How to Make Vegetables Deliciously Unhealthy: Cauliflower Cheese

Cauliflower CheeseIn homage to my friend Irene, here's the first recipe in a series entitled: How to Make Vegetables Deliciously Unhealthy.

In this series, I’ll be showing how the addition of butter, cream, cheese, bacon, pancetta, and a variety of other ingredients can turn a humble, health-giving vegetable into a delicious, cholesterol-raising, artery-thickening dish.

First up, it’s my historic cauliflower cheese.

Ingredients

1 large cauliflower
500ml milk
2 heaped teaspoons of cornflour
1 large knob of butter
1 teaspoon of mustard powder or Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
Salt and coarse ground black pepper
130g (4-5oz) of extra mature cheddar cheese, grated
Four rashers of smoked bacon

Method

Cut the cauliflower into florets. Add the florets to a large saucepan of boiling water and boil for five minutes (don’t let the cauliflower go too soft). Drain the cauliflower and tip into an oven proof dish.

In the meantime, grill the bacon until crispy. Allow to cool, before breaking into small pieces. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4.

Dissolve the cornflour in a small quantity of cold milk. Pour the cornflour mix and a little more of the milk into a saucepan and add a knob of butter.

Over a gentle heat, add some of the cheese, along with the mustard, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Gradually add the rest of the cheese and milk, slowly stirring all the time. The sauce should thicken at the point it's just about to come to the boil.

Remove from the heat and pour the cheese sauce over the cauliflower florets. Sprinkle the crispy bacon bits over the top. Bake on gas mark 4 for about 20 mins until brown and bubbling.

Delicious as a meal its own, or as a side dish with roast chicken.

If you enjoy making vegetables deliciously unhealthy, try these recipes:

Mushroom Stroganoff
Courgette Cakes
Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta
Braised Greens with Bacon
Deep-fried Aubergine
Fanny's Assorted Vegetable Fritters