Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Cauli_Cheese: Slight Reprise

Heston's cheese sauce was the culinary revelation of 2012. The gastronomic Dangermouse made béchamel obsolete by mixing cornflour with finely grated cheese, rather than add it into the liquid to thicken the sauce. Oh, and the liquid isn't milk, which compromises the sauce's cheesiness, but bouillon, which perks it up! 


Cauli w/Red Liecester cheese & Serrano purée sauce.
This revelation occurred on TV in the depths of winter as I was rapidly losing my eyesight. Several times over the ensuing months, as the darkness encroached, I asked my carer, or anyone willing, to make the comforting cheesey sauce for me. Vision restored by surgical intervention, I did not wait for my second cataract operation to essay it here and Easy Macaroni Cheese with Peas was the first proper post on my renamed 'n' reloaded food blog, More Gravy.

Since then, I must have made my crude version of this sauce a million times. Well, a couple of dozen, anyway. Not bragging but FYI, late last year, I cooked a cauliflower cheese for thirty-plus hungry people. For the sauce, I used 3L of Marigold to 800g grated Cheddar, plus two heaped tablespoonfuls of cornflour. It took a minute to thicken, but I am gratified to report that the sauce came together beautifully in the finish & right on time.

At home, I have been known to use my handicap as an excuse to  purchase ready-trimmed florets of cauli 'n' broccoli from the diabolical, rob-yourself so-called 'convenience' store on Walworth Road. I'd much rather use an organic cauli from FareShares, obvs. but they usually sell out pretty swiftly on Thursdays. I'll quickly knock up a cheese sauce while the florets steam, using whatever medium hard cheese is to hand: red Leicester; double Gloucester and, of course, Cheddar, Cheddar, Cheddar.

If I have cheese rinds collected in a little tupperware in the 'fridge, I simmer them in the bouillon to infuse it with cheesiness for twenty minutes or more before making the sauce. Sooner than over-cook the florets, I crisp 'em in the oven. I'm not so fond of cream cheese that I regularly have the stuff hanging around, but if so, I'll finish the sauce by beating a good dollop in, off the heat. More often, liking chilli, I'll mix hot sauce in to finish as with the Cajohns serrano purée in the red Leicester sauce.

The Last Cauli_Cheese supper
But all that cheesiness is behind me, now, for I have given up cheese - and eggs & butter, too - for Lent, to see what it's like being vegan for forty days. If pushed to explain, I refer to this satirical song about spiritual one-upmanship, Dude by I-Fly: 'I've said no to eggs and cheese, but you're just eating what you please.' I know they're joking and I am not particularly respectful of religious rituals, but I suppose I was looking for an opportunity to abstain from consuming all animal products, at least for a while.