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Cauliflower (and Butternut Squash) Cheese with Wild Garlic

Comfort eating? Me? Never.

A global pandemic and international quarantine seemed as good a time as any to show my face on my own website again. Sharing recipes with you feels like a nice way to use the approximately six million hours a week of spare time I have on my hands now that I’m not allowed to go the pub, see any of my friends or family or even venture outside of my own postcode.

A recipe for wild garlic feels all of a sudden potentially less useful now that you might not be permitted to wander about foraging for it. I was lucky enough to get a bag in this week’s Riverford box, so I hope some of you might find a way to track it down, too. If not, you could try baking whole cloves of garlic with the cauliflower and squash to achieve a similar flavour.

Cauliflower and Butternut Squash Cheese with Wild Garlic

I roast the cauliflower as opposed to boil it for this recipe. I avoid boiling vegetables wherever I can – a habit I adopted from my Mum, who insists that boiling them reduces their nutritional content in some way. I’ve never thought to check, but trust her blindly on these matters. Everything tastes better roasted anyway, there’s something so boring about boiling a vegetable.

This would serve as a beautiful side to roast chicken or a nut loaf, or you could add cooked pasta just before the second bake to make it a main course in itself. Personally, I shoved half of this tray down me without accompaniment before work, and it was the highlight of my day.

Cauliflower and Butternut Squash Cheese with Wild Garlic

1 whole cauliflower
½ a butternut squash

50g butter
2 tbsps flour
600ml milk
1 tsp Dijon mustard
150g cheddar
Big handful wild garlic

  1. Pre heat the oven to Gas Mark 6 (180 fan).
  2. Prepare the vegetables for roasting first. Cut the cauliflower in to florets. Chop the butternut squash in to very small pieces (it cooks more slowly than cauli, so we need to keep them small so that they can keep up). Arrange in a roasting tin that they fill comfortably. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes.
  4. While the vegetables are baking, make the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and cook for a minute or so. A paste(ish) should form. Gradually add milk a splash at a time, stirring constantly, until you’ve got a thick sauce.
  5. Keep the sauce on a very low heat, thickening all the time, while you (very finely) chop your wild garlic and grate your cheese.
  6. Pour the grated cheese (reserving some for sprinkling on the top) and wild garlic in to the sauce, along with the dollop of mustard, and stir to combine. Take off the heat.
  7. Pour the cheese sauce over the cooked vegetables and stir to coat. Scatter the remaining grated cheese over the top and bake for a further 25 minutes.

I hope you’re all keeping safe and happy, in whatever ways you’re able. Eat as well as you can within the parameters of our new reality and look after yourself. You know where I am should things get weird or lonely or scary or boring.

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