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Cauliflower Cheese Recipe
This traditional dish really benefits if 'good' strong Cheddar is used, plus a little mustard to give it more character. We also use the outside green leaves, as they also add to the flavour (but this is optional). Leftovers reheat well in a microwave.
Ingredients for 4, as a main course
1 large Cauliflower
3 tablespoons (45ml) Flour
3 tablespoons (45ml) Butter
2 medium Onions, peeled and chopped
1 pint (500ml) Milk
1 Bay Leaf
2 heaped teaspoons (12ml) Mustard Powder (optional, but it immeasurably improves the dish
10oz/300gr Strong Farmhouse Cheddar, grated
½ teaspoon (2ml) Salt
½ teaspoon (2ml) freshly-ground Black Pepper
A further 2 oz/60mg Strong Farmhouse Cheddar – to sprinkle on the top
1. Remove the outside green stalks from the cauliflower, slice them into chunks and set these aside – or throw them away (we recommend the former, and with continue writing this recipe in the assumption that you are using them).
2. Cut the florets from cauliflower, and discard the thickest piece of the core.
3. Wash all thoroughly, but still keep them separate.
4. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil.
5. Add the chopped green pieces and cook for 2 minutes, then add the white florets and simmer for 10 minutes – the cauliflower should not be over tender, as it will be further-cooked in the oven. Place the cauliflower and green stalks (if using) in an ovenproof dish.
6. To make the sauce – heat the milk with half the chopped onion and the bay leaf until it’s very hot, but it will need watching, as it boil over quite suddenly – set this aside.
7. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a very low heat, add the remaining chopped onion, and cook on a low heat until it’s translucent, but not brown - remove the pan from the heat and beat in the flour and mustard powder, using a wooden spoon.
8. Strain the milk, discarding the onion and bay leaf.
9. Slowly add the milk to the butter, onion and flour mixture, a little at a time, blending it in with a wooden spoon, and only adding more when then the mixture is smooth. Add the salt and pepper.
10. Bring this white mixture slowly to the boil – stirring continuously, remove the pan from the heat (the sauce should be fairly thick) and add the grated cheese. Stir well in, until the cheese has melted. Carefully taste for seasoning – being careful you don’t burn your mouth – you may decide you need a little more salt or pepper.
11. Pour this mixture over the cauliflower, then sprinkle with the further 2 oz/60mg of cheese.
12. Place in a pre-heated oven – 400F°/200°C – and cook for 20 minutes, remove from the oven and serve.