This recipe came about after buying an organic Savoy cabbage and two organic caulies from Tesco – which tasted of bugger all. So, left with one caulie, and always loathe to throw out food, last night I decided to break it down into florets, slice up the stalk, douse it in melted clarified butter, and roast it. In my mini oven, to keep the cost down (if you’re on benefits and, like me, have no gas supply, then a mini oven is vastly cheaper to run than the one in an electric cooker; a good one will set you back close to £100, or even more, but a basic one can be had for around £30).
Once roasted, it was left
to cool, but a quick taste showed it had paid off, and it was all I could do not to eat it last night.
Up early this morning, after a good night’s sleep – two minor miracles in succession! – I hit the kitchen to make soup. I don’t suppose the guy upstairs appreciated my clattering around and dropping pan lids but, as he’s a noisy prick anyway, I don’t much care.
Anyway, this is the recipe:-
1 medium-sized cauliflower, including any leaves if they’re still firm and not wilted and soft. Trim the end of the stalk, but otherwise use the whole thing, cut into bite-sized chunks.
2 medium onions, finely chopped
½ teaspoon Schwartz garlic granules (equal to an average garlic clove, so use one if you wish – peel it, flatten it with the blade of your knife and drop it in the pot. Yoiu can either leave it or fish it out before blending the soup – if you can find it!
Melted butter, about 35g, and preferably clarified.
A good handful of Aunt Bessie’s frozen Carrot & Swede Mash. First time I’ve tried this as an ingredient. If it works out it could make prep much easier
3 or 4 decent-sized potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced. I used Rooster, because that’s what I had.
1 or 2 Kallo organic veg stock cubes, to taste
1 tablespoon Schwartz dried parsley
½ teaspoon ground coriander – I want just a hint of spice in the finished soup
Maldon Sea Salt and black pepper
Note: I use a lot of dried herbs and ready-ground spices and, as they go so fast, there’s no problem with them going stale. I use only Schwartz, simply because nothing else is as good. I used to prefer McCormick, but they disappeared years ago. I recently found out that they’d been absorbed by Schwartz.
Where fresh herbs actually make a difference, they’re used. Mostly, though, the big difference between dried and fresh herbs is snobbery.
So, melt the butter in the pan or pot in which you’re going to make the soup – in my case this is my usual 3-litre spoonie-friendly stainless steel casserole – toss in the caulie and stir around until well coated with butter. Remove to an oven-proof dish with a slotted spoon, allowing any excess butter to drain.
Roast at 200C until a deep golden brown. It doesn’t matter if some of the smaller bits burn – as long as they’re not charcoal, they’ll taste great. Set aside.
Spoonie note – you could do as I did, and roast the caulie the night before. If you do, bag it when cool and refrigerate overnight. Next day, don’t forget to scrape the congealed butter from inside the bag – lots of flavour in that.
It’s worth mentioning that roasted caulie makes a damn fine vegetable – way more flavour than boiled or steamed.
Sweat the onions gently in the remaining butter (add more if needed), until soft but not coloured, add everything else** except salt and pepper, top up with boiling water, bring back to the boil, reduce to a simmer and leave alone until everything is soft.
**You might not need all the spuds – don’t over-fill the pot. I had a good handful of spud slices left over, so I tossed them in the deep fryer – cook’s treat!
Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Check and adjust the seasoning, as necessary.
Two ways to go from this point. You can blitz the soup in a blender or food processor if you want it smooth, or have at it with a potato masher if you like your soup with texture.
I opted for smooth (I’d normally go with chunky but I felt like change). Once blended I sprinkled it generously with more parsley, another ½ teaspoon of ground coriander, and a fair amount of Maldon flakes (there’s nothing better for seasoning vegetables).
Do bear in mind that this is quite a gently-flavoured soup (another reason for going with smooth), so don’t get carried away with the coriander or it’ll be swamped. In fact, freshly-grated nutmeg might be good, instead – it goes well with brassicas.
Two Spoonie spoons for this, as there’s nothing challenging. If you use pre-prepped onions and spuds, you’re down to one spoon – life doesn’t get much better!