Cauliflower Cheese

Cauliflower cheese is a traditional family favourite and this recipe, based on one by Jamie Oliver, is extra tasty. The cauliflower leaves get crispy and add more texture to the meal. Serve it as a main course for 4 or as a side dish for 6-8.

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Ingredients

1 medium sized cauliflower

2 cloves of garlic (we used smoked garlic)

50g unsalted butter

50g plain flour

600ml milk

75g mature cheese (we used a strong Welsh Cheddar)

2 slices of stale bread, made into crumbs

2 sprigs of fresh thyme (or half a teaspoon of dried)

25g walnuts, chopped or crushed

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

 

We cooked our cauliflower cheese in a handmade Chilli Penguin ceramic bowl.  We don’t have many of these white ones left, but we do have beautiful, locally made squarish bowls that fit perfectly into our ovens. They come in blue and orange.  You can see the orange one here.

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Method

  1. 1) Put enough oil into a baking tin to cover the bottom generously, and put the tray into a hot oven (about 220 degrees Celsius).
  2. 2) Chop or mince the garlic. Remove the oil from the oven when it is hot but not very hot, add the garlic and put the tray on the top of the stove so the garlic cooks. Stir it every now and again.
  3. 3) When the garlic is soft, add the flour and mix to a paste. Then add the milk, a little at a time, stirring continuously until it is smooth and beginning to thicken.
  4. 4) Grate the cheese and add half of it to the sauce, stirring well. Season to taste and leave on the stove top.
  5. 5) Prepare the cauliflower by removing any old looking leaves and then slicing through the stem and separating off florets.
  6. 6) Place the cauliflower in the dish with the green leaves hanging over the edge.
  7. 7) Pour on the sauce and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
  8. 8) Mix the breadcrumbs, thyme, salt and pepper and nuts with a tablespoon of oil. Then add this to the top of the cauliflower cheese.
  9. 9) Put the dish in a medium oven (about 180 degrees C) for 50-60 minutes, keeping an eye on it in case it burns. If it starts to catch before it is done, cover with foil. The cauliflower should be soft and the top golden brown.