Consolation Meals: The Final Cauliflower Cheese Recipe

If you happen to want a brand new cheese-filled consolation meals, then look no additional! This baked dish is strictly what you must heat up within the chilly months. Learn on to get a glimpse of what it’s like in the course of the chilly months on the London-famous restaurant Towpath – proper earlier than they shut for the winter.

The next is an excerpt from Towpath by Lori De Mori and Laura Jackson. It has been tailored for the net.

All pictures by Scott MacSween and Joe Woodhouse

RECIPE: Cauliflower Cheese

Serves 4


  • 1 litre / 1 3/4 pints full-fat milk
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 or 2 cauliflowers (about 900g/2lb in weight), outer leaves and difficult base of stem eliminated
  • 100g / 3 1/2oz unsalted butter
  • 100g / 3 1/2oz plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 200g / 7oz sharp Cheddar, I exploit Montgomery’s Cheddar, grated
  • salt and pepper


  1. Put the milk, bay leaves, peppercorns, onion and garlic all collectively in a saucepan and produce to only beneath the boil. Take away the pot from the warmth and let the combination infuse till all the things else is able to go.
  2. Carry a big pot of water to the boil. Add salt, then drop in the entire cauliflower. When the water returns to the boil, boil for 4 minutes after which drain.
  3. Within the meantime, soften the butter and stir within the flour. Utilizing a wood spoon, stir repeatedly to verify the flour doesn’t type lumps or follow the pan. Prepare dinner for about 5 minutes in order that the flour is cooked.
  4. Pressure the infused milk and begin whisking within the milk slowly, a ladleful at a time. This permits the flour to cook dinner whereas thickening the sauce. When all of the milk is integrated, stir for an additional 5 minutes. Style to examine that the flour has fully cooked out.
  5. Stir within the cayenne pepper and half the Cheddar and season.
  6. Lower the cauliflower in half or quarters relying on measurement. Place in a roasting tray in order that it is extremely cosy. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  7. Pour over the béchamel, sprinkle over the remainder of the grated cheese and go away to sit down for not less than 20 minutes. You too can do that prematurely and go away in a single day within the fridge.
  8. Preheat the oven to 210°C fan/450°F/gasoline mark 8.
  9. Bake for about 20 minutes – you need the cheese to be browned on prime. As soon as brown, scale back the warmth to 150°C fan/340°F/gasoline mark 31/2 and cook dinner for a further quarter-hour.
  10. Serve with a crisp inexperienced salad. I at all times serve the salad with a lemony olive oil dressing as this cuts by way of the richness completely.

Sap Not Rising

Once I was at college, I had a sense I might by no means fairly make sense of. It arrived on the finish of each tutorial yr, no matter no matter marvellous factor I’d deliberate to do with my summer time vacation, and its depth was immediately proportionate to how laborious I’d labored. What I anticipated, and what appeared completely affordable to want for in spite of everything that sustained effort, was elation. What I felt as an alternative was its uninteresting, lumpish cousin, deflation. On a extra poetic day you may name it melancholy. The bittersweet unhappiness that comes with endings – irrespective of how anticipated or longed for.

Whereas our time limit is about for the Sunday nearest to Man Fawkes Night time, the top of Towpath evenings is a moveable feast that has extra to do with us standing on the canal with a finger to the wind than the precise calendar. Even ten years in, we’re simply fooled by just a few days of sunshine and may by no means fairly fathom the sand operating out of the hourglass and months of chilly, darkish days throwing a blanket over our shenanigans. We solely really begin to consider it once we can really feel it in our bones.

There’s a sure dialog Laura and I’ve yearly when a heat September spell has the canal swarming with humanity. Considered one of us says, ‘Do you suppose possibly we must always hold doing dinners a little bit longer this yr?’ And the opposite replies, ‘Let’s wait a bit and see.’ And what we see is at all times the identical factor. A generally sudden, different instances nearly imperceptible shift within the season. Summer season holidays are over, the youngsters are again marching alongside the towpath within the mornings on their solution to faculty. There’s a sure nip within the air and the damp, musky scent of flowers previous their bloom and leaves starting to show. From sooner or later to the subsequent, folks begin asking us once we are closing for winter.

We will all sense an ending, even when we will’t put our finger on it.

At this level, Laura and I normally begin speaking about how good it will be to maintain some form of climate diary, which might finally turn into a type of Towpath Almanac we might seek the advice of yearly to assist us chart our course. However we by no means do. On this we’re extra just like the birds who don’t begin flying south as a result of it’s written in a calendar, however as a result of some inner clockwork alerts that the time has come.

Life is abruptly simpler once we don’t have so many shifts to fill – it takes lots of people to maintain Towpath afloat by way of an infinite succession of breakfasts, elevenses, lunches, teatimes, aperitifs and dinners. It doesn’t appear to matter how many individuals we rent, there’ll at all times be a sunny week the place we all know we’ll be rammed, and it’s all – however by no means sufficient – arms on deck. We careen by way of summer time, our little Towpath like some tinny automobile on the autobahn, speedometer needle juddering within the purple, till abruptly it’s over and we downshift to the saner rhythms of Dolly’s 9-to-5. This coincides properly with the return to college of the handful of Towpath helpers who’d requested to work each hour god provides and abruptly have extra necessary issues, like particle physics or cultural anthropology, to consider.

Though we nonetheless have weeks earlier than we tuck up for winter, there’s the unstated feeling that no matter flowering and fruiting the yr holds has largely occurred. The harvest is in. And we’re drained. All that livid pedalling, nevertheless exhausting, created an vitality of its personal, and now that we’ve slowed down, its gentle has dimmed. And we really feel a bit flat. A bit regardless of the reverse of sap rising is.

None of that is helped by the final Sunday in October’s turning again of the clocks, that doubtful reward that provides us a single morning’s additional hour of sleep in change for months of unnaturally (not less than to those that haven’t been born into them) lengthy, darkish nights. The solar stays low within the sky all day, not even skimming the highest of the buildings that face us on the opposite facet of the canal. On a transparent day, it nonetheless shines on Towpath for just a few hours within the morning, then once more for lower than half an hour because it traverses a niche between buildings and, lastly, briefly, simply earlier than nightfall, which descends within the early afternoon and leaves the canal correctly darkish and desolate by the point we shut at 5pm. If we ever wanted our personal private reminder that we’re on a shifting planet, tilting this fashion and that on its journey across the solar, that is it.

It isn’t as if our clients desert us when the season turns. Brilliant mornings are nonetheless vigorous. A great deal of regulars come for one final lunch. After which there’s at all times a handful of people that ‘uncover’ Towpath proper earlier than we shut, and are bereft on the considered residing with out us till March. Their enthusiasm places a little bit spring in our steps. However by 3.30 the canal feels eerily abandoned. A little bit of a wasteland.

It’s as if our entire workday has been compressed into one thing a lot smaller, and good as it’s to get out early, there’s one thing oddly dissatisfying about all of it.



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