".. Cauliflowers are cauliflowers only during the warm months.
Winter-hardy cauliflowers are more likely to be a type of broccoli,
rated as tougher than true cauliflowers .."
Bob Flowerdew, The Gourmet Gardener
Summer seems to be a bit of a puzzle this year. With raging bushfires one day and torrential flooding the next, a little comfort food in this surprisingly damp weather would doubtless not go astray. Cauliflower and cheese, a bite of pepper and dash of mustard just for perks. A thick and creamy soup that drinks like a warm embrace. One that wraps itself around you tightly and says "I'm never letting go". Does anyone else find that line too cheesy? Never fear, cauliflower and cheese go together like old friends. Take for instance the British dish - cauliflower cheese. I don't think it needs any more elaboration than that.
Cauliflower is cheap this time of year and it helps the hip pocket to be 'Eating with the Seasons', especially in times such as these when one in five workers fear losing their job and the hospitality industry sits on the brink of turmoil. I have to say, I find it a little hypocritical that Suze Orman came out of the closet only to tell people to stop eating out (har har!). Moving on, cheddar cheese is choice for melting. I chopped up 30 g of cheddar to the consistency of fine breadcrumbs, sprinkled it into four 6 cm circles on some non-stick baking paper on a heavy steel baking sheet, gave them a good crack of black pepper and popped them in the oven for roughly 8 minutes at 180ºC. I removed them when they had coloured up nicely and become firm and crisp to the touch and served them with the soup, alongside a few good, thick slices of toasted soy and linseed bread from Sonoma. If it's to your taste, you could add a dash of Tabasco or Worcestershire and a small pot of mustard or horseradish cream to slather onto your bread before dipping.
15 g unsalted butter
100 g (1 small) brown onion, finely chopped
8 g (4 cloves) garlic, minced
5 g maldon sea salt
200 g (1 small head) cauliflower, florets only
10 g hot English mustard
320 g milk
8 g fish sauce
40 g cheddar cheese, grated
Melt the butter in a small saucepan and toss in the onion, garlic and salt.
Saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes then add everything but for the cheese.
Cover and let it barely simmer for 40 minutes then add the cheese, a few cracks of black pepper or cumin and wizz it all up in a blender.
Serve hot with thickly sliced and toasted bread for mopping up the bowl with.