8 baby romanescos or 500 g (1 lb) large cauliflower florets
40 g (1 1/4 oz) butter, plus extra for greasing
500 ml (17 fl oz) whole milk
40 g (1 1/4 oz) plain flour
2 bay leaves
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
300 g (10 oz) mature farmhouse Cheddar, grated
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
Trim the base of each romanesco to flatten and then lightly butter a shallow, ovenproof dish.
To make the sauce, melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan. Gently heat the milk in a separate saucepan. Stir the flour into the melted butter and cook on a low heat for 2–3 minutes, stirring from time to time. Remove the pan from the heat and pour in a little of the warmed milk, stirring continuously. Gradually add the rest of the milk, again stirring continuously. Add the bay leaves and nutmeg and season well. Return the pan to a low heat and cook for 10–12 minutes (or until there is no taste of flour), stirring frequently. Remove the bay leaves. Stir in the Cheddar and remove from the heat.
Preheat the grill to medium-high.
Meanwhile, cook the romanescos or cauliflower florets in boiling water for about 5–6 minutes. Drain well, then place in the prepared dish and pour over the sauce.
Sprinkle over the Parmesan and cook under a preheated grill for 1 minute until lightly browned. Serve immediately.