Sunday, 8 April 2012

Cauliflower Cheese

Mrs Ribeye and I eat WAY too much meat.

This morning we made a deal to eat no meat this entire week, and then I served us my Sunday Antipasti Platter for lunch, without it even registering that the ham and salami on it signified a very early (it was only 20 minutes after we made the deal, in fact) break in our pact.

The main problem is that to us, ham and salami are not really meat - they are just a normal accompaniment to lunch, which is why we know we have to cut down. For something to be called 'meat' in our house, it has to be roast lamb, beef or pork. Even chicken is considered a vegetable in certain dishes. This is a BIG problem, and something has to change.

So, starting from ...NOW, we will confine all foods (until Saturday) to vegetables and fish. Tonight, I'm making cauliflower cheese as a main course, rather than as a side dish to Marinated Bavette Steak or Beef Wellington, like I normally do. When I was eleven years old, I went to my friend Benjamin's house for dinner and his mum served us cauliflower cheese as a main course. How we all laughed when I got home and told my family that I was expecting some type of meat main dish to arrive at the table, then realised it wasn't, and then I hoped for a shepherd's pie for dessert.

Well, Benjy's family probably had it right, all those years ago. While I wouldn't make it a regular habit of omitting meat from my diet, I think some serious moderation is in order. I'm aiming for fish twice a week, meat twice, chicken twice and vegetables once, as the star of our evening meals in future. Who knows? We may even grow to like it.

Anyway, tomorrow night, I will be making my Vegetable Curry with Rainbow Raita with Onion Bhajis as a side dish. I really fancy some Mushroom Bhajis too, so I'll post the recipe very soon - we're only cutting down on meat - I didn't say we were on a low-calorie diet, for crissake.

A large cauliflower will serve two of us as a main course, and it cost me £1 at my local supermarket, which means that this dish costs only £1.25 per serving to produce. Veggie cooking is cheap!

Serves 2


1 large cauliflower, cut into small florets
2 tablespoons of plain flour
50ml olive oil
300ml milk
150g mature cheddar cheese, grated, plus 50g reserved for the topping
Pinches of salt and pepper
100g breadcrumbs

Simmer the cauliflower florets in boiling water in a large saucepan for 10 minutes. In the meantime, mix the flour and oil in a small saucepan and cook on a moderate heat for 5 minutes. Slowly add the milk until you have a thick sauce, and keep stirring it to avoid lumps. Take the sauce off the heat, add the cheese and salt and pepper and stir the sauce until the cheese has melted. Preheat the oven to 200c. Take the cauliflower out of the pan and transfer it to a roasting dish. Pour the sauce on top of the cauliflower and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and the reserved cheese. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the topping is golden and crunchy.

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