Cauliflower Soup with Roquefort
This is a truly sublime soup, as the cauliflower and Roquefort seem to meld together so well, but I have also tried it with mature Cheddar, and I'm sure it would be good with any cheese you happen to have handy.
More good news – it takes little more than 40 minutes to make.
The stock for this is very simply made with all the cauliflower trimmings. All you do is trim the cauliflower into small florets and then take the stalk bits, including the green stems, and place these trimmings in a medium-sized saucepan. Then add 2½ pints (1.5 litres) of water, the bay leaves and some salt, bring it up to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes with a lid.
Meanwhile, take another large saucepan with a well-fitting lid, melt the butter in it over a gentle heat, then add the onion, celery, leek and potato, cover and let the vegetables gently sweat for 15 minutes.
Keep the heat very low, then, when the stock is ready, strain it into the pan to join the vegetables, adding the bay leaves as well but throwing out the rest.
Now add the cauliflower florets, bring it all back up to simmering point and simmer very gently for 20-25 minutes, until the cauliflower is completely tender, this time without a lid.
After that, remove the bay leaves, then place the contents of the saucepan in a food processor or liquidiser and process until the soup is smooth and creamy.
Next return it to the saucepan, stir in the crème fraîche and cheese and keep stirring until the cheese has melted and the soup is hot but not boiling.
Check the seasoning, then serve in hot bowls, garnished with a little more crème fraîche, if you like, and the chives.