For a recent Sunday lunch I decided that I would make my own cauliflower cheese, which would be gluten free.
I didn’t really follow a recipe, as partly I didn’t want to make too much, also not sure how appropriate recipes are when using gluten free ingredients.
I first made a cheese sauce, this was done by melting butter in a pan and then adding a similar amount of gluten free plain flour to make a roux. To this I added some milk to make a sauce. What I have found is that gluten free flour can thicken quite a lot, so don’t add too much. This is then cooked over a low heat to blend and thicken.
Once the sauce starts to thicken enough, I added greater cheddar cheese. I use a mature cheddar as I like a strong cheese flavour. I find you don’t want the sauce too thick, as cooking in the oven will thicken the sauce even more.
In an ovenproof dish I place the cauliflower florets, trying to ensure that they are all of a similar size. This is then covered in the cheese sauce and then place extra grated cheese on top.
Echoing the M&S dish, I added some small cubes of gluten free bread to add crunch.
This was then cooked in the oven for about 30 minutes.
Though I do like cauliflower cheese sometimes it is nice to cook cauliflower in a different way. For a recent Sunday roast, I pan fried cauliflower florets in butter and some Schwarz seasoning.
The key for me is to ensure that the cauliflower is cooked, ensuring that it isn’t overcooked and falls apart. I also like a nice caramelisation on the edges which adds texture and flavour.
I also slice the florets in half to have a flat edge when they go in the pan.
This time I cooked in the pan slowly over a low heat, but if in a hurry I usually brown in the frying pan with butter before moving to the oven to finish off. The oven was quite full this time, so that’s why I did it in the pan instead.
Back in the summer for an evening meal, we had slow roasted pork belly with potatoes and salad.
The pork belly was from M&S and comes already seasoned. It has no rind, so you don’t get crackling, but slow roasting usually (for me results) in rubbery crackling anyhow. It is a tasty joint and a favourite in our house.
I did small roast potatoes, using Maris Piper potatoes which are par boiled and then roasted in hot oil in the oven. I generally add a little butter towards the end of cooking to add colour and a final crispness.
The salad included a personal favourite of thinly sliced raw cauliflower in a spicy mayonnaise. We first had this eating out at acafe in Wapping Wharf in Bristol. We stole the idea and now have it on a regular basis.
So the cauliflower dish I have been getting from Marks and Spencer seems to have been taken off the shelves.
The Truffled Cauliflower Cheese described as cauliflower in a cheddar cheese and truffle sauce, topped with acheese, mushroom and chive ciabatta crumb was rather nice, and quick and easy just needing thirty minutes in the oven.
It was a really nice dish, plenty of cauliflower, nice sauce, good flavour of truffle. Though I think it needed more topping, this was more of a personal preference than a criticism.
Alas the last few times I have been to my local M&S there is no sign of it on the shelves, which was a pity. I didn’t think it was a seasonal dish, as it was there well before Christmas. There is a normal cauliflower cheese dish, but that doesn’t look the same and I suspect I would be disappointed.
Now as we enter a second lockdown I have been reflecting on some meals I had out over the last few years which never made it to the blog. Sometimes I just run out of time to write up a review and sometimes I forget to write up the meal.
Back in December 2019 I was heading South of the river in London for an event where I was delivering a presentation. With time for lunch I headed off to Wahaca on the Southbank. This was the branch where I had first eaten food from Wahaca back in August 2016. Then I had really enjoyed the fresh delicious food and thought at the time that I would really like to go again. Since then I have been quite a few times, however I hadn’t been to the Southbank restaurant for a fair few years.
The restaurant on the South Bank, is built from eight recycled shipping containers arranged across two overhanging levels. These brightly coloured containers make for an interesting eating environment. The team were friendly and welcoming.
I went with three dishes from the street food menu.
The Ancho Chicken Tacos was two larger corn tortillas, grilled and filled with grilled chicken and avocado, with ancho rub, guacamole & green tomatillo salsa.
These were very nice, I enjoyed the spiciness of the accompaniments and the fresh tender chicken..
On previous visits I have gone with the steak tacos, though this time I went with the slow cooked beef brisket tacos.
The beef was beautifully tender and I liked the accompanying pickles on top.
My third dish was the delicious crispy cauliflower bites, crispy buttermilk-battered florets, with roast serrano allioli.
I’ve had these before and these were really nice. The florets were larger than other times I’ve had this dish, but this didn’t make a difference, it was a delicious plate of food.
Overall I really enjoyed my meal and thought all the dishes were delicious.
I quite like cauliflower cheese and I have been enjoying eating this dish from Marks and Spencer’s with some recent Sunday lunches.
It’s described as cauliflower in a cheddar cheese and truffle sauce, topped with acheese, mushroom and chive ciabatta crumb.
There is plenty of caulifower and just the right amount of sauce. I liked the addition of the truffle and though I did think it needed more topping this was a personal preference, and I did enjoy the topping which browned nicely in the oven..
So there I was going though some photographs from January when I saw some delicious looking dishes from Wahaca. I realised that I had this great meal and hadn’t written (well I had started but not finished) a blog post about it.
Well, so back in January I was in London for a morning meeting, so I had been up early and was feeling hungry so was looking somewhere for lunch. I know how much I had enjoyed the food at Wahaca I decided it was pretty much a no brainer to go there for lunch, especially as I had a special offer in my email inbox.
The nearest branch to me was the Covent Garden one. Each Wahaca branch has its own style and feel. The Covent Garde branch is downstairs in the basement, but does feel quite bright and open.
There was a lovely warm welcome from the staff and I sat at the table and viewed the menu.
I had a special offer which meant I could get a dish for a pound.
Pack your January with veg and treat yourself with our ultimate range of vegetarian street food dishes. From buttermilk cauliflower bites to our mushroom and grilled cheese tacos there’s plenty of delicious veggie dishes to add to your meal. Just show this email to your waiter to get your dish for £1
For me that was an easy choice and I went with the crispy cauliflower bites, crispy buttermilk-battered florets, with roast serrano allioli.
These were delicious crunchy florets with a soft melt in the mouth centre, accompanied with a tasty allioli. I really like these and enjoyed these.
I had another dish, the prawn cocktail tostada.
This was sustainably sourced prawns with red chilli mayo, crisp lettuce & avocado on crispy tostada. This was the Wahaca version of the prawn cocktail. It was not as good as I hoped, the prawns lacked flavour, as did the avocado, but it was still fresh and tasty.
My third dish was grilled mushroom & cheese tacos.
These were sweet ancho rubbed mushrooms with crispy grilled cheese. The mushrooms were delicious and I really enjoyed that strong flavour of funghi and spicy ancho. I do find that Wahaca often add crispy grilled cheese to dishes, which I don’t always see that it adds anything to that dish.
I was feeling hungry, so I went with another dish and went with the steak and cheese tacos.
This was chargrilled steak served with grilled cheese, chipotle salsa & avocado. Again more grilled cheese. This use to be an optional extra, but now was part of the dish. I’ve had this dish a fair few times, and this was not the best version I’ve had of this dish, but it was still quite tasty.
Overall I enjoyed my four dishes, the mushrooms and cauliflower were certainly the ones I enjoyed the most.