I had a bit of time off this week which meant I could do a few things, apply for jobs (I really need a better job!), check out a few exhibitions in central London & have some quality kitchen time during the day. I had a few ideas in mind but for my next blog entry I decided on a classic example of comfort food, Cauliflower Cheese. There are some dishes that everyone should have in their repertoire & Cauliflower Cheese is unquestionably one such dish. It is delicious either as a meal on its own or as an accompaniment to a nice Sunday roast. In the bad old days when I ate microwave meals I’d often choose this one for a quick snack, although I had made it before but using a packet cheese sauce. After trying this never again will I go down that route, & nor will you.
50g Plain flour
1 tsp English mustard
Cheddar cheese (grated)
Parmesan cheese (grated)
Salt & pepper
First cut up the cauliflower (as I had an extra large one I only used half so you may want to use a medium size), slice it in two & then remove the stalk & break up the florets into even size pieces. Place in a saucepan of boiling water adding salt, bring to the boil & simmer for about 5 minutes until nearing tenderness. Drain in a colander.
Now it’s on to the sauce which is pretty easy really. Melt the butter over a low/medium heat slowly adding the flour stirring until it becomes a smooth paste. Remove from the heat & gradually add the milk a little at a time whisking until you’ve got a nice sauce mix. Return to the heat, bring to the boil & simmer for a couple minutes before removing from the heat a final time. To finish the sauce add the mustard, cheddar cheese & a dash of pepper giving it a last stir.
Put the cauliflower in an ovenproof dish, pour over the sauce covering all the florets. Now a last minute addition, I had the end of a bloomer loaf in my cupboard & decided to cut it up & blend it into crumbs to hopefully give a nice crusty top. I sprinkled this over the top along with the Parmesan cheese. Place into a preheated oven at 190°C for about 25 – 30 minutes. I whacked the heat up full for the last few minutes to help the top get a bit crispy. Oh just to let you know, as you can see in the ingredients there are no measurements for the cheese, just add as much as you want really. The basic rule is, when you think you have enough cheese add more!
So here it is & its a shame this blog doesn’t have smellovision because it smelt fantastic, as well as looking great. Fresh out of the oven with the cheese bubbling & it tasted lovely. Would I do anything different I hear you ask? Well, maybe try whole-grain mustard instead or forgo the mustard altogether & add garlic & parsley to the sauce or maybe try different cheeses. I might add a bit more flour to give a slightly thicker sauce & maybe dice some bread crust & pop that on top to give a real crunch to the dish. But overall this was basically a faultless version of Cauliflower Cheese.