Cauliflower makes a smooth and velvety soup which makes a tasty starter or light meal. Rarebit croutons create a sharp contrast and soak up the delicious soup.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 60 minutes
1 medium cauliflower, broken up into florets
2 tbsp butter
1 leek, white only, finely chopped
300g potato, peeled and diced
1 sprig of thyme
1 sprig of rosemary
2 bay leaves
750ml vegetable stock or water
500ml double cream
maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper
300g mature cheddar, grated
1 tbsp corn flour
1 tsp hot English mustard
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
6 slices of bread, lightly toasted
2 tbsp finely chopped chives
Soup: Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a moderate heat. Add the leek to the melted butter and cook it for a couple of minutes until tender. Add the cauliflower, potatoes, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves and vegetable stock or water to the saucepan. Bring the soup to the boil then reduce to a simmer. Leave the vegetables to cook for 45 minutes, stirring at regular intervals and spoon off any scum that may come to the top.
Remove the soup from the heat, remove the rosemary, thyme and bay leaves and allow it to cool slightly. Puree the soup in batches with the cream until smooth and return it to the pan. If the soup is to thick add a little more cream, milk or stock. Season the soup with a little salt and pepper to taste. Bring the soup to a boil and then simmer for a few minutes when ready to serve. The soup can be stored when cooled in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 day or freeze it.
Rarebit: Melt the cheese with the milk in a saucepan while stirring slowly over a moderate heat.
Mix the cornflour with a couple of tablespoons of milk until smooth. Stir the corn flour into the cheese mixture with a wooden spoon and stir the mixture until thick. Stir in the mustard and Worcestershire sauce until well combined. Leave the mixture to cool slightly or cool it and refrigerate in a container for up to 3 days until ready to use.
Preheat a grill to high. Remove the crusts from the toast and spread a generous layer over rarebit over the toast. Place the bread under the grill and cook for 3-5 minutes until risen and golden.
Remove the rarebit from under the grill and slice the bead into small squares.
To Serve: Distribute the soup among soup bowl and distribute the rarebit croutons among the servings. Sprinkle the chives over the soup and serve at once.