Monday, 26 November 2012

a simple cauliflower soup

Hello, hello... I am now the happy owner of stick blender (also known as a hand blender or immersion blender). In truth, I operate a very minimalist kitchen and don't see the need for all sorts of fancy tools, but I have been yearning for a stick blender for a long time and now that I've got one, I'm lovin' it.

Smoothies... juices... dips... sauces... creamy soups! What's not to love? (Oh, and if it's fabulous for anything else, please do let me know in the comments... greatly appreciated.)

Let's just focus on the creamy soup aspect today. I'll be honest, my cauliflower soup recipe is going to be a rather vaguely instructive one, as I didn't really bother with any precise measurements. The good thing, though, is that it really doesn't need to be that detailed. It's easy. It's homely. It probably won't knock your socks off, but it's good and comforting and you may ask for a second helping. Or, at least, Simon did... after insisting he wasn't very hungry when I gave him his first bowl. As he went for more, I gave him a look, to which he reiterated and responded - "I'm not hungry, but it is so delicious..." Awwwww.

a simple cauliflower soup.

a simple cauliflower soup
(serves 4 as a starter or side... but we served it for 2 as a main on a not-so-hungry evening)


1 small to medium head of cauliflower, or 1/2 a head of a large one
butter, for frying - about 1 tablespoon
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
water, or unsalted/low-salt vegetable stock - a few cups' worth, depending on size of cauliflower
salt, to taste
cream, to taste - I used about 2 tablespoons
balsamic vinegar and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Cut or pluck the cauliflower florets (I often trim the stem, chop it up and use it too) and set aside.
Over medium heat, warm up some butter in an appropriately sized saucepan, along with the garlic and onion. When the garlic and onion has softened, add the cauliflower, then pour in just enough water or vegetable stock to cover the florets. Turn up the heat to bring to boil, then turn to medium again, partially cover the saucepan and let it cook until the cauliflower is tender - times may vary, but for me it was about 15 minutes.
Puree the soup. (With a stick blender if you have one - yay! Otherwise, transfer to a blender and blend it in portions, then return to the saucepan.)
You can lower the heat at this point so the soup just gently simmers. Add water if you'd like to thin it out, or cook it longer if you'd like it thicker.
Stir in some cream and continue stirring until it becomes one with the soup. Add salt to taste. (Having cooked the cauliflower in water instead of stock, I used a spiced and herbed vegetable salt here to give extra flavour, but this is optional.) Turn off the heat.
Ladle the soup into bowls, then splash with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with freshly cracked black pepper - be as generous as you like. Then slurp it all up with a spoon.

lashings of balsamic vinegar and freshly cracked black pepper to add flavour and interest.

36 comments:

  1. The slosh of balsamic is inspired!

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    1. Yep, the balsamic vinegar really completes the soup! It gives a light, tangy contrast, and adds so much extra character.

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  2. agreed! I'd never thought of adding vinegar as well! I'm going to have to try this recipe!

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    1. Oh, do! And yes, you gotta try it with balsamic vinegar! :)

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  3. My mum is completely anti-appliance (she and my brother have literally fought over how she refuses to believe in the value of a rice cooker), but she's always had a stick blender. They are golden. As is cauliflower. I like roasting my cauliflower for soup, too, but sometimes that's just one too many steps ;)

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    1. Yes, do so love having a stick blender. I also love roasted vegetable soups, but they are indeed more work than I tend to take on. ;)

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  4. I use my stick blender to whip cream, seems to be quicker than using the hand held beaters.

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    1. Sounds good, I might try that next time there's cream in need of some whippin'. ;)

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  5. This is awesome! AFD sent me a whole cauli and I've been wondering what to do with it .. now I know :) With this lovely wintery day we're having, soup will go down especially well tonight.

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    1. Glad to have given you at least one idea for your cauliflower! :)

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  6. Oh, sounds yummy! I never really do know what to do with cauliflower. I mean, in theory, I like it. In practice, it usually sort of sits there.

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    1. I also roast cauliflower or toss them in stir-fries and soups. They're pretty versatile! :)

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  7. Ooh I love the balsamic in here! I hope you have many happy cooking adventures with your stick blender - I just love mine :)

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    1. Totally! I'm looking forward to making so many delicious things with my stick blender. :D

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  8. Yes, add more cream! It makes everything taste good hehe. Love this and yay for your new stick blender

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    1. Sadly there was only a bit of cream left in the fridge that day. But it still did the job!

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  9. oooh, every winter i think about getting a stick blender. then decide i've lived this long without one...
    i love cauliflower (esp roasted, esp with lemon and butter) but i had a bland cauli soup experience once so find it hard to fathom. you'd need the garlic and balsamic for sure.
    have fun with that blender!

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    1. Well, I've lived many years without a stick blender... but it certainly is nice to have around, especially if you like whizzing things up! ;)

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  10. Hahhaha I love that you're putting that stick blender in good use! My friend gave me his a coupla months ago but haven't had the chance to use it yet! Can I just ask, if you're using it straight in the pot, would it touch the base/scratch it? Sorry if this is a dumb question but really curious if I can use it freely or be sure to not touch the base when I use it. Anyway, love the splash of balsamic vinegar in this. Looks lovely!

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    1. Oh, you should try out your stick blender! I don't know what yours is like, but with mine, the blades are located slightly within the plastic shaft, so even if you press it down on the bottom of the pot, it will be fine. It's the plastic rim that will make contact with the pot, and the blades will whirl just above it. Hope that makes sense. Give it a test run - and make sure the pot is not too full, otherwise it may splash out. Good luck! :D

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  11. Pure and simple, I love it. A frequent meal in our house is nothing more than cauliflower served in almond sauce.

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    1. Thank you, love the idea of serving cauliflower with almond sauce - sounds delectable!

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  12. YAY!!! I just broke my stick blender HAHAHA time to get another one and I love this cauliflower soup and how it's not full of potatoes so it's still light :) WOO HOO!

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    1. Ha yes. It's not too starchy, though how light it is will depend on how much butter and cream you choose to use. ;)

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  13. I too only own a stick blender (no fancy stand mixers for me) but hey, I hardly bake so it's not a biggie. I LOVE CAULIFLOWER ANYTHING :)

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    1. Yay for cauliflower love, my stick blender sister! :D

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  14. I think one of the best things the blogosphere has given me is a plethora of incredibly delicious ways to use cauliflower. I never used to like it, but I can't think of once in my youth when I had it any way other than raw. Next time I make cauliflower soup, I will definitely add a little balsamic in - that is fantastic.

    I love my immersion blender. I'm trying to think of 'extra' ways I use mine... not sure. I guess when I'm making jam, if I want it to be more pureed than chunky, or want it to cook up faster. And applesauce for sure.

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    1. I've always had cooked cauliflower. It has a tender sweetness to it, very lovely.

      Oh yes, jam, applesauce! And that brings to mind, various fruit butters, the blender would be awesome for that.

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  15. I was so excited when I got an immersion blender for Christmas a couple of years ago. It's such a great tool! Your cauliflower soup looks yummy (I love cauliflower).

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  16. Ah! I love my mum's bamix! I should totally use it more. Cauliflower is one of my favourite type of soups as well... <3

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  17. Love the splash of balsamic - what a great idea! I've been neglectful in the soup department lately and this simple, flavourful beauty is giving me major inspiration...!

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    1. Thank you! Would love to see your upcoming inspired soup recipes. ;)

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  18. Thanks leaf,
    this looks good - I think I may try it with cabbage
    as the cauliflowers in my comunal vegetable garden
    here in Milan have recently finished...

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    1. Thanks, Julia! I imagine cabbage would be lovely too, it's so sweet when simmered for awhile.

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