It is summer and although this is a real winter warmer, it has been cold of late and really this dish is good all year round and is easy to make. I have used cauliflower and onion in this recipe, but I have also made it with leeks & fennel which works just as well. It’s a plate pie with the pastry bottom but there is no waste as the overlapping pastry is just folded on top!You will need: 300g shortcrust pastry – homemade or shop bought 1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets 1 onion, sliced into cubes 30g butter 25g flour or cornflour ½ pint milk 2 tsp grain mustard (or any other mustard) 100g hard cheese such as a strong cheddar, grated – add more for extra cheesiness 1 egg Salt & pepper to taste Splash of oil for frying Method:
You will need 1 oven proof dinner plate or dish. Pre-heat the oven to 180C or gas mark 4. Cook the cauliflower florets in boiling salted water until just cooked, but still firm rather than falling apart. Drain well and let them steam dry without a lid. (TIP – if you put them back into the dry pan and place the pan over the heat for a few seconds, it will evaporate any excess water). To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan with a splash of oil and over a medium heat fry the onions for 5 minutes until softened. Add the flour or cornflour and stir until it is all mixed in and the onions are coated, cook for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the milk a little at a time, stirring all the time to avoid any lumps. If there are some lumps of flour, whisk it until the lumps have gone (remember the onions will still be lumpy!) Once all the milk is added, gently simmer the sauce for 4 or 5 minutes to ensure the flour is cooked through and you have a thick sauce. Stir in the mustard then salt and pepper to taste. Take the sauce off the heat and stir in most of the grated cheese – keep a handful back to add on top. Mix the sauce in with the cauliflower and set aside to cool. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry into a round shape that is approximately 1/8 inch in thickness and hangs over the plate by a couple of inches or so all the way round – no need to trim it. Place the pastry over the plate. Pour the cauliflower mix onto the middle of the pastry. Lift the overhanging edges of the pastry and fold them over on top of the cauliflower. You should now have a half open pie, showing the cauliflower mix in the middle. Whisk the egg and brush it all over the pastry. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the cauliflower middle and bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes until it is nice and golden brown. Enjoy!