The celebrity chef gives us his take on a traditional British dish that can serve as winter comfort food.
Marco Pierre White's cauliflower cheese
I love this time of year. I know you do, too, as the weather in the UAE is perfect right now. But I love the cold weather back in Blighty because it means I can get cooking my favourite kind of food - comfort food.
When I talk about comfort food, I mean good, old, traditional British dishes that are so good no one messes with them, such as shepherd's pie, cheese on toast and Lancashire hot pot. These are foods to warm and comfort, foods that go well with a winter's day, foods to eat with family and friends. Having said that, I would serve a shepherd's pie to dinner guests, especially if I were living in the UAE. That warm taste of home coupled with some peas and butter is hard to beat. And don't forget the HP Sauce.
The rest of the world has taken the mickey out of British cuisine for centuries, but the fact is, no one does comfort food like us Brits. After all, we've had enough time to practise. This year might be especially cold, but to be honest, every winter here is bleeding freezing. There is never a day you don't feel like eating something warm and filling.
So how to translate the concept of comfort food to my loyal readers in the sun? Cauliflower cheese is the answer. This is light enough to be enjoyed on a warm day, but with just enough stodginess to deserve the label of comfort food. When I was growing up, cauliflower cheese was one of my favourite foods and I still love it. There is something timeless about the mix of cauliflower and the warm cheese sauce. And let's face it, cauliflower on its own is hardly the most enticing vegetable on the planet.
Make it yourself
1l milk, warmed
150g cheddar or Cheshire cheese, grated
150g Emmental or Swiss cheese, grated
2 tbsp English mustard
1 medium-sized cauliflower, cut into florets
Salt and pepper
1. In a sauce pot melt the butter and whisk in the flour to make a roux.
2. Slowly whisk in the warm milk and bring the sauce to a simmer. Cook the sauce for 5 minutes until it has thickened.
3. Fold the cheddar, half of the Emmental cheese and the English mustard into the hot sauce and season to taste. Set aside in a warm area.
4. Cook the cauliflower florets in a pot of boiling water until they are tender, then drain well. Divide the cauliflower into 6 individual portions if you wish.
5. Pour the warm sauce over the cauliflower and top with the rest of the Emmental cheese. Bake in a 200°C preheated oven until the sauce and cheese have browned.