Irish Cheddar Cheese
Cheddar is the most versatile, widely used and most varied in its quality of all the cheeses in Ireland. The production of cheese in Ireland has its history in ancient Ireland before it almost disappeared as an article of Irish food production in the 17th and 18th centuries. The quality of Irish cheese was extremely poor until the Irish farmhouse cheese movement started in the 1970s in Cork. From the earliest attempts, variations of cheddar cheese formed the backbone to this revival.
This is about as classic a Cauliflower Cheese as it gets, and we think it is wonderful for that very fact. When something like Cauliflower Cheese is so good and familiar, it would be a crime to interfere with that. Who doesn’t have a block of Irish cheddar cheese tucked away in their fridge? We like to use a strong, crumbly mature or vintage Irish cheddar cheese to give the dish a really strong, nutty sweetness which pairs so well with cauliflower.
- One large cauliflower, broken into florets, thick base stalk removed.
- 150g mature or vintage Irish cheddar cheese, grated
- 50g grated parmesan
- 300ml of Milk
- ½ a small carrot sliced
- half an onion, sliced
- a sprig of thyme
- a sprig of parsley
- 3 peppercorns
- 25g of plain flour and 25g of butter ( to make a roux)
- salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200°C
- Steam the cauliflower florets until tender. Season lightly with sea-salt and place in an oven proof dish.
- Make the béchamel sauce by heating the flour and butter to make a roux, adding the carrot, onion and milk. Add thyme, parsley and peppercorns, bring to boil and simmer for 4-5 minutes, remove from heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes before passing through a strainer to remove vegetables, herbs and peppercorns.
- Bring back to the boil to thicken while whisking the sauce, add the grated cheddar while still hot, allowing it to melt in and combine.
- Check the seasoning and pour over the cauliflower florets, sprinkle the parmesan on top and bake in the oven for 40 minutes until the sauce is nice and golden.
- Sprinkle a little ground mace on top before serving.