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Cauliflower Cheese Soup with Ham and Tomato Twists

CAULIFLOWER CHEESE SOUP WITH HAM AND TOMATO TWISTS

This can all be made in advance and kept in the fridge, or even frozen, providing you with a wholesome quick lunch or a ready-made supper after work.

Serves 6

For the soup:

50g butter

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 bay leaf

1 large cauliflower, broken into small florets (you need about 800g florets)

1 baking potato, peeled and chopped

500ml milk

700–900ml vegetable stock

1 tsp English mustard

200g extra mature Cheddar cheese, grated

For the Ham and Tomato Twists:

150g ready rolled puff pastry

2 tbsp sundried tomato paste

50g wafer thin ham

1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tbsp milk (egg wash)

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook until it is softened but not coloured. Stir in the garlic, bay leaf, cauliflower and potato. Reduce the heat, cover with a lid and leave to cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Make sure the vegetables don’t brown and if they are sticking, then add a splash of water to the pan.

Remove the lid and pour in the milk and 700ml of the stock. Simmer for 15 minutes, until the cauliflower and potato are tender and beginning to break up.

While the soup is cooking, you can prepare the Ham and Tomato Twists. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/180C fan ovens/gas 5.

Spread the tomato paste on top of the pastry then lay the ham, in a single layer on top.

Cut the pastry into approximately 24 x 1cm thick strips. Gently twist each strip and lay onto a couple of non-stick baking sheets, keeping them just slightly apart. Brush with beaten egg wash and scatter over a little sea salt and a twist of black pepper.

Place in the oven for about 10-12 minutes or until they are light golden brown.

Remove the soup from the heat and take out the bay leaf. Cool slightly, and then blitz in a food processor or blender until totally smooth. You’ll probably have to do this in two batches. Return the soup to the pan and stir in the mustard and Cheddar until the cheese has melted. Season with salt and pepper. The remaining 200ml of stock can be added if the soup seems particularly thick.

Serve the soup hot with the Ham and Tomato Twists on the side.

PS…

The Ham and Tomato twists can easily be prepared ahead, frozen and cooked when needed.

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