cauliflower, mustard and cheddar soup

this cauliflower, mustard and cheddar soup recipe is perfect if you accidentally bought too many vegetables for your festive meals and have a cauliflower in need of a good home. it’s also wonderful if you love the simple flavours of cauliflower cheese and fancy them in something a bit different.

the recipe is courtesy of nigel slater and is comfort food at its best given how quick and easy it is to make, plus the fact that you can turn it from healthy to indulgent with a simple scattering of croutons (i restrained myself) and grated cheese (i didn’t).

nigel slater’s cauliflower, mustard and cheddar soup (serves 4)

50 g butter

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1 large or 2 small cauliflower, broken into florets

2 bay leaves

1 large potato, peeled and cubed

4 tablespoons creme fraiche

1 heaped tablespoon seed mustard

200 g punchy farmhouse cheddar, grated

2 thick slices of bread, cut into 1 cm cubes

50 g butter

melt the butter in a saucepan. add the onion and fry until soft, then add the garlic and fry another minute. meanwhile, boil the cauliflower florets for six to eight minutes, until almost tender. add the cauliflower and its cooking water to the onion, along with the bay leaves and potato. bring to the boil and add salt. simmer for fifteen minutes.

remove from the heat, fish out the bay leaves and puree the soup. pour back into the pan. stir in the creme fraiche, mustard and a grinding of black pepper. bring back to the boil. fry the bread cubes in the butter until golden.

ladle the soup into deep warm bowls, stir in the cheese, taste - add salt, pepper or mustard as you wish - and scatter with croutons.