|This week I’ve been looking at some of the soup recipes I have put online and while I had several classics such as Gazpacho, French Onion and Chowder I wanted something a little more elegant so today’s recipe is a sophisticated soup ideal for a dinner party and perhaps as the starter for your Christmas Dinner. This rich, silky smooth cauliflower soup is an ideal partner to the spicy flavours of the pakora’s and curry oil. A veloute is a traditional soup made with a stock thickened with a roux, this recipe also contains potato for extra body.
1 kg ( approximately ) 1 large Cauliflower, cut up
1 large Baking Potato, peeled and chopped into large chunks
1 large Onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 ltr homemade Chicken or Vegetable stock
600ml full-fat Milk
142ml carton double cream
60gr Plain Flour
4 tbsp Olive Oil
A small sprig of fresh Thyme
Small Bay Leaf
Sea Salt and White Pepper
A few drops of fresh Lemon Juice
A generous pinch of freshly grated Nutmeg
Heat the butter and oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan and add the cauliflower, potato, and onion. Cover with a lid and cook over a low heat for about ten minutes without colouring, stirring occasionally. Add the flour and cook out stirring continuously for two further minutes. Add the nutmeg, bay leaf, and thyme and pour in the stock and bring to the boil, then pour in the milk and return gently to a gentle simmer. This prevents scum forming from the milk solids. Simmer, uncovered, for fifteen minutes until the vegetables are soft then, add half the cream.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly then take out the thyme and bay leaf before blending in a food processor. For an extra smooth finish, push the purée through a sieve with the back of a ladle. Reheat gently do not boil, stir in the rest of the cream, the lemon juice, season to taste and serve.
You can prepare the soup ahead of time, cool, cover and chill then reheat as required.
100ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil, warmed in a small pan
2 level teaspoons of Curry Powder
1 tsp crushed Coriander Seeds
1 tsp yellow Mustard Seeds
½ tsp Turmeric
2 cloves of Garlic, peeled and crushed
1 stalk of Lemongrass, peeled and roughly chopped
Grated Zest of 1 fresh Lime
Generous pinch of Sea Salt
In a small frying pan, toast the curry powder, turmeric, coriander and mustard seeds for a couple of minutes, taking care not to burn the spices, add the garlic, lemongrass, lime zest, salt and warm olive oil. Set aside to cool and infuse in a warm place for at least an hour. Strain the oil through a fine sieve cover and set aside until needed.
Half a second Cauliflower ( around 500gr trimmed into 2cm florets )
For the Batter
100gr Gram / Chickpea Flour
175ml ice cold Water
1 tsp ground Coriander
1 tsp ground Turmeric
1 tsp ground Cumin
A couple of generous pinches of Cayenne Pepper
¼ tsp fine Salt
Neutral Vegetable Oil for frying
Sieve all of the dry batter ingredients into a bowl to remove any lumps. Slowly pour in the water whisking together to make a smooth batter. The finished batter should be the consistency of double cream. Add a little extra cold water if required. Add the cauliflower florets to the batter and mix thoroughly to ensure they are all coated in the batter.
Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium heat, it needs to be around 3 centimeters deep. When you can gently fry a piece of stale bread to golden brown the oil is hot enough. Place three or four spoonfuls of the mixture into the oil and cook for two minutes until golden brown on one side then turn over and cook for another couple of minutes, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Keep cooking in batches until all the mixture is used up.
To serve ladle piping hot soup into bowls and add two or three pakoras, drizzle over curry oil and garnish with a little freshly chopped coriander.