I have never understood Cauliflower Cheese. I put it down as an ‘English’ dish that I am not meant to understand. Ever. First off – Cauliflower tastes odd – it tastes like nothing much really and so I don’t really see the point in eating it. Add cheese. (I am part mouse and live on the stuff) Why Why Why?? Why would you ruin good cheese and put this non-tasteful cauliflower vegetable in with it?! Urgh. Anyway, We had the gorgeous G over for dinner on Sunday and were running out of ideas for vegetables fast. The better half said (complete with a light bulb over his head) ‘I know, she’s English, she’ll like cauliflower cheese’ and so, that was that *scrunches up nose*. I’ve only had Cauliflower Cheese once – and it was awful. 🙁
P/s: When G arrived and we told her we were making Cauliflower Cheese, she said ‘ Ohhhh YUM!’ Figures! 🙂 🙂 🙂
Here is the full recipe, adapted from here.
- 1 medium cauliflower (approx 1lb/450g)
- 55g / 2 oz butter
- 55g / 2 oz all purpose/plain flour
- 1 level tsp mustard powder (optional)
- Large pinch salt
- 460 ml / 1 pint milk
- 55g / 2 oz cheddar cheese or similar, grated plus extra for sprinkling on top
- Freshly ground pepper
Heat the oven to 200C/395F/Gas 7
Measure out butter and flour
Remove the green outer leaves from the cauliflower, cut a deep cross in the bottom of the stem then steam whole over a pan of boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove the cauliflower from the heat and leave to cool. The cauliflower should not be cooked thoroughly, just lightly steamed and beginning to soften.Place the butter and flour into a large saucepan. Over a low heat stir the butter and flour until the butter has melted and the flour is incorporated.
Add the salt and mustard powder (if using) and continue stirring for 2 minutes.This is to cook out the floury taste and to soften the starch grains in the flour ready to make the sauce.
Measure out 460ml of milk – we used whole milk as I felt semi-skimmed would not allow the dish to be as creamy. And whole milk just tastes oh-so-damn-good anyway. 🙂
Turn the heat up to medium and add the milk in one go and whisk furiously until all a smooth sauce is formed. Continue stirring until the sauce is thickened and glossy (about 5 minutes) If the sauce is very thick add a little more milk, the sauce should be thick but still a little on the runny side.
Grate cheese – we used mature cheddar and a processor (we used a bamix) – of course you could use a traditional grater too – just takes so long and I often grate my fingers in the process. 🙁
Add the grated cheese and stir until melted. Remove from the heat.
Break the cauliflower florets from the thick, central stalk taking care not to break it into tiny pieces. Place the florets in a greased baking dish large enough to hold all the florets in one layer.Pour the thickened cheese sauce over the cauliflower ensuring all the florets are covered. Sprinkle with grated cheese and a good twist of black pepper. Bake in the hot oven until the sauce is bubbling and golden brown on the top, approx 30 minutes.
Ta-daa! One cauliflower cheese! I MUST admit – it was not as bad as I remembered it. Use vintage cheddar – it really brings the flavour of this dish out. This proves one thing – you should always give things you don’t like a second try sometime! Now – where is that black pudding?!
We had it with our Sunday roast:
Do you like cauliflower cheese? Have you any improvement suggestions? Sharing is caring lovelies! 🙂