… so i’m still having issues with my knee but like all proper men i’m ignoring the pain and expecting it to just go away. Well, maybe i’m not quite as bad as your average man but I am thinking that I just have to deal with it on a daily basis and carry on with my life. My physiotherapist tells me it’s probably a torn ligament or muscle but there’s no swelling so I need to strap it and rest it when I can. Of course i’m currently obsessed with my boxing and HIIT classes so the thought of not doing these depresses me slightly. Why can’t we just not get any older and our bodies remain at the same fitness level as when we were kids, I simply don’t understand. To be fair, I wasn’t a very fit kid anyway. I guess back in the 70’s and 80’s we just ate the food that was put in front of us and as regular readers will know my mum is a very good cook so we always ate well and lots of it. I didn’t care for football or sports at school, preferring to hang out with the stoners in the park or by the river with the nerds and talk about existential shit. I really didn’t start to take an interest in my health until much later on in life. Don’t get me wrong, I always wanted to be slim and muscular, us gay men are as much victims of societies beauty pressures as women always have been and it seems everyone is now but I just never had the conviction to do anything about it. Plus, back then the whole fitness revolution hadn’t quite kicked in. We had Jane Fonda, the Green Goddess and Mr Motivator, hardly the paradigm of virtuosity… now fitness has become an industry and a respectable vocation for many people… and i’m just catching up, at the point when my body wants to eat cheeseburgers and sleep… a lot. of course writing a food blog doesn’t help, especially when cake posts are more popular than savoury recipes.
curried roast cauliflower cheese
I guess this twist on a classic won’t get the popularity it deserves… and it really does deserve your attention. The cauliflower has had something of a boost in likability in recent years. It’s an incredibly versatile vegetable as it’s unique subtle flavour means it works well with lots of styles of cooking and it’s adaptable texture means it can be used as an alternative to rice, mashed potato and even steak! But you know me, I like a classic and I adore cauliflower cheese… as I mention above, my mum is an exceptional cook and her cauliflower cheese was legendary and regularly made an appearance on a Friday night, with a simple cheese and creamy sauce served with golden breadcrumbs on top. This twist adds in some tantalising caramelised onions and a fiery curry cheesy sauce that may sound a little peculiar but works exceptionally well. The whole dish could work as a stand alone meal or as a side dish or part of an extended meal of tapas style dishes…
- 1 medium cauliflower – trimmed but with some green leaves left on the bottom third
- 2 medium white onions – peeled and thinly sliced
- olive oil and butter
- 2 cloves garlic – finely crushed
- 1 tablespoon medium curry powder or
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds.
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin seeds.
- 1/4 teaspoons dry mustard.
- 1/4 teaspoons ground fenugreek seeds.
- 1/4 teaspoons ground black pepper.
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
- 1/4 teaspoon ground chilli
for the cheese sauce
- 20g butter
- 3 tablespoons plain flour
- half pint of veg stock
- half pint of milk
- a large handful of strong cheddar – finely grated
I made this dish all in one small casserole dish with a lid (apart from the steamed cauliflower) that could go from hob to oven, which I preheated to 160C
start with your cauliflower… you want to pre-cook it but not until it’s too soft as it will cook again in the oven. I steamed mine for 8 minutes – set aside
next, caramelise your onions by heating a little butter and olive oil in a pan, add the onions along with the garlic and let them soften for roughly 8 mins, then turn up the heat and add 2/3rds of the curry spices and let them bake off for a minute or two, then turn down the heat and let the whole lot caramelise for another 10 minutes until soft and gloriously golden – you may need to add a drop or two of water to stop the spices burning
once the onions are golden, set the pan aside and place your cauliflower on top of the bed of onions
next make the cheese sauce which is a classic white sauce with added cheese…
melt the butter in a pan and once melted take off the heat and stir in the flour until you have a thick paste, place the pan back onto a gentle heat and slowly add the stock and milk, a ladle-full at a time, stirring all the time until you have a thick silky sauce… add the remaining curry spices and gently simmer this for 4 minutes then add the cheese and stir in until it’s all melted.
pour the curried cheesy sauce over the cauliflower… you don’t want it drenched in sauce, just lightly coated – save the rest for some other vegetables or a pie… then place in the oven and roast for 10 mins until golden and bubbly
eat and of course, enjoy!