Yeah, There’s Paula on my Left Arm.

pop quiz: the lyric above is from what song and artist? clue: originally it was Flo on the left, but, I guess, the lads at the seaside made it more state-side friendly with Paula.

Mike and Paul, a couple of friends of ours, run a small walking holiday company. In summer they offer walking holidays in the ‘winter ski resorts’ of ‘Chamonix‘ and ‘the Dolomites‘. On their holidays in the French Alps, Paula does the all the cooking so her recipe book is bulging. I’ve taken a few of her favourites to share.

When serving lots of guests, Paula says a soup makes the perfect starter. It can be prepared in advance and, with a bit of forethought, can usually be suitable for guests with all dietary requirements.

This soup contains cheese and cream, so not suitable for lactose intolerant people, but delicious for the rest of us.

Cauliflower Soup Ingredients.

  • 1 good-sized Cauliflower
  • 50 gram Roquefort Cheese, crumbled
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 25 gram Butter
  • 1 medium Onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 sticks Celery, chopped
  • 1 large Leek, trimmed, washed and chopped
  • 100 gram Potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 tbsp Crème Fraiche, to serve
  • Seasoning

How to Make Cauliflower Soup.

  • Trim the cauliflower into small florets.
  • Then take the stalk bits, including the green stems, and place these in a medium-sized saucepan.
  • Add 1.5 litre water, the bay leaves and some salt and bring the stock to the boil and simmer gently for 20 minutes with a lid on.
  • Meanwhile, take a large saucepan with a well-fitting lid, melt the butter over a gentle heat.
  • Add the onion, celery, leek and potato.
  • Cover and let the vegetables gently sweat for 15 minutes.
  • Keep the heat very low, then, strain the stock into the pan to join the vegetables, transfer the bay leaves, but throw out the cauliflower trimmings.
  • Now add the cauliflower florets, bring the soup back up to simmering point and simmer very gently for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cauliflower is completely tender, this time without a lid.
  • Remove the bay leaves and blend the soup in batches in a food processor or liquidiser until it is smooth and creamy.
  • Pour all of the soup back into a large pan, adjust the seasoning and heat gently.

Serve with a small spoonful of creme fraiche and a twist of black pepper.

pop trivia: back in 1961 ‘Dion’ had a hit with ‘The Wanderer‘; since then it has been covered by many artists. In 1964, ‘The Beach Boys’ included ‘The Wanderer’ on their album ‘Beach Boys Concert’. They changed most of the girls names from the original. The tune is a favourite with fans of Bolton Wanderers FC.
For more of Paula’s scrumptious recipes have a look at her online Chalet Cookbook.