I’m not sure what it is about cauliflower that turns some people off – it makes a fantastic puree to sit under a slab of beef fillet, or a sweet pan-fried scallop (I don’t think I have that recipe in here, but I’m going to add it for sure). It provides the most important chunky bits in a jar of piccalilli (thinks back to years gone by with his mother forcing dollops of yellow gunk on his plate to go with the cold turkey and ham – actually pretty special stuff, as long as it’s home made – the shop bought stuff is shit, lets be honest). But most important of all, without cauliflower, we would never have the joy of cauliflower cheese. And so I say to those people: you’re all nobs – you don’t know what you’re missing…

This is, I think, the best cauliflower cheese you will ever have eaten – oh yes…

Cauliflower Cheese – for a few people

Take a cauliflower, cut the core in half and pull it into two big pieces. Next, cut out the core and pull the cauliflower into decent sized florets. Keep some of the outer leaves – there’s nothing wrong with them and they deseve to sit alongside the rest of the cauli when it goes into the oven…

Put the florets into a pan of boiling salted water and cook for about 5 minutes, then drain and put them into a casserole dish along with the outer leaves that you set aside.

Chop a red chilli (I know I use chillies all the time, but believe me it really works in here – just gives it an extra depth and a little splash of red), and sprinkle over the cauliflower.

Now make a quick roux – melt a really large knob of butter in a saucepan, add a 3-4 heaped tablespoons of flour and mix together over the heat, add two big glugs of marsala and whisk, then slowly add milk, constantly whisking (I think you’re supposed to use a wooden spoon but it’s far too much work and one of those whisks that has a flat bottom works so much better in my experience). You probably need between a quarter to half a pint. When you’re done, you will have a rich thick sauce. Now pour in a few glugs of double cream, a big tablespoon of dijon mustard and season with salt and pepper. Oh yep – forgot the cheese. Grate mature cheddar (as much as you want depending on how cheesy you want it – I think I used about 100g), and then give it all a good stir.

Now we all have different tastes with regards to how thick things should be, so I’ll let you decide what works for you – what you should know however is that the sauce will thin very very slightly in the oven as the cauliflower loses some of its water during the cooking process (and when it cools it will thicken like mad).

Pour this mixture over the cauliflower and give it a nudge so that it’s penetrated fully. Put it the oven at 180 degrees c and cook for 35-40 minutes.

It will come out golden brown and gloopy – perfect with a crusty loaf!


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