Cauliflower Cream Cheese Soup with Sweet Roast Onions

This is a contender for my favourite recipe in the book – just looking at it makes me want to polish off the whole bowl. It’s mellow and cheesy and so lovely eaten on its own, but the meltingly soft, sticky, sweet roast onions piled in the middle really make it something super special. It’s very difficult to stop at just one bowl, which is why I’ve made the recipe big enough for eight portions.

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Time taken 1 hour / Serves 8

For the Soup

50g/2 oz butter
onion, chooped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
1 large cauliflower, broken into small florets (you need about 800g/1lb 12 oz florets
1 baking potato, peeled and chopped
500ml/17 fl oz/2 cups milk
750ml/26 fl oz/3 cups vegetable stock
300g/10 1/2 oz cream cheese
1 tsp English mustard
flaked sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp nigella seeds, to serve

For the onions

4 large onions, pelled and each cut into 8
3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for serving
50g/2oz butter
handful of thyme sprigs


Heat the oven to 200°C/400°/gas 6.

Put the onion wedges in a large roasting tray. Trickle over the oil, dot with butter and scatter around the thyme sprigs. Bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes until the onions are golden and sticky, turning and basting in the butter a few times.

To make the soup, 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 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Make sure the vegetables don’t brown, and if they are sticking add a splash of water to the pan.

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

Put the cream cheese in a bowl with mustard and beat with a wooden spoon to give you a whipped cream consistency. Remove the soup from the heat and take out the bay leaf.  Stir in around two-thirds of the cream cheese and mustard. Cool slightly and then blitz in a food processor or blender until velvety smooth. You’ll probably heave to do this in two batches. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Serve the soup hot with a dollop of the whipped cream cheese, some sweet sticky onions piled in the middle, a sprinkle of nigella seeds, and a drizzle of olive oil.


Add 75g/2 1/2 oz diced pancetta to the onions halfway through their cooking time and serve both on top of the finished soup.

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The Flexible Vegetarian: Flexitarian recipes to cook with or without meat and fish

Whether you’re an occasional meat-eater, a vegetarian who needs to cook for meat-eaters, or even a dedicated veggie, you’ll find something for you in this book filled with delicious and practical flexitarian recipes for every lifestyle from celebrated chef Jo Pratt. Choose between cooking each recipe as a completely vegetarian dish, or select to add one of the simple meat, chicken or fish additions, making them suitable for meat-free days and meat-eaters alike.

From spiced poke to peashoot and asparagus gnudi, the range of international recipes spans the globe and are all quick, simple, well-balanced and packed with protein. As well as easy meat and fish additions and hacks for each vegetarian recipe, this original cookbook shows you how to ace a handful of classic recipes, from the perfect roast chicken, to the perfectly cooked fish fillet. For both health, eco and sustainability reasons, there has never been a better time to join the growing flexitarianism movement and expand your culinary skills.