Cauliflower Cheese with Garlic and Thyme Crumb

Cauliflower Cheese | The Mother Cooker

Cauliflower cheese and me have a very strong bond. I love it dearly, but it has to be done just right. There have been many disappointing occasions and that just can’t happen with my very own recipe. The best thing about this dish is that you can alter it to your favourite cheese tastes. Sometimes I switch it up to smoked cheese, divine. Or you could top it with a bit of blue cheese if that takes your fancy. Either way it’s bound to be delicious. Making the sauce couldn’t be easier, something I learned only recently. Never been one to mess around and make a roux, alas it really is simple.

The garlic and thyme crumb is a great topping, or you could use the one from this recipe. I love cracking through a crispy, cheesy top to get to the bubbling sauce below. There’s something so comforting about it. I forgot to put mine in the oven this Christmas, I was heartbroken. To me, cauliflower cheese completes a roast dinner. I don’t want to hear your yorkshire pudding argument, pointless gravy boats.

Cauliflower Cheese

Serves: 4-6
Prep time: 10-12 mins
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour, 12 mins

  • 2 cauliflowers (1 large, 1 small)
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • 70g sharp cheddar
  • 35g Parmesan cheese
  • 35g Gouda cheese
  • 600ml milk
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • Few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 and a half tsp salt
  • Half tsp black pepper
  • 60g crusty bread
  • Drizzle of olive oil

After some spice? Add a tsp of mustard powder into your sauce.

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200c/gas mark 8.
  2. Break cauliflower into florets and pop into a pan of boiling water, boil for 5 mins, drain and set aside.
  3. Slice 3 cloves of garlic thinly, add to a pan with 50g butter. Cook until butter melts, then add flour. Stir to a paste, then slowly add milk a little at a time, whisking constantly until a sauce forms.
  4. Add 50g grated cheddar, 25g Parmesan and 25g Gouda into the milk mix. Keeping a total of 40g for the topping. Stir on the hob for around 5 mins until sauce begins to thicken. Season with half tsp salt and pepper.
  5. Add cauliflower to a deep baking dish, pour over cheese sauce and back for 45 mins.
  6. Whilst cauliflower is baking, make the crumb topping by adding torn bread, 40g leftover cheeses, 2 garlic cloves, a few sprigs of thyme leaves, a drizzle of olive oil, 1 tsp chili flakes and salt to a food processor. Whizz to a fine crumb.
  7. Once 45 mins is up, add crumb topping and pop back in the oven for another 10 mins.

Cauliflower Cheese | The Mother Cooker