Monday, 8 September 2014

Cauliflower - Make it Your Hero.

 This vegetable can either smell wonderfully fresh or like a room full of dirty feet. Incredible then, that it is been given 'hero' status by many famous chefs. And we follow suit. Embracing this weird looking vegetable which can be transformed into  'rice',  'mashed potato', 'pizza pastry', and anything else you can think of.

Despite it's odd look, cauliflower, when treated respectfully, can be a rather charming vegetable. Different varieties can be white, creamy yellow or purple. When it is in season it is incredibly cheap - a big one I bought the other day cost just $3.00 and there is rarely a time when cauliflower is out of season because it grows in so many places

I am celebrating the cauliflower this week - yes, you are my hero because you are  - low in calories, high fibre, high vitamin C, B6, B1, B3, calcium, iron, manganese, copper and a plethera of other good things. Budget wise, it's cheap and a little goes a long way. So what is there not to like about the Brassica oleracea? 

This soup is so much better when you grate your own nutmeg . I have a small nutmeg grater which was very inexpensive and so easy to use, however just using a normal grater is fine.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Croutons


1 large cauliflower (about 1kg)
1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
1 shallot, chopped or 3 spring onions chopped
1 clove of garlic
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
600ml of vegetable stock
1/2 cup of cream
1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon of verjuice
fresh thyme for garnish
shaved Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 190ºC/375 degrees.
Take a large roasting pan and line base with baking paper.
Chop the cauliflower into bite sized florets and place in a single layer on the baking

Add a tablespoon of olive oil and coat the cauliflower. Grate some nutmeg on the cauliflower, using about 1/2 teaspoon. 

Bake in the oven until the cauliflower is cooked and starting to brown on the top. This will give it a lovely caramelized flavour. Half way through baking, take the cauliflower out of the oven and turn the cauliflower over. Bake in total for around 40 minutes.

While you are waiting for the cauliflower to cook, take a large saucepan and add a tablespoon of olive oil, heat on a low heat, add the chopped onion and garlic, cook for 4-5 minutes until the onion starts to soften. Add the stock, thyme, vinegar and verjuice and heat through.

When the cauliflower is cooked allow it to cool a little in a bowl. Add  the cooled cauliflower to the stock and using a stick blender or a  conventional blender, blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If you are serving immediately, stir in the half cup of cream and put it back on the heat to warm through.

Serve with some shaved parmesan and fresh sprigs of thyme. If you wish to serve some bread with this, either make some home made croutons or slice up a Baguette.

If you prefer a thinner soup, just add extra stock before blending.

Serves 4 people. Total cost $5.00 making it just over $1.00 per person. 

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