Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Cauliflower Cheese

This is a straightforward enough recipe that results in a deliciously cheesy sauce around tender cauliflower that just demands to be served with warm French bread or warm crusty rolls - but with plenty of butter to hand!


  • 1 large cauliflower, washed and cut into four pieces
  • 2 oz butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 500ml milk
  • 100ml single cream
  • 150g grated strong cheddar
  • 1 small red onion
  • 4 cloves
  • 8 peppercorns
  • 1 small carrot, thinly sliced
  • 6 sprigs parsley
  • 2 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp walnuts, chopped finely
  • Salt and freshly grated black pepper

Mix together the walnuts and breadcrumbs, and toast them on a baking tray under a grill until the breadcrumbs brown. Set aside.

Peel the onion and stud it with the cloves. Add this, the peppercorns, the sliced carrot and the parsley to the milk and cream in a pan, and bring to a boil for five minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to one side.

Fill a large pan up to about a 5cm depth of water, add a decent pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Remove the green leaves from the cauliflower and chop them, and cut the cauliflower into four pieces. Add the leaves to the water, and the cauliflower on top of these, and turn the heat down to simmer for ten minutes. Drain, discard the leaves, and reserve on a dish in a low oven.

Strain the vegetables out of the milk and add the cream to it. Melt the butter in a pan, add the flour and mix together over a low heat. Add the milk slowly, stirring to avoid lumps forming, and keeping the heat low. When all the milk has been added, turn up the heat and bring up to boiling point to thicken until the mixture will coat the back of a spoon lightly. Turn the heat to medium, add the grated cheese and stir until it has melted into the milk mixture. Pour this over the cauliflower, and sprinkle with the walnut and breadcrumb mixture and with plenty of freshly grated black pepper.

Show it to the grill for a minute then serve immediately.

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