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22 June 2009

Cauliflower, Bacon and Caraway Soup with Pesto

I was hesitant to serve soup as an entree as it seemed a bit 80s. But given how cold and rainy it has been, soup seemed so deliciously warming and appropriate.

After the success of the pureed cauliflower I made at Easter I had been wanted to create a soup, so used this opportunity, and it was delicious! It probably doesn't need the butter and cream to be delicious, so omit these if you want a lower fat version.

And also very easy to make - have a go.

Ingredients (serves 4 with a small amount leftover)

1 tablespoon olive oil
25g butter
6 rashes short cut bacon diced
1 brown onion diced
2 cloves garlic crushed
2 cauliflower heads (about 450-500g each) cut into florets
5-6 cups vegetable stock
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 slices prosciutto
300ml thickened cream
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons pesto (see post from 15 March, but add a little less parmesan and pine nuts)


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Saute the bacon, onion and garlic in the butter and oil in a large saucepan until the bacon is crisp and the onion is soft. Add the cauliflower florets, stock and caraway seeds. Bring to the boil and simmer until the cauliflower is very soft (15-20 minutes). Meanwhile, cook the prosciutto in the oven until crisp.
Once cooked, blend in batches in a food processor (note that you may not need all the liquid if you want a thick soup). Return to the pan and add the cream and season with salt and pepper.

Serve with prosciutto shards and a dollop of pesto.

Thyme Roasted Vegetables

This meal is really very easy. There is very little preparation and it can just cook away in the oven while you relax or do something else.

With this dish, you can really use whatever vegetables you like. Just make sure they are cut into similar sizes, or that ones that cook faster are bigger than those that cook slower.

Last time I made this, I also served it with peas sauteed in mint and butter, but this time, with the heavy soup entree, I decided to pass on the peas this time. I'll save them for another post.
Ingredients (serves 4)

4 parsnips peeled and cut in half lengthwise
8-10 baby new potatoes halved
600g sweet potato cut into large pieces
2 onions quartered with the skin left on
1 head garlic cloves separated, skin on
4-6 carrots, skin on, cut into 3-4 cm pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 bunch thyme
Salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 220 degrees (or a little less if the meat is not roasting at the same time). Place all the vegetables in a roasting tray (it is much easier to clean if you line it with baking paper). Toss them in the oil, vinegar, thyme and salt and pepper. Roast for 40-50 minutes or until soft.

Succulent Roast Beef

I purchased the meat at David Jones -- if I want really good meat, that is where I head. And I have never been disappointed. It is more expensive than normal (except when I purchased quite a bit on sale not long ago) but every so often I can justify the expense.

Saturday night was one of those nights.

And again I was not disappointed.

I like my meat cooked medium - so if you like it a little more well done, you will need to cook it for longer.

Ingredients (serves 4)

900g beef fillet
1-2 tablespoons dijon mustard
4 slices prosciutto


Preheat the oven to 220 degrees. Take the beef out of the fridge and let is rest until it reaches room temperature. Spread the dijon mustard over the top of the beef. Place the prosciutto slices on top of the mustard. Place on a roasting tray in a roasting tin. Roast for 40-45 minutes. Remove from the oven and cover loosely with foil. Allow to rest for at least 20 minutes before slicing and serving.