Temperature has plummeted here with the arrival of a two day northerly gale that feels like it is blowing straight from Siberia.
We have hunkered down and comfort food
is being dished up on a gimballed stove. Vegetables baked with rich, creamy white sauce and topped with crumbled breadcrumbs rates right up there
I posted a recipe for Cauliflower au gratin a year ago, but this works so well with mixed vegetables that it is worth repeating. Nutmeg adds a lovely flavour (thanks for the tip, Nigel).
VEGETABLES AU GRATIN
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
(best possible quality - low acidity)
¾ cup plain flour
1 litre milk of choice (almond works OK)
1 stock cube or a little salt
1 nutmeg, very finely grated
Anything goes. This batch had a few steamed carrots and potatoes, plus about ¼ of a cabbage finely sliced and sautéed until it retained a slight crunch. Baking time is quicker if veggies are used while still hot.
2 cup soft white breadcrumbs (I use the inside of about half a loaf of stale bread, roughly broken up)
2 extra tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Heat oil
- Sift in flour
- Stir on low heat for 2 min (watch as it burns easily)
- Take off heat and slowly add milk and stock cube, whisking continually (the scary looking lumps come out completely). You could warm the milk first to help avoid the initial lumps, but I don't bother as a brisk whisk works well.
- Return to the heat, continuing to whisk until mixture thickens
- Add nutmeg and white pepper to taste
- Layer vegetables in a greased dish and pour sauce over
- Drizzle extra oil over breadcrumbs and toss well
- Top cauliflower with breadcrumbs
- Bake until hot and the topping is golden
If you are not vegan, add a layer of sliced, grated or roughly chopped nuggets of your favourite cheese under the breadcrumbs.