Cauliflower Cheese Soup with Chives or Wild Garlic

This almost tastes like liquid cauli cheese but it’s a soft, bumpy bowlful. I am low on milk and have no cream, so creaminess comes only from cheese, a particularly sharp, aged Cheddar, a splash of milk and the last piece of soft goat cheese. Salt and lemon juice point up the flavours and the bobbly soup looks very pretty and tastes good with a garnish of chives. These are plentiful for me but use parsley or another soft herb, even spinach or wild garlic if you are lucky enough to have access to some.

Serves 6

Prep: 25 min

Cook: 30 min

1 small onion

25g butter

1 leek

1 cauliflower

2 potatoes

½ tbsp flour

1 ½ chicken or vegetable stock cubes

black pepper

100g grated Cheddar

100ml milk

squeeze lemon

chives or handful of wild garlic

     Halve, peel and finely chop the onion. Soften in a large, lidded pan in melted butter over a medium-low heat. Meanwhile, discard outer cauli leaves and the hard stalk. Cut into small pieces. Slice the leek into small scraps, wash and drain. Peel the potatoes, cut in small chunks and rinse. Dissolve the stock cubes in 1.3 litres boiling water. Stir the leeks into the softening onion, add a generous pinch salt, cover and cook for 5 minutes until sweaty. Stir in the flour until disappeared, add 500ml stock and bring to the boil, stirring. Add the cauli and potatoes, remaining stock and bring to simmer. Semi cover the pan and simmer steadily for about 15 minutes until the cauli is very soft and the potatoes starting to break up. Stir in the Cheddar and milk and stir until the cheese is dissolved. Season to taste with plenty of black pepper, a little salt and lemon juice. Serve now or later with a garnish of finely snipped chives and spoonful of cream if you have some. If adding wild garlic, stir the leaves into the hot soup, stirring until wilted.