My husband cannot stand cauliflower – so when we went to a lovely little restaurant and the waiter generously offered a taste of the chef’s soup as a little appetizer – I thought there was no chance he’d put the cauliflower-filled substance to his lips.
He snarled at it … like a child who’d been given Brussels sprouts for the first time. I tasted it, keen as mustard – I love cauliflower of all kinds – in curries, with cheesy white sauce – I don’t mind! When he saw my eyes light up with pleasure – he was tempted to give it a try.
He put the little shot glass of hot soup to his mouth, and sipped the tiniest amount he could … but as he started to make a repulsed face – you could see his eyes light up too and he no longer hesitated in taking in the entire shot. He loved it so much he wanted more and we spent the rest of the delicious meal talking about that soup. How could a vegetable someone loathes turn into something so pleasurable?
So, I made it my life’s work to recreate that soup – I researched recipes, trying to remember all the flavours of that one, tiny little shot – until I came across Neil Perry’s version. It seem to have all the right ingredients – and so I tried it. With a little tweaking – it was absolutely perfect – creamy, bursting with earthy flavour, but with a lovely bite from the Parmesan cheese. There was nothing boiled, bad smelling or unappetizing about it. It’s actually quite a decadent soup – and very silky on the palate – I’m salivating just writing about it. Now you can substitute the chicken stock for vegie if you want a vegetarian soup. But, if I’m totally honest, the chicken stock really adds depth of flavour. Just sayin’
Creamy Cauliflower Soup
- 2 tbs butter
- 3 cloves garlic, finely diced
- 2 brown onions, diced
- a few good pinches of sea salt
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 whole cauliflower, roughly chopped
- 5 cups of the best chicken stock you can get (or make it if you’re super keen!)
- 1 cup of cream
- 2 tsp of Dijon mustard (or to taste)
- a handful Parmesan cheese, finely grated (or to taste)
Heat butter in heavy-based pan and as soon as it has melted add garlic, onion, salt and pepper, and cook gently for 10 minutes.
Add cauliflower and sweat over low heat for about 10 minutes or until florets are soft and golden (the browning of the cauliflower is essential for the flavour of this soup).
Add stock, bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for about 15 minutes or until cauliflower is very soft.
Remove from heat, process in the food processor or with a stick blender until the soup is very smooth.
Return to pan, place over low heat, stir in cream.
Add mustard and cheese in batches tasting soup each time to judge whether more is needed. This is important to get it just right.
Add more chicken stock if necessary to give the desired consistency, or water if preferred.
The past week or so has been really positive following my last post. Reading back I feel like it was a bit of a “woe is me” whinge fest. I have since toughened up – and my resolve for health first, rather than just weight loss, has been restored.
I think that might have been where I got a bit depressed. When I strive for health, I feel positive – but when I strive for weight loss first – well, I get down. And, as you can gather, I don’t necessarily think the two go hand in hand. There are unhealthy skinny people out there – and there are fuller-figured people who are fit and healthy. We all come in different shapes and sizes and each have our own health concerns to deal with. it just so happens that my health concern, PCOS – makes it not only hard to lose weight – but weight is a key indicator for the improvement, or deterioration of symptoms.
So, with health in mind, I’m proud to say I walked every day of the week, except Friday.
With being on the cusp of the end of daylight savings – it was so dark I decided to allow myself a sleep in. But with sunrises like the one below – why wouldn’t you want to get out of bed and welcome the new day?
You know how sometimes you just feel like simple food? Well, this Asian dish is clean, beautiful, – and really rather healthy. But, I admit, it’s not exactly the most straight forward dish.
It seems that in this day and age we are always looking to cook stuff which is quick and easy – but I really do think there is a lot of merit in slow food. It’s the kind of cooking you do when you have some time free on the weekend – or you just feel like being in the kitchen and chopping a bit of this and stirring a bit of that.
It’s not a stressful dish – in fact, there is a decent length of time when you can sit back, Kylie Kwong style, and just wait, and read and ponder the world. I was lucky enough to meet her a few years ago – the only celebrity chef I have ever seen in real life – and just chat to her. She also has the best mannerisms. If you haven’t seen Kylie in action before – pop over to YouTube and have a look. She’s great.
But, I digress.
This recipe isn’t a Kylie Kwong dish – it was actually inspired by Justine Schofield. I really like her food too and when I watch her show – I’m always inspired and ready to get into the kitchen!
So, this is my version of Justine’s Chinese Hainanese Chicken and Rice. She serves it in separate components, which was really lovely, but, when I had the left overs a few days later – I made it more into one dish – and enjoyed it immensely as that is how I like to eat my food. For all your work you get beautiful poached chicken, an amazing clean and delicious soup, as well as a fantastic dipping sauce you are sure to find many other uses for.
So, here goes …
This recipe is fantastic because it’s very balanced – it has protein, veg and carbs – and best of all, it’s absolutely delicious and freezes extremely well.
Chicken with Rataouille and Risoni
- 1 large eggplant, cut into 2.5cm pieces
- 2 large zucchinis, thickly sliced
- 1 red capsicum, halved, thickly sliced
- A good drizzle of olive oil
- 8 large chicken drumsticks
- 2 cups Italian tomato pasta sauce (or you could make my marinara sauce, click here for the recipe)
- 1/3 cup dried risoni pasta
- 1/2 cup basil leaves, chopped
Preheat oven to 240°C. Place eggplant, zucchini and capsicum in a large roasting pan. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and some salt and pepper and use your hands to toss the vegies and ensure all the vegies are lightly coated. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes or until light golden.
Meanwhile, heat a heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Add a little olive oil and cook the drumsticks in batches, turning occasionally, for 5 minutes or until light golden (you could use thigh fillets as well, if you like). Return all chicken to saucepan. Add pasta sauce. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in risoni. Cook, covered, for a further 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Do keep an eye on it to make sure the risoni doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
Stir in roast vegetables and basil. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve or transfer to containers for freezing.
This recipe is so easy and simple, but the roasting of the vegetables really adds a lovely depth of flavour. I know some people would like to use breast chicken for this. However, I really urge you not to, I think it would really take away from the flavour.
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