Cauliflower cheese

A little James Martin magic adds fabulous flavour and a good deal of oomph to the old British classic, cauliflower cheese. More cheese recipes
By James Martin
Cauliflower cheese
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Effort: easy


For the cauliflower

  • 1 large cauliflower, divided into florets
  • 3 tbsp butter

For the cheese sauce

  • 1 cloves
  • 1 bay leaves
  • 1 small onion
  • 600 ml milk
  • 25 g butter
  • 25 g plain flour
  • 200 ml single cream
  • 1 tsp English mustard
  • 250 g mature cheddar cheese
  • 1 pinches black pepper
  • 1 pinches nutmeg, freshly grated


1. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and lightly cook the cauliflower florets. Drain.

2. To make the sauce, first stud the clove through the bay leaf and into the onion and place in a saucepan with the milk. Warm the milk slowly, this will allow the flavours to infuse into the milk.

3. In a separate saucepan, melt the butter, and stir in the flour. Cook over a low heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the simmering milk, a ladle at a time, continuing to stir, until the mixture is thick and smooth. Bubble gently for 5-6 minutes.

4. Remove the onion and add the cream. Stir in the mustard and 200g of the grated cheese. Season to taste with salt, freshly ground black pepper and a little nutmeg.

5. Warm 3 tablespoons of butter in a frying pan and add the cauliflower florets. Roll them in the butter, without allowing them to colour, and then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

6. Set the oven to 200°/gas 6. Spoon a little cheese sauce into an ovenproof dish; arrange the cauliflower on top and coat with more of the sauce. Sprinkle the last of the grated cheddar on top and bake for 10-15 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and golden.

Variations: Any cheese that melts well can be used, Wensleydale, Lancashire or Stilton is good.

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