>> Thursday, January 20, 2011

Last week the weather was mild enough for us Londoners to think that winter was on the way out. The temperatures were up to 14°C and we were treated to a dose of sticky humidity. I could even walk to the tube without a coat on....

This week is another story. The little weather widget on my computer tells me it’s 4°C, so any illusions I had that spring was on it’s way have been dashed. One and a half more months to go!

But wherever there’s a cloud there’s a silver lining, and this silky cauliflower soup is it. It’s perfectly wintery, indulgent and delicious. Just the ticket for a cold, grey London day. It will warm you up from the inside out.

The original recipe included a teaspoon of mustard powder but I’ve never been completely convinced by mustard powder so chose to leave it out. To compensate I added extra Dijon mustard near the end, tasting the soup as I went to make sure the mustard didn’t overpower the other flavours. If you’re a bit fonder of the powdered stuff than I am, by all means add it to yours! (Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of Colman’s dry mustard powder to the pan before adding the potatoes and cauliflower. I might try this next time just to see what it's like.)

I inevitably eat my soup with hot buttery toast, but if you’re feeling fancy you could serve this in bowls with crunchy blue cheese toasts perched on the side or some homemade croutons fried in garlic butter sprinkled on top.

Even if the weather doesn’t warm up in the next few weeks, at least we have a valid excuse to stay indoors, wrap ourselves in blankets and sit cross-legged on the couch with warm bowls of soup.

(And try to pretend it's not summer back home....)

(adapted from the Cuisine website)

100g butter
1 large brown onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets (or two small)
4 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 litre chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
200ml milk
salt to taste
4-5 tablespoons Dijon mustard
freshly cracked black pepper

Melt the butter in a large saucepan then add the onion and garlic. Fry until translucent. Add the potatoes and sauté for a few minutes. Stir in the cauliflower. Pour in the stock and milk. Cover, bring to a gentle simmer and cook until the potato is very tender, adding more liquid if necessary.

When the vegetables are cooked, remove from the liquid with a slotted spoon, purée with salt to taste and the mustard. Return to the saucepan with the stock broth and bring back to heat, stirring gently. Serve in bowls with a swirl of cream and sprinkling of freshly cracked pepper.


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