SAY CHEESE

Dear Amelia,
Here at party central we’ve been looking at interesting things to do with cauliflowers.
They are very cheap at the moment, it being almost winter, and Nanna feels compelled to make the most of them.
It’s strange this compulsion – new and a bit unsettling.
When Nanna was younger she really couldn’t give a rat’s what was in season, or even what was on special.
But then round about the time she bowed out of full-time work, she started going home with things she didn’t need.
Things like seven kilos of gravy beef, or ten bottles of Omo Sensitive, or 36 rolls of Sorbent.
Or four really big cauliflowers.
Laugh if you like, but since 2007 Nanna’s had very real problems walking past “Special Offer” signs.
Obviously this has got something to do with age.
You get older, you turn into your mother, you suddenly see a strange sort of sense in buying 27 jars of marmalade.
But when it comes to blame, we also have to look at the Lifestyle channel, to which Nanna is addicted – especially the food shows.
And seeing as Nanna is pushing 60, she tends to sit in front of them in a state of high anxiety, hyperventilating and thinking, “So many recipes, so little time.”
If you’re not into food shows – as Grandpa isn’t – watching lots of them is about as much fun as grating your face off.
But he puts up with them because he’s made Nanna sit through so many war programmes on the History Channel, she can now speak German.
That’s the way it is when you’ve been together for a long time.
One of you understands what Himmler is saying to Hitler in the snow at Berchtesgaden and the other knows his wife will never cut it in the food world if she doesn’t slice her limes vertically.
As for the cauliflowers, Nanna decided to start slowly and build up.
Past attempts at Mustard Pickles have been very successful.


But after the making of the Lilly Pilly Jam and the ensuing 12-hour recovery period, preserving wasn’t really the preferred option.
Nanna was knackered after the lilly pilly business and needs to keep her strength up for the Rose Hip Jelly she intends to make when her rose bushes bear fruit.
In the meantime, good old Cauliflower Cheese is an excellent option.
Make it with onions and mustard and you won’t know yourself. It’s really delicious.

CAULIFLOWER CHEESE

Serves 4 as a side dish

1 medium cauliflower (or half a big one)
1 small brown onion (or half a bigger one), chopped finely
30g butter
2 level tbsp plain flour
1½ – 2 cups milk
1 tsp Dijon mustard
grated cheddar cheese (your choice how much or how little)

Preheat oven to 200C.
Cut the cauliflower into small florets and cook in boiling salted water for about 5 minutes or until just tender.
Drain and tip into a shallow ovenproof dish.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over a low-ish heat and cook the onion until it’s soft, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t brown.
Take the saucepan off the heat and stir in the flour.
Put it back on the heat and cook the flour/butter mixture for a couple of minutes, stirring.
Turn up the heat a little and tip in 1½ cups of milk, stirring like a mad thing (you can use a wooden spoon or a whisk).
Your sauce won’t go lumpy. For some reason, when you cook onion in the butter before you add the milk, you always end up with an un-lumpy sauce.
Cook the white sauce over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until it bubbles and thickens.
If it’s too thick, add more milk and cook for another minute or so (you don’t want it really runny but neither do you want it so thick you can suspend the pan over your head a la uncooked pavlova meringue).
When the sauce is thick but pourable, take it off the heat and stir in the mustard and a small handful of grated cheese.
Pour or spoon the sauce over the cauliflower, making sure all the florets are covered, then sprinkle grated cheese over the top.
Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes until it’s bubbling and golden brown on top.

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2 Comments on “SAY CHEESE”

  1. Kaitlyn says:

    Aw man, now I want cheesey cauliflower.

    • Michele says:

      No you don’t. Now you want Bread and Butter Pudding, the recipe for which I’ll post next time. Long time no see – look forward to catching up at the hen’s night xx


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