Cauliflower “cheese” ad hoc

Cauliflower & quark

As a cholesterol sufferer, I shouldn’t really have cheese. I do get hungry for a lot of things I used to love, one of them being cauliflower cheese. This is an extremely adaptable version:

No quantities given, depends on how much you want really.

1 cauliflower, even a small one gives 2-3 portions

Potatoes as required

Quark (fat-free for me, for people on normal diets please yourself)

Mustard (Dijon is good, a bit of wholegrain is nice for texture)

Dash of Lee & Perrins or Tabasco if you want

Bit of olive oil (butter for the lucky ones) and milk

Some flavoursome cheese that you don’t need much of – grated Parmesan, blue cheese (go easy with the latter if you’re fat-sensitive, but a small amount gives a lot of flavour (this insight courtesy of friend Charlie in Yorkshire, many thanks)

Any flavours you want to add – capers, chorizo, boiled ham, serrano ham/prosciutto, whatever. Here, too, if you need to restrict your diet look out for salt and fat contents – you can always fry off the chorizo and pour off excess fat, for example.

A few tomatoes

 

Method

Heat oven to 180 degrees C (fan oven, say 190-200 degrees C for a conventional oven).

Boil the cauliflower till al dente, boil the potatoes as preferred. In an ovenproof dish, mix quark with mustard to taste – when tasting, don’t forget the flavour will develop later – add milk if too firm, maybe a bit of nutmeg or something. A bit of flavoursome cheese if you want. Add the cauliflower when cooked.

Add a layer of ham/chorizo (thinly sliced) on top, alternating rows with sliced tomatoes. Adjust amounts and thickness of slices to taste and dietary requirements, vegetarians could use tomatoes only, or add a few capers or pickled cucumbers, (jalapeno) peppers in oil or whatever – (drat – found capers on counter after my version went into the oven this time – I forgot to put them in but it tasted fine anyway).

Boil or microwave potatoes and place on top, mashed with olive oil or for the lucky with butter, and a little (fat-free or to taste) milk as needed.

Scatter some grated Parmesan on top. Season to taste with pepper and (if you’re allowed) salt.

Bake for 30 minutes or so, none of the ingredients really need cooking so it won’t ever be raw, but check temperature with a skewer before serving. You could probably do it in the microwave oven as well, but personally I like the top crispy.

Serve and enjoy, with side salad if you want.

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