Cauliflower Cheese Bake

It’s cauliflower mayhem at my parents’ house at the moment, with about 10 being ready in one day! I know the poor old cauliflower tends to be cast down the list of tasty veg, however last summer my Mum invented a fab cauliflower bake that made me see the humble cauliflower in a brand new light! Now that I am an “independent adult” living in my own place I thought I’d try my own cauliflower bake for myself and my flatmate one evening which we both really enjoyed, I hope you enjoy it too 🙂

Ingredients: (serves 2 hungry people)

  • One large cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 large potatoes suitable for mashing (I use half normal and half sweet potatoes for a little extra sweetness, but it still tastes delicious with just white potatoes)
  • 1 packet of pancetta cubes (about 200-250g works wells)
  • 1 white onion
  • 1-2 large tomatoes (I only had cherry tomatoes so had to improvise!)
  • Salt & pepper
  • A handful (or two, or three…) of grated cheddar cheese

Cheese sauce:

(You can always increase the quantities of the below to make it saucier if you fancy!)

  • 500ml milk
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 50g butter
  • 100g strong cheddar, grated (I used cathedral city mmm)
  • 1tsp mustard (I used wholegrain)
  • 1tsp mixed spices or cinnamon
  • Salt & pepper

Method:

Cut the cauliflower into sizeable florets and boil (in a little salt) until slightly undercooked, drain and put into a medium sized dish Cauli 1Cauli 4 In the meantime you can do the food prep of chopping up the onion, peeling the potatoes and chopping them into quarters. Cauli 2 Once this is done, put the potatoes on to boil (they should take 10-15 minutes on a medium heat). Whilst they are cooking the first thing to do is fry the onion and pancetta in a little oil until lightly brown, then leave to one side for later. Cauli 3 Now it’s cheese sauce time! But don’t forget to keep checking those potatoes! Once the potatoes are done you simply drain them, mash with a bit of butter and olive oil and leave with the lid on until later.

For the cheese sauce you firstly need to melt the butter in a saucepan, and then add the flour, whisking like a mad person whilst adding the milk bit by bit. Even if your arm feels like it’s going to fall off you need to keep whisking until the sauce starts to thicken and become smooth. Once it is at a consistency you are happy with, take it off the heat and add the cheese, mustard, spices, and a grind of salt and pepper, continuing to whisk until all combined. Cauli 5 After this, mix in the pancetta and onion, and then pour the sauce over the cauliflower in your oven dish, making sure the mixture is evenly spread. Cauli 6Cauli 7 Now you can spoon the mashed potato on top of the cauliflower cheese mixture, flattening with a fork to help make sure all little holes are covered. Cauli 9 Lay slices of tomato on top (big tomatoes work better if you have them – as you can see I did not!) Cauli 10 Then scatter another generous grating of cheese on top (along with a grind of salt and pepper) and you are ready to go! Cauli 11 Cook on the top shelf of your oven at 200 degrees celsius for 15-20 minutes until brown on top. Tuck in and enjoy! Cauli end result

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2 thoughts on “Cauliflower Cheese Bake

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