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    Cauliflower Bacon Cheese

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    Cauliflower Bacon Cheese

    This recipe can be served on its own or as an accompaniment to grilled cod, haddock or roast chicken

    Serves: 4


    • Salt
    • 425ml milk
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 4 black peppercorns
    • 30g butter
    • 30g plain flour
    • 115g mature cheddar, grated
    • 1 teaspoon English mustard
    • 1 large or 2 small cauliflowers
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 onion, halved
    • 1 small onion, finely diced
    • 225g back bacon
    • 2 tablespoons finely grated fresh Parmesan


    1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6.
    2. Make the cheese sauce. Place the milk, 1 bay leaf, the peppercorns and the onion in a small pan and set over a low heat. Bring slowly to the boil, then immediately remove and leave to infuse for 20 minutes. Strain into a jug.
    3. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a low heat. Stir in the flour and gently cook for 4 minutes. Increase the heat slightly and, stirring continuously, slowly whisk in the strained milk so that it forms a smooth sauce. Simmer gently for 5 minutes, making sure the heat is not too high, so the bottom doesn¡¯t burn. Stir in the cheddar. Once melted, mix in the mustard and season to taste.
    4. Cut the cauliflower into medium-sized florets. Wash thoroughly then drop into a pan of boiling salted water with the remaining bay leaf. Cook for 5 minutes or until just tender. Drain thoroughly. Once dry, arrange in a gratin dish, stalks downwards.
    5. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a small frying pan and gently fry the onion until soft. Trim the bacon of its fat and cut into large dice. Mix into the onion and cook until it begins to turn crisp. Sprinkle the mix over the cauliflower. Finally, pour the sauce evenly over the cauliflower. At this stage, you can refrigerate the dish, covered, for a few hours. When ready to bake, scatter with Parmesan and bake in the oven for 15-25 minutes, depending on whether the cauliflower is warm or chilled. Serve when bubbling hot with a gold-flecked crust.

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