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Cauliflower, watercress and blue cheese soup


When you are passionate about cooking, read as many recipes as I do and cook as often as I cook you tend to learn rather quickly there are certain ingredients that just seem to belong together.  I associate it with any other relationship.  Sometimes, two people being together just isn’t good but when you find that right person that are meant to be with, it just seems to work, it’s easy and oh so good.  Or at least that is the way it has happened in my life and the same can be said for putting ingredients together.

For me, one of the classic combinations is cauliflower and blue cheese.  I don’t profess to know exactly why they go together so well but would welcome a scientific explanation if you have one.  My opinion is purely based on the way they taste when I eat them together, especially in a soup.  The cauliflower (along with the onion) tends to take on a sweetness that balances with the almost medicinal hit from the blue cheese.  I know my words may not have you rushing to the fridge to grab your ingredients, but please believe me when I say; if you like these two things then try them together.  

When I read this recipe I knew straight away that I had to make it.  I found a beautiful head of cauliflower at my local markets, got my other ingredients ready and began to create.

cauliflower, watercress and blue cheese soup (recipe from August/September 2010 issue of dish [1] magazine)
makes about 8 cups.  Serves 6

2 tablespoons olive oil
knob of butter (10g/0.30 ozs)
1 onion (200g/7 ozs), thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
sea salt
1 medium cauliflower
1 bay leaf
½ cup white wine
5 cups chiken stock
¾ cup milk
100g (3.5 ozs) creamy blue cheese, crumbled
2 cups packed watercress, thick stalks removed, roughly chopped 
2 tablespoons olive oil
knob of butter (10g/ 0.30 ozs)
reserved cauliflower florets
¼ cup sliced almonds
small handful watercress

Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan.  Add the onion and garlic with a good pinch of salt, cover and cook until tender.

Break the cauliflower into small florets and set aside 2 cups for the garnish.  Thickly slice the stems and add to the onions with the remaining cauliflower and bay leaf.  Cook for 10 minutes.

Add the wine and let it bubble up until most of it has evaporated.  Add the stock, season and cook until the cauliflower is tender.  Add the milk and bring the soup back to the boil.  Remove from the heat, add the cheese and stir to melt.  Place a quarter of the hot soup in a food processor and add a quarter of the watercress.  Process until smooth.  Tip into a clean saucepan and repeat with the remaining soup and watercress.  Season.

For the garnish, heat the olive oil and butter in a sauté pan.  Add the cauliflower and cook over a medium-high heat until golden.  Drain on kitchen towels and season.  Add the almonds to the pan and cook until golden.  Drain on kitchen towels.

To serve, ladle the soup into warm bowls and top with the garnish.

My tips/alterations:  *I used more water cress than was recommended because I like the peppery flavour.  *When it came to blending the soup I used a hand held whiz rather than dragging my food processor out.  The result was that the watercress was slightly finer which makes the colour a little greener (well that and the fact that I added extra watercress) but doesn’t change the flavour at all.  *You could substitute rocket for the watercress if you prefer and if you don’t like the flavour of blue cheese I would suggest trying the recipe with dolcelatte gorgonzola (a very mild form of blue) or even feta.  *To save time, I prepared my garnish while the soup was cooking.


ease: 9/10.  There is nothing difficult about this.   
prep time: 20mins.  
cooking time: 25mins + blending
total: 50mins.         

taste: 9/10.  We love, cauliflower, blue cheese and watercress so couldn’t really go wrong with this dish.  These flavours go together really well. 

The use of milk rather than cream meant that texture was creamy without being heavy.   The addition of crunch from the garnish meant that we weren’t hunting for a piece of crusty bread like we normally do when we have a bowl of soup for dinner.

This made me feel like I was eating something healthy and delicious.  What more could you ask for?

When I scored this soup I thought, how would I improve it?  The only thing I would do differently is add a touch more cheese because I love the flavour.

would I make it again:  Yes!  I consider this one of my classic recipes now.