Thursday, 15 September 2011

Purple Cauliflower Cheese

When you have a cauliflower and you add a little cheese you can't fail to make something unfathomably gorgeous. There is no other place I know of that you can get a purple cauliflower apart from my local farmers' market. If you saw it at a glance you may have to do a double take to reassure yourself that it is real. 
I think the cauliflower is a very lucky vegetable. It's no looker but I'm yet to meet someone who doesn't think the union of cauliflower and cheese is glorious. Being purple as opposed to its equally delicious, much paler, white cousin adds something extra to what might otherwise have been a beige overload on the side of the plate. 
As you can see from the florets they are white inside but if anything, I reckon this makes it even more charming. For some reason I think of the cauliflower as a manly vegetable but purple seems to make it more ladylike. 
To make yourself an unctuous, cheese laden, bubbling cauliflower cheese you'll need a cauliflower, butter, flour, milk and some stupendously delicious cheese. All the measurements depend on how much cauliflower you have and how much sauce you like. First of all steam the cauliflower until it still has a little crunch left. I can't emphasise the importance of steaming it to retain as much colour as possible. If you boil it the finished dish might look like an accident.
Melt the butter then stir in enough flour to make a dry paste. Cook this for a minute or two so you don't end up tasting the flour when it's finished. Add the milk a little at a time whisking it in like your life depends on it. Keep it over a low heat until it has thickened slightly adding more milk if it is too thick. If you have the time it's great to infuse the milk for about an hour with onion, cloves, bay and nutmeg before you use it. 
Grate your chosen cheese; I used a lovely young blue cheese so it was more of a crumbling than a grating. Stir the cheese into the sauce with the heat turned off and put a little cheese to the side for later. Put the cauliflower into an oven dish and then pour the sauce over the top. Sprinkle over the remaining cheese and if you have some breadcrumbs available for scattering all the better. Bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 20-30 minutes or until golden and bubbling.
I'm not sure if there's anything as comforting or as soul warming as cauliflower cheese. I could eat it on its own quite happily but this particular one was enjoyed with some magnificent, proper, meaty sausages. The sauce that went in as white does tend to come out with a slight periwinkle hue but if you dim the lights no one ever need know. At the end of the day when something tastes this good, who cares what it looks like?

All That I'm Eating

Also, I was recently awarded blog of the week from http://fruitfortheoffice.blogspot.com/ for championing fruit and vegetables. Thank you for the award!

12 comments:

  1. Purple cauliflower? Never seen them before, but yes they are very pretty. Purple veggies have something special don’t they?

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  2. Cauliflower never gets the attention it deserves. I love it. Especially with cheese. Especially when it's PURPLE!

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  3. That is so pretty. I've heard that growers are looking at growing green caulis because people will buy brocolli but not cauli. I think it is more to do with the price they charge for a teeny tiny cauliflower.

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  4. ooh I've never had purple cauliflower- how fun!

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  5. How have I never seen purple cauliflower before? This was an awesome post. Thanks so much for sharing! =]

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  6. What a great dish - that cauliflower is just beautiful by itself but all that cheesy sauce - a real autumn dish!

    I might hve tp plan cauliflower cheese for tonight!

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  7. I saw some pre packaged in tesco! But I'm sure farmers Market is better!! They are so fun!

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  8. Pretty! I've heard rumors of purple cauliflower at our local market- will definitely be keeping my eyes open for it now!

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  9. Mmmmm we all adore cauliflower cheese too. It truly is the most gorgeous dish.A must for special occasions & every day celebrations. As children we were often given cauliflower cheese as a meal on its own .. usually left overs from the Sunday roast pork. My Mum used to make it with leeks & bacon too as a divine indulgence :)
    Wow - the purple cauliflower looks absolutely A M A Z I N G.. can't wait to try one. .. once I find one lol .

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  10. I think I've never eaten purple cauliflower before... They are so gorgeous! I will have to try them asap!

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  11. Thank you for all your comments, glad you enjoyed it!

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  12. Cauliflower cheese is just the ultimate comfort food - with, as you've said, a stupendously delicious cheese!
    Does the purple one taste any different?
    (Apologies if that is a slightly stupid question)

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