Saturday, February 28, 2015

Easy and elegant cauliflower soup, plus an old friend gets glam

By Victoria Abbott aka Mary Jane and Victoria Maffini

Don't miss the giveaway opportunity at the end of the post! 

You may remember our friend, Cauliflower, aka the Great Deceiver, the wonderful, versatile vegetable that can play so many different roles in so many different meals.  Well, our little veggie is all grown up and ready to party.  

So that's where my fascinator went!
A few weeks ago, MJ was fighting a cold and looking for soothing soups when she came across a very easy idea from Sue Riedl, a Globe and Mail columnist and food blogger who is brilliant and practical. If she ever publishers a cookbook, we will the first in line to buy it.

She suggested that cauliflower and stock could be cooked together and blended to make an amazing soup.   

 We said, Really? Wouldn’t it need a bit more than that?  It didn’t. It was perfect,creamy and filling with plenty of taste.

But when the cold cleared up we still wanted this soup and thought that we’d try a few more variations.  Here’s the result of our test.  


You will need:
 4 cups good quality chicken stock
1 cauliflower, cut into florets
3 green onions, white and green, sliced (optional)
EVOO  (optional)
2 tbsp chopped parsley (optional)
Sour cream (optional)
Spicy oil (optional)

You'll have noticed that the only two required ingredients are chicken stock and cauliflower!
We do love options, so we chopped the green onions and sautéed them in olive oil until they were nicely caramelized.  We added a bit of parsley. 
Meanwhile, we cut up the cauliflower into florets and added it to a pot (4 cups) of good quality chicken stock.  We know it was high quality because we made it from scratch.  We always have stock in the freezer. It’s a gift that keeps on giving.  (We think you could make this with commercial stock or broth from a box or can).  
We boiled the stock and cauliflower florets together for about twenty minutes, until the florets were tender.  We stirred in the green onions and parsley. 
Next , and why is this so much fun, we puréed it with our ancient immersion blender. It was soooo good. 

You: How good was it?
Us: It was so good, we made it again the next day. 

It’s good enough to serve at our next dinner party!  

Not only was it creamy, good and easy, but it was gluten-free, dairy-free, low-carb and low-calorie, and without artificial additives. Since what we were really looking for was easy ways to add more vegetables to our life, we decided to add some sour cream (so much for low-calorie and dairy-free).

We also experimented with a drizzle of spicy oil on top. We loved our little heart design.  

So welcome our friend, Cauliflower, back.  We think she looks pretty good dressed up!

The only downside was we kept eating it and then having to make more so we could get the photos with the toppings.   

We had some other ideas, but we ran out of time, cauliflower and stock. So we hope you’ll suggest a few more toppings or ingredients in the comments.  

We’ll have a draw from among YOUR suggestions for one of our book collector tote bags, now including the cover for The Marsh Madness.

Victoria Abbott is the mysterious collaboration between the artist and photographer Victoria Maffini and her mother, the mystery writer, Mary Jane Maffini.  That's us! Strangely enough, our three book collector mysteries, The Christie Curse, The Sayers Swindle and The Wolfe Widow all contain lots of food.

The Marsh Madness is due out in September 2015.


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  1. I hope Mrs. Cauliflower didn't mind sacrificing herself for the soup! So enjoyed your post today and the recipe is wonderful! xo

  2. Thanks, Roberta, It was a bit of fun for in this dreary winter. XO MJ

  3. I have almost none of the ingredients in the house, but now I want this soup! I'm wondering what kind of spicy oil you dribbled on top.

  4. Nancy I just dribbled President's Choice Spicy Stir Fry Oil, but am pursuing other options!

  5. Not a big fan of cauliflower but this sounds good. I'm game! I'll give it a try. Not sure what type of topping - maybe cheese? So if you leave out all the optionals you have chicken broth with cauliflower --- this is one time you'd rather add more in for flavor.

  6. We were stunned at how good it was before the options (but the broth was very good). Let us know, Linda! XO

  7. That sounds delicious, and so easy! I've started getting a head of cauliflower every time I go to the store, we've been eating it so much more lately.

    I still have two quarts of turkey stock in the freezer, leftover from our last Thanksgiving. Now I know what to do with them. Thanks, MJ.

  8. I wonder how hearts of palm, carrots, and canned baby corn on the cob would taste in there? 😀

  9. I love the recipe and the pictures! I might add chicken chunks, shredded cheese, oyster crackers and a dash or more of hot sauce. Thank you for this opportunity!

  10. I really hate to cook, so except for just the simple, very basic stuff, I don't. So I can't offer any suggestions. (I don't eat or handle chicken, either, so that complicates things even more.) Should I mention that I don't like cauliflower either? But I do love your books, and I think the tote bag is great!

  11. Soup sounds great but I think I might add some grated cheddar cheese to give it a little extra flavor. Thanks for the giveaway.