Isn't it wonderful when you put a dish on the table and everybody falls in love with it? I served a healthy helping of this decadent fennel bake to each of the boys and one by one they uttered a surprised little grunt and reached to the bowl for a second helping!
It's ironic that cheese sauce is one of the first things my mother taught me to cook, and yet I almost managed to mess up this very simple version! I made a roux with the butter and flour and then added my warm milk. I felt that the result was a bit thin and so tried to add some more flour to the mix but inevitably ended up with a lumpy sauce! A quick sieve later and I had perfect (and slightly thicker) sauce once again. Once the beautiful Gruyère was added, the sauce was poured over blanched fennel and popped into the oven.
This was not a difficult dish by any means, but sometimes it's the simple things that make my little family happy.