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Spicy cauliflower and broccoli cheese with a parmesan and dry breadcrumb crust recipe

cauliflower and briocilli cheese bake“It turns out that eating red meat is even more dangerous than they thought.” Danny was pensive. “What can we do?”

Danny is a Carnivore with a bold, capital C. When we first met the suggestion of a tasty pasta bake had him lunging for the whisky bottle. I haven’t mentioned it again but gradually I’ve been working on reducing the meat in our meals and upping the vegetables.

We eat pork, lamb, beef, chicken and fish. Despite my tweaks, still too much red meat. Last night Danny gave me the green light to start experimenting with vegetarian food. We agreed that initially we will eat vegetarian food once a week hopefully extending this to twice a week, in a month’s time. This is fine with me. I love good vegetarian food. Danny isn’t so keen. Our wonderful soufflé omlette is great for supper if we have eaten traditional Sunday lunch that day.

Last night I cooked cauliflower and broccoli cheese without crispy bacon. I pulled out all the stops for this and added some crumbled gorgonzola and a couple of teaspoons of chilli sherry to the Davidstow cheddar sauce. It was excellent. Danny loved it, didn’t miss the bacon and almost polished off the half that I had earmarked for tonight (it heats up well and is often better on the second day).

I am keen to fast track our progress on the vegetarian front. If you know of a great vegetarian recipe that will satisfy a true blue Carnivore please let me know.

Spicy cauliflower and broccoli cheese with a parmesan and dry breadcrumb crust recipe


  • 1 firm cauliflower (for tips on how to firm up a floppy cauli and broc see here )
  • I firm head of broccoli
  • 50g of butter
  • 70g of plain white flour
  • 500ml of milk
  • 100g of mature cheddar cheese – grated
  • 100g of Gorgonzola/Stilton or any rich blue cheese
  • 2 teaspoons of chilli sherry
  • 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
  • Dried breadcrumbs from a thick crust of bread dried on the warming compartment of your oven (this takes a couple of days)


  1. Wash the cauliflower and broccoli divide into florets and add to a large saucepan of boiling water. Simmer for about eight minutes (testing after five) until cooked but with a bite. Drain through a colander and set the colander on the original saucepan, in a warm place to drain as you make your sauce.
  2. Heat the butter and, when it has melted, add the flour. Let this roux simmer for a minute or so to allow the nutty flavour to develop. Add the milk gradually, whisking gently with a vinyl whisk constantly so that the roux absorbs all the milk before you add the next splosh. In this way you should avoid lumps. When all the milk has been added let the sauce simmer for ten minutes to thicken. (The sauce will be very thick at this stage.) Add the grated cheese to the thick b̩chamel sauce and stir until it is absorbed. Add 2 teaspoons of chilli sherry (this adds a piquancy and is not too hot). Season if you like Рours was fine without salt and pepper.
  3. Pour one third of the sauce into a warmed ovenproof dish. Add the cooked cauliflower and broccoli and pour over the rest of the sauce. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs mixed with the parmesan over the surface of the dish and place under a medium grill for about five minutes to brown.

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  1. Eccentric Dyslexic

    Not sure i understand the ‘let the roux simmer’ bit…its just a big lump of butter and flour! Everything else went to plan though, but i did add some black pepper!

  2. Fiona Nevile

    Hi AJ

    Oh I didn’t know that. Thanks.

  3. Looks tasty but carnivores should note that most Parmesan is made with animal rennet therefore not suitable for a true veggie. You can find vegetarian hard cheese in parmesan style in most supermarkets though.

  4. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Pumpkin-power,

    Thank you so much for this recommendation. It looks great.

  5. pumpkin~power

    The best vegetarian recipe book I have found is the “Good Housekeeping” Step by Step Vegetarian Cookbook. Wonderful recipes and a fabulous colour picture index:

    Enough to turn almost anyone veggie!

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