I am occasionally asked about my cooking and how I became a happy home cook and recipe developer.
Personally, I think being a good home cook is partly about being organised. This means having a well stocked pantry and larder so that you don’t have to go out and buy dozens of different ingredients everyone time you decide to cook something, or are ferociously hungry. Like the un-ironed shirt that hangs about the laundry never getting worn, there’s nothing more off-putting than an extra step when you are keen to get going.
Having a stocked pantry and larder requires a little bit of work: every time I visit the shops or markets I stock up on essential spices, oils, nuts, grains and ingredients as well as fresh food. So when I want to cook something, I usually have everything — or close to everything — I need to do so. I can’t tell you what a difference this makes in terms of me actually cooking something rather than deciding that it’s all too hard.
This recipe — Spicy Cauliflower and Almond Soup — is a case in point. I’d seen some remarkably good looking cauliflower at my local grocer so I bought it not knowing exactly what I was going to do with it. When I got it home I had a look in my pantry and decided to try making a Moroccan inspired cauliflower soup using almonds, cumin, chicken stock, onion, extra virgin olive oil and harissa, all of which I already had in the cupboard.
After a long day at work, cooking can be a lovely way to relax and this type of home cooking feels delightfully effortless as well as spontaneous. Of course the dishes still need to be washed afterwards, but at least you’ve had something good to eat, right? Enjoy!
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped small
- ⅓ cup slivered almonds
- 1 large cauliflowers, trimmed and cut into small pieces
- 1 teaspoon harissa
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 litre chicken stock
- Salt to taste (check before adding, especially if using commercially made stock)
- Extra almonds or fresh coriander to garnish if desired
- Heat up a medium pot and add olive oil.
- Fry onion and almonds over medium heat for a few minutes, stirring regularly.
- Add cauliflower, harissa and cumin and stir for a minute or two before adding chicken stock.
- Bring to the boil and then simmer for twenty minutes.
- Use a stick blender to puree soup and then serve.