Cauliflower Cheese with Bacon and Leeks
This makes the more usual cauliflower cheese into a substantial main course. You really only need baked jacket potatoes, or warmed granary bread, to go with it.
2 medium-sized cauliflowers, their outer leaves cut off and stems trimmed, each cauliflower cut into three. Make a cut in each piece of stem, to ensure it cooks properly. Steam, until tender.
For the sauce:
4-5 good tablespoons olive oil
4 medium-sized leeks, each trimmed, the ends cut off, and the leeks sliced thinly - if they are fat leeks, slice them down the middle and then into thin discs
6 rashers of best back bacon, rind and fat trimmed off - I use scissors for this - and the bacon sliced into thin strips
1-2 cloves garlic, skinned and finely chopped
1 heaped tablespoon flour
1 & 1/4 pints/710ml milk
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
a good grinding of black pepper
a grating of nutmeg
6oz/170g grated best Cheddar cheese - I use Mull Cheddar. Use about two-thirds for the sauce, and reserve the rest for sprinkling over the surface of the dish.
To make the sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan or sauté pan and fry the sliced leeks and bacon strips together for several minutes, until the leeks are quite soft. Add the chopped garlic and the flour and stir in well. Cook for a minute, then gradually add the milk, stirring all the time, until the sauce bubbles. Let it boil for one minute, then draw the pan off the heat and stir in the Dijon mustard, the seasonings, and two-thirds of the grated cheese.
Put the steamed cauliflower into a heatproof dish, and spoon the sauce over. Scatter the remainder of the grated cheese over the surface, and put the dish under a hot grill, until the cheese melts and turns golden brown.
Serve, or keep warm until you are ready to serve and eat.
CAULIFLOWER AND CAPER SALAD
2 cauliflowers, cut into small, neat florets
extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon capers, preserved in olive oil
Place the cauliflower florets over a pan of boiling water and steam until the stalks are quite tender. Allow to cool.
To assemble the salad, drizzle the extra virgin olive oil over the cooked, cooled florets, add a squeeze of lemon juice and scatter the capers over.