Saturday, September 27, 2008

Cauliflower cheese: comfort food for Grand Final night!

I was always planning to cook cauliflower cheese tonight as it is the season for cauliflower. But as it also turns out, tonight is a great night for comfort food as in Melbourne it is Grand Final night and my football team was supposed to cap off a wonderful season by winning back to back premierships. Not to be alas!

Fortunately I am only a very luke-warm supporter of football and so I am not weeping and gnashing my teeth in the anguish of loss. The other team which won is the local team, Hawthorn, which started out life just down the road from where I work. In fact, despite the fact that the Hawthorn team no longer operates out of Glenferrie Oval, its original home, it is telling that today that was where fans gathered. History does tell.

But to cauliflower cheese. At cauliflower season, cauliflower cheese is a favourite of mine, whether I cook it to serve as an accompaniment to a main, or to eat by itself. I usually use the whole cauliflower including any greenery and sometimes do a variant with cauliflower and broccoli which my nephew likes (and so do I). I also vary the cheese I use. Tonight I didn't include the greenery from the cauliflower as it was a bit seedy looking and I didn't include broccoli as I thought both wouldn't fit in the dish. I used a combination of cheddar and mozzarella cheese IN the sauce, and shaved Parmesan on top. And for a touch of piquancy I added capers to the cauliflower when it was cooking.


1 cauliflower, broken into flowerlets
1 dessertspoon capers
600 ml milk
2 heaped tablespoon butter/margerine
2 heaped tablespoon flour
1 cup grated cheese (cheddar & mozzarella)
Grated parmesan


Preheat oven to 160 c.
Break cauliflower in to flowerlets
Place cauliflower and capers in pan with small amount of water and cook until tender
Meanwhile make a bechamel sauce with flour, butter, pepper and milk
As sauce is beginning to thicken add cup of grated cheese
Continue to stir until combined and thick
Drain the cauliflower and caper mixture and place in an oven-proof dish
Pour the cheese sauce over and level
Sprinkle shaved parmesan over
Bake in the middle of a moderate oven for 45 minutes
Serve as an accompaniment to a main course, or by itself with salad.

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