Cauliflower Cheese

A perfect side dish for a roast or serve with crusty bread for a hearty, filling supper.

Difficulty:👍👍👍

Cost: ££

Serves 4 people


550ml/1 pint semi-skimmed milk
1 medium cauliflower

For the cheese sauce:
3 tablespoons cornflour
4 tablespoons cold milk
80g/3oz mature cheddar, grated
Salt and pepper

To finish:
A little butter or oil

  1. Put the milk in a pan and heat gently, until almost boiling.
    Remove from the heat while you cook the cauliflower.
  2. Bring 2 mugs of water to the boil in a large pan. Add a pinch of salt.
    Cut the cauliflower into quarters and remove the leaves and central stem. Wash under the cold tap. Cut into florets and place in the boiling water.
    Cover the pan and boil for 10 – 15 minutes, or until the point of a knife slides easily into a stalk. Place a colander over a bowl and drain the cauliflower, reserving the cooking liquid.
  3. Turn the oven on to 220°C, 450°F, gas 8, or preheat the grill.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the milk and cornflour to a smooth cream.
    Pour this into the pan with the hot milk, and bring to the boil, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon.
    When the mixture bubbles and thickens, turn down the heat and stir for a couple of minutes. Add some of the reserved cooking liquid if it is too thick.
  5. Add three-quarters of the grated cheese, stirring until it has melted.
    Taste and season if necessary.
  6. Butter an ovenproof dish and pour a little of the sauce into it.
    Arrange the cauliflower florets in the dish (stems down) and coat them with the rest of the sauce. Sprinkle the remaining grated cheese on top.
  7. Bake in the oven for 5 – 10 minutes, or place under the grill, until it bubbles and starts to turn golden brown on top.

Method

  1. Put the milk in a pan and heat gently, until almost boiling.
    Remove from the heat while you cook the cauliflower.
  2. Bring 2 mugs of water to the boil in a large pan. Add a pinch of salt.
    Cut the cauliflower into quarters and remove the leaves and central stem. Wash under the cold tap. Cut into florets and place in the boiling water.
    Cover the pan and boil for 10 – 15 minutes, or until the point of a knife slides easily into a stalk. Place a colander over a bowl and drain the cauliflower, reserving the cooking liquid.
  3. Turn the oven on to 220°C, 450°F, gas 8, or preheat the grill.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the milk and cornflour to a smooth cream.
    Pour this into the pan with the hot milk, and bring to the boil, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon.
    When the mixture bubbles and thickens, turn down the heat and stir for a couple of minutes. Add some of the reserved cooking liquid if it is too thick.
  5. Add three-quarters of the grated cheese, stirring until it has melted.
    Taste and season if necessary.
  6. Butter an ovenproof dish and pour a little of the sauce into it.
    Arrange the cauliflower florets in the dish (stems down) and coat them with the rest of the sauce. Sprinkle the remaining grated cheese on top.
  7. Bake in the oven for 5 – 10 minutes, or place under the grill, until it bubbles and starts to turn golden brown on top.

Ingredients

550ml/1 pint semi-skimmed milk
1 medium cauliflower

For the cheese sauce:
3 tablespoons cornflour
4 tablespoons cold milk
80g/3oz mature cheddar, grated
Salt and pepper

To finish:
A little butter or oil


The sauce can be made with skimmed milk but take extra care as it burns much more easily.

For a more substantial meal, add other cooked food such as potatoes, cooked pasta shapes, chopped ham or bacon to the cauliflower before coating with the cheese sauce.

To pack in more veggies use broccoli instead of, or as well as, the cauliflower or garnish with tomato slices before baking.

Experiment with different cheeses, e.g. Lancashire for a tangy flavour, or Red Leicester for an orange colour. Or at stage 5, mix the grated cheese with 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs or sesame seeds. For a crunchier alternative use pumpkin or sunflower seeds.

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