Mixed Vegetable Cheese Bake

Mixed Veg Bake - Don't be discouraged by the simple title. This recipe is great to prepare ahead of time, cooks alone with little input, is fabulous hot either alone, as a main or as a side dish,  and is equally good the next day in a wrap for work or school. The colours in this recipe really make it!

Mixed Vegetable Cheese Bake
Ingredients :

         ½ cup Carrots
         ½ cup French Beans
         ½ cup fresh Peas (or frozen peas)
         ½ cup Cauliflower

For the White Sauce :

         2 tbsps. Refined Flour (Maida)
         2 cups Milk
         1 tbsp. Butter
         A pinch of Nutmeg pwd. (Jaiphal)
         A pinch of Cardamom pwd. (Green Cardamom)
         1/3 tsp. Sugar
         ½ tsp. dried Oregano
         ¼ tsp. Pepper pwd.
         3 tbsps. grated Processed Cheddar Cheese
         Salt to taste

For the Garnishing:
         4 tbsps. dry Bread Crumbs
         ½ Capsicum (sliced)
         ½ Onion (sliced & flaked)
         ¼ cup grated Processed Cheddar Cheese (or 2 slices cheese)
         A tsp. each of Butter/Olive Oil

Method :

Wash & peel the carrots & quarter them vertically in uniform pieces. 
Wash & thread the french beans. Wash & separate cauliflower into florets. 
Blanch the vegetables in order of time taken for cooking with sugar i.e. carrots, french beans, cauliflower, peas. 
Drain the vegetables & reserve ¼ cup of the liquid. 
Refresh the blanched vegetables in cold water & drain. 
Chop the carrots & french beans finely & the cauliflower in tiny florets. Keep aside.

Preparation of the White Sauce :

Melt butter in a pan on low heat. 
Add the flour & mix with the butter. 
Stir carefully till the rawness of the flour disappears but do not allow the flour to change colour. 
Take the pan off the heat & keep stirring while gradually adding the milk to it. 
Make sure it is smooth & not lumpy. 
Again place the pan on the stove & cook on low heat till the sauce thickens. 
Take it off the heat & stir after adding pepper, 3 tbsps. grated cheese, dried oregano, nutmeg & cardamom pwd., salt to taste & the reserved veg stock making sure that the sauce is not too thin 
or watery. 
The sauce should be of pouring consistency. Keep aside.

Assembling the Bake :

Coat an oven proof glass dish with butter or a little olive oil. 
Place all mixed vegetables evenly in the baking dish & pour the prepared sauce evenly on the vegetables. Sprinkle bread crumbs, ¼ cup cheese, sliced onions & capsicum. 
Sprinkle some pepper pwd. & dot with butter or sprinkle olive oil. 
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200C till it bubbles & the top turns a light golden brown about 20 mins.. 
Serve with toasted garlic bread or enjoy it plain with ketchup. 

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