Food Gatherer's note: Banish soggy cauliflower cheese memories forever! A classic cauliflower cheese recipe is given a bit of oomph when combined with broccoli and Starnachas cheese. I was introduced to the latter at Holtwites Bakery's cheese and wine evening. It's similar to Gruyere in texture and sweetness and it's a great melter, but with possibly a little bit more punch than its better known companion (and a fraction of the price!). Serve as a main meal for 2 with a baguette or as a side dish for 4.
STARNACHAS, CAULIFLOWER AND BROCCOLI CHEESE
1/2 cauliflower head and 1/2 broccoli head broken into florets, thick stalks removed
55oml full fat creamy milk
A few peppercorns
A bay leaf
A pinch of grated nutmeg
70g grated mature cheddar
65g Starnachas cheese (or gruyere if not available)
Optional: breadcrumbs for topping
1. Add the cauliflower to a pan of rapidly boiling, salted water and cook for 4 minutes and I minute into the cooking time add the broccoli. (Don’t overcook the veg as it will be cooked more later and you don’t want a gooey mush!) .Drain and leave to dry on kitchen roll.
2. This part I do if I have enough time. It certainly adds to the final flavour but if you are time pressed skip to 3. Melt 25g butter in a frying pan and add the veg to the sizzling butter and fry for a few minutes on a medium- high heat, turning periodically for a few minutes until the veg turns golden on some edges, this will release a lovely nutty sweetness.
3. To make the sauce warm 550ml of creamy milk in a pan (you could add 50 ml of cream to semi skimmed milk). Season with peppercorns, and a bay leaf and bring to the boil. Turn off and allow to infuse for 15 minutes.
4. Melt together 50g of the butter and flour, stirring until it thickens, then whisk in the strained milk. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat, stir in the cheese and simmer for 15 minutes. Finish with a little nutmeg.
5. Pour the sauce over the cauliflower, scatter with a little more cheddar and some breadcrumbs if you would like a bit of texture on top and bake at 200C/gas mark 6 for 20-25 minutes. If not browned sufficiently, turn the grill on to brown the cheese on top right at the end of cooking time.
Serve straight away!