Michael Sterrett is a Leeds comedian involved in the running of HOWL alternative comedy night. Details can be found here.
Last week was my one year anniversary in comedy. What a year it has been since I got on stage and told some jokes about Back To The Future, the porn magazine Barely Legal and the unpleasant physical side effects of alcoholism. As I stepped off stage feeling odd and elated an audience member said to me without a hint of aggression, "I think you need to see a psychologist". I couldn't agree more but I can't afford it and frankly I'm worried that if I actually deal with my problems I will stop being funny.
In the one year I have been doing stand-up I broke up with my longtime girlfriend, quit my job and am currently homeless. Yet I feel a restless sense of momentum that was sadly absent in my previous life as a boyfriend, employee and non-vagrant. I feel inspired and lucky to be surrounded by a genuinely exciting ground swell of comedic talent, all pushing each other to be better, write more material and explore the boundaries of what we're trying to do. I'm seeing acts that I love and respect dropping gold on the heads of the unsuspecting public and it couldn't make me happier. Comedy has, much like most of the women I've ever loved, simultaneously ruined my life and made it worth living.
1 large head of cauliflower
350g mature cheddar
150g hard sheep's cheese
1 heaped tablespoon plain flour
1 pint of milk
½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 finely chopped scallions (spring onions)
Start by separating the cauliflower into lovely big florets and pop them in a steamer above some boiling water. They should only take 5-10 minutes to become tender. Once they're done put them to one side and put the oven on to 180 degrees.
Get a nice wide pan on a medium heat and add the butter. When it has just melted add the flour and stir vigorously until the butter and flour have made a paste. Take the pan off the heat and start to slowly add the milk. It helps if you warm the milk a little. The paste will absorb the milk quickly so just keep working the mixture until you have a good smooth consistency. Now add the grated cheddar and the mustard. If the sauce becomes too thick adjust it with more milk, getting it as thick or as light as you like. I like to keep it quite light as while it bubbles away in the oven it will thicken a bit.
Add the cooked cauliflower florets to the sauce and mix thoroughly along with the finely chopped scallions. Save a handful of scallions to garnish.
Grab a good heavy baking pan and add the cauliflower cheese. Sprinkle the hard sheep's cheese over the top along with the rest of the scallions. Let this cook on the bottom shelf of the oven for fifteen minutes or until the cheese has turned a lovely golden brown.