This recipe isn’t originally one of mine, but when Mr Sat Night was putting the original Eating for Ireland together (as a birthday present for me), he asked Corrine for her recipe, and wrote the foreword himself; hence the slightly different literary (ahem) styles I’m including it here; firstly because it’s a great recipe, but also as a reminder of happy days for those of us who remember and miss Seamus.
The original Intro:
Our neighbours traditionally hold a barbeque every July holiday. The format is fairly fluid but (depending on weather) tends to focus around their large kitchen table, beginning gently with nibbles and light aperitifs mid-afternoon; followed in a leisurely fashion by a wide range of starters and main courses and concluding with deserts and strong drink in the dark hours. Stamina and intensive training is required if one is to last, and weaker souls have been known to fall by the wayside in the early evening. This particular dish appeared on the table a couple of Julys ago and has been the subject of unduly fond reminiscence by my husband ever since.
Me: ”unduly fond reminiscence” – Lol, no one would guess that wasn’t written by me 😉
Forget about Literary styles – this recipe is the business
- A saucepan with a steamer basket
- an oven-proof casserole, big enough to hold all your cauliflower
- a smaller saucepan to make the roux sauce
INGREDIENTS: Serves 4-6 people who love Cauliflower Cheese.
- 1 large cauliflower, broken into florets
- one or two fresh bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 1 tablespoon of plain flour
- 1 pint of milk/600mls
- good grating of fresh nutmeg
- teaspoon of mustard powder (optional)
- salt and pepper
- 150g of fresh breadcrumbs ( see notes)
- 100g grated cheese
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees
- Put the cauliflower florets into the steamer, tuck in the bay leaves and steam for about 10 minutes, or until a knife slides easily into the stem of the floret. Remove the entire pot from the heat and leave to one side.
- While that’s all going on, get started on your roux sauce
- Melt the butter and add the plain flour, and mustard powder if using.
- Stir over a medium heat, until the flour and butter are amalgamated and it’s cooked, but not browned – about a minute or so
- Remove from the heat and gradually add about half the milk, stirring all the time.
- Return the saucepan to a medium heat and stir until it starts to thicken, adding the rest of the milk gradually, until you get a smooth, thickened sauce. You might need to raise the heat slightly towards the end of cooking.
- The sauce should be about the consistency of pouring custard – if it too thick, just add a little of the water that the cauliflower steamed in.
- Season with the nutmeg, salt and pepper
- Arrange the florets in the casserole dish
- Pour your beautiful sauce over the top
- Mix the cheese and breadcrumbs together and sprinkle liberally over the top
- Put it in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the breadcrumbs are golden, the cheese has melted and little bits of the sauce are bubbling through the crust
- Serve from the dish, and watch it disappear!
- I often make breadcrumbs from the end of a Sourdough loaf, for example, and then freeze them – Breadcrumbs freeze really well, so you’ll always have some in stock.
- The crispy, cheesy crust is one of the great joys of this dish, so be generous with it.
- Try not to rush the roux sauce – a little time and patience will reward you.
- If you don’t have a steamer, just put the cauliflower into a sieve and place it over the pot of boiling water, with a lid on top.