Cauliflower cheese

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In the modern world, we are constantly bombarded with messages of healthy eating, clean eating (no phrase annoys me more!) and food fads but sometimes we all need proper comfort food. It’s a time to forget calorie counting once in a while and eat what makes you happy and cauliflower cheese is definitely one of those meals! Cauliflower cheese needs no introduction as it is exactly what it says it is- no pretention! It can be the main event or a side dish for a whole host of dishes. It also allows you to play around with a mixture of cheeses to make it as savoury as you want and cheese sauce is also a perfect way to use up any odds and ends of cheese that may be lurking in your fridge. In this recipe, I have given you the basic cheese sauce recipe that I use but feel free to add blue cheese if you like as cauliflower can stand up to the sharpness of it. Fried off cubes of pancetta are also a welcome addition!

Ingredients- serves 3-4
1 cauliflower
45g plain flour
45g unsalted butter
250ml double cream
300ml milk
50g cheddar
50g parmesan

1. Kick off by preparing the cauliflower. Clean it and cut into large florets. Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil and boil until the stems are just tender- it will continue to cook when it is baked so it needs a bit of texture still at this stage. Drain well and set aside while you make the sauce.

2. For the cheese sauce, use a pan and heat over a medium heat. Melt together the butter and flour to form a roux. Gradually add in the milk and cream; making sure you keep stirring to ensure that no lumps form. If any lumps start creeping in then remove the pan from the heat and whisk it like your life depends on it before returning to the heat. Continue to stir and simmer until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and add in the parmesan and season to taste.

3. Choose an ovenproof roasting dish that will fit the cauliflower in a single layer. Arrange the florets and pour over the cheese sauce. Top with grated cheddar and a little extra parmesan if you like. Bake at 200c/ 180 fan for around 30 minutes or until golden and bubbling. Serve immediately.

Cauliflower cheese- like a cheesy hug for soul!

 

 

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Chilli cheese roasted cauliflower

Cauliflower had been going through somewhat of a renaissance over the last couple of years and people are enjoying it in new and inventive ways. Cauliflower cheese is a perennial favourite however I recently wanted something lighter and more summery to serve on the side of a steak so I rustled up some roasted cauliflower that is packed with cheesy flavour but without the rich sauce. Saying that, I was unsure about how roasted cauliflower would go down with my dinner partner so I made a side serving of my homemade cheese sauce for dipping- you know, just in case!

Cauliflower is versatile enough to hold plenty of different flavours so get creative! I went for the combination of savoury cheese with spicy chilli but, to be honest, most herbs and spices would work! Just think of all the possibilities! I have roasted the cauliflower in separate florets but you can also roast it whole if you prefer; just simmer it in a pan for around 10 minutes before following the recipe below. You may need to give it longer in the oven too.

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Ingredients- serves 2
1 cauliflower
30g parmesan plus extra to finish
50g mayonnaise
100g ricotta
1 tsp each of chilli powder and paprika
Salt and pepper

1. Start by preheating the oven to 200c/ 180 fan. Take the cauliflower and cut it down into florets. Try to keep them all a similar size so they roast evenly.

2. In a bowl combine 30g of grated parmesan, mayonnaise, the ricotta, chilli powder, paprika and season it well; stir to combine. Place the florets into the dressing and make sure each piece is well coated. Place the florets on a baking sheet or similar and roast for 45-50 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender. Towards the end of cooking you may like to remove from the oven and grate a little extra parmesan over the florets before returning to the oven until golden.

Chilli cheese roasted cauliflower- a perfect accompaniment that’s a welcome change from traditional cauliflower cheese!