Menolishables; a MenU item for all

It has been so ridiculously frigidaire cool of late, that I have been maintaining my wintry soup and sauces type of cooking - usually in 'summer' it's all stir-fries, salads, idlis and chatni.. and okay, yes, still soups, but the chilled variety.

Everyone, I think, would be familiar with cauliflower cheese gratin. It's the sort of historical dish which has many family variations handed down. Lots of folk who have for one reason or another 'released' dairy from their diet tend to avoid such dishes. It's a shame for what is really a supreme comfort food that still can be considered 'healthy'. However, there are ways to still enjoy it without endangering the dietary restriction.

For vegans with philosophical reasons; the choice of soya cheese is there. It is very tasty (if a tad salty - which needs to be born in mind when seasoning the dish as a whole). For those who tend to think of milk product as coming only from cows, don't forget there is sheep's and goat's milk. If lactose is the issue, other than soy (which has it's own issues), there is rice, almond, coconut and even hemp milk. There are also some places where one can get standard milk with the lactose removed.

Very often, when I am making up a gratin dish of any sort, I reserve the fluid from pre-cooking the vegetables and use that with the addition of  some vege stock powder (or cube) as the liquid, in place of milk, to make the sauce.

You are all cooks who know how to boil a vegetable. The basic cauliflower is delicious enough (one of my personal and perennial faves!) To make the dish more of a meal than a snack, though, you can add carrot, pumpkin, some varieties of beans, broccoli.... or even (given that the recent run on MenU has been tattie based) cubed potato into the pot.  I have even used three or four together. Cauli can be cut into nice florettes, or just quartered - however you wish really. Root veges ought to be not greater than 1" cubes so as to have a similar cooking time. If using the vege liquor for the sauce, strain into a jug and allow to cool slightly. Remember that cauli can be a 'wet' vege, so stick back on the heat for a bit to steam off the excess - or put into a colander and leave straining well before combining with the sauce.

I trust you all are capable of a basic white/cheese sauce also. Melt some butter (or non-dairy fat), add some flour (if off wheat, then rice flour or just a cornflower/starch can be used), then stir in the liquid of choice, bringing to boil and texture you desire... I like my sauce to be 'mobile' but not runny, but some prefer thick ... it's entirely up to you! Standard white sauce made with my stock liquid alternative will be quite well seasoned, but you can of course add herbs if you are not using cheese to give piquancy. The amount, type and quality of cheese is also up to you. One trick I learned long years past at school, is to add a little mustard to the sauce, as this brings out the cheese flavour and a shake of paprika doesn't go amiss either.

Add the veges to the sauce and present as you wish. (For more formal meals and increased 'beauty', you can put into a baking dish, top with sliced tomato and more grated cheese, then grill until bubbling. There are variations in which only blanched veges are used, layered in a casserole, the sauce on top and then baked.... takes longer and has a slightly different taste and texture.

If you haven't used tatties directly in the mix, then a nice dry mash (ie no milk or butter just the potatoes crushed) will help mop up the sauce. Or a nice hunk of wholemeal or rye bread....

What? You want a piccie?  This was my latest batch - just cauli and lots of yummy sauce. Make a full batch and refrigerate or freeze what you don't want for another meal.  Enjoy!!!

12 comments:

  1. Looks yummy, this is one way I could get my hubby to eat cauliflower.

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    1. Hari OM
      hehehe yes, indeed it was the way mother gets kiddlywinks to eat their veges too!!! Yxx

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  2. Goord morning,
    at our home there are cauliflower in all possible variations, and I'm always been glad that it also like the children! The other day I met a variant, because the cabbage was sliced and placed; It is very tasty!

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    1. Hari Om
      Oh yummy - yes I can imagine that being very tasty indeed - am off shopping today and will include some cabbage for just that purpose! Yxx

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  3. The best way to cook cauliflower (in my opinion at least) is just the cauliflower as a whole, cook 20 minutes (probably too much, but that's how I like it) and then cover with cornstarch sauce (milk and cornstarch, stir while heating until a good thick sauce) and grated nutmeg.
    The worst cauliflower I ever had, was cooked cauliflower, then cooled and put in vinegar. It was awful and the only thing I didn't eat at my friend's place in Italy. Just the thought still gives me the shivers!

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    1. Hari Om
      Yes the cornstarch version is the one I refer to above - though hadn't thought of nutmeg - will try it!!!

      That putting vinegar on veges I discovered in Greece also - highly unpleasant, but each to their own I suppose!
      Yxx

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  4. Oh Aunty Yam, that looks sooooo yummy I haf accidentally licked the screen and made a bit of a mess....I'm just gonna run and hide now!
    Loves and licky kisses
    Princess Leah xxx

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  5. WOW! That is very saucy and looks delicious!! Me and Stanley can lick the bowl on that!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

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    1. Hari OM
      BOL - that used to be angel Jade's favourite treat! .. sometimes I'd even some just for her (she loved the cauli too!)... and Jasper cat wasn't averse to a taste either... Yxx

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  6. Oh, that looks good. Could you stir in a dollop or meat for us furries, please?

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  7. Sounds pretty good and nice at the moment with our cold cold winter.
    Merle.............

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