A perfect warming dish for cold days, cauliflower cheese is real comfort food and a great way to get some extra vegetables into children! The mustard and almonds give this an interesting and more “adult” twist however, and it is wonderful as a side dish or a vegetarian main course.
You can use any type of mustard, (I prefer Dijon), and either flaked or roughly chopped whole almonds. I prefer the later as like the crunch and the slightly rougher texture with the skins on. For the cheese, cheddar is a perfectly good option, but try mixing it up by adding or swapping for red Leicester, Wensleydale or Double Gloucester. Any hard cheese works really!
Prep time: 15min Cook time: 30-40min
Serves 2-3 as a main or 4-6 as a side
40g butter for the sauce + 1 knob cut into small bits for roasting the cauliflower
30g plain flour
1 tsp mustard
100g grated cheese
30g flaked almonds or roughly chopped whole almonds
Heat the oven to 180C. Cut all of the florets off one large cauliflower. Discard the leaves and central stalk.
Place into an ovenproof dish, dot over small bits of butter and pop into the oven (don’t worry if it hasn’t reached full heat). This slightly dries out the cauliflower so the final dish isn’t too wet and roasting with the butter adds to the flavour. It takes no extra time as you just leave it in the oven while you are making the sauce.
Melt the butter in a saucepan then add the flour and mix to form a roux. Over a very low heat, slowly add the milk, stirring as you go to ensure there are no lumps. Once all the milk is mixed in, add a teaspoon of mustard, turn up the heat and stir continuously until the sauce thickens, then remove from the heat. Mix in the cheese, saving aside one handful, and season with a little sea salt and black pepper.
Pour the sauce over the partially roasted cauliflower and sprinkle over the almonds and the remaining grated cheese.
Bake in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until the top is just starting to turn golden brown and the cauliflower has softened.