We eat cauli-broc cheese a lot in our house. There’s nothing particularly noteworthy about it; it’s just steamed veg baked in a quick, rich cheese sauce. The sauce is my easy microwave all in one method. I use this method of white sauce making for a wealth of things: gratins, lasagnes, pies – the only rule being that all the ingredients must go in cold, it won’t work if you have infused the milk first or used it to poach fish for example and it is still warm. I add cream when I have some in, and also a teaspoon of English mustard. This gives the sauce depth – the heat of the mustard doesn’t come through in such a small amount so don’t worry about that. I often use up Bries or blue cheeses in this. The whole thing is prepped, cooked and on the table in 1/2 an hour. It’s a good way of getting two very nutritious veggies into children, plus lots of calcium via the sauce. I always choose a fresh calui by looking at the leaves, which are my favourite bit of it. Leave as many on as possible, only chuck the ratty or brown looking ones on the outside.
So, there we go. Not particularly groundbreaking, certainly not earth shattering, just a quick, delicious, healthy meal for family in under half an hour. We commonly eat this with good quality sausages from the butchers.
Serves: 6 adults
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
1 large head of cauliflower, leaves still on (get as fresh a cauli’ as poss), cut into 8 segments.
1 large broccoli, cut into 8 segments, including stalk.
For the quick cheese sauce:
750ml whole milk
50g plain flour
100g mature cheddar or similar cheese – plus a bit more for on top
Salt and pepper
Splash of double cream (optional)
Teaspoon of English mustard (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 190C.
- To make the sauce, put the milk, flour and butter into a large jug or bowl suitable for the microwave and cook on full power for 5-7 minutes. Stir every minute or so with a whisk. It will suddenly thicken up, at this point, lower the heat to medium and cook out for a further 3 minutes – this gets rid of the raw flour taste. Once cooked, add your cheese – and mustard / cream if using, season, and stir to combine.
- Meanwhile, trim the very end of the stalks and pull off any tough or browning outer leaves from the cauli. Then cut into segments and steam them in the same large pan. I simply pour in a couple of mugful’s worth of boiling water and let the veg cook over a high heat in the steam with the lid on. (You don’t need a ‘steamer’ to steam veg.) When it’s cooked, which should be about 10 minutes or so (test the stalk with a skewer or sharp knife), remove and drain. Leave the lid off to release the steam.
- Tip the veg into a large pie / lasagne dish or similar, making sure no water is in with the veg. Pour over the cheese sauce, making sure all the veg is covered. Now scatter the remaining cheese over.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.