Autumn gradually segues into Winter, and as it does by 5.00pm kitchens throughout our suburbs begin to emit aromas of succulent roasted cuts. As to what constitutes a ‘roast dinner’ is as unique to each family as the padprints of its members. Raise the topic and prepare for an onslaught from passionate folk who will wax lyrical over their family’s version.
Life is busy and as a consequence, meals are pared down. Let’s not allow our sacred roasts to become casualties of modern times. What was originally a family meal with many accompanying side dishes, is sometimes reduced to meat and basic veg. Coursing through the bloodlines of our particular family roast ancestry, are baking dishes of golden cauliflower cheese. So, when I spied these beauties at our local supermarket this week, a culinary genome was activated.
That night, positioned beside a crispy golden bird, roasted potatoes and blanched greens sat a piping hot baking dish of Cauliflower Cheese. And as the metal serving spoon broke through the crust to scoop out the florets nestled in their creamy sauce, I’m sure I heard a collective gasp from the heavens.
1/2 large or 1 small cauliflower
40 g butter
2 tbsp flour
1 cup milk
generous handful of grated cheese
1-2 rashers bacon
Slice cauliflower into manageable florets and steam or microwave until tender. Arrange in baking dish.
Melt the butter over medium heat.
Remove from heat and stir in the flour until lumps disappear. Return to heat and cook for 1 minute.
Add milk and increase heat, stirring constantly until sauce thickens. Add cheese, reduce heat and keep stirring until sauce is smooth and thick (add extra milk if required).
Pour sauce over cauliflower and sprinkle bacon over the top.
Place in a 180 degree celsius oven and cook until sauce begins to brow and bacon crisps – about 15 minutes.
Postscript: This side dish is but one of many that families across the globe serve with their roasted meats. I wonder what yours is.