Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cauliflower soup with cheese balls: could there be a better food for winter?

I've been finding this winter difficult so far. It is hard to believe that it's been little over a month since my boyfriend and I got back from our trip to the UK in mid October feeling full of optimistic energy and plans for the future. Since then, we've had the October bank holiday, the turning back of the clocks and the real onset of winter. This has meant a lot of dark evenings and Atlantic storms here in Dingle and it's been a struggle to stay energetic and resist the urge to hibernate.

On top of all that, any attempts I have made to put the plans we hatched on holiday into motion have met with obstacles. So far this winter, it has been quite the challenge to keep a smile on my face and stay optimistic.

This is where comfort food comes in and the dish I have to share with you today is my idea of a hug in a mug. It combines the flavours of cauliflower cheese with the wholesomeness and warmth of soup - it's just what I needed to cheer me up this afternoon.

If you too need some comfort food to cheer you on this winter's day, here's what you need to do.

Cauliflower soup with cheese balls
This serves four. It's incredibly easy to make and takes all of twenty minutes.

Ingredients for the soup:
50g butter
1 large potato, peeled and cubed
1 onion, finely chopped
1 litre/2 pints vegetable stock
500g/1lb cauliflower florets 
Salt and pepper

Ingredients for the cheese balls:
50ml/2 fl.oz. milk
30g flour
1 egg beaten
20g grated cheddar cheese 

  • Melt half of the butter in a large pain and fry the onion and the potato for 3 minutes.

  • Add the stock and the cauliflower florets and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender.
  • While the soup is simmering, make the puffs. Preheat your oven to 220 C/430 F. Melt the milk and the remaining butter in a saucepan.
  • When it has melted,add the flour all at once.  Stir the mixture until it forms into a ball that comes away from the sides of the pan. 
  • Take it off the heat. Allow to cool. Then stir in the egg and cheese.
  • Transfer the mixture to a piping bag with a small nozzle. Squeeze onto a baking sheet, making small mounds that are at least one inch apart. Sprinkle with some sea salt and extra grated cheese for even more yuminess.
  • Bake in the oven for five to six minutes until they have risen and turned a golden colour.
  • Finish the soup while they are cooking. Puree your mixture, saving a few florets to use as a garnish. Season with salt, pepper and some freshly grated nutmeg (ground is fine too) according to your own taste.  
  • Ladle the soup into your soup bowls and garnish with your cheese balls, cauliflower florets and even more grated cheese.

Sit back and savour your hug in a mug.


  1. That looks interesting, I have only recently enough gotten in soup making and only yesterday did a pictorial blog post on soup. Think I'm going to give this one a go.

    My soup blog post http://adrian.shanahan.eu/2011/11/carrot-and-coriander-soup-good-food-has-to-be-neither-costly-or-complicated/

  2. Adrian, soup is simple and delicious - what more could anyone ask from food? Your carrot and coriander soup looks great btw - it would bowl this girl over if you cooked it for her!

  3. This sounds so good. I love soup and am a huge fan of cauliflower in shop or just by itself. I am with you on the wanting to hibernate. The weather makes me want to stay in and warm...

  4. Stupid iphone, indeed!
    And I don't know what it is about this winter, Móna, but I've never wanted to hibernate so much.

  5. This sounds and looks really great. Cauliflower cheese is a favourite with Hubs and Babs, and I will be trying this one, and eating it myself. Lovely warming recipe :)

  6. Let me know how you like it, Colette. I think it's a winner!

  7. How about if I make this instead then, would that be a fair recipe swop? I am a great champion of the poor old cauliflower, people just don't love it as much as they should - I have never seen a recipe like this before but it reads perfectly lovely, just my kind of thing! (not much difficult items for washing up either)

  8. Amee, it's a deal! I'm a champion of the cauliflower too and I think this soup is great.