| cauliflower soup

May 17, 2009

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.

Cauliflower Soup

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.

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cauliflower soup: 20 comments

  1. antonia sellbach Says:

    a friend of mine substituted blue cheese instead of the parmesan and it was also delicious!

  2. Juddie Says:

    Mmmmm … think I might make some tomorrow, and eat it with hot crusty bread.

  3. Elizabeth Says:


  4. Nadia Says:

    Soooooo yum. I have been making lots of soup and have a cauliflower and zucchini soup for lunch today. i de-glaze my pan with brandy for any soups like this (it started with potato and leek) and it adds an extra wintery dimension. Plus I always have brandy on hand for the one night a year I make egg nog, the rest of the time it just sits there. Have never done the vegemite before!

  5. sarah Says:

    It really is so delicious! Thanks so much for all your feedback and kind words everyone! !!! Deglazing the pan sounds excellent, you will have to make one for us!!! x Sarah

  6. Benjamin Law Says:

    YOM. Am making a slight variation of this now, and I think the Vegemite just might be the key. So far, smelling gooood.

  7. mim faukes Says:

    Can you talk about your own thoughts on printing previously-published recipes? I think some folks draw a line between those printed (typewritten?) by mum and those published in a bound book. Do recipes have ‘copyright’? Or maybe they stand in the cultural consciousness like any story, changed slightly every time it’s told and therefore collectively owned.

  8. romy Says:

    It’s an interesting question, definitely, and one I have mulled over. In a forum like the internet or the blogoshpere I think the importance is in the sharing of knowledge, a kind of cross platform, world-wide kitchen. In the blogosphere it’s common practice to reference recipes
    from published books, but perhaps this does not make it right? This cauliflower soup recipe is an interesting example, as Alexander credits it to a friend of hers. So even though the recipe is published in The Cook’s Companion she still makes reference to where it came from. I wonder where the friend got the idea for her original recipe?

    The recipes on Trotski & Ash are the recipes we cook in our everyday lives, some of them come from published recipe books, and when they do we’ll always reference them. We always make a note too of where we’ve made changes to a recipe and I think the line is fuzzy as to how much a recipe needs to change to make it ‘all’ our own. I’d like to see readers make their own changes to the recipes, make comments, and let us know how it goes, so we can learn and our recipes can evolve too.

  9. Hailey Says:

    Good recipe, thanx!

  10. Ian Says:

    Take one step back and make your own chicken stock. At Woolies, or any shop that sells cut up neat, buy a kilo or so of chicken frames (depending on the size of your stock pot) and a small rack of pork ribs. The frames normally cost around $2 a kilo. Put them in a pot of cold water along with a handful of peppercorns, a bay leaf, a bunch of fresh herbs if you’ve got some (thyme, marjoram, tarragon, etc) and a few inches of lemon zest. Simmer for 5-6 hours and strain. You’ll have 2-3 litres of stock to use for cauliflower soup – or pumpkin, zucchini, vegetable, spring vegetable, minestrone or Chinese noodle soups – for the rest of the week.
    If you’ve used a whole chicken or very meaty frames, you can separate the remaining flesh from the bones, mince it up and use it to stuff pancakes as my Latvian mother-in-law did. But that’s another story…

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  12. JoolzGirl Says:

    Oooh this sounds so good. My next door neighbour serves up baked cauliflower all through winter – but I’m loving the idea of creating the soup with BLUE CHEESE omg yum

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  15. Anne Says:

    Great recipe, it was delicious, thanks !

  16. Jen Dev Says:

    I love this soup! Tasty, quick and very easy! Thanks!!

  17. Esther Says:

    Just made this for the first day of winter…amazingly creamy and thick, and that’s without the parmesan! I may have changed it and thrown a teaspoon of honey in there too 🙂 Thanks T & A!

  18. Brad Says:

    I do a variation of this with onion but no cheese. The vegimite is the kicker in this recipe, adds a remarkable flavour – especially if your an Aussie and love vegemite!! Swirl in some cream!

  19. Nat Says:

    Had some sad-looking baby spinach in the fridge, cooked it up till well-wilted with some onion, garlic and butter, added this to the cauliflower & stock, blended together…extra-creamy and a beautiful pale green…delicious.

  20. sarah Says:

    Sounds so pretty and delicious Nat!

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