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Monday, June 28, 2010

Roast Potato, Cauliflower and Parmesan Soup with Almond & Blueberry Crumble Muffins

I saw this recipe in the latest edition of the MasterChef magazine and decided to give it a go.  The concept seemed good, roast the vegetables as opposed to boiling them in water, and diluting the flavour.

On tasting the soup last night I was a bit disappointed with it - I felt it lacked something.  I am eating it again now as I type and it does actually taste better today - perhaps the flavours have developed a little more.  I will say this though, it does have a strong cumin taste - so if cumin isn't your cup of tea - I wouldn't recommend this soup for you.

I am going to give you the recipe as it appears in the magazine - but at the end I will tell you what I would do differently next time.

Roast Potato, Cauliflower and Parmesan Soup

Serve 4-6

1.5kg (or 1 head of cauliflower), cut into florets
200g desiree or sebago potatoes, peeled, roughly chopped
1 large onion, thinly sliced
6 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.

Place the cauliflower, potatoes, onion, garlic and cumin in a roasting pan.  Drizzle with the olive oil, and toss to combine.  Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

Remove approximately 3/4 cup of the cauliflower florets from the mixture (reserve these for garnishing).  Peel the garlic, then place all the vegetables in a food processor.  Add 2 cups of water and puree until smooth.

Transfer the pureed mixture to a large saucepan, add the milk and another 2 cups of water and bring to the boil.

Stir in the parmesan cheese until well combined.

Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into warmed bowls.  Top with the reserved cauliflower.  Drizzle with some olive oil and extra parmesan cheese.

Now here is what I would do differently:

Don't add the 2nd batch (2 cups) of water - I actually think it needs milk - saying that though ,I don't know if I would add 2 cups of milk - perhaps only one - I guess it depends on how thick you like your soup.

It definitely needs a lot of seasoning - you are really relying on the parmesan to give it flavour - which if you are watching your fat/calorie content is perhaps not a great thing.  What you could do is instead of the 2 cups of water that is added during the pureeing stage you could add chicken stock.

All that aside though, it is a nice soup.  Try it and see what you think.  For the purists that love cauliflower - it may be just what you love.  For me though, it needed a little bit more seasoning.

I you give this a try I would love to hear what you think.

Now to go along with the soup I made these lovely muffins.  They make fabulous dessert muffins!

Almond and Blueberry Crumble Muffins

Makes 12 - Texas Size muffins

2 1/2 cups self raising flour
3/4 cup (firmly packed) brown sugar
150g butter, melted
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, lightly whisked
220g frozen blueberries, thawed


3/4 cup plain flour
90g chilled butter, diced into small pieces
1/2 cup (firmly packed) brown sugar
1/2 cup slivered almonds 

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (non fan forced)

Lightly spray or grease your muffin tin.

To make the crumble topping, place the butter, brown sugar and flour in a bowl, use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour and sugar.  The mixture should resemble coarse breadcrumbs.  Add the almonds.  Set to one side.

Place the flour and sugar in a large bowl.  Add the melted butter, milk, eggs, and vanilla, stir until well combined.

Spoon the mixture evenly into the muffin tins (the mixture will be quite stiff - using 2 spoons works well).  Divide the blueberries evenly on the top of the mixture.  Then sprinkle the tops of the muffins with the crumble mixture.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean (make sure you don't get a blueberry!)

Cool in the pan for 15 minutes.

These are great served either warm or cold.  If serving as a dessert serve with warmed vanilla custard, or ice cream.  Yum!!

Note:  I did not use Texas muffin tins - I had recently won a 12 cup  Loose Base Dessert Pan.  This actually makes making muffins so easy - it has a removable base that you simply push up and the muffin pops out!!  So clever.  Worth looking into if you are a dessert of muffin baker!!!

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