Traditional Scottish Recipes
- Cauliflower and Cheddar Cheese Soup

This recipe is from John Webber, the tutor at Nairn's Cook School

John Webber's Introduction to Vegetable Soups:
We love soup and with more and more varieties it's a food worth getting to grips with in the kitchen. It's comforting to make and to eat. Especially with slices of freshly baked bread slathered with good, unsalted butter. At Nairn's we seldom use stock, relying instead on good technique to get the best flavours from the ingredients.

Use a ratio of approximately 25% onion to the vegetable ingredient. Cut the vegetables into the smallest pieces. This reduces cooking time. Always add boiling water to the vegetables as this reduces the time the soup is off the boil, and thus lose its freshness.

Once cooked, liquidise the soup and cool it. This keeps its quality and flavour. It's much easier to make a big batch of soup. You can freeze it in handy portions. Reliquidise once it is defrosted and reheated.

The soup is cooked once the vegetables are tender. Cooking times for different vegetables are:

Broccoli - 10 minutes
Carrot - 45 minutes
Artichoke - 35 minutes
Cauliflower - 45 minutes
Mushroom - 45 minutes
Parsnip - 50 minutes
Pea - 3 minutes
Spinach - 5 minutes
Tomato - 20 minutes
Watercress - 2 minutes

Ingredients for Cauliflower and Cheese Soup (sufficient for four people):
1 medium onion
1 clove garlic
40g (1.5 ounces or one-third US stick) butter
1 large cauliflower
1 tablespoon grain mustard
900 ml boiling water
50 ml double cream
50 g (2oz) grated cheddar cheese (ideally Scottish, Isle of Mull)
Fresh flat leaf parsley to garnish

Heat the butter in a large pan. Add the onion and the garlic and leave on a medium heat for 2 - 3 minutes, until they are soft and clear.
Whilst the onion and garlic are softening, chop the cauliflower as fine as possible. Add the cauliflower into the onion mix then stir in the boiling water. Bring back to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir the soup well and add the grain mustard and the grated cheese. Adjust seasoning to taste.
Blend the soup with the cream in a liquidiser.
Garnish with a sprinkle of chopped parsley.
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