Sometimes what I want is a homey, comforting, savoury something out of the oven. And often it’s this creamy, “cheesy” cauliflower bake.
I don’t really measure anything for this bake, because to me, that’s what home-style cooking mostly is: ad-libbing. So here’s what I do…
- a cauliflower head
- a couple of handfuls of cashews
- about a tablespoon of miso
- about a quarter cup of nutritional yeast
- a leek
- a tablespoon of macadamia oil
- 1 bay leaf (makes a big difference)
- a slice of sourdough bread (or a handful of unflavoured potato chips for gluten free)
Cut up the whole cauliflower head into bite-sized florets, and steam them until tender. Now’s a good time to pre-heat the oven also, to about 170-180 Celsius.
While the cauliflower is steaming, put a couple of handfuls of raw cashews into a blender (in my case it’s a Vitamix which means the cashews blend to a silky cream with no hint of graininess). Over the cashews, add about 1 cup of water, a tablespoon of light miso (like shiro miso) and a quarter cup or so of nutritional yeast. Blend until creamy smooth.
Chop and sauté a leek in macadamia oil. Then pour over the cashew cream sauce, add the bay leaf, and very, VERY, gently simmer and stir continuously until the sauce barely bubbles and thickens and warms through – about 5 minutes. I don’t like the idea of heating nut-based things very rapidly or to very high temperatures as it can mess with the integrity of their oils. Except for macadamia nut oil, though. It can go to quite high frying temperatures and remain stable. I use it a lot. Add more water if it gets too thick.
Combine the steamed cauliflower with the cashew cream sauce so each little floret is covered. Pour into an oven proof dish. The one I use for this cauliflower bake is almost always the one my husband’s grandmother, Nan, gave us. I’m pretty sure she had it all her adult life, so it just adds to the homey, comforting ambience of this bake.
If using bread, take about one normal sized slice, or two small slices, of sourdough bread and process (again I use. Pour over about a teaspoon or so of macadamia oil and blitz again to make slightly oily crumbs. This makes sure the bread crumbs crisp up evenly in the oven.d the dry jug of my Vitamix) until it’s crumbed. Or crush up the potato chips very finely. Sprinkle over the creamy-sauced cauliflower.
I really don’t know how long I bake this for, but I check it every 5 or 10 minutes to make sure it gets to a bubble around the edges and the crumbs on top get a nice golden tan. I reckon it might be about 20 minutes or so, but these things vary from oven to oven anyways.
This one I had with steamed silverbeet and baby peas, and a slice of my mother’s lentil loaf, left over from Christmas day.