- Cauliflower – preferably organic, it seems to make a big difference to taste with brassicas
- Cheese – mature cheddar is best
- Butter, plain flour and milk for white sauce
- Breadcrumbs if you want to make a crusty topping
- Pepper and mixed herbs (optional)
Break and cut the cauliflower into pieces and steam them. Make a white sauce, grate the cheese and add it to the sauce. Then mix everything together. You can just eat it like that.
If you want to serve it with a crusty topping put the oven on to 180 C. When you steam the cauliflower stop before it is fully cooked. Make the white sauce with only half the cheese and put the cauliflower and the sauce in a shallow oven dish, mix so the cauliflower is coated in sauce (but it doesn’t need to be submerged). Mix breadcrumbs, the rest of the cheese, pepper and mixed herbs and sprinkle that on top. Then put it in the oven for about ten minutes, followed by about five minutes under the grill to get the topping crunchy.
This is good as a side dish, or for vegetarians can be the main event. We often have it with a delicatessen meat or cold smoked salmon, and maybe a salad.
You can do it as a mixed veg dish instead of just cauliflower. Carrot works well, and broccoli – it’s fun to be colourful if you are going to mix the veg. It’s best with things which keep their shape – I wouldn’t use squash or sweet potato for instance. Celeriac and onion are good for flavour, if not for colour. It’s a good way of using up bits and pieces of veg.