It’s Spring! We have not really had a harsh winter at all, but everywhere I go people are ululating as the warmer weather approaches. For me the joy lies in the longer days more than in the weather, but be that as it may, the prospect of summer makes people happy. The lingering cold doesn’t. So as the season turns and turns again, and others grapple with the virtues of sunscreen versus scarves, I simply wonder what to cook. When the mornings break with icy winds I long for comforting soups and casseroles and then the afternoons arrive with stillness and sunshine and nothing could be more perfect than a cool crisp salad. I love the unpredictability of the change-over, I think it makes me feel a little more sane knowing Mother Nature also has mood swings! So, in honour of my indecisiveness I am doing a little double-bill between this week and next, perhaps an unexpected one, but no less satisfying. I actually might even enjoy serving them in the same meal, with something really vibrant and bright as a main in-between. I made the soup this weekend past and it was so comforting on a cold and blustery Saturday. I sometimes add cream to make a cream of cauliflower, other times keep to just stock and sometimes add other decadent delights.
1 head of cauliflower (broken into florets and stem chopped)
2/3 leeks, depending on size
butter for frying
a glug of white wine for deglazing (optional)
±1 litre best quality stock of choice (either veggie/ chicken)
salt & pepper
Thoroughly rinse your leeks before slicing and putting in a pot with some butter on a medium heat. Fry them gently, taking your time so they get nice and tender and sweet. Put the lid on and let them sweat until translucent, turning golden then add garlic and cauliflower and fry some more. Give it all a good stir so everything gets some flavour from the bottom of the pot. At this point add your wine, if using, give another stir and let the alcohol cook off – you should not have the wine smell anymore. Add the stock to almost cover the cauliflower and close the lid. I bring it to the boil quite gently and continue simmering gently until the cauli is tender. Blitz this very well, the more the better and creamier. Check for seasoning, then add a generous drizzle of truffle oil and blitz again – or just give a good stir. Put the lid on and set aside.
Turn the oven onto grill and line a baking sheet with baking paper. We’re going to make parmesan crisps, so finely grate enough parmesan to make a little pile for each person, allowing enough space in-between for the cheese to melt and spread. You have to use your judgment here, but don’t make the pile too dense and rather keep it smaller – about 10cm in diameter. Pop the baking sheet into the oven and watch them, don’t let them burn. Don’t have the rack right at the top. It takes a little longer than expected, but once they are all melted and golden, remove from the oven and allow to cool. Heat the soup gently if need be and serve into warmed bowls. Give another drizzle of truffle oil and serve with the parmesan crisp. By all means serve it with some crusty bread, but the crisp adds something special and feels lighter – especially if serving as a starter. I like to use truffle salt when making this, layering the truffle as it were! If I had them I would shave some fresh truffle on top too! But then I am somewhat of a truffle zealot. Enjoy!
… Seeing as this recipe is so short & sweet, I thought I’d give you a little something extra that one of our customers enlightened us with – something to do with the delicious Ginger, Cacao and Chilli Infusion from The Honey Bear. Warm up some Mooberry milk – whichever you prefer. Take a generous teaspoon of the honey infusion and leave in your favourite mug. When the milk is nicely hot, pour into the mug and mix into the most delectable chocolaty treat! Raw cacao, the best dairy imaginable and ginger and chilli – it does not get much better!