As much as we love cauliflowers, we have shied away from any cauliflower soup until I came across this recipe by Donna Hay.
A few months back Simone started the Donna Hay Challenge ; I had been following it closely for many reasons. I adore Donna Hay for both her recipes as well as the clean beautiful photographs of her food. The event challenges the participant to cook the recipe and also style the food that comes with the recipe. It is a wonderful learning experience for us who are trying to learn food photography; trying to replicate a photograph by a professional would allow and inspire us to go beyond our comfortable boundaries.
This is Creamy cauliflower soup – DHSPC #5 and the very first time I am participating. The simplicity and the ease of the recipe caught my eye and also did the very moody photograph (below) -( shot by Ben Dearnley and styled by Justine Poole). I love Ben Dearnley’s photographs. You should really go through the portfolio to see the mood he creates in this work.
The above photograph, might look simple, but was not at all easy to replicate. The light is extremely tricky and I had to struggle for a long time to prevent the reflection on my bowl. I had to play around with the positions and angles. Below is the photograph from the first trial shoot I did, but I was not happy with the large segment of the light reflecting in the side of the bowl.
The light in the original photograph comes from the right; I had no issues with that. It is a dark moody photograph but there are no dark patches in it. That was one of the things we had to get right; the crease of the fabric shows well, and while the entire background is subdued, the light on the soup is fantastic. I could not get that balance in my photograph. In my photograph the white paper behind the bowl is catching too much light and I wish I could have blocked off the direct light falling on it. I also used some black foam board to block the light in some areas which had to be darker than the others.
I was not sure I would be posting this for the challenge, but I posted a few photographs in Flickr and Simone convinced me to do it. Well this is how we learn.
Below is the other shot which I picked.
Creamy Cauliflower Soup
Prep time:15 minutes
Cook time:40 minutes
Total time:55 minutes
Donna Hay Magazine
- 25g butter
- 1 brown onion (chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1.5 head cauliflower (or 1.5 kg, chopped)
- 500g potatoes (starchy potatoes, peeled and chopped)
- 750ml chicken stock
- 500ml milk
- 125 ml single cream
- sea salt
- cracked white pepper
- 4-6 sprigs fresh thyme
Parmesan cauliflower crumbs
- 100g cauliflower (chopped)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 20g parmesan (finely grated)
Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add the onion, garlic, thyme and bay leaf and cook for 5-8 minutes or until onion has softened. Add the cauliflower, potato, stock and milk, increase heat to medium and cook for 25-30 minutes or until cauliflower and potato is tender. Remove from the heat and, using a hand-held blender, blend until smooth. Stir through the cream, salt and pepper.
While the soup is cooking, make the parmesan cauliflower crumbs. Place the cauliflower, oil and parmesan in a bowl and toss to combine. Heat a non-stick frying pan over high heat. Cook the cauliflower, stirring for 2 minutes or until golden and crisp.
Top soup with cauliflower crumbs to serve.
The changes I made to the recipe:
Made the soup in smaller serving.
I have barely used any cream and also used less potatoes; the reason that my soup looks less creamy and thick.
For the Parmesan Cauliflower crumbs, I skipped the cheese and crisped small bits of cauliflower by shallow frying them.
The soup was still very good and with the onion, garlic and the spices carried a lot of warm flavors with it.