. Normally the fritters are eaten just as they are, but I like them with a spoonful of dill-and-garlic-spiked mayo. If you come across some good-quality chipotle mayo, that wouldn’t go amiss either.


Serves 4

Cauliflower Fritters
1 small cauliflower
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 egg, beaten
100ml whole milk
60g buckwheat or plain flour
Sea salt and black pepper

Dill and Garlic Mayonnaise
150g mayonnaise
1 garlic clove, finely grated Handful of finely chopped dill


  1. Cut the cauliflower into small florets, keeping any sprightly smaller leaves too. Blanch the cauliflower and its leaves in a pan of boiling, salted water. Take the leaves out after about 2 minutes, and the florets after 5 minutes. Refresh both in cold water, then drain well and pat dry with kitchen paper.
  2. Heat 4 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat: it should cover the base of the pan; if not add a little more.
  3. If you are using buckwheat flour, make the batter just before you are ready to fry as it becomes gloopier by the minute. In a bowl, whisk the egg with the milk, then add the flour and whisk until smooth. Season well with salt and pepper.
  4. Drop four pieces of cauliflower into the batter bowl at a time, making sure they are all thickly coated.
  5. When the oil is really hot, bring the bowl over to the pan (otherwise everything will get super-messy!) and pop the batter-coated pieces of cauliflower into the pan. Depending on the size of your pan, you should be able to fry between 4 and 8 fritters at a time. When they are golden all over, drain on kitchen paper. You might need to wipe out the pan with kitchen paper and add more oil in-between batches.
  6. For the dill and garlic mayonnaise, simply combine all the ingredients in a small bowl.
  7. Serve the cauliflower fritters with the garlic-spiked dill mayo.

Extract taken from Summer Kitchens by Olia Hercules (£26, Bloomsbury)
Recipe photography © Joe Woodhouse

Olia trained with us at Leiths and has since gone on to release three cookbooks. If you’re interested in pursuing your passion for food, check out our Virtual Open Day where you can hear Olia talk about her journey in detail, as well as explore all aspects of the school. Click here to access our Virtual Open Day which is on our website and is open to everyone!

Olia Hercules

Author: Olia Hercules

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