I've been wanting to make this soup for a few weeks but couldn't quite bring myself to do so because it would be like admitting that summer was over. I know that there are lots of lovely summery soup recipes out there, but for me soup will always be an autumn/winter meal – a cosy, comforting kind of food that is as synonymous with the chillier months of the year as falling leaves, winter woollens and crackling log fires. Well, it's now (as of yesterday) officially autumn here in the UK, so I figured that there could be no better way to mark the changing seasons than by cooking up a batch of one of my favourite soups.
I think this recipe started out as a broccoli and Stilton soup (which, in my opinion, is equally tasty) and evolved from there. If I'm perfectly honest, no-one in my family eats cauliflower (although I persevere with offering it to the kids) and my oldest child doesn't eat soup, so I'm not exactly on to a winner here with my family. It's no great hardship – all the more yummy soup for me!
– just use a little more oil. This is not a slimming soup (although there's no reason you couldn't enjoy it while dieting if you watch the portion size) but given that my body is going to be spending the next few months shrouded in layers of winter clothes I couldn't care less!
Cauliflower cheese soupServes 4
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
150g (peeled weight) potato, peeled and cut into 1-cm cubes
1 head of cauliflower, separated into florets (about 600g prepared weight)
750ml vegetable stock (I used Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon Powder)
115g extra-mature vegetarian Cheddar cheese, grated
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan over a low–medium heat. Add the onion to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, until softened. Stir in the garlic and cook for a further minute. Add the potato, increase the heat a little and cook for 5 minutes.
Put the cauliflower into the pan and pour over the stock - don't worry if the stock doesn't quite cover the cauliflower. Bring to the boil, then partially cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the cauliflower is very tender.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the cheese, stirring until melted. Season to taste with grated nutmeg. Using a hand-held stick blender, process the soup in the pan until smooth (or leave the soup a little chunky if you prefer).
Transfer to bowls, sprinkle over extra grated cheese and nutmeg (if you like) and serve.