Cauliflower Soup

This is a lovely creamy soup with a beautifully smooth rich texture and sweet flavour, and very quick to make. It’s a recipe from the August 2007 issue of delicious magazine, which I altered slightly to make it a little lower in fat. It didn’t detract from the creaminess of the soup – in fact, the Husband declared it was a little too creamy for his taste. Served with crunchy garlic croutons for contrast, this is a delicious soup to start a meal with, or for a light meal on its own with some salad.

50g unsalted butter
1 onion, diced
1 caulifower, broken into florets
2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
(go for the reduced salt version if you’re buying stock)
300ml skim milk
additional 150ml skim milk
2 tbsp low fat sour cream
1/2 small cobb or vienna loaf
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tbsp chopped parsley

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, then add the onion and cook gently for a couple of minutes.

Add the cauliflower florets, and cook for a minute or so. Pour the stock and milk over the cauliflower, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, and cook for about 5 to 8 minutes, until the cauliflower is soft.

While the soup is cooking, break up the bread loaf with your hands on a baking tray, and sprinkle with garlic. Bake at a high heat, say 200C, for about 5 minutes until golden and crunchy. Sprinkle the parsley over the mixture.

Leave the soup to cool slightly, then blend (either with a handheld blender, or pouring the soup by halves into a blender).

Return the blended soup to the saucepan, and stir in the additional milk and sour cream. Taste, and season with salt and white pepper.

Serve hot, sprinkled with the bread, garlic and parsley mixture. I found that larger bread pieces gave a nicer crunch than the smaller crumbs, and contrasted nicely with the smooth creamy soup.

Roast Tomato Soup

This soup is so gorgeous – tangy, chunky tomatoey goodness.  And it barely warrants being called a recipe.

Take about 1.5 kilos of very ripe tomatoes.  Cut them in half or quarters, depending on the size, and spread out on a baking tray.  Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle over salt.  Roughly chop two onions into wedges, and place in among the pieces of tomatoes.  Peel about half a head of garlic and drop the cloves in with the onion and tomatoes.  Bake at about 200C for 45 minutes to an hour (depending on whether you forget about them or not as I did.)

Leave the baked vegies to cool a little.  Pour everything on the tray into the food processor, and proceed to whiz until you’re getting a reasonably smooth consistency.  You’ll probably want to add a little hot water to dilute the soup a little.  Serve with parsley and perhaps some fresh parmesan or croutons.

Carrot & Shallot Soup

When I make soup, I generally make them as chunky and thick as possible, so this attempt to make a clear, fragrant soup was quite new to me.

I began by gently frying finely chopped shallots with a little bit of olive oil in a large saucepan. I added two finely sliced garlic cloves, salt and pepper, and stirred for a little while. I then poured in several peeled and finely diced carrots.

I didn’t have any excellent stock in the fridge, but if you have homemade or liquid stock, I suggest you use that – pour in a generous amount to cover the vegetables. I used a powdered chicken stock (as I’d run out of vegetable), and it turned out very well.

In hindsight, I don’t think I put quite enough water in – some bowls were very chunky with carrot, and that wasn’t quite the effect I was going for. I wanted a fragrant liquid with scattered pieces of carrot and shallot floating in it, not piles of carrot with a bit of liquid on top. Then again, I suppose it’s better to be less generous than too generous with water – it’s easy enough to add more liquid to a soup, and rather more difficult to reduce it.

I’d like to try this again with better stock and some different vegetable combinations – I’ll have to resist throwing too many things in, and ending up with a chunky soup yet again.

Sweet Potato & Lentil Soup

I tend to be rather impressionistic when making soups, so this won’t be a very detailed recipe. It’s also a simpliflied, Sunday afternoon recipe, using canned lentils to reduce the cooking time. This is a very solid soup/stew, with a lovely flavour after being simmered for an hour or two, and absolutely filled with vegies. A small container full makes a very satisfying weekday lunch.

1 onion, diced
2 carrots, cubed
2 sticks of celery, sliced
dried thyme
1 medium sweet potato, diced
3 potatos, diced
1 tin crushed tomatoes
1 can brown lentils
roughly 6 cups vegetable stock

Saute the onion, carrots and celery for a few minutes, until the onion is translucent, then add pepper, thyme, and any other seasonings.

Add the potato and sweet potato, and stir. Add tomatoes, lentils, and enough stock to generously cover the vegies. Let the liquid come to the boil, then turn down to a low heat, cover, and let simmer for an hour.

After an hour, check on the consistency. If it’s getting a little thick for your liking, add more water, or stock, and let it simmer a bit longer. If it looks just right, take it off the heat. If eating straight away, serve with some parsley and light sprinkling of cheese. Otherwise, let it cool in the pot before packaging it to freeze, or for lunch packages the following day.