Vegetables when I was growing up were boiled. Or roasted, but mostly boiled. And that’s fine, but they were really, really boiled. And heavily salted. As such, I had no idea what vegetables actually tasted like until I started cooking for myself and discovered that if you don’t boil the life out of vegetables, they taste magnificent!
Perhaps it’s because of this discovery relatively late in life that I genuinely enjoy vegetables that have simply been steamed or lightly boiled, just beyond blanching. As such, I don’t do fancy things like sauces or bakes for veggies very often.
However, when children entered my life, they didn’t appreciate the magnificence of vegetables nearly as much as me (go figure) and so I discovered the wonder of pouring cheese sauce over just about everything in order to get it into their bodies. It’s such a simple thing to do that will turn anything into a comfort food that no one ever seems to tire of.
So even though I could eat boiled cauliflower all season, that doesn’t make for a very interesting recipe to share, so here’s my super basic cauliflower cheese recipe.
Feel free to add other vegetables to it (of a similar type, so they cook at the same rate) and use any type of mustard and cheese combination you fancy. Then cosy up to this family favourite as the days continue to shorten.
Cauliflower cheesePrint This
- 1 small cauliflower head, chopped into medium-large florets
- 2 large blobs of butter
- 1/4 cup plain flour
- 1/2 cup milk (approx)
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 3/4 cup sharp vintage cheese, grated
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 200º.
- Boil the cauliflower florets in a saucepan until they’re about half cooked, then drain well.
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over a low heat.
- Add the flour and mix well with a small whisk to remove any lumps. Let that cook gently for about a minute.
- Pour in the milk a little at a time and whisk in well as you go, keeping the heat very low. You want the mixture to be quite runny, so add as much milk as you need. Don’t feel you have to be precise about the amount, just don’t add it too much at once.
- When it’s well mixed, add the mustard (to taste) and stir, stir, stir with that whisk.
- Then add about 2/3rds of the cheese and stir, stir, stir.
- If the mixture looks too thick, then add small amounts of milk and keep stirring. Season to taste, if you like. Simmer for a minute or two, then remove from the heat.
- Meanwhile, tip the cauliflower into a shallow baking dish, then pour the cheese sauce over the top, making sure you cover it all.
- Sprinkle the leftover cheese over the sauce, then bake for 20-25 minutes. It’s done when the top is golden brown.