Some years ago I decided to apply the theory that putting brandy-inclusive dairy products into a bacon sandwich would definitely not make things any worse. This year I have taken the research a significant step further and will now be applying the theory to all recipes because this cauliflower cheese was so disgustingly delicious that people who only had a bit cold asked me for the recipe. So I’ve written it up to give the public what they want.

I don’t have a photo of it because we ate it all but just imagine something very, very majestic and golden. It has a vegetable in so you can pretend it is part of your new year regime and also brandy cream is on yellow stickers everywhere so it’s v frugal etc.

1x cauliflower
80g butter (roughly a third of a normal size pat)
5 heaped tablespoons flour
Pot of brandy cream (about 300ml)
At least a pint of milk but to be honest you’ll have to judge it as you do it
Salt and pepper
300g Red Leicester cheese

1x sharp knife
1x medium pyrex or similar for going in the oven

To strictly recreate the circumstances under which this came into being, you should be making sausage rolls and mince pies at the same time, in your dressing gown.

Like most cauliflower cheese recipes, this involves making a roux-based white sauce, roundly judged to be a technically difficult act for the amateur cook; no it is not. You don’t even need to measure the ingredients, once you get the knack for it. Stop letting your domestic science teacher guide your adult life. Make the roux, feel the roux, the roux is gentle and your friend and not frightening in the slightest. I make white sauce all the time and I, as my domestic science teach identified, do not give a shit about the correct method. Honestly, it will be fine and totally worthwhile – the main thing is to make sure it doesn’t start burning, which can be a little tricky to judge but mostly just involves paying attention.

(or bending down looking in the oven to check the sausage rolls and some luck)

1. Bring water to the boil in the big saucepan whilst you trim the leaves off the cauliflower. Remove most of the stalk and break apart the heads a little, so they’re no larger than your pyrex dish or whatever is deep.

2. Put the cauliflower in the boiling water for about 5 minutes, then drain and put in your oven dish.

3. Using the same pan (or a different one if you LOVE WASHING UP) melt the butter on a medium heat (unless you are confident in the white sauce arts, in which case – real talk – you can make a roux on the highest heat and it’s dead easy and quick) and stir in the flour – it should reach a fairly stiff consistency. Let the flour fry in the butter for about a minute, stirring.

4. Turn up the heat a little bit and just fucking whack the whole lot of brandy cream in the pan. No, listen, just do it, stop messing about – roux is way easier to make than people make out. Stir vigorously- it should reach a rich puree consistency but won’t go any further towards being a liquid than that at this stage

5. Turn the heat back down a little and begin adding the milk gradually. You don’t have to be as nervous about this as most white sauce recipes suggest but do keep stirring constantly. It should develop into a thick white sauce. Once it’s at a consistency you’re happy with, take off the heat and season with salt and black pepper. If your butter was unsalted you can put a fairly decent amount in.

6. Grate the Red Leicester and scatter it into the pyrex dish with the cauliflower – this goes against the idea it should melt into the roux but gave it a great texture and also meant not having to clean a cheesy white sauce off a pan, which is the devil’s own work. Keep a small amount back to sprinkle on the top.

7. Pour white sauce over the top of the cheese and cauliflower and sprinkle the last bit of cheese on top, whack in fan oven at 180 for 40 minutes or until it’s bubbling and golden on top.

8. LET IT STAND you will HURT YOURSELF it managed to remain hot for an hour whilst we made roast potatoes, so it would have been nuclear straight out – give it 20 minutes under foil.

9. BEHOLD THE MAJESTY of this LUXURIOUS DISH except behold with your mouth and tastebuds not your eyes.