For as long as I can remember I have always been in the kitchen. At a very young age I remember going to stay at my grandparents and one day I would be in the garden helping my grandpa pick runner beans, blackcurrants, raspberries and more and then the next day I would have a little apron on, be stood on top of a stool and help my nanny turn all those ingredients into the most amazing jams, pies and meals for the rest of the family.
As I got older I paid more and more attention to what was going on in the kitchen and slowly and surely started to pick things up. I remember loving certain foods that my nanny cooked so much that when I was old enough (or felt that I was old enough) I asked her to teach me certain recipes so that I would be able to make them too.
I am so glad I did this, because even though she is sadly no longer with us, I am still able to cook some of the foods that she used to cook in the ways that she would have cooked them and they provide a real comfort at times when that is what is needed most.
Now as an adult, I enjoy spending time in the kitchen with my mum and sister, often cooking up a storm and trying new and perfecting old recipes and I now have my own daughter joining us too. Granted she is still in her highchair and her skills stretch to banging a wooden spoon at present, but I can’t wait to be able to teach her to cook and make some wonderful things together! So, enough of my wittering on… I am going to share one of my all time favourites that my nanny used to make EVERYTIME we visited because we all loved it so much!
Ingredients (Serves 4):
1 x Large Cauliflower, chopped into florets and KEEP the leaves too!
300g Extra Strong Cheddar, grated
3Tbsp Plain Flour
500ml Milk, any type is fine
2tsp English Mustard
1 Tomato, sliced
Salt & Pepper to Taste
1. Pop the Cauliflower florets AND the leaves (trim these so that any dead bits have been cut off) into a saucepan and boil in water until slightly softened. The leave to drain in a colander for ten minutes.
2. Whilst the cauliflower is cooking you can make the sauce. Firstly melt the butter on the hob (on a low to medium heat) then add the flour and mix together. This should form a thick gungy paste (if it doesn’t add more flour a teaspoon at a time until it looks like yellow dough.
3. Stir the mixture over the hob for a minute or so and then gradually begin to add the milk. Add a little at a time and stir until it disappears. Gradually you should end up with a nice whiteish sauce. If you feel it is too thick, add some more milk!
4. Next stir in all but a handful of grated cheese, the mustard and some salt and pepper to taste. Stirring constantly wait for the sauce to begin to bubble/boil slightly and remove from the hob completely.
5. Pre-heat oven to 180. Pop all the cauliflower and leaves into an oven proof dish. Pour the white sauce over the top making sure it is evenly covered.
6. Take the remaining grated cheese and sprinkle over the top. Finally, place the pieces of sliced tomato across the top in various places.
7. Pop the whole dish in the oven for approx. 30 mins or until the sauce is bubbling and the top is golden brown.
Serve immediately – we like to serve these with some lovely crispy skinned jacket potatoes!
The Ultimate Comfort Food… Thanks Nanny you are STILL a total legend!