Tag Archives: Stephanie Alexander

Cauliflower cheese

Wanting to use up the leftover cauliflower, potatoes and gruyere cheese from our decadent fondue night, I roasted a chicken the next night over the potatoes (so they roasted in the chicken fat) and made cauliflower cheese as a side.  This was perfect Sunday evening comfort food for me.

Again I referred to my trusty Cooks Companion by Stephanie Alexander for the recipe (it strangely referred to a cheese sauce from “fennel with simple cheese sauce” from the cauliflower cheese recipe though).  I did tweak the cheese sauce recipe to make it a bit thicker, but here’s the recipe:


  • 1/2 head of medium Cauliflower cut into florets, blanched in boiling water (I basically add the cauliflower to boiling water and once it comes back to boil, I strain and run under cold water because the cauliflower will bake for another 30-40 minutes in the oven and I want to keep some texture so it’s not mushy)
  • 40g butter
  • 1 Tbl flour
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 125g freshly grated gruyere
  • white pepper
  • salt
  • freshly grated nutmeg


  1. Melt butter in saucepan over gentle heat, stir in flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly
  2. Gradually incorporate milk, still stirring constantly and bring to boil
  3. Add cheese and stir until melted
  4. Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg
  5. Pour over blanched cauliflower (you can also use broccoli but I find that it overcooks and loses any texture).  Top with breadcrumbs and pop in 180C oven for 30 minutes, until the edges are bubbling and the top is golden brown.

Comfort food for when I’m feeling poorly

If it isn’t congee, it’s definitely a comforting soup. I stocked up my fridge yesterday so it was satisfying stuffed full of colourful vegetables. I’m not exactly sure what I was intending them for, I rarely buy groceries which are not required for meals that day, but perhaps I had already subconsciously decided I was going to make a minestrone.  Original recipe from my trusted bible the Cook’s Companion by Stephanie Alexander, I also happened to have some bacon bones in the freezer.
Slurping and enjoying the tomatoey vegetably goodness now…and then back to bed.

Lovely to come home to

I walked into the flat tonight to be greeted not only by my husband (on his final day of leave) but by the close-your-eyes-breathe-in-and-smile smell of a warm, rich tomato bolognese sauce – the beginning of a lasagna which he casually mentioned he would be cooking for dinner tonight.

I have to admit it irks me when someone else is using my kitchen (my attempts at self improvement over the years has not helped my control-freak nature in the kitchen), and it also irks me that he uses my recipe book (which, admittedly, he bought me for Christmas years ago) and then adds his own tweaks to the recipe, but oh. my. god.  Just the very smell of it has made me hungry and rushing him to make the bechamel sauce so that we can eat – I cannot wait !

Will write more once it’s been devoured!

True to smell, it was delicious – and doubly so because someone cooked it for me.

Original recipe is by Stephanie Alexander – I’ve made a few tweaks as I like my sauce thicker.  My recipe below – give yourself a good 2-3 hours to cook from start to finish:

For the bolognese sauce:

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 sticks celery, finely sliced

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

800g minced beef

200g streaky bacon, chopped

4 teaspoons plain flour

1 cup of red wine

800g tinned tomatoes

4 tbl tomato paste

2 bay leaves

nutmeg and seasoning

Saute onion, celery  and garlic in oil in a large saucepan until softened.  Add bacon and fry for a few minutes before adding beef to brown.  Sprinkle in flour and stir until well mixed.  Add wine, season with salt and pepper and nutmeg and increase heat to boil off the alcohol.  Add tinned tomatoes, tomato paste and bay leaves and simmer for an hour, stirring from time to time.  Season to taste.

For the bechamel sauce:

600ml milk

60g butter

60g plain flour

salt, white pepper and freshly grated nutmeg

Heat milk to scalding and set aside.  Melt butter in saucepan and stir in the flour and cook, stirring, to make a roux.  Gradually add in the hot milk and sir until sauce thickens and is very smooth.  Cook for a further 5-7 minutes  on low.

To assemble:

Preheat oven to 180C.  Oil a baking dish and line with pasta.  Cover pasta with a third of the bechamel sauce, and then cover this with a third of the bolognese sauce.  Add a second layer of pasta, another portion of bechamel, more bolognese and then the third layer of pasta.  Cover with the last layer of bechamel and bolognese and sprinkle generously with grated cheddar and parmesan cheese.  Bake in the oven about 45 minutes, when the lasagna is golden and bubbling.