Ah the life of a food blogger. I must have taken three different sets of photos for this soup, to finally settle on this photo which needed more than a little Photoshopping (and yes, that’s a recognized verb in my browser) in the end. It looks okay… yet somehow I feel like I’m in a photography slump lately, and perhaps that’s the reason for the infrequent postings this last month or so. Work has been quiet and I’ve had more than enough daylight to take those lovely window-lit photos mid-afternoon that other food bloggers rave about… and yet I look at my plating and composition and feel thoroughly unsatisfied. Argh!
Some exciting news however is that I found a great eBay deal on a Canon Speedlite 430ex external flash for my lil’ Rebel—and while it has not revolutionized my photography literally overnight, sigh—I do look forward to having a bit more flexibility in the kitchen. There’s a lot to learn and I’m looking forward to it!
Anyway, this cheesy cauliflower soup is a Jamie Oliver-inspired dish from his Ministry of Food cookbook. It’s a brilliant thing! The average foodie might pick it up and see all the basic recipes and go, “What do I need this for?” but it’s just darn useful. A few of my favourite recipes have come from it—check out my basic steamed rice, meatballs, and carrot feta salad, all of which were inspired by Ministry of Food.
The bragging rights for this soup are a bit special for me. Our roommate Tom—a chronic carnivore and unfoodie—isn’t a fan of soups and is only borderline on stews. The poor boy has been at home the last couple weeks sick with mono—with a slight silver lining being that his throat has swollen so that he can eat nothing but soup! It’s hardly a pleasing situation, but at least I had an excuse to perfect some recipes.
Upon serving up a dish of this soup, he immediately turned to me and went, “This is bloody good!” …so there you go. A soup to please even the most discerning of soup skeptics. Enjoy!
Cheesy Cauliflower Soup
Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food
Makes: about 8 servings
Cooking time: 40 minutes total
- 2 medium brown onions
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 stalks celery
- 2 carrots
- 2-3 medium peeled potatoes (or one large bulb of celeriac would go great)
- 1 head cauliflower
- about 2 litres prepared vegetable or chicken stock
- 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 cups cheddar cheese, cubed into 1 cm pieces
- salt, pepper, and olive oil
Roughly chop your onions and garlic and get them sauteing on medium heat in a large, heavy-bottomed pot with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper. While those are cooking, chop your celery, carrots, and potatoes into about 1 cm chunks and add once the onions have softened slightly (just toss them in the pot as you go along with the chopping). Stir each time you add something. Chop the cauliflower into smallish florets (no need to be finicky though!) and add, stirring again. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes with a splash of water or white wine.
If you’re using stock powder or cubes, boil about 2 litres of water in your kettle and measure out the amount of stock mix needed for the water—follow instructions on the packet. (I’ve been slacking on the homemade stock, sadly.) Pour the boiled water straight from the kettle so that it just covers the vegetables. Add the stock powder or cubes and mix well. If you’re using prepared stock, warm it up before adding to the vegetables.
Add the rosemary and a really generous amount of fresh cracked pepper, cover and simmer gently for about 20 minutes or until the cauliflower and potato are quite soft.
Remove the soup from direct heat and stir in the 1 tbsp of Dijon. Using a blender, food processor, or immersion blender, process the soup until it’s quite silky and smooth (or the consistency you most enjoy). Return to a very low heat and add the cheese cubes. Stir once every couple of minutes until cheese cubes have mostly melted and dispersed through the soup.
Serve hot with a bit more cheese on top!