Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Cauliflower Cheese

If you've been a reader from the start you may have a certain sense of deja-vu, however, as is life with these things, you start a blog, you start writing and develop and hopefully improve. Then months down the line you read your initial posts and think "perhaps they need a little work..."  I have occasionally gone back and revised things; sometimes including photos but to make wholesale revisions seems a bit pointless as if I'm honest the earlier threads are barely read by anyone including me so it would only be pandering to my sense of being a perfectionist.  


That all said, there are recipes or germs of recipes in there which I've made time and time again and it's a bit frustrating to think I can't share them properly.  Hence, here's cauliflower cheese again!  The upside is I've been feeding my son this recipe since he was about 6 months old in various guises so I can now give you tips on every age group!  There, I've kind of justified repeating myself, I think.


Look, I know cauliflower cheese is easy but the fact you can buy it frozen means not everyone knows how to make it and also it's a cheap, nutritious meal for a baby or toddler that takes less time than walking to a shop to buy a jar.  Also I think people get scared by making a roux, certainly with a baby or toddler in tow but this sauce contains no roux and is way easier as a result.

Cauliflower cheese - made approx 5 portions to serve with other vegetables for a toddler.  May make similar amounts for a baby if you're not serving other things with it.  Adaptations for different age groups below.

Ingredients

1/2 - 2/3 Head of cauliflower (you can also use broccoli mixed in if you like)
1/2 Pint full fat milk
75-150g Mature or Extra Mature Cheddar (smaller quantity for younger babies).
2 dsp cornflour

Method

Boil the cauliflower in small florets (and broccoli if using) in boiling water for 4-7 minutes (4 minutes if making the baked toddler / adult recipe, 7 minutes if making for younger kids).

Put the milk in a jug and heat in a microwave for 2-3 minutes until hot.  Mix the cornflour with some cold water to form a paste and mix into the hot milk stirring continually.  Put back in the microwave for 30 seconds or so to thicken.

Grate the cheese and put 75g in the sauce, give a mix to melt it in.

For babies still on smoother purees, either puree the cauliflower with the sauce in a blender until to the texture you need (you may need a little extra water or milk if it's a bit thick), or if they are on coarser foods, use a food processor or mash with a fork.  For older babies you could just chop the cauliflower into very small pieces.

For toddlers or babies on finger food you can simply mix the sauce with the cauliflower and serve when cool enough, allowing them to feed themselves.

For toddlers or adults, I like to put into a dish, sprinkle with the extra 75g cheddar if using and bake for 20 minutes until browning on top in a preheated oven at 200oC / 400F / Gas mark 6.

This freezes reasonably well.  For the mashed versions, freeze in pots in the freezer and reheat in a microwave.  For the toddler / adult version, put in individual pyrex dishes (e.g. ramekins) with the cheese sprinkled on top but freeze before baking.  Allow to defrost then bake for 20-25 minutes as per the normal recipe.  It is a little squishier on reheating after freezing but my son didn't seem to mind.

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