It's almost Halloween and Guy Fawke's night is just around the corner. It's cold and the clocks have gone back. It's back to mornings feeling like the tin-man and wishing you could oil creaky arthritis joints. It's the time of year where I start wearing fingerless mittens indoors and cooking just for the warmth of it.Standing over a big, hot pot of steaming soup suddenly feels like a lovely cosy thing to do and what could be more cosy than the classic cauliflower cheese turned into a thick, creamy soup. Try serving this as a quick supper before heading out for fireworks and it will keep you warm right through to the tips of those mitten fingers.
I make this extra arthritis friendly by using frozen cauliflower florets as they are ready broken up but you could use the same amount of fresh cauliflower. If you have an old parmesan rind kicking around, throw it in the pot for added cheesy flavour - just remember to remove it before blending.
400g cauliflower florets
200ml semi-skimmed milk
400ml boiling water
1 clove garlic peeled
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 chicken or vegetable stock cube
50g cheese of your choice, roughly grated or in small chunks
1 tsp English mustard
Pinch nutmeg (optional)
Peel the onion and very roughly slice it (6 or so pieces is fine). Throw it into a large sauce pan with the olive oil and garlic. Set on a low heat and cook gently for 5 minutes until the onion is slightly softened.
Add the cauliflower, milk, stock cube and boiling water. Stir well and bring up to the boil, adjust to a low simmer and cover. Cook for 25 minutes.
Turn off the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes. Add the cheese and mustard, then puree with a hand blender. Season with pepper and nutmeg to taste.
Serve with crusty bread and grated parmesan or topped with crispy bacon bits.
Arthritis diet notes
Cauliflower is part of a group of the 'cruciferous' vegetable family (along with brocolli, kale, cabbage and brussel sprouts). That slight sulphur-y whiff that they all can have is actually from the phytochemical sulforophane, which has powerful anti-carcinogenic (anti-cancer) properties and anti-oxidant benefits. Even better cauliflower is a good source of blood pressure lowering potassium and folate (which many with inflammatory arthritis need a little extra of). Obviously, cauliflower is particularly nice with a little cheese but you can also try it roasted with spices or even raw in salads.