Cauliflower’s Fluffy

This week’s box: cauliflower, onions, potatoes, purple sprouting broccoli, parsnips, aubergine and salad leaves.

Very happy to see the first cauliflower of the year nestled inside the box. It’s a good size and feels weighty; perfect for a cauliflower cheese lunch, and with all its outer leaves so fresh and in tact, means more to eat and less for the compost bin.

I learnt today that this winter cauliflower was grown on mineral rich soil and ‘hand harvested by the Riverford ‘A team’, a bunch of hardened experienced workers who can sense a cauliflower’s shape and size from five paces’. The cauliflower is a nitrogen-hungry Brassica so most farmers (non organic) push on winter crops with tractor loads of artificial fertiliser. Rapid growth occurs at the expense of flavour and good structure whilst full of chemicals I’d prefer not to eat. Which explains why they are in the veg boxes for a short season, all the more reason to enjoy the cauliflower as a complete meal.  

Cauliflower Cheese

I use 2 tbsp of cornflour but any other flour will do, 1 tbsp butter, half pint of milk or stock water or 50/50, 50g grated cheddar cheese, seasoning and freshly grated nutmeg.

I put most of the outer leaves and the florets in a small amount of boiling salted water and steamed gently for a few minutes. I like eating cauliflower that’s still got a crunch to it. I saved some of the stock water to make the sauce and put the rest in the fridge. Might use later as a base for soup or stock.

Melt butter and add cornflour, stir and cook gently in saucepan until it is a smooth paste. Add milk liquid and keeping stirring until thickens. Season and cook for a couple of minutes stirring continuously. Arrange cauliflower in oven proof dish.

Pour over sauce and grate fresh nutmeg on top. The picture on the left is a close up of my nutmeg in use not a cross section of a small brain.

I added a tomato left over from last week’s box. Sometimes I add cooked bacon pieces or an extra sprinkling of cheese. Place under a hot grill until evenly brown and piping hot. Delicious!

 

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