The idea for this came after we picked up a cauliflower at the Sunday farmers market after a gorgeous walk in the sunshine but had no clear idea what to do with it. We’re big soup fans so a soup was pretty quickly decided on but then we thought it needed a couple of toppings to really make it interesting! Fats once had a spiced cauliflower soup with toasted hazelnuts in a restaurant so we put them on the list and thought it would be a bit different if we kept the soup really simple and just had the spices in another topping – so a brown butter with plenty of spices was born! We’d never made cauliflower soup before, and certainly never made or had a topping like this, but it turned out so well – the soup was really velvety and creamy despite only having a dash of milk in it, and the toppings took it to the next level. Next time you’re craving some comfort food with a twist give this a try.
Ingredients for the soup – this made enough for about 3 portions but it would freeze really well:
1 tsp olive oil
1 small white onion, diced
1 potato, peeled and diced
1 medium head of cauliflower, most of the stalk discarded and chopped into florets
Enough chicken stock to cover, around 500ml
About 100ml of milk
For the toppings:
2 tbsp of chopped hazelnuts, lightly toasted
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp nigella (black onion) seeds
2 tbsp of unsalted butter
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
To make the soup simply heat the oil in a large saucepan then add in the onions and turn the heat right down. Cook for a couple of minutes until they are a little translucent – do not allow them to colour as you want this to be a pale soup. Add in the potato and the cauliflower, stir to coat in the oil and then add the stock. Bubble away for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft, take off the heat, add the milk and then blend with a stick blender adding seasoning to taste. And that’s it! Pretty nice so far but you want to take it up a notch…
Using the frying pan you used to toast the hazelnuts toast the mustard seeds and nigella seeds together over a medium-low heat until they start popping and then put them to one side. Add the butter to the hot pan and let it bubble up and turn a beautiful brown colour which will further intensify the hazelnut flavour. Once this has happened tip in a small pinch of salt, the ground spices and the toasted seeds, swirl together for a second and serve right away, with the toasted hazelnuts, on top of the soup.
How easy was that? So delicious and a bit of a change from the usual.
Guess who’s back… back again… Tart Tuesday’s back… ok so it doesn’t really work. Anyway, the point is that it was a particularly emotionally draining week on The Great British Bake Off with both Paul and Mary seeming to have woken up on the wrong side of bed that morning (separate beds hopefully) and all of the fantastic bakers took a verbal hammering. To counteract the distressing nature of this viewing we made our most indulgent mini tarts to date! These little artery-cloggers are filled with a ganache made with both dark and milk chocolate, coffee liqueur and then topped with chopped, roasted hazelnuts.
Once again we used the same pastry as featured in all of our Tart Tuesday posts but as this is a fridge set tart the pastry was rolled out to pretty thin (around 5mm) and then placed in the same loose-bottomed tart cases that we’ve used throughout (thanks Nanny Bird for those!). The base of it was then pricked with a fork and a piece of greaseproof paper placed in each, filled with baking beans and then baked blind for just under 10 minutes at 180°C, then the beans and greaseproof paper were removed and it was baked for a further 10 minutes or so until lightly golden and firm. Leave these to cool fully while you make the ganache.
We used a mixture of half milk chocolate and half dark chocolate to give a semi-sweet filling as no sugar is added. Finely chop 100g of your desired chocolate and place in a jug for easy filling of the tarts. Place 65ml of double cream in a small pan over the lowest heat and slowly heat until it begins to steam, at this stage tip in about 1 tbsp of liqueur. If you wanted to miss this step and make them non alcoholic just used 75-80 ml of cream instead. We used a coffee liqueur but orange, raspberry, almond, hazelnut or probably many others would be delicious too.
Once you have added the liqueur to the cream watch it closely and once it starts bubbling slightly pour it over the chopped chocolate immediately. Let this mixture stand for 30 seconds to 1 minute to let the hot cream do it’s work, and then using a whisk bring the ganache together. You will end up with a much better, glossier ganache if you try not to introduce much air at this stage so don’t whisk properly, just gently use the whisk to mix until you have a rich, glossy mixture. Pour this into the cold pastry cases and then put in the fridge to chill – ours chilled for about an hour and a half and had a beautiful truffle-y texture. You can leave it just simple like this or top with it anything you like, we used chopped roasted hazelnuts made by roasting a small handful of whole hazelnuts at 180°C for 5 minutes, chopping once cool and sprinkling on top.