Curried cauliflower soup

Serves 4-6

A creamy cauliflower soup makes a great winter warmer and the addition of a few Indian spices gives it a real kick, too. You can add your own favourite curry spices to this or simply use a good curry powder.

1 medium onion, roughly chopped
The white of 1 medium leek, roughly chopped and washed
2-3 good knobs of butter
1 small- to medium-sized cauliflower, roughly chopped, with the dark outer leaves and stems
1ltr vegetable stock (a good cube will do)
500ml milk
Salt and freshly ground white pepper

For the curry cream

½tbsp vegetable or corn oil
1 large shallot, peeled, halved and finely chopped
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
½tsp ground cumin>
½tsp cumin seeds
1/3tsp turmeric
½tsp ground fenugreek
½tsp black mustard seeds
2tbsp crème fraîche or yoghurt

Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan and with the lid on gently cook the onion and leek, without colouring, for 2-3 minutes, until they are soft. Add the cauliflower, stock and milk.

Season, bring to the boil and simmer for 35 minutes, or until the cauliflower is soft. Blend in a liquidiser until smooth and strain through a fine-meshed sieve; season again if necessary.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a pan and cook the shallot and spices on a very low heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring every so often so they don't burn. Transfer to a small bowl to cool.

Once cool, stir in the yoghurt or crème fraîche.

Serve the soup in warm bowls with the curry cream spooned on top.

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