Cauliflower Cheese

Cauliflower Cheese

Now, maybe this is not for you.  But, part of the reason for posting it is to explain how to make your own cheese sauce.  I promise it tastes 100% better than the little packs you can buy.  And it’s really very easy.  If you prefer Macaroni Cheese then I’ll explain at the end how to use the same sauce to make that.  I like Cauliflower Cheese with a green salad.  And it works well as an accompaniment for roast beef too.

Cauliflower Cheese

Ingredients

1 cauliflower

3/4 pint milk

About 100g grated strong cheddar

A teaspoon of mild mustard (optional, it will add a tang to the sauce)

A tablespoon of flour

A tablespoon of butter

Pepper

Nutmeg (optional)

Method

Take the cauliflower, cut a deep cross into the stem and trim off all the green leaves.  Put on a steamer over a pan of boiling water and cook for about 10 minutes.

While it’s cooking make your cheese sauce.

This is a VERY simplified version of a proper roux (flour, butter and milk sauce) where you would use an onion and a bay leaf to flavour the milk first.  I don’t think it makes any difference if you are going to add cheese.

Melt the butter in a heavy based pan.

Stir the flour into the butter and cook it very very gently for about a minute, stirring the whole time.  It should go very sticky and a lovely golden caramel colour, but not dried out or darkening.

Now, start to add the milk into this mix.  Take the pan off the heat for a minute and add in just a little milk till you have a mixture about the consistency of double cream.  Heat through.

Keep adding in the milk, bit by bit, until it’s all in there.  As you get beyond the first quarter of a pint, you can add in larger quantities.  Stir the whole time and keep the pan on the heat.

Now let the whole mixture come to a gentle boil.  You should have a gloopy mixture, quite thick but not something that looks as if it might just solidify at any minute.  If it’s too thick add a bit more milk, stirring all the time.

Take the pan off the heat.

Add most of the cheese, reserving about 25g to top the cauliflower cheese.  Check the seasoning and add the mustard, pepper and if necessary a little salt.

Now, put the cauliflower into a casserole.  Pour the cheese sauce over the top of the cauliflower and then top with the remains of the grated cheese and a little grated nutmeg if you like it.

Put the casserole into a pre-heated oven at about 170c for 20 minutes or so until the cheese is nicely browned on top and the cauliflower is cooked through

You can jazz this up with a little bit of cooked bacon or ham added to the cheese sauce.  Or to make macaroni cheese, simply cook 150g of  dried macaroni or any other pasta according to the packet instructions, drain, then use the cheese sauce to cover and bake in the oven as above.

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