Holiday Wind-Down

Posted on 1st May, 2018

Running the cupboards and fridge down before a holiday is a good idea. There’s no chance of coming back to mouldy bread, rancid milk, soft vegetables and rotten fruits but it does mean you have to face the challenge of using what you’ve got left. With a fairly bare fridge, not much going in the garden quite yet and only a couple of cans of beans left in the cupboard I decided to make a variation on cauliflower cheese. A simple but tasty meal that really does tick all the boxes.

 

Last week’s food shop was a frugal affair because I wanted to make sure everything could be used up and while I’m pleased the supermarkets are selling fruit and vegetables that they would have rejected only a few months ago, I really wish they wouldn’t refer to this perfectly good food as ‘wonky’. Not so very long ago all of this produce would have been on sale as normal vegetables and fruit but the supermarkets decided in their wisdom that the ‘public’ wanted ‘perfect’! Safe to say the public want decent, affordable produce that rewards the growers and doesn’t get bulldozed back into the ground because it’s lumpy, bumpy, too big or too small. The only benefit I can see about labelling this perfectly good produce as ‘wonky’ is that the price can be half that of its ‘perfect’ cousins. To this end I bought a really big ‘wonky’ cauliflower for 50p!!

 

A cauliflower is always a great basis to a meal and with the addition of a can of mixed beans and a few potatoes we’re halfway there. I’m afraid this dish was produced on the hop because I was rather tied up with last minute arrangements so making a proper béchamel was out of the question, feel free to make the real deal if you have the time though. Nevertheless my finished dish was none the worse for the cheats version.

 

Try and explore the trend of selling ‘wonky’ produce because taste-wise there’s nothing in it, and realistically they usually get chopped up anyway so who is to know if was perfect to start with or not?

 

One of the downsides of a traditional cauliflower cheese is that on its own it’s not particularly substantial, inevitably you will have to serve something with it but this dish is a one dish meal. Cheap, tasty, filly and very quick.

Hearty Cauliflower Cheese

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

Cauliflower

Potatoes

Can of mixed beans (borlotti or butter beans would work well)

Cheddar cheese or similar (swap for vegan cheese substitute if you’re dairy free)

Milk (or milk substitute)

Salt & pepper

Cornflour

Rapeseed or olive oil

Butter (if you like)

 

Method:

 

Cut the potatoes and cauliflower into medium size pieces and place in a baking dish, pour over sufficient oil to coat the vegetables but not so much that they’re swimming in it. Sprinkle a little salt and place in a medium oven for around 15 minutes. Take out of the oven and turn the vegetables to get an even colour. When the potatoes are soft enough to break when pressed, add the can of beans. Stir into the vegetables and return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes.

While the vegetables are cooking grate the cheese, you need enough to add to the sauce (a good couple of handfuls) and more to sprinkle over the top.

 

Heat the milk (I tend to use a bowl in the microwave to stop the milk from catching on the bottom of a pan)  quantities will vary depending on how many you’re cooking for but I used around 300ml, add a knob of butter if required, a little salt and pepper (remember the cheese will contain salt too) and enough grated cheese to taste.  Add a couple of heaped teaspoons of cornflour to a little water and mix well, remove the bowl of heated milk and  melted cheese and stir in the cornflour mix. Return to the microwave, checking and stirring the sauce to make sure it’s thickening. When it coats the back of a spoon remove the bowl. Check the progress of the potatoes and cauliflower and if cooked pour the sauce over the top. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and return to the oven for a few minutes until brown on the top.

 

You can add other vegetables if you have them. The choice endless and it’s yours.

 

I do hope you give it a go the next time you’re trying to use up those last few items before your holidays. Saves the waste, saves you money and as it’s a one pot dish it saves the washing up. Happy cooking.

 

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