Tuesday, 1 December 2015


I have always been into the accompaniments to a roast rather than the meat itself. When I was growing up I loved the Yorkshire puddings when we had roast beef, the bacon wrapped sausages that came with roast chicken, the crackling from the roast pork and then we always had cauliflower cheese when we had roast lamb. 

I found this cauliflower cheese recipe in my latest olive magazine and thought I should test drive it as a potential Christmas dish. It took about an hour however you can make it a day or two before and then just cook it for 25/30 minutes before serving to heat through.

Ingredients for 8 people:

8 small individual cauliflower heads
Olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
3 bay leaves
20g butter
20g plain flour
1 tsp English mustard powder
350l semi skimmed milk
200ml double cream
100g Gruyere cheese, grated
100g emmental, grated (I actually used cheddar)
100g Parmesan, grated
A good grating of nutmeg
White pepper

Heat the oven to 200 C / 180 C fan / gas mark 6.

Boil the cauliflower heads in a large pan of salted boiling water and cook for 3 minutes. Drain well and leave to steam dry for a few minutes.

Arrange the heads in a baking dish, brush with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and roast for 30 minutes.

Whilst these are cooking, put the onions, bay leaves and butter in a saucepan with a little salt and fry gently until soft and golden.

Stir in the flour and mustard powder until no dusty bits remain.

Gradually stir in the milk to make a smooth sauce and then slowly stir in the cream until heated through.

Take off the heat and add 2/3 of the cheeses and stir until they have melted. Season with some nutmeg, white pepper and salt. If necessary, put the saucepan back on a low heat for the cheese to melt completely.

Pour over the cauliflower heads and chill for up to two days, if you like. Sprinkle the gratin with the remaining cheese.

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until bubbling and golden on top.

We served ours with some roast pork belly and it was heavenly!

I do not like to blow my own trumpet but this was incredible - the best cauliflower cheese I have ever had - probably due to the copious amounts of cheese! I enjoyed it so much I could have eaten it as a main dish although it obviously worked brilliantly as a side. I will definitely be making this again at Christmas.

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