Piquant Leek and Cauliflower Cheese - Easy Recipe
Piquant Leek and Cauliflower Cheese
This is an easy cauliflower cheese recipe, suitable for a beginner, as it doesn't require much skill, and the ingredients, apart from the vegetables and thickening agent, are just whatever you have in your kitchen cupboard. Even the measurements are generalities, and accuracy is not particularly important.
Students and people who have just left home will find this comforting, and my recipe is just a variation of cauliflower cheese which to my mind is definitely in the category of comfort food.
I have always liked cauliflower cheese, but over the years I have tended to step up the stakes a bit by experimenting and adding different ingredients to ring the changes.
You Could Add Whatever Vegetables You Like Best to Make This Into a Wonderful Creamy Baked Vegetable Dish
But this is, after all, a variation of cauliflower cheese, so don't go overboard with the other vegetables, as we don’t want them to suppress the flavour of the cauliflower. Moderation is the key. Try it out with small amounts of whatever you choose, and then, if you like it, next time you can experiment a bit further.That's the way I like to cook, and I'm sure you will enjoy being a creative cook too.
I would recommend that you try adding courgettes, red peppers or leeks as a first choice, but on other occasions you could certainly try out maybe peas, tomatoes, a little spinach or cabbage, carrots, a very small amount of celery, and even potatoes or onions.
Cauliflower and Leeks
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- 1 Cauliflower
- 1/2 Leek
- 1/2 Red Pepper
- 2 oz, Grated Cheese
- A pinch Crushed Chilli flakes, Optional, and quantity according to taste
- A pinch Salt
- A pinch Pepper
- 1 clove Garlic, Optional, and quantity according to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon Mild mustard, Optional, and quantity according to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon Turmeric, Optional, and quantity according to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon Mixed herbs (or any herbs you like)
- 1/2 teaspoon Paprika powder or sauce, Optional, and quantity according to taste
- FOR THE SAUCE:
- 4 teaspoons Cornflour
- 3/4 Pint Milk
- Baby Tomatoes, Garnish (Optional):
- Wash the vegetables
- Remove the thickest stalks of the Cauliflower (you can use the leaves too - they taste like cabbage). cut the cauliflower head into florets and boil in salted water for about 5 minutes.
- Then add the leek, thinly sliced and boil for a further 5 minutes. Do not cook for longer, because they only need to be par-boiled, as they will continue cooking in the oven.
- Red pepper: Cut half a red pepper into 11/2 inch pieces and line the base of the baking dish with the raw chunks.
- Sprinkle half a teaspoonful of chilli flakes over the peppers
- When the vegetables are cooked, spoon them into the baking dish, spreading them around evenly
- Pour most of the milk into a saucepan and heat gently
- Put 4 teaspoons of cornflour into a cup, add a small amount of milk and stir until the flour is mixed with the milk without any lumps, then pour the mixture into the saucepan of warm milk and stir thoroughly with a wooden spoon, making sure to scrape the bottom and edges of the saucepan, squashing the back of the spoon against the sides of the pan to make sure that no lumps form.
- Add the rest of the milk.
- Add a handful of grated cheese and continue stirring and scraping
- Add all or any of the flavouring ingredients depending on your taste and what you have in your store cupboard
- Continue stirring until the mixture gradually comes nearly to the boil. You can then see how thick the sauce is becoming.
- Add a little of the cooked vegetable water to the sauce until it is a thick creamy texture, not too runny but not so thick that it feels rather solid.
- Bring to the boil and cook at boiling temperature for about a minute, then pour the sauce over the vegetables, making sure you have covered them evenly.
- Then sprinkle another handful of cheese evenly over the surface and cook in an oven on half heat (Gas Mark 6 or 180 degrees C.) until the top turns partly brown from the melted cheese.
- This will take about 20-25 minutes, depending on your oven.