Cream of Cauliflower Soup with Tangy Chive Oil

Today’s recipe is another one that will require my cashew béchamel sauce. Soup may not seem that exciting, but to get a soup this rich and creamy and vegan (and soy free!) is quite an accomplishment. Brace yourselves, chefs and other dairy enthusiasts – because this concept will knock your socks off.

Cream of Cauli Soup2
Yields approx 2.8L

1 TBSP Oil
1/2 Brown Onion, diced
1/2 C Potato, peeled & diced (not the waxy kind)
3 C / 5 Stalks Celery, roughly chopped
1kg / 1 head Cauliflower, stalks & florets, roughly chopped
2 Bay Leaves
1 1/4 C Cashew Béchamel*
4 C Vegetable Stock (low sodium)
2 C Water

  • Place a large pot on medium heat with the oil in it. Once hot, add the onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the potato & celery. Sauté for a further 4-5 minutes.
  • Turn the heat up to high and add the cauliflower, stock, water & bay leaves. Bring to the boil and cook with the lid on for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and cook for a further 10 minutes to reduce the soup.
  • Remove the bay leaves and prod a piece of diced potato with a fork to make sure it’s tender. If it’s not, cook the soup a little longer. The smaller you dice your potato, the quicker it’ll cook – so try not to throw in large chunks.
  • Blend the soup with the cashew béchamel in batches, return to the pot and stir over low heat to combine and heat through.
  • Serve, or let it cool and portion it out into containers for your freezer!

*If you’ve made this in advance for the previous recipe and stored it in the fridge, it’ll be fairly thick. In this case, use 1 heaped cup with a couple of TBSP of water blended together.

 

Tangy Chive Oil

Up close
Yields more than you’ll need but will keep in the fridge for use with other dishes.

Now, for the tangy chive oil! Don’t bypass this if you can help it. The herby, lemony tang cuts through the creaminess of this soup superbly. My only caution to you is that you use a good quality (and preferrably organic) olive oil – and if you don’t like the taste of olive oil, use something more neutral like canola oil – because you’ll definitely be able to taste it.

1/3 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil (organic if possible!)
1/2 C / 10g Fresh Chives
2 Scant tsp Lemon Juice
Salt (a couple of pinches)

  • Blend all ingredients except oil in a small food processor. Add the oil in a thin stream until all ingredients are well blended. you may need to scrape the sides of your food processor down with a rubber spatula. If some visible pieces of chives remain, don’t panic.

*If you don’t have a small food processor, you could use a magic bullet style blender, or even have a go at doing this manually in a mortar and pestle – just be sure to chop/mince the chives as finely as possible beforehand to make your life a bit easier.

Rustic Mashed Soup

This is a hearty winter recipe that’ll warm you up! Actually, it’s less of a recipe and more of a concept; it’s a meal-soup. It’s not just some wimpy little weight loss tool; it’s something proper and filling with protein in it, that’s less likely to give you the farts than a bowl of beans.

Now… There’s no real rules to this. If you don’t like parsnip, use cauliflower! If you don’t like potato, use sweet potato! If you don’t like pumpkin, maybe you should get yourself checked out…

The title of this post is the fancy pants name for the recipe; What I’ve decided to affectionatelly nickname it is “Root Soup” – because of the root vegetables in it, and its double entendre value. For anyone who is unfamiliar with Australian colloquialisms, “root” is another word for the f-bomb.

Veg

The inspiration for this came from two separate people in my life. The first being a very close friend who has generously shared many pumpkins from her garden with me this winter. She recently suggested that I add some oats to my pumpkin soup for a change of scenery & texture. Of course I was unable to resist this simple little tip, however I’ve opted to use quinoa instead of oats because quinoa is gluten free, high in protein, and a whole grain.

The second person that influenced this soup is a co-worker who proudly brought in his first attempt at pumpkin soup for lunch one day but looked at me sheepishly and told me that he mashed it with a potato masher because he didn’t have a blender. While he said this in an embarrassed, I-cook-like-a-student kinda way, I was pretty impressed and thought that mashing the soup was a brilliant idea! Thus, I have stolen it and created a recipe that’s 50% in his honour! Hah!

Rustic Mashed Soup

This makes 6-8 servings.

1kg Jap Pumpkin, peeled, seeded & cut into very large chunks
1 tsp Fresh Garlic or Ginger, minced
2 Carrots, cut into half moon shapes
1 Cup Potato, diced with skin on
2 Cups Parsnip, peeled & diced (remove the woody centre)
2 Cups Veggie Stock (I used Massell which is GF)
6 Cups Water
2x 15cm (6″) Sprigs Rosemary
Some Black Peppercorns (or not, depending on how you feel about pepper)
1/2 Cup Quinoa
S+P

  • Roast pumpkin for 40 minutes at 220C/425F. You can dry roast this or use a little spray of oil. Don’t panic when you see some burned bits on your pumpkin – it’s supposed to happen. It adds an awesome flavour to the soup.
  • Quickly sauté garlic/ginger in a smidge of oil, then add carrot, potato, parsnip, stock & water.
  • Tie rosemary & peppercorns up in some muslin like a bouquet garni*. Simmer with lid on for 10 minutes.
  • Add quinoa to the pot and cook with lid on for a further 10 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat, remove the rosemary and carefully add the roasted pumpkin to the pot, trying not to let crap splash everywhere. Grab your trusty potato masher and mash away until you get a consistency/texture you’re happy with.
  • Season with S+P, serve with a little seedy seasoning and a few leaves of fresh rosemary. Easy peasy!

*If you don’t have anything like this, I’d suggest throwing the rosemary in with the pumpkin while it’s roasting. Whatever you do, don’t add the rosemary loose to your pot of soup because you’ll be pulling out bare twigs at the end and the loose rosemary leaves will be unpleasant.