I'm in the mood for autumn comfort food, so I've been cooking a lot of it and loading a heavier plate at work for lunch. I need to be a little bit more careful and get some exercise on the weekend, otherwise it's just getting too much. I need to make a few lighter meals again, but before I start with those, let's talk about cauliflower cheese.
Cauliflower cheese is such a nice side with many different dishes and I could eat it as the main dish as well. I often make cauliflower cheese just with melted cheese on top, but lately I've made it more often with a proper roux based white sauce. The white sauce does make it so much better, but is of course a bit of extra work. If you use colourful cauliflower like the purple and yellow ones, it's also easy to add a bit of a colour to the dish. I used yellow cauliflower on one of these samples. Sometimes I roast the cauliflower first instead of boiling or steaming, as roasted cauliflower is just so tasty.
I just saw today that my blogging friend Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe blog had also written about cauliflower cheese. She had made a quite special creation of cauliflower cheese pasties. I think that's a great combination and is lifting the dish to another level of comfort food. This will definitely go on my to-cook-list. Johanna also linked to her previous creative cauliflower cheese dishes, which are so inspirational. Recently she shared an idea with me how to use leftover cauliflower cheese: on a pizza! That's another candidate for the must-try-list. Go and have a look at her post and nice blog, if you haven't already.
Here are my simple steps for making this basic cauliflower cheese with roux based white sauce and Cheddar. The photos are just some different cauliflower cheese cooking sessions lately.
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp wheat flour
100 g grated Cheddar
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp vegetable stock powder
A grind of ground black pepper
500 ml water (cauliflower cooking water can be used)
Cut the cauliflower into florets and cook them in water. Save the cooking water and place the florets in an oven dish.
Prepare the roux. Heat the butter in a pan and whisk in the wheat flour. Let the flour cook a bit, for about 2 minutes.
Slowly add some of the cauliflower cooking water and keep whisking. Gradually add more water until you are happy with the texture.
Season the sauce and start adding the cheese in there. Whisk the cheese in and let it melt into an even sauce.
Pour the sauce on the cauliflower. Add some additional grated cheese on top and bake the cauliflower cheese at 180 C for about 25 minutes.