Sunday, January 31, 2010

Cauliflower with Cheese - British style

Cauliflower cheese is such quintessentially traditional British food. It appears throughout British food in various guises; an essential side dish at Sunday lunch, a delicious filling for a baked potato and sometimes, even encased in pastry as a pasty or quiche.

Making Cauliflower Cheese is so quick and and makes the most of British cauliflowers which are not only cheap, are available almost year round.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes


•1 medium cauliflower (approx 1lb/450g)

•2 oz/ 55g butter

•2 oz/ 55g all purpose/plain flour

•1 level tsp mustard powder (optional)

•Large pinch salt

•1 pint / 460 ml milk

•50g cheddar cheese or similar, grated plus extra for sprinkling on top

•Freshly ground pepper


Serves 6 as a side dish

•Heat the oven to 395F/200C/Gas 7

•Remove the green outer leaves from the cauliflower and steam whole over a pan of boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove the cauliflower from the heat and leave to cool.

•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 and continue stirring for 2 minutes.

•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 runny. 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 baking dish large enough to hold all the florets in one layer.

•Pour the thickened cheeee 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.

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