> The Beesley Buzz: Kids in the kitchen - Cauliflower and broccoli cheese

Kids in the kitchen - Cauliflower and broccoli cheese

One of the things I've learnt since my seven year old son took an interest in all things food related all those years ago (he's been helping in the kitchen since he was only 2 or 3 years old), is that kids cookery shouldn't just be restricted to cookies and cakes.

To really help set them up for life with an interest in food and a knowledge of healthy eating, it is important to get them involved in all sorts of cooking. So we've been consciously getting Miss T helping with cooking both sweet treats and also savoury meals.

Today we made cauliflower and broccoli cheese, adapting the recipe as we went along and making sure there were plenty of mini tasks for Miss T to help with.

Another thing I have learnt over the years is that kids don't need to be able to help with every stage in a recipe - as long as they can help with some things, they can still get a lot out of it. So with this in mind, Miss T was able to help with various tasks. 

First up she prepared the cauliflower by picking off the leaves. I love her little tongue sticking out in concentration. 

She was also able to help chop some pieces of cheese to go in the cheese sauce. We used a plastic picnic knife for this to keep things safe.

Miss T tore up some bread which I then blitzed with the chopper to make some breadcrumbs. 

Measuring the flour and oil were also activities that she was able to help with. 

Here's the recipe if you fancy making it yourself. We often have a 'softer' cauliflower cheese without any topping over it but this time wanted to try adding a bit of 'crunch' so we topped it with breadcrumbs, some grated hard cheese (we used Galbani Paesano Grattugiato which is like a grated parmesan), flaked almonds and sunflower seeds. 

One cauliflower (broken into florets)
One broccoli crown (broken into florets)
50ml rapeseed oil
100g plain flour
900 ml milk
100g cheese (grated or chopped into small pieces)
Black pepper
1 tsp English mustard

For the 'crunchy' topping (optional):
3 slices of bread blitzed into breadcrumbs
A small handful of flaked almonds
A small handful of sunflower seeds
A little grated cheese 
A sprinkle of hard grated cheese (either Parmesan or similar as already described earlier in this blogpost)

1. Pre-heat the oven to 190 C

2. Boil or steam the cauliflower and broccoli florets (for around 5-10 minutes)

3. Whilst the broccoli and cauliflower are being steamed, prepare the cheese sauce as follows. Heat the rapeseed oil in a large saucepan on the hob. Add the flour and mix. Add the mustard. 

4. Now slowly add the milk little by little stirring continuously. You may need to stop adding the milk while you stir out any lumps. Keep the hob on a low setting. 

5. Once all the milk has been added, it should start to thicken. Keep stirring. Add in the grated/chopped cheese. 

6. Add some black pepper. 

7. Strain the broccoli and cauliflower and place into a large ovenproof dish. Pour over the cheese sauce. 

8. If you are adding the crunchy topping, put all the ingredients for it over the top. Otherwise you might want to just sprinkle a little extra grated cheese.

9. Pop into the oven (190 C) for around 30 minutes. 

Using rapeseed oil instead of butter which is often used in cheese sauce helps reduce the saturated fat content. We think it works out at around only one sixth of the saturated fat by using rapeseed oil so it is a really healthy swap to do. 

I've been doing this swap in quite a few recipes lately and although I haven't quite worked out the exact ratio for swapping butter for rapeseed oil, it seems to work out like this; for 100g butter in a recipe, I would use 50ml rapeseed oil instead and that seems to work as a rough guide. 

If anyone has a more accurate guide to it, I'd love to hear. 

Linking up with Raisie Bay's fantastic Kids in the Kitchen linky:
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