Saturday, 12 January 2008

Cauli Gosh!

We had a lovely little cauliflower in our veg box this week, so tonight it made a cheering dinner of cauliflower cheese for the children and me. We'd been out all afternoon as I had a session with the BFN, who are training me to become a breastfeeding helper. The boys spent the afternoon playing in the créche, so we were all three ready for a hearty meal, when we finally arrived home and got in out of the rain.

This is another of those straightforward bung-it-together family meals, made comforting by lashings of cheesy sauce. I like to use a mixture of milk and cream to make the sauce for this particular dish, as it helps it to really cloak the cauliflower, rather than completely running down the sides. I also prefer not to break up the cauliflower into florets, but to steam it whole. This is purely an aesthetic thing, and I won't deny that breaking it up beforehand does make this quicker to cook, and easier to serve.

Cauliflower Cheese

1 smallish cauliflower, trimmed of outer leaves but left whole (and see above)
30g butter
30g plain flour
1 tsp mustard powder
150ml double cream
300ml milk
handful grated Cheddar cheese
grated parmesan, to finish (optional)

Cook the cauliflower until tender. I steam it, but you can boil it or even stick it in the microwave. Don't over-cook it to mush, but equally you do want it soft(ish). Crunchy cauliflower cheese? Not good.

While the cauli is cooking, get the sauce ready. Put the butter, flour, mustard, milk and cream into a pan and bring to the boil, whicking continuously. Simmer for a couple of minutes until the sauce is thick and glossy, then, off the heat, stir in the grated Cheddar.

Put the cooked cauliflower into an ovenproof dish and pour over the sauce. Dust with a little parmesan, if you like, and then flash it under a blazing hot grill until parts of the sauce begin to scorch a bit. Serve straightaway, while still sizzling hot.

We had some cheese and onion bread (made in the machine from a Wright's mix) and a few bits and bobs of salad veg alongside.

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