Spicing up bland cauliflower

It’s no secret that I like to take the easy route in the kitchen. Quick and simple and preferably using ingredients in the cupboard, mainly fresh. Soup falls into this category rather nicely, and can range from smooth and subtle to chunky and spicy, with much in between. There was a time when I was a most useless soup maker, but I have improved through a little attention to detail, not least of which is the use of sufficient flavourings. It is not enough to shake the salt cellar over your pot and think, ‘Oh, that should be a teaspoon’, with no weighing up of the quantity and type of ingredient. The worst soup crime is lack of flavour. Use a measuring spoon for all herbs and spices to make sure there is a reasonable basic minimum. A case in point is cauliflower soup. Simple, delicate and the perfect way to serve this rather bland yet very healthy vegetable rather than dumping a floret on your plate.

Take 1 large cauliflower and break into even-sized florets. Combine 2 Tablespoons olive oil with 1 teaspoon ground cumin and 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, salt and pepper in a bowl, then add the cauliflower and mix (with your hands (the finest tools in a kitchen). Place on a baking tray. Slice an onion in half, keeping the skin on. Rub olive oil on the cut surface and place them cut side down on the baking tray. Take 3 cloves of garlic, leave the skin on and slice on end off (this will make it easy to squeeze the roasted clove from the skin). Wrap in a piece of aluminium foil with a splash of olive oil and put on the baking tray.

Pop the baking tray in a hot oven 220°C for about 30 minutes until the cauliflower has nice brown bits (not burnt!). Remove the onion skin and squeeze out the garlic. Place all in a blender, add 4 cups vegetable stock, zap until smooth. Heat to serve. Excellent with crispy croutons!

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