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Anna’s Cauliflower Cheese

Anna Taylor OBE

Effort:
Complexity:
Cost:

Serves: 6

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 55 mins

Ingredients:

1 medium (approx 600g) cauliflower (with the leaves)

100g butter

50g flour

500ml milk

300g mature cheddar

1 punnet cherry tomatoes

200g breadcrumbs

4 tablespoons of olive oil

Veg Portions / Serving: 2

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Recipe donated by Anna Taylor for Veg Power.

I really cannot take credit for this one. It is my wonderful husband Iain’s top-to-tail cauliflower cheese, ably written up by our 10-year-old Felix. And eaten happily by us all!

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Remove the cauliflower leaves and put to one side. Divide the cauliflower into florets and put in a baking tin. Finely chop the stem and add, too.

Put 3 tablespoons of oil onto the florets making sure they are evenly coated. Add a generous seasoning of salt and black pepper and roast for 25 minutes.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a gentle heat, and when fully melted add the flour gradually, continuously stirring so all the flour is absorbed by the butter. Carry on stirring and add the milk gradually until it becomes a creamy, shiny white sauce. Add the grated cheese to the white sauce and carry on stirring.

Halve the tomatoes. Put your bread crumbs in a mixing bowl and add the final tablespoon of oil.

When you remove the cauliflower it will have started to colour. Line the bottom of a casserole dish with the cauliflower leaves and evenly place the florets on top.

Pour the cheese sauce over the top and sprinkle the breadcrumbs on as well. Lay the tomatoes on top and put in the oven for 20 minutes.

Serve with a crisp, well-dressed green salad and enjoy.

Engaging Kids

Engaging Kids

Kids who engage regularly with veg through veg-themed activities, such as arts and crafts, sensory experiences, growing and cooking are shown to be more likely to eat the veg they engage with. Encouraging kids to engage and play with veg is the handy first step to them developing a good relationship with veg and life-long healthy eating.

Kids in the kitchen

Kids in the kitchen

Get the kids to measure and drizzle the oil over the cauliflower and scatter the breadcrumbs over the top of the dish. Show them how to make the white sauce – it’s such a great skill to learn for so many dishes. They can grate the cheese to add to the sauce, too.

Activities

Activities

While getting kids to interact with veggies for real and using their senses to explore them is best, encouraging hands off activities like arts & crafts, puzzles & games or at-home science experiments can be a great start, particularly for those who are fussier eaters or struggle with anything too sensory. Use these veg-themed activities as a stepping stone to interacting with the veg themselves. We have loads of crafty downloads here, puzzles here, and quirky science with veg here.

Sensory

Sensory

Once you feel your child is ready to engage a little more, you can show them how to explore the veg you have on hand with their senses, coming up with playful silly descriptions of how a veg smells, feels, looks, sounds and perhaps even tastes. Find ideas, videos and some simple sensory education session ideas to get you started here.

Serving

Serving

The moments before food is offered can be a perfect opportunity for engagement that can help make it more likely a child will eat it! Giving children a sense of ownership in the meal can make a big difference to their feelings going into it and the pride they take in it. You know your child best, but if you aren’t sure where to start, we have some fun and simple ideas for easy roles you can give them in the serving process over here.

Anna Taylor OBE

Anna joined The Food Foundation as its first Executive Director at the beginning of June 2015 after 5 years at the Department for International Development. At DFID Anna led the policy team on nutrition and supported the delivery of the UK’s global commitments to tackle undernutrition.

Before joining DFID Anna worked for a number of international organisations including Save the Children and UNICEF and has been at the forefront of international leadership on nutrition for several years, supporting programmes in a wide range of contexts in Africa and South Asia. Anna has also worked for the UK Department of Health. In 2014 she was awarded an OBE for her work to address the global burden of undernutrition. She did an MSc in Human Nutrition at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 1994. In May 2017 Anna became a member of the London Food Board to advise the Mayor of London and the GLA on the food matters that affect Londoners. She is a Board member for Veg Power and an advisor to the International Food Policy Research Institute. She served as Chief Independent Adviser to Henry Dimbleby for the development of the National Food Strategy published in 2021.

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