When it comes to food, I always go through phases where I eat a certain type of dish or cook with one specific ingredient over and over and over again. I have had these phases ever since I started cooking. That’s quite a while now, for I learned how to cook when I was 13 years old. Amongst the many phases, I have gone through were Indian curries, sauerkraut, quiches, tomatoes, all sorts of nuts and seeds, broccoli, cheese, bell peppers, smoothies, soups, and wraps. Usually, when a phase comes to an end, I cannot see that dish or ingredient again for a very long time. Of course, there are some exceptions, because to every rule there are some. Lasagne, burgers, and cheesecake are the three things you can always put in front of me to make me happy (given that they are free of ingredients I cannot eat). I almost said ‘wake me up for’, but I would not have meant it. So it’s good I didn’t.
This summer I went through a phase as well. Every other week, and sometimes two or three weeks in a row, I ate an entire cauliflower. By myself. No, I do not mean a small one. Every other week, I ate 500+ grams of cauliflower. If I didn’t know it to be true, I would not have believed it myself. Because I didn’t eat cauliflower for years. It may sound exciting to have eaten all these cauliflowers, for there are endless possibilities with this one particular ingredient: it substitutes for potatoes in mash, it replaces flower in a pizza crust and it makes a nice alternative to meat. With so many options, it’s not too difficult to eat one cauliflower by yourself. And the fact that I know these recipes while I didn’t eat this vegetable for a while, might give the impression that I made all these different sorts of things. But I’m almost sorry to say it wasn’t anything like that. Almost sorry to say, but I’m absolutely not sorry for what I did because I genuinely enjoyed what I cooked.
Every time I brought home a cauliflower, it would hang out in my kitchen for a couple of days, because of this idea that I don’t really want to eat it. But when the desire to not waste any food won it from my thoughts, I chopped it in half and divided each half into smaller florets. The florets of one half would go on a baking tray with a little oil and some spices like smoked paprika or curry powder. And the florets of the other half went in a pan to become an effortless soup, where the most important thing to do was: to not overcook the cauliflower. Some days easier said than done. But really important to try to achieve, for cauliflower gets this horrible cauliflowery flavour when it’s overcooked. But when the florets are just cooked, they make for a smooth, creamy soup.
This week marks the end of summer for my classes resume next Tuesday. But before I’ll go back to my books, I’m going to camp near the beach in France to enjoy the last days of summer. Since I have eaten this soup for about half of my summer lunches, and I typically don’t care for cooking anything twice in a time span of six to twelve months, I love to share this non-recipe.
I hope you enjoy it.
500ml vegetable or chicken stock
salt + pepper
1tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves
whatever you fancy
- Divide the cauliflower into small florets. You can do this either by just breaking them up, or by using a knife. Make sure the florets are about the same size in order for them to cook evenly.
[- Peel the potato and chop in small cubes.]
- Take a small pan, so the stock will cover the florets. Also, if the pan is too big it will be difficult to blend the soup with a stick blender.
[- Crush the garlic cloves and place them in the pan with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Fry the garlic for a few minutes, then remove them from the pan. Add the potato cubes.]
- Place the cauliflower florets in the small pan, add the stock and cover the pan with a lid. Simmer until cooked, approximately 15 minutes. Make sure you do not overcook the cauliflower. When the florets are soft, take the pan off the stove. Cool slightly to avoid explosions while blending.
- Blend the cauliflower florets, [potato] and stock into a smooth, creamy consistency. Season to taste and serve with whatever toppings you desire.