Tag Archives: Cauliflower

Cauliflower, Coconut and Borlotti Bean Soup

Cauliflower, Coconut and Borlotti Bean Soup.  © Sue Todd 2014

Cauliflower, Coconut and Borlotti Bean Soup. © Sue Todd 2014

This one is a blast from our past.  I used to make this soup a lot, but I lost the book in a house move a few years back.  I remembered that it was a book I’d bought in a supermarket a long, long time ago, it took me ages to track it down on the internet, but I found it, here on RecipeSource. Cauliflower and Coconut Soup originates from a book by Jane Suthering, called ‘Sainsbury’s Vegetarian Suppers’ and this recipe is on page 72 apparently – no longer having my copy I can’t verify this.

Cooked cauliflower can be soft and tasteless, but this retains texture and with the spices and apple it makes a versatile and filling winter soup with plenty of flavour.

However I can say that its good, really good.  There’s a number of ingredients for this but it’s fairly quick and easy to put together.  This should serve 4 people.


  • 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil,
  • 1 onion finely chopped,
  • 1 large carrot, diced,
  • 1/2 pound cauliflower cut into florets (this is about 1/2 large cauliflower),
  • 1 cooking apple, peeled and diced,
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin,
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander,
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric,
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger,
  • 1/4 tsp Tabasco or chilli powder,
  • 1 litre vegetable stock,
  • 2 ounces creamed coconut, grated,
  • 3 tbsps coriander leaves, chopped,
  • 1 can borlotti beans drained and rinsed,
  • salt and pepper to taste


Heat the oil in a large heavy based pan, then add the onion and carrot, frying for about 5 minutes.

Then add your cauliflower, the apple and the spices.  Mix it up well and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Next add your stock and bring the pan to the boil.  Put a lid on and simmer the soup for 20 minutes.  If you are using an AGA, you can safely pop this in the roasting oven to cook – ensuring you’ve used an ovenproof pan of course.

After 20 minutes; return the pan to the hob if you are using an AGA, remove the lid and add the remaining ingredients.  Keep stirring and continue to simmer until the beans are heated through and all the coconut has melted.

Additional Notes:

This apparently freezes well though I don’t think I’ve ever done this, as it generally gets eaten in our house with none left to freeze.

You can use any cooked or tinned beans you have to hand instead of the borlotti beans.


Cauliflower Croustade

Cauliflower Croustade - gluten and wheat free © Sue Todd 2014

Cauliflower Croustade – gluten and wheat free © Sue Todd 2014

Cauliflower is a vegetable I loathed as small child.  I can still remember cauliflower that either lacked all taste or smelt rank from overcooking, that had no texture and likely no vitamins left in it at all.  Somehow I managed to get past that and cauliflower cheese became a staple part of my diet in my late teens, which meant there was always something I felt I could eat.  As I move towards a gluten-free, wheat free diet, cauliflower consumption is on an upwards trend.  Quite apart from cauliflower cheese which remains a firm favourite in the comfort food stakes, I’m using it as a replacement for rice and as a pizza base too.

Cauliflower Croustade is another favourite.  We’ve been making this dish since the now grown up children were quite small.  I still love it, but where we first adapted it from Rose Elliot’s ‘Croustade of Mushrooms’ in  her ‘Supreme Vegetarian Cookbook’, we first made it using cauliflower to replace the mushrooms, which the boys detested, together with a cheese sauce and now latterly I’ve a gluten-free, wheat version of this dish which I love even more.

I’m looking forward to next year now and growing our very own cauliflowers here in our English country garden.

Serves 4

Ingredients – base:

  • 75g/3oz flaked almonds,
  • 75g/3oz pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, (or if you are not avoiding wheat/gluten you could use the same weight of breadcrumbs or oats – I’ve used either and sometimes a mixture of both)
  • 75g/3oz ground almonds or other finely ground nuts,
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped finely,
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed,
  • 90g/3 1/2 oz softened butter,
  • freshly ground salt and pepper,

Ingredients – cheese sauce:

  • 1 shallot finely chopped,
  • 1 small knob of butter,
  • 500ml of double cream,
  • 1 handful of grated Emmental,
  • 1 handful of grated Gruyère,
  • seasoning to taste

Ingredients –

  • 1 medium-sized cauliflower

Method – base and cauliflower:

Cauliflower Croustade - base - Gluten free and wheat free © Sue Todd 2014

Cauliflower Croustade – base – Gluten free and wheat free © Sue Todd 2014

If you are using a conventional oven, you will need to preheat it to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.

First of all blitz the pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds in a food processor.  You are looking for fairly fine grain.  Put the blitzed seeds in a large bowl  Keep a few of the flaked almonds back but put the rest into the bow with the blitzed seeds together with the ground almonds.

Melt a knob of the butter in a small pan and fry off the onion and garlic until cooked through and golden.  Add to the bowl.  Melt the remaining butter and stir into the bowl mixing well.

Press the resulting mixture into the bottom of a ceramic baking dish, a flan dish would work well as would a shallow le cruset dish.

Bake the base for about 20 minutes.  You are looking for a golden brown, crisp finish. If you have an AGA use the baking oven.

While the base is cooking you need to par boil the cauliflower and prepare the sauce.  You don’t want to fully cook the cauliflower right through or it will be soggy and not very appetising so you want to get it to an al dente point and then drain it.

Method – cheese sauce:

You could of course just make an ordinary cheese sauce with a roux (using gluten-free flour if you need a gluten-free sauce).  However, if you want a wheat free sauce then double cream is a delicious route to take as long as you can take dairy products.

Melt a knob of butter in a small frying pan. Gently fry the shallot in the butter until its translucent.  Add your cream and heat gently.  When its hot, add the Emmental and Gruyère cheese and stir until melted.  Season to taste.

Cauliflower Croustade © Sue Todd 2014

Cauliflower Croustade © Sue Todd 2014

Method – Assemble and finish:

Once the base is cooked, lay the drained cauliflower florets over the base then cover with the cheese sauce.  Pop back in the oven to finish cooking.  You want it to brown lightly on the top, so it should take about 10-15 minutes.  Ten minutes into this cooking time, you want to pull it out quickly, and sprinkle the remaining flaked almonds over the top before popping it back in the oven.  This should mean the nuts can brown slightly but not burn.

To Serve:

I love this with a nice green salad and some fresh tomatoes.  Sausage is a good addition too.  We had this the other evening with a nice salad and venison sausages from our local butcher.


Cauliflower Croustade ready to serve. © Sue Todd 2014

Cauliflower Croustade ready to serve. © Sue Todd 2014

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Cauliflower Crust Pizza © Sue Todd 2014

Cauliflower Crust Pizza © Sue Todd 2014

I’ve loved this since I stumbled across a recipe for it at  RecipeGirl.com(http://www.recipegirl.com/2012/01/16/cauliflower-crust-hawaiian-pizza/).  It sounds odd and if you don’t like cauliflower then you’ll be forgiven for assuming it has must be dire.  My sons refuse to believe it could be edible, but I can assure you it is wonderful and well worth trying, the resulting base is so far away from being like the stewed tasteless cauliflower I remember from my school days.  Actually thinking back to school meals I’m always surprised I ever came round to food at all, everything always seemed so gross.

Anyway back to the pizza.  The finished thing looks like pizza and tastes wonderful, while it doesn’t taste like a bread base it is really good and it doesn’t taste like you’d imagine it would either!  You don’t feel stuffed when you’ve finished eating but you are nicely satisfied.  The only thing you can’t do with it is pick it up in your hands to munch it like you would a normal bread based pizza, you’ll need to eat this one with a knife and fork.  The first time we made it Gary grated the cauliflower by hand, this takes forever and can be painful, I’d recommend using a food processor if you have one. For the crust I’ve so far used cheddar and mozzarella and they both work really well.  I think the crust could work well as the base for a gluten-free quiche that is quite delightful without leaving you feeling overly stuffed afterwards.  I’ve not tried this out yet but I think I will soon so that may figure on the blog shortly.

Ingredients: For the crust:

  • 2 cups shredded cauliflower
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried minced garlic (or fresh garlic)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


This is really down to personal choice, so far we’ve enjoyed ham and pineapple, salami with mozzarella and olives, all on top of a nice home-made tomato sauce.


Start with your cauliflower and chop it up into individual florets.  Then either grate it (I don’t recommend this route) or pulse it in a food processor until it’s in tiny pieces and looks a bit like rice.  You want small grains of cauliflower though and not a puree, a puree won’t work so well.

Put your processed cauliflower into a microwave safe bowl and microwave it for 8 minutes.  I hate using the microwave at all but this works so … I go with what it says to do.

Let the cauliflower grains cool and then mix up well with the other crust ingredients.

Grease an oven tray or pizza stone and shape the crust mixture into a round flattening it out carefully, so it has a traditional pizza shape to it.  Brush the top gently with olive oil.

Pop your pizza into the baking oven of the AGA for about 15 minutes.  I think this equates to about 450 degrees in a conventional oven.  If you’ve oiled the top it should begin to brown nicely.

At this point its time to add your topping of choice, before topping with cheese and putting it back in the oven to finish off for approximately five minutes.  Enjoy with salad and a nice glass of wine!

We find this makes one large pizza which we often don’t finish in one sitting.  With plenty of salad it could do four people, or two very hungry ones.