This unassuming soup satisfies the way a fresh loaf of bread spread with butter satisfies. As any good soup should, it warms you right the way through, and comforts you. It’s as good as a hug.
We’re at the part of the year where we’ve had to admit that hanging washing on the line is purposeless, that it has to be brought inside and hung in front of the heater. Sections of our thin-as-cardboard Californian bungalow need to be closed off so we can keep the warmth in, so the house smells of laundry – and soup.
We love cooking in season with what is cheap, fresh and bountiful. At the moment cauliflowers are $1.99 at the fruit shop and cheaper at the markets. Look for the whitest florets, if they’ve a slight yellow tinge it means they’ve been picked for a while.
This recipe comes from Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion, and she names it ‘Muff’s Soup’. The recipe calls for a teaspoon of Vegemite, which could be hard to find if you’re living out of Australia, and if so, substitute with Marmite or simply add more salt. We usually use cubed Massel chicken stock and for a soup that’s beauty is in its homely simplicity a good quality stock cube will certainly suffice.
Once the florets have been cooked in the stock until tender, then blended, the soup should taste surprisingly creamy. The parsley to serve will provide a little bite and freshness to each spoonful. A generous amount of Parmesan cheese to top is essential and will increase the creaminess.
1 cauliflower, chopped (including stem)
1 litre of chicken stock
1 teaspoon of Vegemite
freshly ground black pepper
freshly chopped parsley
freshly grated parmesan cheese
Cook cauliflower in stock until tender. Add Vegemite and stir until dissolved. Puree cauliflower and stock, then check seasoning. Stir in parsley. Serve with plenty of grated parmesan.