I wanted to do a little recipe to pay tribute to our Irish Farmhouse Cheddars; especially after visiting Derg Farm in county Tipperary last month, I wanted to do something a bit new and for everybody. I knew that I had an organic cauliflower in the fridge, but I wanted to drift away – at least this time – from the usual gratin that I have previously made. It had to include Cheddar of course and I wanted to avoid a soup and toasties, even if they are delicious together. The idea came when I parked the car in the driveway; I discovered that I had bought some polenta a few month back and when I opened the fridge, I still had a lot of local plums a friend gave me… Click… Clock… Click… Clock… I might have watched “Ready, Steady, Cook!” a bit too much during my early years in Ireland, but it delivered a lovely dish, vegetarian too, satisfying and for everyone to enjoy! And this, my friends, is how last night went…
For the caulifower, You’ll Need:
- 1 medium size cauliflower
- 1 bulb of garlic
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
First, you need to chop the cauliflower into “florets” and place them with the garlic in their skins, on a baking tray with a good dash of olive oil. Season and bake at 200c for 30 to 40 minutes…
While this happens, you can start working on the plum sauce. Plums are still in season at the moment. I used what I had left, about 10.
For the sauce: you’ll need
- About ten plums, stoned
- two tbsp of soya sauce
- 1 tsp of honey
- 20cl of water
In a pan, put all the ingredients together. Let them simmer for about 15 minutes and keep squashing the plums with a wooden spoon. If it dries out, add a bit more water. Once you get a syrupy texture, drain with a sieve over a sauce pan.
The cauliflower should be ready by now; place on kitchen towels to suck up the olive oil ( or at least the excess of it), let it cool and chop the whole thing in smaller pieces…
And remember to chop it all, with the garlic that you have peeled from its envelopes…
Now, we need to work on our polenta. It will take only 4 minutes to cook, so you need to get yourself organized…
For the polenta: you’ll need
- 250g of polenta
- 1 litre of water
- a pinch of salt
- a drizzle of good olive oil
Put the polenta in a large pan, with the olive oil and salt. Pour the water over, and cook full blast for 4 minutes while stirring all the time…
Once the polenta is nearly ready, throw in the chopped cauliflower and 250 grammes of Irish farmhouse cheddar; I didn’t have any Derg Cheddar yesterday, so I used some Hegarty’s from Co. Cork… Tasty too!
An old friend from Cork, Hegarty’s Cheddar…
I grated the cheddar, and put it in the hot polenta…
With a spatula, pour the polenta mix in an oiled rectangular baking dish to let it dry. When cooler, flip it over on a large chopping board and start cutting in the shape you want…
Ready for frying then?
It will only take a few minutes… Serve with the simple plum sauce made earlier and a couple of lime wedges for extra zing…
And again… A tasty treat!
Keep Well and eat Happy