Monday, August 13, 2012

Cauliflowers At the Market And A Soup Recipe

We’ve had a break from our monthly market stall this winter, enjoying Camphill market from the other side of the table, free to wander and sample and chat.

Last Sunday we were back sharing a stall with our friends despite the showery forecast. The kids and I got up at seven and they all set to baking, with me as the supervising chef and washer-upper. Once the crunchies (baked by my son this month), the iced biscuits (Middle Daughter) and crustless milk tart (Youngest) were baked and packed, we headed off to our neighbour a few farms away to pick up some of her veggies.

She grows beautiful pesticide-free cauliflowers and broccoli in the winter, to keep her out of mischief, she says, while her bee-keeping business is quiet. She had far more than she could cope with the previous week and gave us a whole crate of them. I suggested selling them at Camphill Market and offered to take some down to sell on our stall.

It proved the ideal product on a winter market day. The forecast had kept away the casual visitors, those who come for a lovely day out in the country with their kids, as long as the sun is shining. The regulars all come along anyway, armed with their baskets and cloth shopping bags, to garner all the organic and home-grown produce on offer that month. Camphill grow their own produce to sell, but there is always demand for more, and luckily they were selling leeks, chard, kale, onions and herbs, but no broccoli or cauliflower this month, so ours started selling like hot cakes. By 11.30 I was messaging our neighbour to see if she could bring another crate along.

They were so freshly picked that a passing cabbage white butterfly was most impressed by their quality and hung out with us for a while.

The sun came out, only dimmed by an occasional shower, and all the stalls were under cover this month just in case, so we weathered the sprinklings of rain with no problem.

The kids all disappeared off with their friends to feed the donkeys, look after the lambs, pay for a pony ride (despite the fact they have riding lessons they are still happy to pay their own money to be led around the road on a pony), leaving the two adults to take care of the stall and selling their baked goods for them.

Unfortunately those didn’t sell like hot cakes this time. Perhaps it was because of the weather, fewer kids to beg for pretty iced biscuits, less dallying and more purposeful shopping by the regulars, but we ended up taking home about half our stock of crunchies and biscuits. They didn’t last long once we got home though as we sat around the table and demolished them over a cup of tea or two.

Our neighbour gave me the few remaining cauliflowers after the market, delighted with the sales of all the rest, so I decided to make soup to keep us warm for the next couple of days. Two of my kids loathe cauliflower so it was a bit of a gamble expecting them to eat soup made with it, but I managed to come up with something that they could choke down with the addition of some melting grated cheese. The flavour is mild, almost bland, with a just a hint of cauliflower nuttiness to it and a dash of chilli heat to liven it up. We enjoyed it with cheese and spring onions stirred in, which lifted it to another level.

Cauliflower soup recipe
1 large onion
1 head of cauliflower
1 clove garlic
25g butter or olive oil
1 bay leaf
Fresh thyme
1 litre stock
Dash of Tabasco sauce (optional)
Salt and pepper

Roughly chop the onion. Break the cauliflower up into florets. Chop the garlic.
Sweat the onion and garlic in the butter until it softens.
Add the cauliflower and herbs and season with salt and pepper. Stir it all together.
Cook for another few minutes.
Add the stock.
Simmer together until the vegetables are soft.
Remove the bay leaf and any herb twigs.
Whizz the soup either with a hand-held blender or in a food processor.
Taste and add Tabasco sauce if you like it. Check for seasoning.
Serve with grated cheese and chunks of fresh bread.

Camphill market is on the first Sunday of every month 11am-4pm

Edited to add: I made this soup again last night using coconut oil, which added a welcome extra flavour to the mix. Perhaps it took over a bit from the cauliflower but it's a nice change.. if you like coconut!


  1. Wish I had been there I would have loved some fresh cauli, I have had no success growing cauli or broccoli. Have a good week. Diane

  2. I haven't made cauliflower soup for ages but , having read this , I'm definitely going to make it today !
    In fact , I'll make it twice , I'm intrigued by the sound of the coconut-ty version , too.

  3. Sounds like a great day out! have you tried roasting the cauliflower before adding it to the pot? Adds a whole new flavour dimension!

  4. That cauliflower soup just made me so hungry! It looks delicious!
    Ive just found your blog and I have to sit down and have a proper look one day (its nearly midnight now...darn)

    I once lived on a farm in Wolsley outside cape town with my husband and seing ur blog will sure show me what it could have been had I not packed my bags and gone home so quickly! (Im from Norway, and this is where we now live)


Thanks for your comments - I appreciate every one!