The best cauliflower & broccoli cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.
2. Peel and finely slice the garlic and put it into a medium pan on a medium heat with the butter.
3. When the butter has melted, stir in the flour for a minute to make a paste, then gradually add the milk, whisking as you go, until lovely and smooth.
4. Add the broccoli (cut up first, if using fresh) and simmer for around 20 minutes, or until the broccoli is cooked through and starts to break down, then mash or blitz with a stick blender (adding an extra splash of milk to loosen, if using fresh broccoli). Grate in half the Cheddar and season to perfection.
5. Arrange the cauliflower in an appropriately sized baking dish (cut into florets first, if using fresh), pour over the broccoli white sauce and grate over the remaining Cheddar.
6. Blitz the bread into breadcrumbs in a food processor, then pulse in the thyme leaves and almonds. Toss with a lug of oil and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper, then scatter evenly over the cauliflower cheese.
7. Bake for 1 hour, or until golden and cooked through, then enjoy!
It’s really good fun to play around with different cheeses in this dish and how they taste and melt. It’s also nice to try different veg instead of cauliflower – for instance, 2–3cm chunks of celeriac, squash, potatoes or leeks would all work a treat. Have a play and see what your favourites are – some veg might take longer to cook than others, so test with a knife to check they’re cooked through before serving.
Support our British cheeses – swap Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire into this recipe in place of the Cheddar. Mrs Kirkham’s is one of the best cheeses around for melting – sprinkle on top of a baked gratin dish like this to take it to the next level!